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What Two Thousand Dollars Buys You

Money's money, business is business. In the Gutter, it's often a dirty business, sometimes a deadly one. But sometimes a man gets bored and he gotta kill more than time.

What Two Thousand Dollars Buys You by Keith Rawson

You wait for the bodies with your arms crossed over your spotless blue scrubs.
At the moment you dont bother wearing a mask, thatll come later, so theres no point in feeling claustrophobic in one now when youll have to wear one later, which you really dont see the point in since youll be working with corpses.
Whatever.
Protocol was protocol and the boss wanted minimum contact between themselves and the bodies. You dont quite understand what that means considering youre dissecting them. If it was a real issue for the boss, you dont know why he just doesnt spring for bio-hazard suits and a germ-free environment? You remind yourself that its not any of your business, the man pays you $2000 for three-to-four hours of work a week. Its not a ton of cash, but its more than youve seen in a while, you take it without complaint and do as youre told.
Youre getting fidgety.
Youre coming down from your last bump and you wish you had a cigarette to break up the wait.
NO SMOKING.
It was a pet peeve of the boss, the smell of smoke. You figure him for an ex-smoker who still dreams about filling his lungs with big fat drags of tobacco.
Or hes just uptight and doesnt like how it stinks people up.
Its a long four hours considering that you smoke close to two packs a day and feel out of sorts without a cancer stick between your middle and index finger. Plus, youre partnered up with Harold, dudes boring as shit, barely says a word to you. Thats junkies for you. Harold, on the few times you talked, traded war stories with you on how each of you lost your medical licenses. Harold was an old-school doper. Small-town general practitioner, good living, loving family, then ten years from retirement he discovers better living through chemistry when hes disposing of a cancer patient’s good dope. Its the kind of junk that’s simply too good to throw out, and the script was barely used.
Dilaudid.
You couldnt blame him for getting hooked on that.
Harold got carried away. Harold created terminal patients so he could get his hands on more goodies. The Feds busted him, the wife divorced him, the adult children pissed all over him despite the life hed provided for them. Harold was the definition of sad sack. Not that your story wasnt much better, just a bit more daring or stupid, depending on how you looked at it.
You went to college eight years with dick to show for it other than a case of herpes, a swollen liver, and fatty kidneys, which was your end goal. But Daddy shit on your goals, insisting you bring something to the family name other than a string of abortions. He threatened cutting you off from the trust if you didnt earn a degree and start a profession. Not that the old bastard had earned a dime of the trust moneythe old man was a power drinker himselfbut he controlled the purse strings. When Daddy said jump, you mumbled go fuck yourself, but you jumped as high as you could.
Long story short, you bought yourself a medical degree from Costa Rica, you cheated on your licensing exams, you bribed your way into three internships, got fired from all three. First two for incompetence, the last for menacing. Fucking menacing. You screw one nurse in a patient bathrooma comatose patient, no lessand they fire you for menacing!
They take your license for the coke in your system.
Youre no better than Harold, but you think you are. You pay for your coke, always have, Harold scammed the system!
HUGE DIFFERENCE!
The skinny intern finally shows up. Hes pale, nervous as fuck, eyes look like tea saucers. Hes spun, but most interns are. Buckets of coffee, caffeine pills, Adderall, then finally speed. The kids hit the ¼ bag a night point, life is getting even more expensive than it already is. Thus, the corpses. Good way for some quick cash, even better way to ruin your career if youre stupid. The kids not stupid, he doesnt ask questions.
Even you and Harold have asked questions, posted theories to one another about what the boss does with the body parts on the trips back to the warehouse where the old mans assistant, Creepy Brian, lets you in and helps with muscling the bodies onto the tables. Sometimes you feel guilty calling the kid Creepy Brian, but the motherfucker doesnt have any lips.
That shits creepy.
Anyway
Harold thinks the boss is a Doctor Frankenstein, sewing back together what you two tear apart.
You figure hes just eating them.
Whatever, youre not being paid to think.
You hand over the $4000 for two stiffs, give the kid a nod.
You figure youll kill him next time, pocket the cash, and get an extra slab.
You hope Harold lets you kill him. Hes done it the last two times, that shits not fair.


Keith Rawson is the author of hundreds of short stories, poems, essays, and reviews. He is a regular contributor to LitReactor.com and Gamut Magazine. You can see hundreds of nude pictures of him at: www.lifeinmetropolis.com