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 don’t bother wearing a mask, that’ll come later, so there’s no point in feeling claustrophobic in one now when you’ll have to wear one later, which you really don’t see the point in since you’ll be working with corpses.
Protocol was protocol and the boss wanted minimum contact between themselves and the bodies. You don’t quite understand what that means considering you’re dissecting them. If it was a real issue for the boss, you don’t know why he just doesn’t spring for bio-hazard suits and a germ-free environment? You remind yourself that it’s not any of your business, the man pays you $2000 for three-to-four hours of work a week. It’s not a ton of cash, but it’s more than you’ve seen in a while, you take it without complaint and do as you’re told.
You’re getting fidgety.
You’re coming down from your last bump and you wish you had a cigarette to break up the wait.
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 he’s just uptight and doesn’t like how it stinks people up.
It’s 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, you’re partnered up with Harold, dude’s boring as shit, barely says a word to you. That’s 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 he’s disposing of a cancer patient’s good dope. It’s the kind of junk that’s simply too good to throw out, and the script was barely used.
You couldn’t 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 he’d provided for them. Harold was the definition of sad sack. Not that your story wasn’t 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 didn’t earn a degree and start a profession. Not that the old bastard had earned a dime of the trust money—the old man was a power drinker himself—but 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 bathroom—a comatose patient, no less—and they fire you for menacing!
They take your license for the coke in your system.
You’re no better than Harold, but you think you are. You pay for your coke, always have, Harold scammed the system!
The skinny intern finally shows up. He’s pale, nervous as fuck, eyes look like tea saucers. He’s spun, but most interns are. Buckets of coffee, caffeine pills, Adderall, then finally speed. The kid’s 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 you’re stupid. The kid’s not stupid, he doesn’t 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 man’s 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 doesn’t have any lips.
That shit’s creepy.
Harold thinks the boss is a Doctor Frankenstein, sewing back together what you two tear apart.
You figure he’s just eating them.
Whatever, you’re not being paid to think.
You hand over the $4000 for two stiffs, give the kid a nod.
You figure you’ll kill him next time, pocket the cash, and get an extra slab.You hope Harold lets you kill him. He’s done it the last two times, that shit’s not fair.