During the purplest midnight the time comes to repurpose and scavenge the deepest recesses of the pancreas, sugar-processor and liquefier, mushy and shapeless, which is the least necessary of every twinkling lump of flesh under the round belly. This is major surgery.
A procedure is in order, to be followed precisely.
First, wetness settles: stretch in it, breathe it and swell up, an oversalted fish. Water is made up of many parts and layers: the sunlight, the twilight, and the midnight. The operation must be completed in the dim part where dust particles are zooplankton and speak with urgency to each visitor. Dust spins through air, little animals through water. Dust is silent, but the ocean buzzes and they wiggle their weak legs, incapable of standing.
Second, the endemic, veined skin is stickily plastered onto the inner red eyelids. Bodies are simple, paper-maiche collections of wallpaper. Outside, floral patterns. Inside, the abdominal organs all run together—root around until you find the one you’re removing. It’s easiest with closed eyes.
Third, the sea grows weary of pressing and pressure fades but darkness doesn’t.
Fourthly, the patient will grow distressed as you sever their energy-delivery-system. Explain it like this: I had the bends once and an angel appeared. She glowed brightly in the midnight zone. Said, “we’ve carbonated your bloodstream and these are not simple growing pains. There are impassable meters between you and the heavenly sphere spinning.” Around my finger she tied a white ribbon glowing green in her eerie radioactivity—it read, “eat me.”
Finally they will need to be sustained somehow—choke down sugared green Jell-O and butterscotch pudding cups. Only foods that wobble and can only be partially-chewed are acceptable. The fluorescent lights never fully go off in the hall. Force jittery insulin into their veins.
Katherine DeCoste is a writer and undergraduate English student in Edmonton, Alberta. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sybil Journal, Rag Queen Periodical, Structural Damage, and others. She likes to write about anxiety, dissociation, and decay. You can find her @katydecoste on Twitter and Instagram.
About the banner image: The operating room orderly, a 1-W, Voluntary Service worker, wheels a patient from the elevator to the operating room. VS workers in the Mennonite Hospital at La Junta, Colo., contribute much through their sacrificial service.