Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How I Learned To Do Chair Massages Part 12

The Morgue Story

I’m doing my darndest to write the next series, which is about learning the art of science of professional storytelling (for adults) and stand-up comedy, but as usual, the brain isn’t cooperating very well, especially with winter coming in. I was going to save The Morgue Story for another time, but it does belong in the Chair Massage series, and I want to give you something to enjoy until I can finish the next series. 

Fair warning! This story is kind of medically creepy, so if you freak out easily, you might want somebody else to read it first. 

One time, a young lady was telling me some of her adventures in college. By the time I sat down in front of her to massage her hands, I was so engrossed in her story, I wasn’t paying that much attention, but did notice there was something funny about her hand; something just didn’t feel quite right. Then I looked down and noticed she didn’t have a right thumb, and there were scars all the way up to her wrist. So I kind of flapped it in the air and said, “What in the world did you do, Woman?” She said, “My mother was mowing the lawn to get it ready for my third birthday party. I fell off her lap while she was ducking under some tree limbs, and she ran over my thumb with the mower.” All I could think to say was, “Ow, I bet that hurt! Obviously, it didn’t just cut your thumb off, it ripped it out.” She laughed and said, “Yeah, it sort of spoiled my birthday party.”

She worried that I would freak out when I noticed it, so I told her that I used to help out in the emergency room when I was hospital security as an Air Force cop. I told her I can handle blood and guts with no problem, just don’t show me anything gross like infection or snot, or you’ll end up wearing my lunch.

By this time, her mom and sisters had come back to pick her up, and sat down to hear about the time I got called down to the emergency room to help take a body down to the morgue. The two nursing techs who’d been assigned this joyous job didn’t really need my help, but they were both my friends, and male, and I think they wanted to try to creep me out. 

Somebody had been in a car accident and gone through the windshield. The body was covered up when I go there, of course, but the blood from the facial wounds came right through the sheet. They told me the man had hit the pavement so hard, his jaw had disconnected and he didn’t really have a nose left. 

All we had to do was take the stretcher to the elevator, take it down to the basement, open the morgue, put the body in the cooler, and sign a report for the pathologist, certifying that we had put the body in the right place. I had been to the morgue before, in fact, the pathologist had let me watch a partial autopsy there. But this was a bit different; it was three o’clock in the morning, there was nobody around, and all three of us were only about nineteen years old. 

There were also some things we didn’t know about bodies, such as the fact that they can make noise when gas starts moving around inside. This one kept making grunting sounds every time we went over a little bump, so we were already kind of freaking out by the time we got to the elevator. We’d forgotten that this elevator was a little temperamental, and I am convinced to this day that it had a wicked sense of humor. It waited until after the doors had closed and we couldn’t possibly get out. Then it gave a huge lurch, and all of a sudden, the body sat up on the gurney, and the sheet fell off its face. The broken jaw, of course, dropped almost to its bellybutton, the eyes popped open and stared at us, and it emitted this horrible groan. 

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