Oct 1, 2005 10:44 am
So I am now officially a “writer”, having attended the book launch of an anthology containing my short story, The Pluripotentiary. Even more officially, it can be found on amazon.com: The Devil in Brisbane.
Final proof – if ever it was needed – that procrastinating during exams isn’t always a waste of time.
Below is a scene I cut from the final version. It was cut for good reason, but gives a taste of what is a light, straightforward story with a sting in the tail. Okay, relatively straightforward.
Back to the assignment (and novella),
Out-take from The Pluripotentiary, by Chris Lynch
The woman in red smiled. “Good morning, Mr Jackson. I’ll just tell Dr Vishnevski you’ve arrived.”
“Thanks Belinda.” I placed my overnight bag beside me. Was I making the right choice? I didn’t know. Part of me was still sceptical about the claims being made for the treatment. And whatever Dr Vishnevski said, there was definitely an element of risk with this kind of operation. But I’d actually looked up the references he’d given me, as well as doing some reading of my own, and it seemed that, while experimental, at worst it would have no effect. I’d also talked to a scientist who’d had the treatment, who was very positive. Plus, the magazine had agreed to pay for half the treatment on delivery of the story.
Dr Vishnevski appeared. “Mr Jackson, good to see you.”
“Hi.” We shook hands.
“How are you feeling? Nervous?”
“A little,” I said.
“To be expected. But try to relax. Like I said, it’s a routine procedure. Come with me.”
I picked up my bag and followed him down the hallway and into a white room with what looked like a dentist’s chair. An assistant was readying various stainless steel implements. I didn’t look at them too closely.
“This is Dr Mason. He’ll be assisting me this morning. A very capable man – he’s done almost as many of these as I have.”
We shook hands and he handed me a folded white robe, still in its plastic wrapping. He gestured to a screen in one corner of the room. “If you could just get changed for us, Mr Jackson, we’ll be able to get started straight away. Please remove everything.” I did so. “Very good. Take a seat. You took the tablets Dr Vishnevski gave you?”
“Yes,” I replied, climbing into the chair. “I took both of them after dinner.”
“Excellent.” He put a bib around my neck.
“Dr Mason’s just going to shave your head,” Dr Vishnevski said.
The clippers buzzed and sliced. “That didn’t take long,” Dr Mason joked, switching off the clippers.
“No.” I smiled thinly, brushing a lock of hair off the towel. He removed the bib and began clamping my head.
I looked up at Dr Vishnevski. “You isolated the pluripotent stem cells?”
“Yes, we managed to culture quite a few.”
He seemed to sense my unease. “It’s perfectly safe, Mr Jackson. As I said, an almost identical procedure is done for Alzheimer’s patients. Remember: your brain cells are dying every day. All we’re doing is stemming the tide a little, pardon the pun. By the time you wake up, the stem cells will already be incorporating themselves into your brain.”
“Where’s the drill?” I asked, trying to move my head.
Dr Vishnevski chuckled. “It’s probably best if you didn’t see it now. We can show you afterwards if you like.” He moved to my side and raised the hypodermic needle. I could smell his cologne. “See you tomorrow,” he said. I felt a prick in my arm.