In a society where convicted killers are used as living organ donors, one man’s vendetta against a rival takes a bizarre and twisted turn. Can't Take My Eyes Off You by Stephen M. DeBock. Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, other fine eBook vendors and Gypsy Shadow Publishing at:
Society has made the death penalty obsolete; instead, convicted killers are condemned to serve humanity as living organ donors. Paparazzo Patsy Galiardo publicly contends that former friend turned backstabber Peter Serafin belongs in that select prison population. True, the coroner has ruled the suspicious death of Peter’s affluent first wife a suicide. But when Peter later remarries, his bride this time a wealthy supermodel, Patsy vows to pursue his vendetta with even greater zeal. Further, because the paparazzo has designs of his own on the newest Mrs. Serafin, Patsy has even more motivation to get Peter out of the picture—which gives Peter more motivation to get Patsy out of the picture. Permanently.
Word Count: 27250
Pages to Print: 104
Two surgeons leaned over their respective sinks and lathered their hands and forearms with hot water and disinfectant soap. One of them whistled the tune to “Heigh Ho,” from Disney’s Snow White. The other smiled and shook his head.
“Shouldn’t that be ‘Whistle While You Work,’ Robby?” the other asked.
“Right,” he said, his English accent making it sound more like roit. “That’s a good one, too. Did I tell you, my great grandparents lived in London during the Blitz? No, I don’t believe I did. Well, they had their own version of that song.”
“I tremble with anticipation.”
“As I knew you would.” He sang, his voice reedy: “Whistle while you work. Hitler is a jerk. Mussolini bit his weenie. Now it doesn’t work.”
“One of these days, Robby, you’re going to have to learn to carry a tune.”
“And one of these days, Monty old thing, you’re going to have to learn to appreciate my prodigious and versatile talents. Talents, I might add, that extend far beyond yonder OR.”
“That’s not what the nurses tell me.”
“I’d offer a raspberry, old sod, but it would be beneath me.” They scrubbed in silence for a few moments. “You know, I’ve cut into many a body, and it’s never bothered me a bit, but I still get queasy when it comes to your specialty. Popping out one’s eyes. Ugh. I admire your pluck, though, Monty. No pun intended.”
“Hah . . . hah.” Monty, Dr. Hugo Montenegro, decided to change the subject. “So. Who’s the beneficiary of your prodigious and versatile talents today?”
“Ah. Handsome young fellow, just out of eighth grade. His only ambition is to play high school sports. Right now, lad’s on a ventilator.”
“Cystic fibe, yes?”
Dr. Colin Robertshaw nodded. “And about to get a brand new pair of healthy lungs. Who’s on the receiving end of your beneficence?”
“Busy day for me. I’ve got two corneal transplants and two vitreous implants.”
“Monocular, I assume?”
“Uh huh. Four patients, prepped and waiting as we speak.” He elbowed the faucet handles off. “I wish I could give my patients binocular vision, but the waiting list is so damned long . . .”
“Right. But having sight in one eye is better than having sight in none, isn’t it? Too bad, though, the first face your patients will see is your ugly mug. They might wish they’d remained blind.”
The men held their hands up and a nurse slipped on their gowns.
“What about our donor’s lungs? He a smoker, I’d hope not?”
“No, which is the only thing that’s to his credit.”
“What’s he believe he’s here for?”
“The usual, kidney transplant.”
The door behind them opened. “Stand aside, gentlemen, cardiac coming through.”
“Ah, Kamala, so glad you could make it,” said Robertshaw. “I was afraid you’d forgotten.”
“Please,” said the attractive, fortyish surgeon. “As if I could ever forget an opportunity to work alongside the renowned Dr. Robertshaw.” She gave him a playful nudge as she commandeered his place at the sink. “By the way, Colin, any new episodes of your own to report?”
Kamala Setty had done a radio frequency ablation on Robertshaw a year before to correct his occasional spells of atrial fibrillation.
“Nary a one, Kamala, my love. As I’ve told you before, you have touched my heart in a way no other woman has ever been able to do.”
She winked at him as she scrubbed in. “And if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that line . . .”
“You’d have a nickel. Admit it, love. I’m unique.” He looked at her hands as she scrubbed. “Ah, Kamala, Kamala, Kamala, such thin, delicate fingers. I so wish it were you doing my rectals instead of old Walt Kowalski. His fingers are as thick as kielbasa.”
“Thanks anyway, Colin, but I see enough assholes around here as it is. So who’s our donor today?”
“A bloody serial killer,” Dr. Robertshaw said. “Bloke named Reimers, remember reading about him a couple years ago? Tortured all those women?”
“Oh yes,” she said. “A mommy thing, right? His dark-haired mother used to burn him with her cigarettes, among other delightful abuses. Then as an adult he’d troll the bars for brunette smokers and burn them . . . before he dismembered them.”
“Would it be in poor taste to say I wished he were conscious and alert during today’s procedure?” asked Robertshaw.
Montenegro answered: “Yes it would, Dr. Mengele.” He turned to the heart surgeon. “Who’s your lucky patient today, Dr. Setty?”
“A lovely woman, Monty, a spry fifty-five, whose daughter has just presented her with a grandson. With her healthy new heart, she’ll live long enough to see him walk down the aisle at his wedding, maybe even long enough to become a great-grandmother.”
“Which reminds me, Monty,” said Robertshaw, “how’re things going with the father of the bride? Big doings this weekend.”
Hugo Montenegro tied on his mask. “Caroline’s doing most of the work. I’m only paying the bills.”
“Man’s lot in life. Sorry, Kamala, but it’s true. And Monty, whatever possessed you not to stage the wedding here in Philadelphia? No, no, too convenient; instead, you drag your guests a hundred miles into the hinterland.”
“It’ll be worth the drive, Robby. We’ve reserved a spot in the Hershey Gardens. This time of year, the roses’ll be in full bloom. Marcy loves the smell of roses.”
“Well, good show, then. And Kamala, you’re still welcome to join me as my date. Just leave your husband at home.”
She flashed a grin before lifting her mask. “Colin, you incorrigible flirt, if I did show up alone and wrap my thin, delicate fingers around your arm, I think you’d faint.”
Dr. Robertshaw winked at her. “Try me.” He headed for the OR doors, and as they swung open he sang, “Heigh ho, heigh ho. It’s off to work we go.”