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Friend’s Unusual Story – “Scalpel”

While I was cleaning out files on my laptop, I found an old file of short stories he and I wrote. To encourage creativity, we’d sit down in the evenings and pick a subject and both write something to do with that subject and compare notes by the end of a certain time. Below I’ve reproduced one story that I found very interesting upon re-read:

Your eyelids unfold like a moth’s drying wings. You are beautiful when you sleep. You do not snore or drool. The composure you keep in the daytime does not abandon you at night. You are not fully awake. You scan your darkened room. Your bookshelf is at the far end of the room. It is filled with Kant, and with medical textbooks. You are familiar with the contents of all your books. Your nightstand is next to you on the bed. There is a closed bottle of pills on your nightstand, a glass from the kitchen, and a lamp, which is unplugged. You unplugged it because the switch doesn’t work and you must unplug it to turn it off. I am standing in front of the lamp, partially obscuring it. It takes longer than I had thought it would for you to notice me.

You have had five hours of sleep. You turned in at ten because you have an appointment with a woman from a hospital in the morning. You want to intern.

I know, because I have been watching you. I woke you up, so I could talk to you. I see your eyes move to the scalpel I hold in my right hand. You cannot see my eyes. They are dilated and fixed. If an adherent of Freud’s theory of psycho-sexuality had been in the room, they may have attempted to analyze the tight grip I keep on the scalpel as a sign of a phallic sexual obsession. Perhaps, they would posit, I see the knife as a penile totem, and my act of stabbing you with it is the consummation of a bent sexual urge. Is it because you love her? they would ask. I do. I love you.

I love you, but we know Freud was wrong, and that isn’t the reason I have to do this. I promise. Lie still, so I can tell you the reason why.

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