TuesdayPosted: September 28, 2015
Chinwe peeked out of his window, then quickly let the blinds snap shut. That horrible woman across the street was screaming at her dog again. Why does she even have a dog if she’s just going to treat it like shit? He shook his head in disgust and returned to the job at hand.
It was finally Tuesday: Chinwe had woken up one morning, several weeks earlier, determined to cut his foot off.
He didn’t know where this determination had come from, only that it was there, and eating away at him. Vestiges of a dream haunted the edges of his memory: a short man and a tall woman, calling his name from the other side of a canyon.
And he only had one foot. His right foot.
At least it was his right foot; Chinwe was right-handed, and the logistics of removing his own right foot at home would have been slightly trickier than removing his left, as currently planned.
He scanned the room, making sure that all of his supplies were ready:
- Newspapers to soak up the blood, although he hoped blood loss would be minimal.
- A plastic shower curtain to cover the floor, on which he would lay the newspapers.
- Three belts for tourniquets. Chinwe believed in backups.
- Two bottles of iodine.
- One bottle of alcohol. He did not plan on using this, but it seemed wrong to do without.
- A row of syringes, already full of a local anesthetic that he had purchased online.
- Six scalpels of varying particulars. You know, backups.
- A bone saw he had somehow snuck from the nearby hospital that he hoped not to visit again with two feet.
- Packets and packets of gauze.
- Four rolls of medical tape.
- One box of blue nitrile gloves, size medium.
- A red and white six-pack cooler, open and half-full of melting ice.
- A stopwatch on a string.
- His cell phone, 911 predialed and waiting for the send button to be pressed.
- His digital camera on a tripod, already recording in case he forget to press the button.
- A framed portrait of Jesus giving two thumbs up.
- A framed painting of Ganesh. Chinwe liked to have all his bases covered.
Chinwe still felt that something was missing, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. That nagging little voice in his head wouldn’t shut up and let him begin. Don’t forget them, Chinwe. Don’t forget them.
“You’ve been reminding me for weeks not to forget them,” he said. “Who? Who am I not supposed to forget? What am I not supposed to forget? You never told me that!”
That fucking voice. If he ever met the person who sounded like the voice in his head, Chinwe would happily wrap his fingers tightly around their neck and squeeze until they stopped fighting.
But his foot. It was time to take it off. He glanced at the clock: 8:37. No one would worry about him not showing up for work for at least an hour, and he’d be well on his way by then, if not finished with the job.
That bitch started screaming at her dog again. Chinwe turned up the volume on his mp3 player, and hummed along with the music as he shook out the shower curtain to begin prepping his home surgical theater.
He suddenly decided that he would feed his left foot to that poor dog. It would probably appreciate the fresh meat, and maybe it would bite that bitch, and then Chinwe would feel as if he were also biting her. The thought made him happy, and he lined up the newspapers.
The one note I took at our last philosophy meeting reads: “it’s Tuesday, I need to cut my foot off.” I don’t remember the context, but I found the torn slip of paper tonight–the rest is history.