I don’t remember

Jessica, 31, Vet, Married

On this particular day, Jess smelt the odour in the operating theatre. It flew into her nostrils like a breeze after lunch as she walked down the corridor. It was awful. It reminder her of the smell of dying that hangs throughout hospital wards like an anti air freshener. She shouldn’t have been that surprised, being a vet, but she didn’t know why after 3yrs working at this clinic, she hadn’t smelt it before.

Jess was thinking about this while carving a groove in a Bishon’s femur so its patella would be cradled and not fall out. The pink flesh looked like a grapefruit — no worse — like rotting flesh — no but it’s not dead… It looked like an operation — that’s right — afterall this is exactly what she was doing so why shouldn’t it look exactly what it is.

“Jess”? “Jessica”? Jess paused sawing to look up at her colleague, Tim. Jess looked down and realised she’d carved too much bone. She flinched by moving the bottom right of her lip into position to be bitten by her teeth. “Shit” she whispered. “Superglue”? She offered through half a laugh. Tim blinked and then suggested blue tac. Jess put down her implements and pulled her mask down as she sat back. “Breaks down, might have to amputate”. Tim also sat back, releasing the thin leg as either side of its peeled opening slowly sprang back like eye lids. “Hmmm, probably just quicker to euthanase”. Jess stifled a laugh as she bent forward over her knees.

There’s the smell again she thought, and suddenly felt sick and quickly excused herself from the room, which spun, somehow, even though she was looking straight ahead until she realised it was the roof in front of her.