The Illegal Surgery

Abhineet Agarwal
The Mad River
Published in
2 min readNov 9, 2023


Weird things are happening in this bar…

“The Night Cafe” by Vincent van Gogh (1888)

The protagonist of this story (you) is an escaped prisoner. You have entered a weird bar in a foreign town, a town with too many diacritical marks in its name. The lighting is dim, and you stare at the bartender — a depressed frog in his 30s with pattern baldness and a pink necktie. You see him pour a freshly made cocktail into a glass shaped like a guitar, and wonder whether this is a safe place for you to hide. As you’re thinking this through, your eyes slowly wander to the pool table in the corner of the bar, on top of which a doctor is conducting brain surgery. He looks vaguely like you, but the black scrubs make it difficult to make a definite comparison (he explains that he doesn’t believe in wearing white while conducting procedures of such importance). You don’t know whether to feel scared or surprised, so you simply end up feeling confused. But at last you decide: this is where you will spend the rest of the night, waiting for the heat to die down. It’s not like the streets are safe for you anyway; the bar will have to do…

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