by V N Winnick.
“Doc” is original to Pseudopod
V. N. Winnick is a writer and editor living in Canada’s oil money heartland, if such a thing can be said to have a heart. They have written on sex, arts, and culture for various local magazines (including GayCalgary and Beatroute), done editorial work for the venerable EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Press, and had several children’s educational books published. Oh, and they’re a slusher for Pseudopod, too. This story is V.N’s first published fiction.
Your narrator – Wilson Fowlie has been reading stories out loud since the age of 4, and credits any talent he has in this area to his parents, who are both excellent at reading aloud. He has been narrating stories for more people than his own family since late 2008, when he answered a call for readers on the PodCastle forum from PodCastle’s then-editor, Rachel Swirsky. Since then, he’s become PodCastle’s most prolific narrator, reading or appearing in nearly 30 episodes. He’s also narrated for many other podcasts, including PodCastle’s sister ‘casts, Escape Pod and Pseudopod, StarShip Sofa, Protecting Project Pulp, Crime City Central, Tales To Terrify, Beam Me Up, Cast Macabre, Dunesteef Audio Fiction magazine and the Journey Into… podcast. He fits in all this narrating between his day job as a web developer for a tech company in the Greater Vancouver area in Canada, and being the director of a community show chorus called The Maple Leaf Singers.
It’s the first time they’re making me do it, and I’m giving the man a speech. One I’ve practiced in my head from the moment they told me what needed to be done.
“I’m not a doctor. I’ve got a bachelor’s degree in zoology. That’s the study of animals. I was pretty good with animal anatomy.
“I’ve never operated on a person, or anything living. You’re my first patient, and this is my first amputation. My hands are probably gonna shake. This is gonna be slow, and it’s gonna hurt a lot, because I’ll have to learn as I go. Other than that, no promises.
“You’re really, really sure you want me to do this?”
My head swivels about, looking at the rest of the group as I ask the question. I guess I want it to be a waiver; something to absolve me of responsibility when this whole, lunatic notion eventually goes pear-shaped, as I have no doubt that it will. To my complete astonishment, my “patient” nods, and says between shallow breaths, “Go for it, Doc.”