Barbara Lock, MD, is a writer and emergency physician.
Paramedics find the body of a Cook in a single room also occupied by a Waiter, a Delivery Man, and a father. The paramedics push on the Cook’s heart, but the brain does not restart. The Cook’s father sees a light rise out of the body of his son. This light sparkles and diffuses, like the flashing bodies of a thousand fireflies if they were smaller, if they were fleas leaping from the body’s skin into the air.
Michael gazed at indiscriminate litter in the wide sideyard: motorcycles, shards of plywood, children’s red toys faded beige. Such a shame letting old motorcycles go to scrap, he thought. Just a little extra care and they’d be fine to ride, no danger at all.
“I just think it might be a way to solve the problem of your failing body, you know?” Brandon says.
“Correction,” Celia says. “That solves the problem of whose body you are going to use when mine fails. There’s a difference.”
Olga’s arms would flow over the body, folding, tucking, making ready for the first grave; removing catheters, intravenous lines, making the flesh look respectable for the pathologist, medical examiner, undertaker. The mask’s strap was fatigued, is all, having been baked in the oven next to fish. It shouldn’t have surprised her.(📷 @peraltaprjct)
This surreal piece of medical fiction, which earned honorable mention in the Saturday Evening Post's Great American Fiction Contest 2020, was Barbara Lock's first published fiction.
"It's like he has a mouthful of roaches that are clamoring to crawl out and he has to press his lips together to keep them inside," says my friend.
"Can you be more explicit?" I ask my friend. "I'm tired of having to guess what you mean all the time."
(starts on page 68)
"Insect Music," which concerns itself with COVID, fear, compassion, and love, gives the reader a front row seat to pandemic history. Many thanks to The Forge for nominating this essay for the Pushcart.
""What is fear, and how does it relate to knowledge? Was I afraid because of what I knew, or what I didn’t know?"
This CNF, which contains a literal body count, is not for the faint of heart.
Seven short prose pieces reminiscent of parables in both form and tone.The pieces begin on page 163. Peripheries is published annually by Harvard Divinity School’s Center for the Study of World Religions
Stay tuned for short prose forms and poetry in press.