When we eventually meet it turns out he’s a security guard with the flop of a belly over his trousers, not some hunky cop who deserved a second chance. But we’ve already signed the deal, and he’s buying my kidney. We talked fast into the night. His hands flailed about to punctuate each sentence and I had to sit on my goddamn hands to keep from slapping him. We worked out a pitch to sell to the papers— “whirlwind internet romance kidney donation.” As if I’d look at him twice. He wants to break into TV. I’m thinking they say you gain twenty pounds, so I tell him the smart money’s on the internet.

The downtown clinic smells of drains covered with a spray that wants to be lemon but hovers somewhere around mosquito repellent. I’m hoping the guy in a white coat is legit. He looks like some scrawny adolescent that can’t quite muster enough testosterone for a beard. I look forward to the peace of anaesthetic—time out without the hangover. He whips out a syringe that looks like the one the vet used to tranquilise Lucky when there was no point him suffering more.

***

I’m groggy, crying. This is seriously not something I ever do, so I sniff it up and orientate myself. My concrete legs don’t obey the call to swing off this bed. There’s a thin tube going into the back of my hand. I look down at the green hospital gown and remember. I wonder what I weigh now I’m minus one kidney.

***

From the couch, I watch the blonde unknowing girls on MTV writhe to tunes I’ve muted. Too much input. I squeeze my remaining eye half shut and watch gyrating blobs. The floor is decorated with painkiller bottles and antiseptic wipes. The giant TV I bought with my first organ cheque fills a quarter of the room. I’m shrinking. He’d explained that spleens do jack-all; people have them out all the time. I didn’t like the name anyway, that ungracious ‘spl’, like a curse. I bought a treadmill, a posh one with buttons I don’t understand. He had contacts, he said. I wanted an iPad, a Nutribullet, a rowing machine. I offered parts of my gut next. There’s miles of the stuff in all of us—shit-filled tubes weighing us down. I didn’t ask who would want them. I got more subscribers with each removal of an organ; a fair deal. Some offered cash for particular parts. I’ve lost track after that. There’s so much waste inside, I can do without.

I haven’t seen him for a while. We’ve stopped making videos. There’s nothing left to sell.

The air is thin up a mountain, I read that sometime. You have to gasp and get used to it. You vomit and feel weird while these goats just triptrap vertically laughing at you. My breathing sounds kind of scary since they took my left lung. I can’t get to the bathroom where the scales are. But I’m pretty sure I’ve made my target weight. I’m not sure if the laptop is still streaming. I turn toward it and smile to my fans.

Stephanie Hutton

Stephanie Hutton

Stephanie Hutton is a writer and Clinical Psychologist in the UK. She gained Second Prize in National Flash Fiction Day competition 2017 and has published short fiction online and in print.
Stephanie Hutton

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