At the round earth's imagin'd corners

At the round earths imagin'd corners, blow
Your trumpets, Angells, and arise, arise
From death, you numberlesse infinities
Of soules, and to your scattered bodies goe,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o'erthrow,
All whom warre, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despaire, law, chance, hath slaine, and you whose eyes,
Shall behold God, and never tast deaths woe.
But let them sleepe, Lord, and mee mourne a space,
For, if above all these, my sinnes abound,
'Tis late to aske abundance of thy grace,
When wee are there; here on this lowly ground,
Teach mee how to repent; for that's as good
As if thou’hadst seal'd my pardon, with thy blood.

-- John Donne

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

20: Present Past

[Gretel Bosch; fifth entry]

July 9, 2006

God, this sucks.  Isn't that what the kids say?  This sucks, that sucks.  Alcohol withdrawal definitely qualifies for the category of sucking.  It's actually more dangerous than heroin withdrawal.  I'm tapering off, of course, not going cold turkey.

If I had a subject on the slab right now, I might vomit in his chest cavity.  I never spewed once on the job, unlike all three of my brothers.

But, back home, somebody (probably at least two people) has taken it into their heads to drill a cylinder all the way down through the coffin in Shanie Derfford's grave.  I can only imagine how puzzled they'll be by the sample they obtain.  Of course, being criminals they won't be in a position to use the evidence to obtain an exhumation order.  But in Donnetown, written statutes have often taken a back seat to other interests.  So, it really depends on whom our amateur achaeologists are working for, or whom they approach.

I dropped my subscription to the Elegy years ago.  The only reason I know this even happened is because Shanie Derfford herself called me.   Rather upset.

I told her to lose my number, and hoped I wouldn't remember the call.  But, I did, and it nagged at me.  Hence my current near-sobriety, my tremors, pulsating headaches and cold sweats.  Oddly enough, fear doesn't seem to be part of the mix.  I was only drinking myself to death anyway.  (Very comfortably, too.)

As soon as my eyes and hands are ready for precision work, I'll update and upgrade my body kit.  Then it's off on a road trip; probably my last.  It's been fun reminiscing, but the present requires my attendance.

Friday, August 19, 2011

19: Huck and Jim

[Herbert Sorbet's booze-stained notes, sometime in 1987 (date illegible)]

Biathanatos River -- only maybe 20 miles navigable.  Deep enough, broad enough for two kids on a home-made raft to float in the middle.  Warm dark starry night, lights on the banks distant.  Almost no commercial traffic since Taft administration.

River earned its name in 1699 (? check).  Fat naked bodies like a raft of logs, moonlight shining on white backs.  Davidt Franck (Davey) and Maarten Rooms didn't know anything about that.  D's in History, both of them.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

18: Stone Baby

[Gretel Bosch; fourth entry.]

May 31, 2006

Aggie Kleug was a big woman. I wasn't surprised to hear she lost her life in a three-legged race. Not a coronary, though -- it was another cannon incident. (That was a bad Founders' Day for a lot of people, not just her. They almost stopped doing the Eighty Years War living history thing after that. But the kids loved it.)

I used to like to poke around in there a little. I felt something in Aggie's peritoneal cavity. Do you know what it was? It was a lithopedion.

Sometime during the Truman administration, Aggie'd had an ectopic pregnancy. Fetus died at let's say six months along, based on my estimate. Fetus, too large to be absorbed, was slowly calcified inside Aggie's ample abdomen. Unborn, undiagnosed, unmissed for 35 years while her son Dietger (the one that didn't die inside her) grew up to handle the books at Blackgall Creamery.

I was young and still had ethics. (This was only '83.) I called Vern Dorn, and he came over and smiled like Father Christmas when he saw the stone baby. And nothing happened officially, but he had me put the lithopedion in a box and he gave it to Dietger Kleug.

Dietger took his brother or sister home and had it sawn in two, mounted in clear Lucite blocks. Bookends. I don't know how that could possibly be legal, but in 1983 in Donnetown, if you held the books for Blackgall, you did what you wanted, when you wanted to.

It was just me that day at Bosch & Sons. Papa and the boys were out getting blitzed (I always volunteered to work on Founder's Day. I didn't drink then.) Vern Dorn took my notes and told me not to tell anyone. And I didn't, ever. I had some awe of the M.E. and followed his instructions, right up until a few years later when he was begging me to stop cutting and I didn't stop. But now it's just me and you, Diary, and Mr. John Walker here.

Speaking of diaries and such. Dan Cant's personal journal said the Kleug will was one of the oddest he'd ever seen. No details.

A couple of years later Dietger's internal carotid blew out like a rusty pipe and drowned his brain in blood. I went to pick up the body and sneak a peek at his bisected calcified sibling. I took the bookends down and just let the World Book Encyclopedia spill off the shelf.

I couldn't see much internal anatomy; you usually can't. But there was a little round dot of gold showing in the middle of each half. Right in the thorax. I'd guess the broken-off end of a gold hatpin, circa 1948. So we've got a fetus undiagnosed and unmentioned, but maybe not truly unknown.

If you can figure out what the truth is. Shit like that came up all the time on that job, and I miss it sometimes. I can barely cut a stack of pancakes lately.