AUTHOR'S NOTE: This flash fiction piece was written for Three Word Wednesday and will be cross-posted later this week at Weekend Writer's Retreat. It is not part of the novel and it contains no spoilers. I've embedded links to spoiler-free supplemental information, where appropriate. Be sure to drop by Three Word Wednesday or Weekend Writer's Retreat for more fun!
The book recommended practicing on an orange.
“Oh, that’s really helpful.” Doc shoved the book away. “If there was an orange anywhere in this city, it would be under guard for some gang leader’s dinner.”
Rochelle picked up a syringe and examined it. “We could practice on something else.”
“Like what?” Doc reached for the book again. “The foragers wouldn’t know an injection pad if they saw it, and you can imagine the hassle of trying to convince someone like David to scout for anything we can’t eat or drink.”
“He brought us needles and medicine.”
“Only because he found them by accident while looking for pretzels, or whatever it was he thought he’d find.”
“Well…” Rochelle shrugged. She admired Doc too much to ever say that he was wrong, but what would become of them if David didn’t keep the forage team focused on finding food? “Maybe we don’t really need to practice. Anyone so sick they need these drugs will be too sick to care if we miss the first time.”
“It’s not about missing a vein. We could hit a nerve and cause paralysis. We might kill someone by mistake.” Doc flipped through the pages. “Maybe we should just practice on dead people.”
“You’re not serious, are you?”
Doc met Rochelle’s eyes, then looked away. “Maybe not.”
“I don’t think I could do it.”
“Me, either. I mean, maybe I could, but…” he reached for another text from his stack of medical books. “It just seems so crazy. Here we are with the wealth of human knowledge at our disposal, and we have to risk injuring or killing our patients because we only half-understand what we’re doing.”
Rochelle frowned. “Wasn’t it always that way? My mom had a friend who died of appendicitis because the doctor thought she had the flu. And one time I—”
Doc bent back over his book with a little huff of contempt. “Maybe you can accept less than perfection, but I won’t. This is a new day.”
Rochelle gazed at him solemnly, then edged her chair closer so she could read over his shoulder. “So where are we going to get an orange?”
Doc shook his head. “Hell if I know.”
If you enjoyed this story, check the sidebar, where you'll find the serialized novel, more stories, and other fun Steal Tomorrow stuff.
Please also stop by my Maelstrom blog and sign the guest book to get a chance at winning a copy of my novel, Maelstrom and other goodies!