By Melissa Yuan-Innes
Published by Olo Books
Copyright 2011 by Melissa Yuan-Innes
What does a dead, preserved body look like? Smell like? Sound like?
It’s lunchtime, two days before medical school orientation begins, when I force myself past the frosted glass door and combination lock into the anatomy dissection lab. It’s a huge room and smells strange, almost sweet. I stare at the well-spaced islands of white body bags until I notice Aerosmith playing, tinny at a low volume.
I follow the music to an adjoining room where I find the prosector, John. He has blond hair and a moustache and looks surprisingly normal for someone who cuts up cadavers for a living. He says, “Kyla. You’re at table 39. Do you need to buy anything?”
I buy the lab coat for $10 and shake my head at the dissection kit and gloves.
“Okay. You’re all set.” He pauses. “You can see your cadaver either now, or when class starts.”
“Thanks. I’ll go now.” I walk over, put on my pre-bought gloves, and take a steadying breath. Then, teeth gritted but eyes resolutely open, I unzip bag #39.