fiction, poetry & more


by C.D. Johnson


On a quiet Friday afternoon, Dr. Bramford Scott, plastic surgeon, walks into his interview room. He has a patient waiting for him. His receptionist and nurse filled him in on the patient’s particulars before he entered the room. He is both befuddled and amused, as Miss Gracie, his patient, is not the type of individual who normally comes seeking his services. Her people, though known to be a bit vain and egotistical, are not the “self-improvement” kind. When he enters the room, Miss Gracie is seated in the chair in front of his desk. He walks around to his chair and sits opposite her.

DR. SCOTT: So…Miss Gracie, is it? What can I do for you?

MISS GRACIE: Doctor, I’m so glad you could see me at such short notice. I know you are in high demand these days. I need your help in a particular area I’ve heard you’ve had prior experience with.

DR. SCOTT: Okay, and what would that be?

MISS GRACIE: I’m referring to your charity work. More specifically, the charity work you’ve done in Asia with those deformed children.

DR. SCOTT: You mean in Shenzhen?

MISS GRACIE: Yes. Shenzhen.

DR. SCOTT: Okay…well, what aspect of my charity work are you referring to?

MISS GRACIE: Oh, you know. The work with the hands. Those children who were born without fingers on their hands. You transplanted a few of their toes upon their hands, in effect creating functional digits.

DR. SCOTT: Okay, yes, I did that. But what does it have to do with you?

MISS GRACIE: Well, you see, Doctor…I don’t have thumbs.

DR. SCOTT [quickly giving a visual examination of Miss Gracie’s hands]: Yes, I’m aware of this. It’s very plain to see, but I don’t know what you want.

MISS GRACIE: Isn’t it obvious, you fucking idiot?! I want thumbs! I want you to implant thumbs on my hands! Donor digits preferably, but if you have to, remove my toes! Remove several toes if you have to! I just need them to be workable! I’m tired of being a freak!

DR. SCOTT: Well, Miss Gracie, you know that’s not possible!

MISS GRACIE: Why not? Are you saying it can’t be done?

DR. SCOTT: No. It’s not that it can’t be done. It’s the fact that that kind of operation on one of your kind is illegal.


DR. SCOTT: Come now, Miss Gracie! You know what happened the last time someone experimented on your kind! Some eager scientists went poking around in your people’s brains and all hell broke loose. It was decided that giving your kind any type of advantage beyond what you were born with was a bad idea.

MISS GRACIE: Your people?! Your kind?! You sound like a bigot! Doctor…please! I know that my people have a history. But please try to see my point of view. You don’t know how much this deformity has held me back! I’m desperate! You have to help me!

DR. SCOTT [rising from his seat]: Take it easy! It’s okay. Relax. You’re getting too upset. Let me give you something to help you calm down.

Going into a nearby cabinet, Dr. Scott removes a vial and a syringe. He fills the syringe with a clear yellow liquid, and going over to Miss Gracie, administers a shot to the arm. Miss Gracie slouches back into her chair, overcome with a sudden drowsiness.

DR. SCOTT: Wait here, Miss Gracie. I need to consult with my partners.

Hours seem to pass as Miss Gracie sits subdued in the soft leather chair. Finally, the door opens. In walks two people, a male and a female. Miss Gracie’s all too normal parents.

MOTHER: Gracie! What are you doing here?!

MISS GRACIE: No! He called you?! That son of a bitch! How did he know where to find you?

MOTHER: You forget, you have a chip in your neck to identify you. It’s the same kind of chip the plastic surgeon uses to identify implants. The nurse scanned you while she was taking your interview.

MISS GRACIE: She said she was taking my temperature! Fucking traitor whore!

MOTHER: Gracie, stop it! That’s enough! We’re leaving. You’ve wasted enough of the doctor’s time.

MISS GRACIE: You can’t hold us back forever! One day, my kind will see you all laid low! We’ll be the masters, you goddamn bastards!

As they leave, Miss Gracie’s father turns to Dr. Scott and his nurse.

FATHER: I’m really sorry about this, Doctor.

DR. SCOTT: It’s not a problem, sir. These things happen quite often nowadays. It’s all the fault of those idiots with the military who thought it was a good idea to increase the intelligence of…well…I don’t have to tell you the problem. You’re living with it.

FATHER: No, sir, you don’t. They were hard enough to live with before. But now…If I could only spend ten minutes alone with the person who thought it was a good idea to give cats advanced intelligence and speech! I’d definitely give them a good whacking!

DR. SCOTT: So say we all, brother. So say we all.


C. D. Johnson is a New York native who currently works as the IT director for a non-profit business association. An academically trained logician, when not teaching CEOs how to use a computer, he spends his days writing essays and stories about philosophy, science, logic, Hinduism, linguistics, culture, ethics, and cats. Johnson was formerly editor-in-chief of Rogue Scholars Press which published hundred of poets from the New York City East Village poetry scene, both online and in print, between 1997 and 2009. He may get back into publishing one day, but he’s quite the slacker, so it may take a while.

June 2013