I’d seen pictures of his desk, several of them. They were slightly different, but there was one thing in common with every single one. It was cluttered. Piles of files, pencils lying in constant danger of rolling off the edge, a half-empty cup of coffee or tea or maybe flat soda, a wadded up piece of paper, a stack of books, no two of them aligned at the edges. It seemed like the desk of someone who would start working on every idea that popped into his head, so he wouldn’t forgot. A person who didn’t use sticky notes or devices to help him remember. But in the most recent picture I saw of Professor West’s desk, all of that was gone. There was just one thing left on the desk, a letter addressed to someone he’d never met before in his life, and who’d never met him.
“Here, you see?” the surgeon said, as he pointed with his scalpel. “At the nexus of the heart and the brain? Between the eyes and the throat, right at the back of the mouth, where the voice is on the verge of emerging?”
The secretary peered past the gleaming scalpel and tilted her head. There was nothing to see at the moment, other than the expected anatomy inside the mouth. The corpse that lay on the dissection table had been long vacated. But the surgeon claimed that he had cut through at just the right time, the fleeting moment right after certain death.
Reena walked over to the kitchen window, which overlooked their backyard. She stood next to her husband and they both stared at the unexpected visitor strutting to and fro in their yard.Continue reading
“It is a cold and vast realm to which I cast my distant eye,” the professor said, as he entered the western observatory, still dressed in his night-clothes. “And it was a warm and welcoming realm from which you pulled that eye.” He turned to face his apprentice.Continue reading