Physics and Medicine Don’t Mix

Writing Prompt:
“Online surgery simulator games have become incredibly popular. In ‘unrelated’ news, hospitals across the nation have been installing robotic surgeons for patients with less than stellar healthcare.”

Curtis Kaufman sat in his armchair at 1:30 AM, his third glass of chardonnay in his left hand and a remote control in his right. It had been a long night. This class action suit aimed at District Vigor Policy had been keeping him very busy. It was his first time butting heads with such an expansive corporation, and he knew that if he missed any detail he’d be canned from his firm.

So Curt had spent the last twelve hours reviewing hospital security footage of the hundreds of “unrelated” botched surgeries that had occurred over six months across the nation. It was tedious, exhausting, and disturbingly gruesome work. Every video submitted to him showcased brutal injuries suffered at the hands of the new “BOSSArm-SS13” units that DVP hospitals had installed about a year before. The units consisted of a pair of robotic arms on an articulating base, programmed to recognize and repair most surgical issues with minimal human input. They had been intended to be a boon to low income families, a surgical option that didn’t demand the exorbitant fees of a human surgeon. They were touted as “revolutionary,” and had seemed as much for a time.

Curt shook his head, rubbed his eyes, and restarted the video. He could not keep getting distracted. He wasn’t even halfway through the submissions, and was tasked with reviewing the lot and taking time-stamped notes on all of them by Thursday. The video began to play again, and Curt watched as the BOSSArm-SS13 unit came to life at the foot of a patient’s bed.

He watched as the robotic arms rotated in a surprisingly crude manner, jerkily spinning along the Z-axis first, then the X, the fingers clamping down and releasing, sometimes individually, sometimes in sync. The arms seemed to rotate at random for a moment, perhaps calibrating? Each video showed different behavior, so it was difficult to come to a concrete conclusion about anything.

Luckily the poor man on the operating table had already been anesthetized, and so was unaware of the fate he was about to suffer. He lay still and unconscious as the metallic limbs lurched into a position over his chest. The hands twisted down to hover near the man’s cheeks. The SS13 unit began to smack him in the face repeatedly, persisting for a solid 30 seconds.

The left hand continued to strike the unfortunate patient while the right reached over to the adjacent instrument table to clumsily retrieve a plexor, scattering an assortment of other tools in the process. Curt sat and watched in silence, desensitized after seeing similar so many times before.

The right arm brought the tiny mallet back and started lightly tapping the man on the forehead, while the left arm convulsed downward along the patient and started rapping his exposed gut. The mallet jumped from forehead to nose, to lips, back to forehead, back to lips, to left ear, and finally came to rest lodged inside the man’s nostril. Both hands suddenly bent into obscene gestures, twitching forward into the mans face and squishing his cheeks together. This was the kind of behavior that baffled Curtis the most. Was this the work of a disgruntled programmer? Could a robot learn the meaning of obscenity?

He knew what was coming. The left arm knocked a set of scalpels out of its way in favor of a milk frother that had somehow worked its way into the operating room. The right arm ignored flexible cameras and sutures in favor of a cordless power drill. Both arms slowly came together to rest high above the prone figure, hanging with ominous potential energy for a long moment. Then the BOSSArm-SS13 commenced a wild and revolting series of uncontrollable paroxysms that forced Curt to turn away. Perhaps he wasn’t as desensitized as he had thought. He jotted down a few more notes and ejected the disc. Printed on the label were the words “09/06/20 – D. Perkins, Mole Removal.” Baffled as ever, Curt placed the disc back in its sleeve and reached for the next.

 

Original Prompt: Reddit – Surgery Simulator

Physics and Medicine Don’t Mix

Yob Tvoyu Mat`

Writing Prompt:
“You will die if you tell a lie. Saying things like, “See you tomorrow” is a very risky procedure.”

At long last, the atmosphere was perfect. Stuart had gone to extreme lengths to make it so. Total sensuality was the goal, and he was finally confident that he’d achieved it.

He’d put in days of thorough research to cobble together an ultimate play-lust, carefully crafted to take listeners from first meetings through thrilling new discoveries and onward, deep into the throes of passion. He’d formulated and prepared a signature dish containing rare Fugu fish from Japan, Vietnamese cobra blood, Peruvian Maca root and Durian from Malaysia, all disguised as a tempting stuffed veal cutlet with a glass of Barbaresco and chocolates to follow. It was in effect a potent love potion. Well, a love-making potion. He had even dropped a pretty penny on some natural Agarwood to fill his home with a scent that would allegedly make the loins quiver. It was a shame he wouldn’t get to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Stuart was good friends with one of his coworkers, a very attractive woman in her early 30’s named Cherie. She was a Quality Control Technician at the facility where he worked. Over the last two weeks he had been carefully and clearly talking up one of the Salesmen, a… difficult person named Brad. As much as he hated to do it, he had become the catalyst for their relationship out of necessity. He had slipped up, and there was only one way out of it.

And so, tonight’s blind date. It was Brad and Cherie’s first official evening together outside the workplace, and that pri… insufferable man was going to need all the help he could get to go all the way. Was it worth the thousands of dollars spent, the weeks of his life dedicated to getting another man laid, the knowledge that he’d have to burn his bedsheets and sanitize his whole home? Yes. That didn’t mean he had to like it.

Stuart stuck around just long enough to let the pair into his home and show them around briefly. He forced a grin through their thank-you-so-much’s and their small talk. Then he let himself out, explaining that he had “matters to see to.” True enough. Using the approaching darkness as cover he quickly made his way around the side of the house and crouched in the bushes under the dining room window.


An hour passed. Stuart’s calves were aching from holding a squat and his exposed arms were itching from a myriad of minute scratches. He grouchily reminded himself that it was worth it, that this was his only option. Bitter medicine, indeed. He’d be very careful in the future not to use expletives to describe others except in the most literal sense, no matter how well-deserved they may be. He refocused on the conversation between Brad and Cherie, barely audible through the pane glass. “So, Cherie, how’s little Jamie doing? Still a handful?”

 

Original Prompt: Reddit – Death by Lie

Yob Tvoyu Mat`