The Magic Lump

The Magic Lump

“I didn’t do nothing!’

“Improper use of grammar. Twenty years. Next!”

[community service:] radioactive cesspool somebody needs to clean it might as well be a felon

“Hey, I need gloves! I can’t clean this bare handed.”

“You can and will.  Felon.”
[hang enough of a pause there to let the contempt sink in]

clean up the muck scoop it up pour it in

“What did this place used to be?”

“What do you care? Shut up and work.”

[work:] sunup clean it up pick it up scoop it up pour it out sundown

“Hey, boss, I’m feeling sick.”

“You’re lazy.  Sick how?”

“You know, sick.  Sweating too much, no energy.  Got the runs.’

[rough prodding by boss man]

“Hey!   Ow!  Do you know what you’re doing?”

“Yeah.  Finish up, report to medic.”

[medic:] identical prodding [only more gentle]
”Okay, you’re off duty.”

[that’s not good]
”What have I got?”

“Don’t worry, they have treatments for it.
You’re going to live a long, long time.”

[prison ward:] nice pale gray walls TV and video games old farts in wheelchairs skin stitched together dripping pus

“Hey, old timer, how long you been here?”

“Half my life.”

“How long is that?”

“Sixteen years.”

“What? No way! You’re thirty-two? You look ninety.”

[bitter laugh]
I am sixteen.”

“Sixteen?!?!?  Shit!!!”

“Been here eight years.
If I’m lucky
eight more.”


Dead, you dumb motherfucker!”

[sick call:]  “The surgeon will see you now.”

“Yeah, great, hey, doc, get this thing out of me.”

Doc smiles
says nothing
doesn’t have to gently
prods and pokes
“Good case.
Very good case.  
You’ll be useful.”

“Damn straight I’ll be useful!  Cut this sucker outta me!  Send me back to community service -- I’ll be glad to go!  Pay my debt to society.”

[bite tongue / don’t over sell it / did he fall for it? / he looks amused]

Doc is amused.
“Oh, you’ll be of service.
I’ve seen many a case like yours
and they all returned to public service.”
Holds out a handful of pills.

[gobble them down that’s what you’re here for, right?  make you better, right?  certainly make you feel better, riiight…]

back to waiting room / watch TV / play video games
hours pass
days pass
weeks pass

“Doc!  Doc!  Hey, doc!  When are you gonna operate, huh?  When are you gonna cut this outta me?”

“Soon, soon. Very soon.
Are you taking your supplements?
Eating your rations?”

“Yes.  Yes, I am.  Tasty they are, too.”

“We don’t care about their taste.
We care about your health.”


“You’ll eat them even
if they taste like shit.”

“Yessir.  Understood, sir.”

back to waiting room / old timer wheeled back from operating room

“How ya doin’?”

“Feel like shit.”

“What’s up?”

“They been cutting.”

“Cutting?  Well, that’s good.  Soon you’ll be outta here.  Soon you’ll be home.”

“I ain’t going home.
You ain’t going home either,

}nurse materializes{
officially five-two
stands eight-ten

[to old timer]
“You remember the rules
about unauthorized fraternization.”
[not a question]

“Yeah, I know.  
Whatcha gonna do about it?”  
[an afterthought]  

nurse wheels old timer off never seen again and that’s the name of that tune

[operation day] finally good thing, too tumor feels as big as a football

difficult to eat difficult to breathe difficult to shit difficult to sleep difficult to talk difficult to eat

wheeled in to Doc / gassed up / nice bliss

next thing you know it’s the next day and they bring ice cream motherfucking ice cream!!! for breakfast

[three days later:] talk with Doc
”How am I doing?”

“Healing nicely.”

“That’s good. I’m feeling better.”
[damned lie]
“So when do I get to go back?”


“To work.”

[amused smile]
“Don’t you like it here?”

“Oh, yeah, I do, but…I gotta work off my debt to society”

“I’ve seen your file.
You’ve got eighteen more years to fulfill.
Settle back.
Don’t you
like it here?”

“I like it here just fine.”

“Then stay.  Heal up.  
You can go back in a couple of weeks.”


[two weeks later:]
”We found more fibrous tumors.”

“What does that mean?”

“Another operation.”

“Really?  Couldn’t I just take some pills or radiation or something?”

“Pills won’t cure what ails you,
just make it easier to live with.  
We need to cut.
And by ‘we’ I mean ‘me’.
Your input is neither desired
nor requested.”

“Well, fuck you, Doc!”

}nurse materializes{ heavy sedation
finally wake to a feeding tube down throat and
a brand new big ugly tumor growing in chest

Doc more brusque this time less caring ”
A big one.  Stage Three.  Don’t see enough of those.”

ask Doc questions get no answers get no ice cream just more pills

days slip into weeks
weeks slip into months
months slip into years

other patients come
other patients go
only thing constant
are the constant operations

barely time to recover from one procedure before it’s time for another

“What’s it all for?”

“Fate works in mysterious ways.”

“Why is this happening to me?”

“It has to happen to someone.  Felon.”

“When will it end?!?!?”

“What makes you think
we want it to end?”

…but eventually all things must…

take your pills
take them for years

eventually…they lose their efficacy eventually…your pain grows sharper eventually…your mind grows sharper

sharp enough to start answering questions for yourself

Why don’t you get better?  
They don’t want you to get better.

Why don’t they let me die?  
They don’t want you to die.

Why do they keep me alive?  
Not so you can work.

What do they get out of it?  
What do they get out of you?

and then the answer stands there naked and obvious and ugly as sin: they want your tumors

Why?  Well, what do you eat?

Some vegetables [hydroponics] Some mushrooms [you mean fungus] Some processed protein [ground up insects and vermin]

What do they eat?
What do they eat on TV
when they show the shows
about the wealthy and healthy and powerful and precious?  
What do the people
whose lives are more important
because they are on TV

They eat meat.

And where does it come from?

you want to say / scream ”No, you’re wrong you’ve got to be wrong you must be wrong it’s not like that it can’t be like that what kind of insane world are we living in where the damned owners and rulers are reduced to eating tumors?!?!?”

and slowly it sinks in this is the world they made a world where everything good must die so that something bad might live a world where they altered everything to suit their appetites instead of altering their appetites to suit the world a world lacking resistance a world where nothing pushed back against their growth a world where they were allowed to mutate and grow without restraint a world of filth and pus and pollution that they thrive in they the diseases that walk among us the cancers that pass for human this is the world they made and we let them

they are many things but they aren’t smart [if they were they would never have let things get this bad]

eventually you figure a way outside you run [you walk]

you know you can’t live forever
you know you won’t live much longer
[even if they don’t catch you]
you know they’ll come looking for you
like a prize pig that escaped the sty

they will find you
you can’t run forever
you can’t even run
very long

but you can run

and if you’re lucky
you’ll find someone you can tell
and if you’re really lucky
you’ll find someone who
won’t necessarily believe you but
will at least listen

that’s all you can do now
they’ll come for you
to recover you
because you’re a valuable resource
but soon enough
they’ll see you as a threat [real or not]

and they can’t let you live

but you have
from now
until then
to live

and under these circumstances
that just may be
victory enough

text © Buzz Dixon

my bright yellow raincoat

my bright yellow raincoat

Social Justice Warrior Snowflake

Social Justice Warrior Snowflake