- Miksanek, Tony
- Date of entry: May-25-2004
A surgeon attending a medical meeting becomes bored and hires a prostitute. When he awakens next to her in bed the following morning, he first observes, then palpates a suspicious lump in the right breast of the sleeping woman. Although he informs her of the abnormality and the need for further evaluation and treatment, the surgeon cannot bring himself to divulge the possibility (or even likelihood) that the breast lump is malignant.
It is the prostitute who acknowledges (and eventually proclaims) that the lump might be cancer. She realizes that breast cancer might prove fatal to her livelihood as well as her life. The surgeon appears less upset by the diagnosis and potential suffering associated with it than the realization that both he and the tumor were rivals, "each feeding on her flesh" in a competition to consume the woman.
He pays the prostitute one hundred dollars for her services and cannot wait to exit the room. She offers him ten dollars for his consultation, but the surgeon refuses the fee with the excuse that he doesn't make house calls.
Rituals of Surgery
Harper's Magazine Press