by rheana rafferty
2002 Storycove Flash Fiction Award
piss, yellowish brown and threatening to spill over the top of its
receptacle, is lifted by its donor, a man of twenty-six in a flannel
long sleeved shirt with two buttons missing.
After placing the cup inside a stainless steel drawer, he simultaneously
spits into the urinal and zips up his fly. He then briefly removes
his Def Leppard ball cap to smooth back his greasy mullet and return
to the waiting room.
On his way out, he passes a couple, thirty-something, married and
anxious. Mrs. Mary Johanssen is glancing distractedly at a book
of baby names while her husband stares at the pink and blue laminated
chart on the wall titled "Your Baby in Gestation" with a look somewhere
between awe and disgust.
The cup of cloudy piss left in the hermetic steel drawer is then
picked up and carried by a white-gloved lab technician to the analyst's
table to begin its testing. On the way over to the analyst's table,
the germ savvy technician, deep in thought about his lunch date
with Nadia, the Latina nurse on 11B, glances quickly at his watch,
tipping the cup of cloudy piss and spilling a bit on his sneakers
as he continues across the room. The analyst then pours the urine
into a variety of test tubes for processing. The first run of tests
determines the donor's glucose and HCG levels. Another searches
for sexually transmitted diseases and yet another will determine
if the donor is using, what, how often and how pure. The analyst's
notes read: "Johnson, Mark, donor #12691 - traces of marijuana,
methamphetamines and antibiotics, presumably for the treatment of
The analyst passes his report with a wink and a smile to an overworked
nurse in a slightly see through uniform. She makes her way past
the unwanted stares of her male coworkers. The distracted lab technician,
on his way to meet his South American sweetheart, bumps into her
so forcefully that she drops the stack of files she has been carrying.
In the shuffling and straightening of papers, Mrs. Mary Johanssen
and Mr. Mark Johnson's urine reports have been switched. Consequently,
Mrs. Johanssen's husband leaves her, convinced she's been sleeping
around and sneaking pills behind his back, saying she'd be an unfit
mother if they could have conceived. And the United States Postal
Service, with results of a clean drug test, has just hired the uncouth
Mark Johnson to replace your usual Norman Rockwell postman.
As he comes up your driveway humming Slayer and playing the air
guitar, Mr. Johnson hocks a moist green bolus of phlegm into your
freshly planted flower garden. The hospital deeply regrets any trouble
it has cased the parties involved, but will not accept responsibility
for your withering petunias.