Skin Deep

지난달

Skin Deep

by @Brisby

"Our company stands by our satisfaction guarantee!" beamed the processing clerk with her row of brilliant white teeth.

Arnav returned her smile with a tight one of his own. That hadn't answered his question. Before he could repeat it again, the woman raised a pale green arm and gestured to the hallway on her left.

"Please proceed to the end of the hall to begin your procedure. We thank you for choosing DermaTru." Shimmering, the glass partition darkened as she turned from the console. Punctuating a blunt end to the transaction.

Arnav blinked, debating if he should knock on the blackened separator to demand a better response. Anxiety from the thought of creating a scene thrummed a timpani beneath his ribs. Lara would never forgive him for an embarrassing display in public. Besides, the blatant avoidance of his concerns had told him what he needed to know. There wouldn't be any going back.

Flickering screens aligning the hall were alight with a dazzling rainbow of customers. Each one a testimonial touting appreciation and joy for their operations. Waiting beside the iridescent number four in line, Arnav focused on one he hadn't seen before. A teary-eyed blue woman, Bonnie, was thanking DermaTru for giving her back her life.

"After my accident, I hid away." Sympathetic music underscored the images of a crumpled car and her body mottled with burn scars. "People would stare at me in the stores. I couldn't stand the looks in their eyes." The music swelled into inspirational notes as she continued, "Then I found DermaTru." Azure hands clasped over her heart as she stared from the screen, "They gave me more than the skin of my dreams, they gave me my life back."

A pneumatic hiss drew his attention as the door next to the screen slid open. Arnav's stomach flipped, readying to paint the floor with its own colorful mix of pastrami and bile. Closing his eyes, he forced down the nausea with measured breaths. There wasn't a reason to get himself worked up over this. There hadn't been a single case reported of nanite rejection. It was a simple and safe procedure performed by professionals.

His tremoring hands and quaking knees refused to acknowledge his attempts to calm himself. How like his life, even his own body ignored him.

But, all that would change after today. One quick injection and Arnav would have his wife smiling at him again. His Lara would be happy again. His hands fisted. He could do anything so long as it was for her. His knees eased their quivering. Anything to have her look at him again with something other than disappointment. His eyes opened.

Rallied by the thought of seeing love in Lara's eyes, Arnav stepped forward into the implantation room.



MY ENDING

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The room was almost all white except for the picture that hung on the wall over the bed.

Arnav moved in to get a closer look at the picture. It was of a menacing Donald Duck with a dropping face. The castle in the background made Donald's white, shark-like teeth stand out. Donald held in his hand a syringe. Below his foot, a dead or dying dog with its tongue hanging out and eyes marked with x's.

The intercom chimed in.

click - "Mr. Arnav, remove your clothing and put the white robe on. The nurse will be with you in a brief hop, skip, and a jump." - click

Arnav did as instructed, piling up his clothes and shoes neatly into the corner of the room.

Not a second before he finished tying his robe, the nurse came in through the door. In a detached way, she instructed him to sit on the bed and said she would be taking his vitals and making last-minute checks before the nanite injection.

"Will it hurt?" he asked pointing to Donald Duck's picture.

A sinister smile crossed her face. "Not if you don't make any sudden movements." Arnav's face was stale. She laughed, perfectly okay with herself for making her patients feel as uncomfortable as possible. "Oh, how I love that picture for the fun it gives me. Just relax, Mr. Arnav. No one has died ... yet." She un-velcroed the cuff of the sphygmomanometer from his arm and laid it back down on the table. "All good. The doctor will be with you shortly." She left.

Arnav felt the temperature drop a few more degrees or was he imagining it - he couldn't tell. His nerves were on full blast.

A few moments later the doctor walked in, his face buried in a clipboard he was holding, grunting as he entered.

"Lay back," said the doctor in a voice as cold as the room felt and as distant as the farthest galaxy, "this will only take a brief second."

Arvan watched as the doctor tapped on the syringe half full of a clear white liquid to remove any air bubbles. Satisfied, the doctor tied a strap around Arvan's arm, made Arvan tighten his fist to get a good vein, and then stuck the needle into his veins and emptied the contents into it.

"All good," the doctor said. "Changes will start happening within the hour. You can drive home without any worries. Come back if there are any issues." He left without saying anything further.


"It's okay." Arvan looked himself over in the car with the rearview mirror he snapped off from the windshield with his paws. "She'll love you no matter what. Love = our marriage is based on it." A tear rolled down his cheek. "Be confident. This is the new you."

Minutes later, Lara hurriedly hopped into the car. "Thanks for picking me up. The flight was a ni... OH MY GOD!!! What the fuck happened to you?!?"

"Surprise honey. No more skin problem. This is the new me. I'm sure you'll love the long hair that covers my entire body, the long nose that can smell almost anything, and all the trips to the pet store to pick me up flea repellent. You do love me, right?"

THE END?



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Hahaha, a real shaggy dog story!

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Free injections to all who want them. Your story may turn out different, depending on if I like you or not, and I do like you so you should, but not promising, be okay.

First off, the Donald Duck picture was a fantastic addition but if I had seen that right before a medical procedure - you can bet that I'd have hightailed it the hell out of the building!

Just relax, Mr. Arnav. No one has died ... yet."

Seriously?! Where did she get her bedside manner? It's unnerving to the level of having me wonder if Arnav is being pranked in the hopes that he's not being subjected to an operation by a bunch of quacks. 😉

You took the idea from the beginning and went full tilt with it to great effect Tristan! I'm picturing Arnav's tail wagging in anticipation of her cooing her love and scratching him good behind the ear. (Or, one could read it as his way of getting one over on his wife but that is an extreme length to go to. Then again, who's to say what a 'dog' in love will do.)

Hi tristancarax,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

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How sinister ok? and I loved okkkkk? I want to read moooooreeeee

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More coming soon... of different stuff. I do like it when I write like this.

Thanks for stopping by.

Hahaha, such a great ending :D I didn't expect it to be honest. I thought that there will be some disaster with turning his skin purple or something like that but you top this up million times :)

You gave me a good laugh so thank you for that :)

Have a lovely day!

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It feels good to make someone laugh.