Dr. Holmes was standing at a desk next to the dissection table. “When I was studying anatomy in Paris,” he began, “any student could get a complete corpse for fifty sou. There was a place where they were sold at noon sharp every day. But nowadays the supply of corpses for study purposes is very rare. This one – a sixteen-year-old boy who died of lung congestion this morning – was left to us by the state welfare agency. But you’re not going to dissect this evening. In a later lecture we will divide the corpse among you, two of you will each have an arm for examination, two will each have a leg and the rest will have the trunk.
While Dr. Holmes explained what his assistant was doing, Rob J. opened the boy’s chest and began removing and weighing the organs, each time announcing the weight in a loud voice so the professor could write it down. Then he had to point to different parts of the body to illustrate what the professor was saying. Holmes spoke haltingly and in a high voice, but Rob J. realized very quickly that the students were viewing his lecture as a treat. He did not shy away from coarse expressions, and to demonstrate the movement of the arm he made a strong uppercut; To explain the movement of the leg, he swung his own high in the air, and to show how the hips worked, he performed a belly dance. The students hung on his every word and followed his every move, and at the end of the lecture they pestered him with questions. The professor answered them, not taking his eyes off his new assistant, who in the meantime put the corpse and the anatomical specimens in the preservation tank, scrubbed the table, and then cleaned, dried and tidied the instruments. Rob J. was washing his hands thoroughly when the last student left.
Why not, Rob J. wanted to say, after all it is a job that any intelligent student can do. Instead, he found himself wondering if he could get an advance. “I heard you work for the Dispensary. I worked for this club myself once. Damn hard work that definitely won’t get you rich. But very educational. ‘Holmes took two five-dollar bills out of his wallet. “Is half a month’s wage enough?”
Rob J. tried not to show his relief when he saw Dr.