Everyone in the House of Leftovers was dead, except for the two doctors standing in the middle of the room, wearing clean white smocks and black rubber gloves, leaning over the fresh corpse of a man. There was a huge, ugly stab wound in the dead man’s chest.
“God, I don’t know if I can handle this,” said Cranna, the younger of the two.
“It’s always like that the first time,” Jones said. “Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. Besides, you’ll get to eat real food.”
“Remember when they used to be able to grow food?”
Jones smiled wanly. “Yeah, but I try not to think about it.”
From a nearby table Jones produced a tiny saw with a circular blade. It made a high-pitched whining when he turned it on. The whining was muffled and their smocks became flecked with blood as he cut the top of the skull off. He laid it next to the head, reached inside and yanked out the brain, threw it into a stainless steel bucket on the floor.
“You going to be all right?”
“Yeah, I’m ok,” replied Cranna, swallowing.
“Then let’s get this show on the road.”
They sliced the corpse down the middle, from neck to groin, and removed all the organs, placing them in the bucket. What was left they dismembered, putting the arms, legs, and head in a washtub next to the door. The torso remained on the gurney, which they wheeled to one side.
Jones looked at his watch. “It’s almost noon, we better hurry.”
The same procedure was repeated with two more corpses. At one o’clock, Jones opened the door. Another door, consisting of iron bars, was secured firmly over the doorway. In front of the building, a ragged band of people shifted restlessly.
“Hurry it up, we’re starving!” a man called out in a gruff voice.
“This is the part I hate,” Jones said. “I’ll wrap the torsos for the freezer and let you take care of them.” He pointed at the angry crowd.
Cranna began with the organs. He tossed them one by one through the bars. Some landed in the dirt, only to be picked up and savagely devoured. Some were caught by the groping, diseased hands.
“Oh, by the way, Cranna,” Jones called out over his shoulder, “whatever you do, don’t get too close to the-” His words were cut off by a horrible scream. He spun around and saw Cranna being pulled into the bars, the hungry, distorted faces glaring at him desperately. There was nothing Jones could do but watch in horror as Cranna’s body ripped apart like a rag doll as the people jerked him through the bars. Warm blood flowed freely over the threshold, and some were down on their hands and knees lapping it up like dogs.
Over the din, the same gruff voice yelled, “Give us more!”
“You know the rules,” Jones said, staying clear of the door. “You blew your chance for today.”
He closed the heavy wooden door and locked it. He sat down in a swivel chair and sighed. Cranna had been the third assistant he’d lost during his term at Feeding Station #13, or House of Leftovers, as it was so lovingly called by the populace. Through the door he heard someone yell, “One day, you’re gonna be leftovers, Doc.”
He went to the phone on the wall and called for an escort home. An hour later, the car pulled up in front, raising a cloud of dust. Jones stepped outside and locked the door as two men armed with rifles approached.
“Let’s get out of here,” he said, looking around at the few stragglers watching them.
“Hold it, Doctor,” one of the men said, and pointed his gun at Jones. “There’s been a change of plans.”
“What the hell do you mean, change of plans?”
More stragglers appeared from behind the building.
“What I mean is, your services are no longer needed. It seems you’ve lost one too many assistants. Please hand over your keys,” the man said calmly.
“No, that can’t be true, I’ve done a good job here!”
“Hand over the keys, Mr. Jones,” he screamed, anger flaring on his face. Jones reluctantly handed the keys to him, and he snatched them away and pushed them into his pocket. “Goodbye, Mr. Jones.”
The two men headed for the car, Jones screaming, “No, you can’t do it! You can’t do this to me!”
The black Caddy sped off, leaving Jones standing there, tears of frustration streaming down his face. He fell blubbering to the ground as a hungry crowd began to gather around him.