Friday, 12 September 2008

working in the dungeon

I was putting the dead people xrays away today down in the basement.

(Hospital basements? Miles of corridors, exhaust fans, flickering lights, broken equipment and old furniture squatting along the edges waiting to be sent to the dump, and a slight chemical scent in the air that leads you to suspect the morgue is probably next door, behind one or another of these odd locked doors.)

We've been culling the deceased from the Xray department from awhile, making space for the films of visitors who've slipped beachcombing, the MVAs, the basketball injuries and bar fights, the wrenched knees and unsteady hips of the arthritic.

I've been down in the basement a few times now, hauling the enormous folders, slipping them into their new shelves. Giving them new people to talk to. The room is warm and smells of cardboard dust and forgotten things, but has good light - useful when trying to decipher the four, five, or six digit numbers emblazoned on the yellow film cases with their peeling stickers.

It's hot work, and it's almost eerily quiet once the door swings shut.

I read a Clive Cussler novel today - I'd never read him before - and while I was thumping things into place, thought how easy it would be to create a character for that type of book (Secret Service, espionage sort of thing) that took on a new identity....perhaps one she found while shelving the xrays of deceased people in a hospital basement?

13 comments:

womaninawindow said...

Ooohhhh, that creeped me out a little. Are you all alone when you're down there? It is mind blowing to think that six digit numbers are required in just one hospital to mark the files of the dead. Dead people - they are everywhere...and yet nowhere. I hope one day I'll get it.

crazymumma said...

i see a woman, an earnest and good woman, dutifully filing, when she comes across a mystery file.

AND Dana And Scully Appear!

jenontheedge said...

Clive Cussler actually has several series of books.

There's the original Dirk Pitt books.

Then, there are the newer Dirk Pitt, which are "co-authored" (really, ghost written) by his son Dirk Cussler.

Then there are the Kurt Austin books, which are co-authored by someone else.

Finally, there are the Oregon files books, which are co-authored by someone else.

Of all of the above, I highly recommend the early Clive Cussler books, but not the ones from the past 5-10 years. The Kurt Austin books are okay, but start to blend together. The later Dirk Pitt books are so so.

However, I highly recommend the Oregon files books. BUT, you MUST start with the first one or else none of the rest will make sense.

Vacant Uterus said...

*shiver* Nice! That was a creepy post in the most satisfactory way.

sam {temptingmama} said...

Oh Mah Gah. Basements creep me the eff out. I can't imagine being down there. ALONE.

All I think of with hospital basements is Silent Hill. FREAKY!

Ree said...

Kinda Night Shift stuff going on? I've only been x-ray'd once - (other than my teeth - which, y'know, should scare me, being so close to my BRAIN and all) - for a leg injury playing soccer.

Good Halloween post. Give us more!

Suzanne said...

You've never read Clive Cussler before? You deprived woman, Dirk Pitt is a ladie's man! :)

You want another good read, pick up Nelson DeMille.

twolimeleaves said...

oooooohhh! *shiver*
My girl will love this post. She thinks she might want to be a mortician...

Walking With Scissors said...

Note to self: never read blog entries containing the words "dead people" while alone in bed at midnight. *shiver*

My imagination is far too wild to allow me to ever take a job like that. Creepy!!

Stomper Girl said...

That is the best opening line of a blog post.

Spanglish said...

spoooooky... I'd never go into a hospital basement. Hell no.

Vanessa said...

That basement sounds creepy! I used to work in a hospital with the buildings connected by an underground tunnel of sorts and it's like you've just described, overhead pipes, flickering lights, strange smells. Glad you can find the creative in it!

mamatulip said...

While at the hospital, probably seeing my mother, I got off on the basement by accident. I didn't realize it at first and walked around wondering where the heck I was for a few minutes. It was very, very, very...strange. A strange place.