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?