- Joly - cow - spiritual
In which Joly plays Undertaker, Sort of
There weren't many things that could make Joly squirm, but dead livestock was apparently one of them. His apron had a smear on it from where he had dropped a scalpel on it earlier, and he was sure some of the blood had gone under his glove and was headed slowly towards a cut by his thumb. It was a closed wound, at least, but he would have to wash it extensively once this ordeal was over. For a moment, he wondered why he didn't just go into law like Courfeyrac and Bahorel and the others, but then chided himself; he would rather help to get people well than put them behind bars. That was his reasoning then, and it was his mantra now, as he stood in front of an opened cow.
The instructor gave directions for his next cut, and the younger man obliged, blowing dark hair from his eyes as he leaned over the animal. He needed a haircut. Trying to focus on something other than the tissue, he thought instead of what Bossuet would say to that statement. Maybe, Joly mused, he should offer the hair he cut off to his friend as some sort of present. He could see it clearly--he could get it just short enough that it wouldn't get in his eyes any more, present the shorn locks to his friend, and Bossuet would ask him why he was still an ugly duckling if he's molted his feathers. He cracked a smile at this, and the instructor found it very odd that his student seemed to enjoy cutting at flesh so much. Joly saw the man's worried glance, and snapped out of his daydream in an instant.
The liver of the cow was now fully exposed. Her udders had been swollen, and he was supposed to check for ulcers in the liver to see if they had been the cause. There were several. The older man made Joly poke at them, prod at them, see if they would burst, and then take notes of what they did. He gulped, then did as he was told. There was a small burning near his thumb, but he was too focused on not messing this up to really notice.
Once the deed had been done (several times, the instructor had him do the same prodding routine for each one), Joly placed his scalpel in a bowl with the intent of cleaning it later, removed his gloves and found that sometime during the procedure, his cut had opened and cow blood had gotten in the wound. He stared at his hand, his brain only making one connection: infection, infection! The instructor saw the young man grow pale and ran over to his side, yelling something about the bowl of water. Joly nodded and thrust his hand in the nearest one, only to draw it out immediately once he realized it was the bowl he had placed his scalpel in earlier. The older man brought another one, and there was more yelling, this time on the subject of procedure. Not that Joly was listening.
Bossuet was now laughing at Joly's bandaged hand, and Joly was doing his best to laugh along with him. It was hard to, though, when the lint was a constant reminder of the blood that had mingled with his.
"A cow, Joly! Don't tell me that you think you're a bovine now." Bossuet didn't know anything about the finer aspects of medicine, but he was sure that a cow couldn't infect a person. "Besides, a cow would have a hard time of flying."
Joly gripped his cane, now in his left hand so he wouldn't accidentally reopen the cut from holding it. "The cow was dead, and now its blood is in mine. Bossuet, what if it kills me?"
The bald man shrugged. "It wouldn't kill you to get a haircut," he said as his only reply. Joly had forgotten all about his earlier plans, and decided to go out. Maybe he could get a somewhat impressive last meal afterwards in the Musain.
After a a minor examination from Combeferre in the back room, Joly was willing to admit that he might not die tonight, after all. He started to smile a little more willingly, especially after Courfeyrac told him how ghastly his new haircut was.
Once he told his story to the whole group, though, Jehan had an opinion to put out.
"Of course your cut would be infected. You butchered a sacred animal." Joly shifted uncomfortably and covered his bandaged hand with his good one.
Grantaire heard this, and took Jehan's statement to new levels. "Would his infection be the fault of the cow, or the fault of the god who deemed the cow sacred?"
Jehan started to answer, but was cut off.
"If there's a god that has nothing better to do than avenge autopsies on cows, then I pity Him. His must be a dull life indeed, made all the worse by immortality. Does He consider milk that precious? Obviously he does not enjoy beef, so He must not have ever tried it. Unless He does like it, and wants all of the beef for Himself. So what does that make milk? The scraps off of the table? Poison? Maybe milk is the gods' poison, and the only remedy is ambrosia."
"Grantaire, you must have better things to ponder than that," Courfeyrac said in an effort to cut him off.
Jehan took this as an opportunity to speak. "And he sometimes does, Courfeyrac, though pondering Brahman's will isn't trivial. As for your question, Grantaire, would you like it if one were to slaughter your wife?"
Joly shifted again, and began rubbing his nose with his cane in an effort to put his mind on other things.
"I have no wife. If I did, why should I marry a cow? She would give me milk, but I'm not a babe in need of it." For once, Grantaire kept his statement brief. Jehan went to answer, but Combeferre held him back; if Grantaire was choosing to be quiet, they may as well take advantage of it.
Bossuet grabbed Joly's cane to make him stop rubbing. "Don't break your beak," he said as offered the nearest napkin for the new trail coming off of his nose. Joly took the napkin, laughing too much at the joke.
"Bossuet, I believe I'm stealing your luck today," was his only reply to the whole ordeal. He wiped his nose and set his cane against the table.
"I would appreciate it if you returned it," his friend said. "It seems strange to have it on loan to someone, even someone as familiar as yourself." He took the cane and propped his chin on the end, only to have his head slip off of it.
"Your friend had returned," Courfeyrac interjected from the next table over. Bossuet turned it him and grinned.
"So he has, so he has. I didn't realize he would come back so soon. Perhaps you would like him for a day, my friend?" To this, Courfeyrac just smiled and shook his head. "Ah, well. It feels much better with his company, anyway." Bossuet played with the cane some more, somehow managing to keep himself from hitting it against the table.
They watched him for a minute, with only the sound of some people chatting softly in the background. Prouvaire broke this near-silence. "Is he asleep?" He nodded his head towards Grantaire. Combeferre checked, then nodded.
"Good," said Prouvaire. "I would hate to see him smited by a vengeful god because of a drunken slip of the tongue." Courfeyrac thought about adding something onto this, but refrained. "And, Joly, it wouldn't hurt you to ask for His forgiveness tonight."
"I will," Joly replied, smiling. "If my hand permits."
Jehan looked him in the eye. "For your sake, I pray your hand permits." Joly wiped the smile off of his face, almost literally.
Last edited by Gervais
on Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"The peas, Woyzeck. The PEAS."