Renaissance Graduate Student
John A. Ward

"So what did you do at the University today?"

"I robbed a grave."

"No, get serious. What did you really do?"

"I am serious. I snatched a body."

"Was this some kind of joke? I thought you were majoring in pre-med with a minor in art."

"It's not what we want to do, but we have to get our specimens somewhere. There haven't been many hangings lately, especially women. The master heard about her. She's a particularly good one, but I am a little nervous at the choice."

"Because she's dead, or because she's a woman?"

"Because she's the bishop's mistress."

"I didn't think the bishop could have a mistress."

"Well, he doesn't now."

"You took a big chance. Suppose you were caught?"

"Fortunately, she was above ground in a mausoleum, so that made it easier. We broke the locks, opened the casket and the master held the gunny sack while I lifted her out and stuffed her in. Her body smelled like lilacs and alcohol. I tossed her over my shoulder and we headed back to the studio by different paths."

"And when you got there you hung her up and drew pictures, like the woodcuts you showed me last week?"

"No, he only does that with the males. When I got there, he had all the tools set up. We made a quick abdominal incision. She had the smoothest, whitest skin of any cadaver I've ever seen, but he was mainly interested in the reproductive system. I dissected it all the way from the pubis into the cavity, but he got mad because I cut the tubes off. What did he expect? I never had much experience with women that way."

"Then you drew pictures of her ovaries with her sliced open on the table? Yuck!"

"No, I wrapped them up and stuck them in one of the crocks in the back room and went back to see what more I could get when Vincenzo ran in and told the master that the guard found the tomb open and went to get the bishop. Of course, the bishop doesn't know that the master did it for sure, but he is one of the usual suspects, so I put the body back in the sack, after we took time to make it unrecognizable, and we headed for the river. She's halfway to Dolo by now."

"You know, you're really strange."

"I didn't expect that from you. It's a shame that there's such a bad feeling about what we do and more people won't donate bodies to us. It certainly makes science difficult."

First published: May, 2006
comments to the writer: Knob'