After they scooped out most of my vital innards, the surgeons replaced them, bish bosh, with artificial substitutes made from an amalgam of rubber and wire and tin and concrete. Then they sealed up the slicings they had made earlier, lifted me from the operating table and placed me into some sort of translucent jelly pod. There was a blinding flash of light, and the next thing I knew I was back in bed, in my pyjamas, in my chalet. I unbuttoned my pyjama jacket, expecting to see scars, but I was completely unmarked.
Now, from that account you might think I am describing the experience of being abducted by aliens. We know how fond they are of carrying out intrusive surgery for their own, inexplicable, purposes. Forgive me if I gave the wrong impression.
What actually happened was that I woke up, in my pyjamas, in my bed, in my chalet, and I felt distinctly peaky. Usually when I am peaky I swallow a glug of Dr Baxter’s Invigorating Syrup, but on this particular morning my peakiness was beyond the pale. One glug, then another, did nothing to alleviate it, and so I thought it best to consult my doctor. As it happens, his surgery is perched rather higher on the mountain slope than is my chalet, so by the time I staggered into the waiting room I was peakier still. I was so peaky it beggared belief.
When, eventually, I was ushered in to see Dr Fang, he took one look at me and gawped.
“Good heavens!” he cried, “Seldom have I encountered so peaky a patient! You may be mere minutes from death! Watch, now, as I prod my metal tapping machine and summon a hot air balloon to ferry you immediately to my exciting new research clinic, even higher up the mountain slope! There, my unpaid interns will carry out innovative and as yet untested procedures to obliterate all traces of peakiness and have you back on your feet in no time!”
Moments later, the door crashed open and a gaggle of said unpaid interns, all white coats and stethoscopes and burning enthusiasm, dragged me out and into the basket of their hot air balloon. At this point my peakiness reached a new pitch, and I lost consciousness. You know the rest.
The point is, do I feel any better? It is difficult to judge. Admittedly, I have not yet attempted to rise from my bed, in part because my new artificial innards seem to weigh considerably more than those they replaced, which I last saw tossed into a wastepaper bin in the clinic. Perhaps the extra weight I now carry is Dr Fang’s ruse to build up my strength. But I am also rather alarmed at the terrific rate at which my rubber and wire and tin and concrete heart is pounding. I seem to have acquired the metabolic rate of a squirrel. That may be a good thing, of course. I will be more alert, though constant quivering may prove socially ruinous.
Dr Fang has promised to pay me a chalet visit tomorrow, during which he will check my progress. I might also find out if there is any truth in the rumour that his experimental surgery is in fact part of a dastardly plan to breed a race of half-men, half-robotic automata, with whom he intends to conquer the world. I think I saw on his bookshelf a ringbinder on the spine of which was written Plan For Global Dominion Through The Agency Of Robot Squirrel People. I think I had best ask him if I could borrow it.
Now I think I will eat some nuts for supper.