THE PATCHWORK MAN
"You the courier?" The heavily ornate front door to the mansion was ajar just enough so the faceless voice could be heard.
The door opened a bit wider so the voice could study me. It noticed I was empty-handed. "You have it with you?"
"Of course." I wouldn"t be here if I didn"t. I kept that observation to myself, however. Instead I waited patiently for whomever to finally admit me. After another minute the door opened reluctantly and I was ushered inside.
Two men greeted me, both armed. "He’s a Newtie," one observed in disgust.
Of course I was. No one else would be desperate enough to be an organ courier. But being a Newtie is always sufficient to earn the wrath of the Privileged. "Are you ready for me?" I asked, trying to remain pleasant. Since my life would literally be in their hands within minutes, I had no reason to make them angry.
"Yeah, this way." The shorter man took the lead while the taller walked behind me, gun in my back.
The man in front stopped abruptly then glared at me. "Where’s our merchandise?"
"Right here." I opened my shirt and stripped back the layer of plastiflesh on my stomach, revealing the bandages which proved my employer had recently removed my kidneys and replaced them with the client’s new ones. "It’s the safest way to transport them."
They stared at me again. "But you're black!" the man with the gun said.
I had heard this before, too. Sometimes the ignorance of people ... "Color don"t make no never mind to a kidney."
Both men shuddered as they led me to the back of the house. The kitchen had been transformed into an operating room. Already the client was strapped to one of the gurneys, anesthesia in place, IV’s in his arms. A small team of doctors and nurses scurried around the room readying it for the transplant to come.
I looked at the client with only mild curiosity. I am never given much information about my packages, but it was rarely difficult to guess. If the man wasn"t a criminal -- or a Newtie -- he would have been able to obtain any organs, any body parts he required, from a legal Body Bank. The fact they needed me and the black market to procure new kidneys spoke volumes about his status.
One of the doctors approached me. "Mr. Smith, I take it?"
"Of course." All of us raised in a Newtown are named Smith.
"Yep." I took off my shirt and pants and sat down on the other gurney. "Make this quick, the immunosuppressive drugs are wearing off. I have to be back at my plane within the hour."
"We don"t have another kidney," he said through his mask as his assistants quickly prepped me.
"Just give me his. It might hold until I reach the plane."
"No guarantees on that."
"There are never any guarantees." The mask was placed over my mouth and I inhaled deeply. This was the part I hated most about my job; better to go under quick, get it over with. As the anesthesia hit me, my thoughts returned, as always, to how I became a courier.