Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Twist Of Noir 162 - Glenn Gray


Originally published at Muzzle Flash Fiction

“Father Murphy, I’m gonna have to put another catheter through your penis. This’ll relieve the discomfort. Urine will flow again.”

“Jehyesus, hurry boy,” Father Murphy says, face scrunched up. “Pains like bloody hell.”

“I’ll be right back.” I go down the hall to the supply closet by room 348 and gather the necessary materials; a fresh tube of petroleum jelly, a 14 French Foley catheter, a twenty cc syringe, a roll of paper tape, a packet of Betadine, a sterile drape, gloves and some sterile gauze. I stuff everything but the catheter into the side pockets of my white coat and head back to room 340.

“Just relax, Father,” I say as I set up a sterile field in his lap. “I’m going to inject some gel into the penis.”

“Get to it, boy, get to it.”

I snap on sterile gloves. I pop the plunger out of the syringe casing, squeeze in clear petroleum jelly, pop the plunger back in.

I insert the plastic tip of the syringe into the urethral opening while applying slight traction with my other hand to keep the penis taut. I push all twenty cc’s, pinching the glans to keep the shit from oozing out. The trick is to lubricate the urethra, especially the portion that runs through the prostate, to allow easier passage of the catheter.

Father Murphy had surgery earlier in the day to reduce the size of his humongous prostate, a TURP, taking it from the size of a softball down to a baseball. The gland is now swollen and seeping blood, which ends up in the urethra. Clots form and block the system.

This is why I was paged at three in the morning.

I’m the dick doc.

The pecker checker.

Part of the Rod Squad.

The Stream Team.


Thankfully, my internship ends next week and then I get to do orthopedics full-time. I can’t wait. I’d take a bone saw over a catheter any day.

When I got to the floor earlier, Father Murphy had the post-op catheter in place. It slipped out during repositioning as I flushed out the chunky clots with saline. My Chief Resident told me to never ever let the catheter pop out. Now I see why. I couldn’t get the friggin’ thing back in.

Urine is building.

Father Murphy is in extreme pain. His bladder is probably the size of a basketball now, seams ripping, wanting to explode. Sweat beads on his forehead.

He is writhing.

Looking up from his crotch to his pained face is when it hits me.

Father Murphy? That scar on his forehead.

The eyes.

“Father,” I say, starting to thread the catheter through his shaft, staring at his face, the eyes. “You ever serve in a parish out in Lakewood?”

He’s breathing faster, trying not to move. He manages, “Many years ago, yes.”

Holy shit. It’s him.

I wait a moment, then ask, “Our Lady Queen of Mercy?”


Yes, he says. Bingo.

The memories flood in. My head hurts. My face flushes. Father Murphy. My ears start to burn. The long summer days at the beach with the other boys. The “outings”. The showers after the beach.

The fuckin’ showers.

The extra scrubbing to get the sand off.

Him saying things like, “Let me help you,” while smoothing the lather, and then, “It’s okay.”

I press on. I say, “My family belonged to that parish.”

He does not speak.

“I was part of that parish,” I say, louder now. “I used to go to Jones Beach with you.”

“You remember the beach,” he says, nodding, a grimace. A fake smile. “How... nice.”

I wait a second, and then say with force, just to make sure he hears it well. “I remember after the beach, too.”

There is a long pause, an awkward stretch. Two minds reeling.

Then, “Those years,” he says between breaths. “My memory is poor.”

I keep poking with the catheter. Back and forth.

Push. Pull. Push.

It will not pass.

“The showers after the beach,” I say, to remind him. “You know?”

“Oh, those years,” he says. “A faint memory they are. Almost there? God bless you, boy. Hurts like bloody hell.”

“I’m not your boy,” I say though gritted teeth. “But I do remember the showers.”

He strains to look down at me, lifting his head slightly.

We lock eyes.

“That’s right,” I say, my face contorted into something between a scowl and a smile. “The fuckin’ showers, Father.”

“My memory’s bad, Doctor,” He says, putting his head down, breathing faster. “Forgive me. Forgive me.”

I think I see a subtle smirk dancing about his mouth.

Smirking now?

He arches his head on the pillow, whooshing sounds through pursed lips. He’s staring at the ceiling, knobby hands clutching the metal guard rails.

The catheter finally pops into the bladder. There is a balloon on the end of the catheter that is supposed to be inflated when the tip is in the spacious bladder lumen, to keep the catheter from slipping out. When inflated, it is the size of a golf ball. I slowly slide the tip back, out of the bladder, back into the urethra, leaving it at about the level of the base of his penis.

The urethra is a tiny tube with the diameter of a cocktail straw.

I thumb the syringe that inflates the balloon and the golf ball expands in the cocktail straw. I say, “You remember the showers now, Father?”

There is a weak groan before the pain is too much. Father Murphy passes out.

I begin to see some swelling at the base of his penis, from the slow deep venous bleeding. I stand in silence, acutely aware of the pungent mixed odor of stale breath, urine, Betadine and sweaty ass. I gather the materials off the bed, throw them away.

His sacred priesthood slowly grows thick and blue at its base. It resembles a gnarled miniature tree stump. I gently pull the hospital gown across his thighs. Pat it so it’s flat, smooth.

I rub my chin. Exhale.

Urethral rupture.

This will be considered a complication.

An intern mistake.

With my middle finger, I make the sign of the cross.

I walk back to my call room and wait for the nurse’s page.

BIO: Glenn Gray is a physician specializing in Radiology. His stories have appeared in Plots with Guns, Thuglit, Underground Voices, Word Riot, Pequin, Beat To A Pulp, Powder Burn Flash, Pulp Pusher and many others. Stories are forthcoming in OOTG 6, Dogzplot, and in the 8th print edition of Zygote in my Coffee and 3rd Thuglit Anthology. He has an ongoing novella, a sci-fi spoof, over at Bewildering Stories.


David Cranmer said...

Glenn, Good to have you back even if I have read it before. Terrific story. Btw I'm positive you are the first to have the words Father, catheter, and penis in a opening paragraph.

Sheila Deeth said...


Robert187 said...

Great stuff! I was Catholic myself, though I never got fucked by a priest--though they sure gave me hell in confession.
I thought you really captured the smarmy old bastard, especially with that smirk that followed the memory "failure." I also like the revenge--hurt the fuckers that hurt you is my motto. Revenge is sweet, hot, cold, or lukewarm...

Glenn Gray said...

David-Ha! Guess you're right about that. Sheila and Robert -Thanks for reading...

Al Tucher said...

I said it then, and I'll say it now. Ouch! Good to see this one again, Glenn.

Glenn Gray said...

Thanks for droppin in, Al.

Jimmy Callaway said...

And here I thought my own personal catheter anecdote was unsettling...