TITLE: Written in the Stars
GENRE: Adult Literary
The Carolina Biology Company sells thousands of biological specimens. There are idneys, brains, cow testicles, sheep eyes, blood samples, and diseased livers. But today, my ten fetal pigs have arrived. I hardly shudder anymore; it's amazing really, how you can do things you never thought you could do.
“This is your class bible for the next week,” I say as an introduction to my Anatomy class, holding up the thick packet. “Follow the directions carefully. You’ll need gloves, a pan, a scalpel, your textbook, and a pen.” I pass out the packets and heave the long rectangular cardboard box onto a table.
Some of my students are already paling; some look excited. Jeremy looks like he's going to cry. He'll be a problem, I already know.
“Remember that these piglets were never born," I say without emotion. "Their mother was made into bacon when she was pregnant. So, these babies can be used for science now, for you all to learn something.” This is the speech I say with an easy confidence I have trouble feeling, but I always say it anyway.
As I open the box, my 15 high school students inch forward and peer inside. The girls squeal as I pull out a 4lb. vacuum-packed fetal pig.
“I am NOT touching that thing, Mrs. Penning," Jeremy says, shaking his head.
“It’s not so bad once you get past the smell," I say. "The first cut is the worst.”