Friday, October 17, 2008

Syringe sucks shark brain fluid

Alex snatched his black case from where it was floating down the scuppers and tore it open. He could hear the shark struggling behind him, the cradle creaking and straining under its violent exertions. With every lurch and roll of the boat the instrument case sent its jumble of bottles and instruments clattering so he feared they’d smash. The wind whipped stinging spray into his eyes. Though he could hardly see, in his frantic search in the mess for the right syringe, he eventually came up with it. Turning to wipe the water from his vision with the back of his arm, out of the corner of his eye he saw the shark snarl. He wondered a moment at the immense vitality of an animal able to fight so long out of its element, with so many wounds and so little hope. Diving back into the bag, at last he found the spinal needle. With a twist he attached it to the syringe. So, he thought, this is finally it.
He discovered he had to get astride the animal to get the angle right, clinging to the cradle like a rodeo rider, and leaning over the great grey sandpaper head. Alex avoided the malevolent stare of that iridescent ink dark eye, and selected a spot just behind the skull where he hoped the atlanto-occipital joint would allow free entry to the midbrain. He took a deep breath and plunged the needle into the wet leathery surface. It slid beautifully in, but the shark jerked and thrashed, and he worked desperately to maintain correct depth as he sucked the hypothalamic fluid from its brain.

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