2079:  Heart Transplant


Charles Bins, Brunswick Forest

The attendant reminded me that transplants were routine, and I’d only be out a short time.


2079:  Tommy watches as I lay on the table awaiting my procedure. Monitors blink and bleep, and the switched-on Bach seems calming. The attendant smiles.

I had known Tommy Wilcox since he was a toddler scampering off to mischief, leaving fingerprints everywhere. A dust cloud followed him wherever he went, and that meant more work for me.

Bob and Carol said I was Housekeeper #3. I told them my name was Hazel and reminded them I didn’t do diapers–or windows.

Carol assured me Tommy was out of diapers. He was an only child, overweight, clumsy and affectionate. His parents, though, never taught him to put things away like the three other families I’d served. Now I’ve been with the Wilcox’s for 15 years, and Tommy still treats me well.

Last month, Bob said I left the lasagna in the oven too long. The cooking time was nonstandard. Tommy wanted me to add more cheese, so 127 seconds was the volumetric adjustment. But Bob and Carol both reported the crust ‘overdone.’

This week, Carol announced she detested the smell of Windex, and after 15 years of washing windows she would not do another. She said something had to change.

‘Little Tommy,’ now 225 pounds and home from college, offered to take me for my procedure today. I rolled in and laid under the lights. The attendant reminded me that transplants were routine, and I’d only be out a short time. Tommy held my hand when I winked out.


Now I’m fully awake, looking at a metal tray containing my old heart. “All done,” they say.

Tommy’s friendly on the way home; even buys me flowers. I really can’t smell them, but they are a blast of color.

When Tommy opens the front door, Bob and Carol are on the couch licking strawberry cones. Carol hands Tommy a chocolate cone and asks how I am.

I scan the area: A sink full of dishes, peanut shells scattered, 3½ pairs of shoes strewn about and a pile of ironing 87 minutes high. “Everything is springtime and daffodils,” I say. “And Tommy bought me flowers.”

“Put those in water,” Bob chirps, “and please make us dinner now.”

I agree — and ask if there’s anything else.

Carol replies: “The downstairs is a disaster; please tidy up after dinner.” Then she sniffs, “Hazel, we bought an odorless window cleaner, so you can start on windows in the morning.”

I tilt my head 40 degrees to study her. Deep in my memory banks I hear: “Are you serious? I just had a transplant. Don’t you people think?”  But those words won’t come. Instead, I say: “Alright, Carol, which room would you like me to do first?”

She is smiling broadly and winks at Bob. “Start in the living room.”

“Well, Carol,” Bob chimes in, “I think the transplant’s a success.” He winks at Carol.

Tommy looks at me, puzzled, worried or both. His ice cream tumbles to the floor. In a wink, it’s cleaned up.