A Game of Bones

Story Sent in by Adrian:

Cathy and I met in med school. While I had admired her from afar, I more often than not found myself too busy to do any sort of serious dating. When one of my classmates held a party at his house one night in early spring, however, I found myself talking to Cathy for most of the night (it's truly amazing what alcohol can do).

Eventually, I asked her if she wanted to take a walk, maybe grab a late-night snack someplace, then play things by ear (by which I meant that I would've loved to end up at either of our places for the night). She liked the idea, and we left the party. As we strolled (or stumbled) down the sidewalk, she took my arm and kissed my cheek, without a word. It's amazing how such a simple gesture can make a guy feel like he's on top of the world.

We didn't have a destination in mind (at least, I didn't) but we found ourselves in the main quad of the medical school, which was about a half-mile away from where we had started. She led me into the main classroom building.

While the labs were closed, the school kept its classrooms open 24 hours a day, in case anyone wanted to come in and study. The desks and chairs were attached to each other and the floor, so it wasn't as if anyone off the street was going to come in to steal anything and have an easy job of it.

There was, however, one classroom that had a hanging, life-size, plastic display skeleton on a wheeled stand. That's the classroom in which Cathy and I found ourselves.

To make her laugh, I operated the skeleton's jaw and made it say something brainless, like, "Got any fried dough? I haven't eaten in weeks!"

Cathy froze, her smile vanishing in an instant. She said, her voice shaking, "That's such a cruel and heartless thing to say."

I asked her, "Are you being serious?"

She pointed at the skeleton. "That used to be someone! A flesh-and-blood human being! Asshole!"

I replied, "It's plastic. The only thing it used to be was oil."

She shook her head and stumbled back, against a desk. It nearly knocked her off her feet. "Ow!" she cried, "You don't know! Maybe he used to be my fiancé!"

True, we had both drank a lot, but her statements, if meant to be taken seriously, seemed symptomatic of something else entirely. I reached for her to try and steady her, but she wheeled away.

"Don't touch me!" she cried, "I've never been more sober!" She then pushed me out of the way, embraced the skeleton, kissed it, slipped off a ring she was wearing, and repeatedly tried to put it onto the skeleton's hand. Needless to say, it wouldn't stay on, and it kept hitting the floor. Cathy tried, over and over again, to put it on the skeleton. She made cooing and sighing sounds as she stroked it like a lover.

My excitement about being alone with her now nearly dead, I said, "Are you okay? Want to grab something to eat?"

She said, without a trace of her prior anger, "No, I'm... we're good. You can leave us, now. We're good. We're good."

I didn't want to leave her alone, but she soon made up my mind for me on that front, too. She wheeled the skeleton right out of the classroom and down the hall. I followed her and she hurried ahead and out of the building with the skeleton. By the time I made it to the doors that opened out onto the quad, she was already halfway across, at a full run, having picked up the skeleton. The metal display stand itself and the plastic skull, which I guess wasn't wired to the rest of the skeleton, were on the ground, but she kept going.

I grabbed the skull and rack, brought them back to the classroom, and decided to wait until the following week to see if Cathy would bring back the rest of the prop. When it didn't appear, I left an anonymous tip with campus security, and they said that they'd look into it. However, the rest of the skeleton never showed up, at least in that classroom, again.

As for Cathy, I didn't make any further overtures toward her, and aside from cursory greetings, we barely ever spoke another word to each other.


  1. At least someone got "boned" that night, hur hur hur

  2. I found this story humerus

  3. I feel sorry for her fiancee. It's tough going through life with a plastic skeleton.

  4. I guess the alcohol made him less busy.


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