Heart-wrenching by Rick Krizman

In the ‘60s—the 1960s not the 2060s—it was said that all you needed to fix any Detroit car was a half-inch wrench. Who knew it would be true of humans as well? The problem had been that medicine dealt with the human body in terms of fluid dynamics—oxygen and blood and the inevitable turbulence—which was as indeterminate as the weather five days out. But then came the fateful day at Tony and Leo’s “Fix-it-Again-Tony Impala Repair” when Leo, who had been eyeing a passing pair of hot-pantsed legs instead of the fender he was trimming, lost control of the circular saw, which ripped a line up the center of his chest, leaving him on his back with his heart exposed and the blood gushing. With more instinct than forethought Tony grabbed the nearest tool, which happened to be a half-inch wrench, and give Leo’s aorta a three-quarter twist, righty-tighty, which stopped the blood cold. He wiped it all down with some Lysol and Gorilla Glued the whole shebang back together, but Leo was still coughing and gasping. Tony figured it was a bad air-to-fuel mix so he shot in some O’Reilley’s Carb and Choke cleaner to loosen the gunk and before you knew it Leo opened his eyes with a “what the hell happened” look and modern medicine was born.

Soon people were going to garages instead of hospitals.

“Let’s get you up on the lift and have a look under the hood,” was no longer a metaphor. Menisci were hammered back into place. Arthritic fingers clamped and straightened. Melanomas scrubbed out with Clorox. Nobody liked to see the mechanic reach for a saw, but sometimes it was the only answer, and don’t worry, after a case of Bud Light you won’t feel a thing.

Science was puzzled as to why none of this worked on Europeans. The screws never fit right, the wrenches kept slipping, the faucets leaked. We were tempted to re-summon the medical professionals, who were champing at the bit and waiting for just such a conundrum to wade back in with their expensively-schooled expertise, until that fortuitous moment when a dyslexic Charlottesville mechanic, who was trying to loosen a Frenchman’s sinuses, reached for a metric wrench by accident. Et voila!

Meanwhile Tony and Leo changed their garage’s name to “Phillip’s Head,” and at last report were making great progress in inflating self-esteem and tightening up loose nuts in hard to reach places.

Rick Krizman writes music, stories, and poems and holds an MFA in Writing from Pacific University. His work has appeared in The Wising Up Press, Sediment, Flash Fiction Magazine, Star 82 Review, Medusa’s Laugh Press, Driftwood, Switchback, 45th Parallel, The Big Smoke, and elsewhere. He also hosts and produces the ACME Writing Academy podcast, a weekly writerly gabfest. Rick is the father of two grown daughters and lives with his wife and other animals in Santa Monica, CA.

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