"Shitting, pissing, coming, farting, belching, sneezing, coughing,
crying, bleeding, hiccupping, puking and sweat dripping from every
That's how Professor Carson always said he wanted to die, in
one final release of the life giving force he liked to call, "the
great expulsion." He'd been saying that for twenty years and it
had become the running joke in the faculty lounge of the Physiology
"Excuse me, I have to use the restroom," says Professor Carson.
"Well don't sneeze John, you have a class this afternoon." Chuckle,
But it would be all over soon. The Professor was sick and wouldn't
last another ten months, maybe not another ten weeks, maybe tomorrow
he would . . . and what was behind him? An unpublishable doctoral
thesis? A textbook he had coauthored that only received one printing?
And was he now to endure an obscure, perhaps celebrated death?
He couldn't stand for it and had little to lose. His flight of
fancy was to become his final physiological experiment.
But how? He didn't have the slightest idea where to begin. His
practical knowledge and research skills had been dulled by twenty
years of tenured professorship. Most of the grad students were
better equipped to handle this type of work. Undaunted, the Professor
decided to focus his initial research on the most difficult of
the releases to control.
Now coming on command is no easy trick, but during his first
late night of research the Professor remembered a book he had
browsed as an undergrad. The title escaped him but he recalled
the numerous mind-probing experiments performed by the CIA in
the late 1950's (in the hopes of finding the drug or method that
would lead to mind control, of course). In particular he remembered
reading of one ambitious young post-doc who worked extensively
with electrical pulses on the brains of living monkeys. One experiment
had an electrode secured to the monkey's orgasm control. When
the monkey was placed in control of these spontaneous orgasms
via a push button in it's cage, the animal would push the button
every two to three minutes until it collapsed from exhaustion.
The Professor took the first flight to Washington to meet with
"Excuse me sir, do you have an . . ."
The Professor rushed past a woman who looked suspiciously like
a secretary but whose nameplate was titled "Laboratory Documents
Coordinator." After quickly shutting a rather heavy door, the
Professor found a huge but uncharacteristically spartan room.
Empty dusted tables. Equipment in storage. Bookshelves neatly
arranged with binders and reams of computer paper. Absent were
the expected microscopes, Lewis rats and EKGs. In one corner,
however, was a chattering huddle of lab coats around a small wire
cage, apparently unaware he had entered.
In the cage was a football-sized monkey on its back quivering
in orgasmic convulsions, it's left hand clutching a tiny red button.
The lab coats gawked pointed and giggled.
"Umm . . . excuse me . . . is one of you Doctor Benjamin?" asked
"I'm Doctor Benjamin." The voice emerged from behind a door at
the opposite end of the lab along with a short, hunched, clean-shaven
man also in a lab coat. Perhaps the Doctor should have considered
a beard, to soften the wrinkles placed generously on his pale
face and to frame those wide hypnotic blue eyes. "And who the
hell are you? No, actually I don't care. Listen, here's the deal:
NO it's not for sale, NO you can't try it out, NO I can't cure
your impotence, and NO I don't want to probe your brain. Okay!
"I don't think you understand. I just . . ."
"Answer me one question, you're here because you want to induce
spontaneous orgasm, right?" asked the Doctor.
"Well, yes but . . ."
"You and a million other people, pal. I'm not in that business.
I will you ask you leave me alone." The Doctor had memorized this
conversation years ago.
"But this is professional business. I'm Professor Carson from
. . ."
"I told you I'm not in that business!"
"Then what the hell is that!" the Professor pointed an accusing
finger toward the mob around the cage.
The Doctor the abruptly turned back into his office, flustered,
throwing a hand over his shoulder for the professor to follow.
Before the Professor had finished closing the door the Doctor
"That, sir, is called my income!" Taking a deep breath he continued,
"I've been receiving grants from various governmental agencies
for my work with monkeys since grad school. Unfortunately, most
of my projects were absorbed by the CIA, whoops I mean the FDA."
The Doctor gave the Professor a slow bitter wink. "My monkeys
stirred up quite a bit of interest and it seemed like everyday
someone new would be escorted in to observe my work.
"Anytime I would make a proposal to move on to more theoretical
pursuits or mention actually trying to achieve the psychoactive
drugs that were my FDA veil, a letter, if not an agent, was sent
to remind me that only my empirical field research on the brain
would be funded. So I took the probing as far as could. It wasn't
long before it occurred to me that all they really wanted was
to watch my monkey. As for those people out there: four FDA officials,
a Cabinet Member and a Congressman. The women, I presume, are
prostitutes." The Doctor sighed and turned to talk to the window.
"Slowly my work slackened. But so long as the monkey stayed hooked
up the checks kept rolling in. So I keep that wretched device
operating. I tinker a little when a change of monkeys is needed.
Right now I have an electrode on its Broca's area so it chatters
a little extra for the Congressman. Hell, if I had access to the
latest MRI or PET scanners I could probably make the damn thing
sing the Star Spangled Banner."
"I'm so sorry," the Professor sat stunned.
"Oh, it ain't all bad. I get my grants. I finally have time to
do my theoretical work and when I do need monkeys there's always
a steady stream. Good ones too. The feds pay off the handlers
not to beat them or sedate them or anything. The down side is
that my work is mostly for self-gratification because they don't
let me publish much."
The old men got to talking. Comparing notes. When the time was
right the Professor said what he had come for. The Doctor's reaction
was surprisingly positive.
"Wait. Run through that list again," said Doctor Benjamin reaching
for his pad and pen. "Okay, got it, got it, got it . . . with
sweat dripping from every pore. And you want to die this way?"
"I'm dying soon anyway Doctor. I want a release. A final release.
We exert pressures on ourselves so great that the body over time
cannot maintain its own integrity. I just think that if I could
orchestrate one final release of the pressures caused by the life
giving force, through what I like to call 'The Great Expulsion,'
there would be something of value to be learned. The necessity
of performing these expulsions day in and day out, and the stress
caused by having to delay the release of these pressures; that's
what kills us. Those are the so-called 'natural causes.' Well,
if you had a human specimen who was known to have died by these
'natural causes', in a controlled environment, I think you could
work from the bottom up to find why the body cannot regenerate
its itself perpetually. A true definition of the problem is the
first step towards immortality."
"The Great Expulsion. Hmmm, I like that. So what is it you want
"Well, I'm just an undergrad prof. I don't know any more than
the textbooks. You on the other hand, you know the hardware of
it all. Can you induce these things? Simultaneously, I mean."
"And what if I could? How do you know you'll die?"
"I don't. But I have to try."
The Doctor took a long look about his sterile office. He heard
the lab door slam as his guests departed. The doors of monkey
cages clinked softly outside of his own office door signifying
calm again. He rubbed his winkled chin and looked squarely at
the Professor. He nodded only once.
What followed was a flurry of activity that began with relatively
simple, though still brutal skull surgery on the Professor. The
brain itself has no pain receptors, so as long as his scalp was
anesthetized the Doctor was free to probe as he wished. An "ordinary"
day saw the Doctor researching in the morning, probing a monkey
or two in the afternoon and testing his results on the Professor
in the evening. This went on for five weeks before the Professor's
health noticeably began to fail. The surgery had taken its toll.
If it was going to be done it would have to be done now.
"This is it Carson, the final mock up." The doctor's voice dripped
with excitement. "The last monkey went 11 for 12. I just couldn't
make the little bastard cry. That can be improvised though. I'll
just tweak your nose before I hit the switch or something." The
Doctor gave a good chuckle at his own wit but Professor Carson
only sighed listlessly.
"Alright then, let's do it now." The Professor stripped himself
of his clothing and stood on shaking knees in the middle of the
lab, his arms outstretched. The crying had already begun. He was
The Doctor, taken of guard by the sudden action, rushed to connect
the multitude of electrodes necessary. Jabbing in needles of local
anesthetic, he ripped out stitches, wire, and pre-cut bits of
The Professor didn't flinch, just stood in the middle of the
lab, arms outstretched.
"You're all plugged in. All you have to do is swallow this. It
will make you vomit. When you do I'll hit the switch. Then . .
. well . . . we'll see what happens. You okay?"
The Professor said nothing and extended a
hand for the vile.
"Whenever you're ready then Professor." Doctor
Carson took his place at a control panel behind a makeshift protective
barrier. If he was already startled by the distorted image he
saw through the plexi-glass refraction, he did not yet fully appreciate
his own handy work. The Professor downed the vile. The Doctor
hit the switch.
Electricity on copper tracks bore down on
Professor Carson. Bonobos and monkeys screeched in the background.
Then BANG! a direct hit! 12 for 12. Crack. Snap. Splash. It was
all over. Dr. Benjamin measured vomit and urine at over nine meters
from the body. Feces and blood at over six. Specks of mucus were
sprayed throughout the room.
Aside from the desired effects, some interesting
side effects were found. It seems that every hair follicle on
the Professor's body expelled its store of proteins, some hairs
growing more than 80 millimeters. Finger and toenails likewise
jutted forward up to 17 millimeters. Stress fractures were found
in eleven ribs and the pelvis. The jaw was severely dislocated
and the Professor laid on the floor a hairy hideous mess engaged
in a silent scream.
After he had dropped to the floor the Doctor
paused a moment, unable to remove his eyes from the sub-human
monstrosity obscured by the heterogeneous spray dripping slowly
down the plexi-glass barrier. Three minutes worth of eternity
passed before he got up enough nerve to approach the body. He
tiptoed all the way, aiming for the dry spots, his pant cuffs
sloshing through the ooze. Gloved and masked, the Doctor immediately
checked or vital signs. No breathing. No pulse. Pupils dilated.
A complete success. And physically speaking it was undeniably
a complete success in the fact that Professor Carson was indeed
However, in the course of designing a perfectly
sound death in the physical- mechanical sense, the poor soul of
Professor Carson was never considered. Be certain that the soul
does exist. Call it Self or Mind or Consciousness or Psyche or
Atman or Ruh and it exists all the same. Had either scientist
stepped back to consider this perhaps they would have modified
their experiment slightly.
You see, consideration of the possibility
of the soul leads quickly to certain assumptions. If the soul
exists, it must exist somewhere. It is presumable that this somewhere
is in the body during life and not in the body after death. Thus,
at the moment of death (characterized by the cessation of all
hitherto self-sustaining bodily mechanics) the soul must be released,
expelled, or in some other manner exit the body. The body's final
physical function is ejection of the soul.
Despite the stress it was under the Professor's
body was able to work through the rigors of that action. However,
due to the occupation of every orifice, opening, crack, pore and
crevasse at the moment of death the soul had no passage by which
to leave the body. The body died, the soul remained inside.
The consequences were disastrous.
Due to the finality of death the body was
unable to try again to eject the soul from out of itself. Similarly,
the body could have no further interaction with the soul and provided
it no sight, sound, touch, smell or taste or any other input.
All the Professor obtained from his body was the realization of
After Doctor Benjamin had completed his study
of the corpse, Professor Carson was laid to rest near his hometown
of Chapel Hill following a charming closed casket service. The
consensus among Souls was that it was quite a shame that the Professor
was unable to hear the Doctor's moving eulogy. But still, this
sympathy felt for the Professor's unique condition was overwhelmed
by the sheer absurdity of it all. And even that was soon forgotten.
To this day, from the Professor's decaying body, his soul flecks
off in bits like the shedding of epidermal layers. Incomplete,
scattered, less than alone, it wanders about the universe in search
Free Williamsburg | 93 Berry Street | Brooklyn, NY 11211
| October 2000 | Volume 8