Unfortunately he runs into Nurse Bildirjin in the parking lot, or more specifically her car door. She perks up when Gris gasps that he's dying, and a crowd of cheering and laughing women and children swarm the lobby as Gris is helped inside. Dr. Prahd Bittlestiffender chastises Gris for trying to deliver a cadaver through the front door, but after once again complaining about his lack of a paycheck ushers Gris to a room.
And it's only then that Gris notices a flaw with his plan of seeking medical attention at a hospital run by Dr. Prahd and Nurse Bildirjin: "It was with shock that I realized I was alone with Prahd and Nurse Bildirjin!" They strip him naked while he insists that they not put him out, and then Gris gets to explain what all the numerous burns and abrasions adorning his body are from.
Prahd starts cataloging Gris' other injuries - three cracked ribs, chipped pelvis, blood blisters - but as Nurse Bildirjin begins pulling grains of blackpowder out of Gris' wounds with a pair of pliers, the chapter takes a terrible, terrifying turn:
"Doctor, in your professional opinion," she said conversationally as she worked, "don't you think he is a bit dinky?"
Prahd nodded. "Yes, I would say an inch is below average. Well, well! What is this? What is this? A crushed testicle!"
When I started this blog, I never thought I'd end up talking about Gris' genitals. But that's what the last page or so of the chapter focuses on, Gris explaining that when he was a boy a farmer kicked him for drowning his animals, and the primitive people of New York are "real (bleep) breakers." And this is foreshadowing. This is the focus of upcoming chapters! This is where the story is going! Right down the front of Gris' underpants! And not in a "hur-hur-hur look how tiny my strawman villain is," this is going to lead to psychological drama and worse!
Prahd suggests that Gris submit to anesthesia since he's got hours of surgery and "cellular handling" to go through. It's a moot point; once the nurse suggests they just zap the grains of blackpowder with an electrified probe and burn them out of him, Gris faints again.
Tune in next time as Gris has a surgery-driven existential crisis. As for the chapters after that, you may want to skip them. Goodness knows I'm tempted.
Back to Chapters One and Two