By: Cynthia Bermudez | March 16, 2020

Resurrection Man was first published in the And So On... anthology in 2016. I wrote the story way before then. I had read an "odd news" article about some men in the UK who were caught stealing a corpse. The article went into the history of grave robbing. It was a huge problem before the 1900s. The bodies were primarily used by medical students. I did some research and learned that bone and tissue could be of value. Below is an excerpt of the story. I republished this story in my own collection.

Resurrection Man

My old attending used to quote Euripides whenever a patient had died. She’d shake her head and say with a wistful sigh, “Death is a debt we all must pay.” As if she had grown tired of proving the lesson of its inevitability to her unseasoned, doe-eyed interns. But I’d been far more acquainted. I liked to think of myself as a kind of Robin Hood. My ex, Gertie, hated when I’d call myself that, me and my crew like Robin and his band of thieves. Except, I didn’t steal from the rich to help the poor. I stole from the dead to help the living. I got a little help, too. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. 

I waited for Li in the alleyway outside the city morgue. I leaned up against a brick wall by the back door smoking my last cigarette. White smoke billowed out of me. The lone streetlamp cast a long shadow on the road. My silhouette mimicked the way I slouched, accentuating the poor posture Gertie tried so desperately to fix. 

Glass shattered from inside the morgue, and the door flung open. The metal gurney Li was pushing got stuck midway through the entrance. Its wheel stuck behind the door jamb tugging the white sheet covering the corpse. The sheet slipped and fell slightly to one side revealing the corpse’s dark hair, the same color of my own. Hell, not even the hair would be left once the cutters got their hands on the body. 

About a hundred thousand people waited every year for an organ or bone and tissue. Only a tenth of that need was met. On average, a cadaver would fetch a price of a hundred grand. Most of the time we’d get our bodies from the funeral home that old Doc ran, from those who didn’t care to pay for a proper burial for their loved one. Those were the quick jobs. We then sent the bodies to our cutters to harvest the bones and tissue. After, everyone would get their cut of the money. On a good night like tonight, we’d score a John Doe from the city morgue, some homeless person with no one to claim them. Doc, Li, and myself, we were the snatching crew—resurrection men. 

Comments:

Dianne

Posted on : March 17, 2020

With permission to donate bodies today get everything possible taken. Lots of money is made!
This story brings the event very up close - it's a job, and someone had to do it! A night in the life...really enjoyed it.


Natalia Corres

Posted on : March 17, 2020

I like the POV. And the resurrectionists played an important role in medical training pre-1900, for sure!
Modern day resurrectionists are less known but exist.
Cool story!


Annis

Posted on : March 17, 2020

Such interesting times back in the day when they needed those grave-robbed cadavers for med students. I liked how you wrote it in first person. xoA


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