It was the information about this corpse that the professor was just transferring to his files.
A lone student came into the lab twenty minutes before the hour. The professor did not look up to greet the tall young man, but dipped his steel pen in the ink and continued writing while the student went straight to the center seat in the front row of the amphitheater and covered it with his notepad. He didn’t sit down, but strolled through the laboratory and looked around.
He stopped in front of the brine container and took Dr. McGowan’s astonishment grabbed the long wooden stick with the iron hook on one end and fished it between the body parts like a boy playing by a pond. In the nineteen years that Dr. McGowan had been giving introductory anatomy lectures, he had never seen anything like it. Usually new students showed tremendous respect when they first entered the anatomy room. Most moved slowly, some in fear.
The student didn’t respond, even when the professor clapped his hands loudly, and suddenly Dr.
McGowan who he was looking at. He got up, but then sat down again, curious to see how things would go on.
The young man seemed to be looking for something in the container. Most of the body parts were old, and many had already been cut open by other students. This general state of mutilation and disintegration was the main cause of horror among freshmen. Dr. McGowan saw the student pull a hand to the surface, then a battered leg. Finally, he lifted out a forearm with a hand that was obviously in better shape than the rest of the specimens. Dr. McGowan watched as the student maneuvered his cane into the top right corner of the tank, then covered it with some unsightly pieces. He hid the preparation!
Immediately afterwards the student put the staff back in place and went to the table to check the sharpness of the scalpels. When he found one that he liked, he moved it slightly away from the others and then went to his seat.
Dr. McGowan decided to ignore him and continued to write on his files for the next ten minutes.
Little by little the other students came into the laboratory and went straight to their seats. Some were already pale, because the smells in the hall encouraged fears and obsessions.