Mr. Grey had the colour of an overripe grapefruit. His hands betrayed what the breath mints fruitlessly tried to conceal; chain-smoker. He was somewhat vain about the issue. Yes, he loved the taste of his tobacco – sweet and full – the smell, the movement of his hand whilst holding it, the way the smoke would sometimes randomly create a full and perfect circle; he hated the way the tar stained his fingers. He washed his hands with an ardour seldom displayed. There was very little else he did with such zeal.
Mr. Grey held a medical degree. That’s to say, his father had held a medical degree, had operated on the right people, had moved in the right sort of circles and had known his way around the world the way only his sort of people do. When Mr. Grey went to university he did only so pro forma. He didn’t really mind much. The parties had been sweet – he now knew a lot of very fun drinking games – and the girls had been young and limber, the boys too for that matter. Mr. Grey sometimes waxed nostalgic but for the most part couldn’t be bothered. Whenever he was so inclined the girls would still be limber, the boys just as young. Only he had changed a little; there was a time his back would have supported him unconditionally.
Mr. Grey wielded sharp, shiny tools. Scalpels, pincers, saws and needles. He knew just what to do; practice had made perfect. Mr. Grey worked in a hospital, of sorts. Well, there was an operating theatre. No matter, he got the job done, he got results, and, even though it sometimes seemed like his bosses were somewhat uncomfortable around him and perhaps would rather avoid him if at all possible, only compliments were ever thrown his way.
Truth be told, he didn’t really have bosses as such. Yes, some guy in a suit would sometimes tell him someone was in desperate need of his special skills, but that was pretty much it. Whatever happened next was no one else’s business but his. He got a steady, government issued, monthly paycheck, regardless of how many people had needed his expertise applied to them; come Christmas he’d get a bonus.
Mr. Grey looked at himself in the mirror whilst washing the blood of his hands. A cigarette hung in the corner of his mouth, his skin had the colour of an overripe grapefruit. All in all, Mr. Grey was one happy camper.