She always arranged her tools before she began any operation. Just as in an any operating theater, it was important to be able to lay your hand on the correct instrument without looking, without thinking. Her young assistant was inexperienced and didn’t always make the right choice, so it was best to be able to direct her to the proper implement.
The operating table had been draped in protective material designed to collect any leaking fluids or stray bits of flesh, and the lighting had been adjusted to illuminate the field with no confusing shadows.
Her hands were already clean, so she drew one glove and then another over her fingers, and down around her wrists. The girl across the table had already done the same, and, she noted approvingly, her long hair had been tucked into a cotton cap. Good.
The patient was already in place, with glistening skin ready to be pierced by a blade. They had marked the surgical site to ensure no mistakes would be made.
“Wait,” she said. “Something’s missing.”
“I forgot to start the music!” Her assistant had the decency to look embarrassed. The girl gave an order to Alexa and the first notes of Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Danse Macabre” wafted from the speaker system, the opening monotone chime seeming very like a countdown clock.
“No, there’s something else.” She surveyed the scene, and then smiled as realization dawned. She left the area for a moment and returned with metal container. “The collection bowl was missed,” she explained, placing the thing in position. One more confirming look, and then, “Alright, now we’re ready.”
“I hope this goes well,” her assistant said. “Last time we messed up the mouth, and it really wasn’t pretty.”
“We’ll be fine,” she said. “Hand me the first blade.” The girl’s small hand placed the serrated knife into her larger one. “Making the first incision now.”
The blade pierced the patient’s skin and fluid oozed out. Her assistant wiped it away with a paper towel and the two shared a look of glee.
“Shall we continue?” she asked, and when the girl nodded her approval, she made the second cut, announcing, “Alright, Jack! Time for your lobotomy!”
Mother and daughter giggled together. Pumpkin carving had never been more fun.