21 Grams

Prompt: Return of spirit

Andy Miles 1st February 2023

Triggers: Date Rape Drug, Death, Homelessness

21 grams. That is the weight of a human soul as proved by Duncan MacDougall in 1907. This is still controversial, but I aim to prove his finding with some new experiments. MacDougall had to use patients in nursing homes who were close to death and wait for this to occur. Of course, technology has moved on since 1907 and I hope to get a more accurate reading with modern scales. Also, I think I can use modern medication to revive the deceased and repeat the experiment without the need for further ‘volunteers’.

I need to find my subject. This is not much of a challenge. Dressing nicely I drive into town and park on a side road. This particular street has a couple of doorways where the homeless often sleep. I am pleased to see one is in residence tonight, and even better, they do not have a dog. Turning off the side road and onto the high street, I choose one of the many coffee bars that seem to have replaced real shops.  After a toasted sandwich (brie and cranberry, if you must know) and a flat white (or coffee as they used to be called), I order a second coffee and leave.

It is easy to slip the Ketamine into the hot coffee and give it a quick swirl. I should name this coffee something like a ‘Dead White’. Walking back to my car I give the homeless man the coffee and a handful of change. It is a cold night and he accepts both gratefully. I continue onto my car, get in, turn it on and make sure I can see my volunteer in the headlights. In a couple of minutes, they slump sideways spilling the remaining ‘Dead Whtie’ onto the pavement. It streams down to the nearest drain leaving a steaming trail behind.

My luck is in tonight. He has a slight build and, I am a strong woman so I easily carry him to the car. He is still out cold when we reach my surgery and I secure him to the weighing table in the cellar. During the time I am setting up the sensitive equipment he wakes. For some reason, he does not give me his name when I ask for it, preferring to scream and shout obscenities. I’ll mark him down as ‘Patient 43’, it is good to keep things in a sensible sequence.

Everything is calibrated, and even his struggles against the restraints are compensated for by my calculation software. Time to die, my friend. A quick injection of my own making using beta blockers and some other ingredients I will not bore you with will do. This has to be accurate as I need to be able to bring him back. His heart rate slows, and his brain function does the same. After a minute or so he makes the last gasp of a dying person.  I check the measurements, 19.123 grams less than when he was alive! I inject my second drug and apply the defibrillator. He gasps, the return of spirit, he is back. His weight is up 19.011 grams.

Five cycles, a loss of weight of 22.564 grams, 23.874 grams, 20.157 grams, and 21.012 grams. Yes! This is averaging 21.346 grams, with MacDougell’s available technology my results support his findings! He gasps again, the return of spirit a fifth time. The weight gain this time is 0.004 grams. I double-check the results, only vaguely hearing the inhuman noise from the weighing bed. It is too late when I hear the snapping of restraints, the breaking of the bed frame and lastly the snapping of my neck. What happens when you remove the soul of a man?