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"…Is that something you might be interested in?"
"Uh, sure. Yeah I can do that. Where do I sign?"
"Well, it's a lot more than just signing along a dotted line. Here's a registration packet!" My friend Neng eagerly handed me an oversized envelope that must have weighed nearly two pounds. "No rush, you can get it back to me any ti-well, actually I need it by tomorrow morning. Just make sure you don't miss anything. I'll catch ya later!" He left me standing there like an idiot, loosely gripping my book bag in place on my left shoulder and staring dumbly at the heavy stack of eight and a half by eleven inch papers that I was sure would take me forever to skim through.
After a slight delay, I quickly looked through them to attempt an objection, only to be overwhelmed with a slight sense of pity, as I watched my little, Asian friend scurry awkwardly to his next class, which was undoubtedly on the opposite end of the campus. Needless to say, I felt obligated. Despite the fact that it was halfway through finals week and my body was operating almost completely on caffeine and nicotine (a nagging habit I always seemed to indulge in this time of year), my inability to ignore my moral compass was, yet again, shoving me into an endless pile of paperwork.
It was the end of my second-to-last semester at Johns Hopkins University. I was mere months from completing the MD Curriculum, and then…well, to be quite honest, I had no idea what I was going to do next. I never really had much of an interest in medicine, and certainly did not have the composure of your average starry-eyed medical student. As I turned and began trudging back to my dorm room for a long night of cramming, I pulled out a box of cigarettes, popped it open and pulled a stick out with my teeth. I lit up and began puffing like an old steam engine. The smoke was exaggerated, due to the frosty Baltimore air. I remember that day and night so vividly. It was my last full day on this earth as a human.
I awoke violently the next day to a sharp, quick rapping on the door. I knew I had slept in. Still in my boxer-briefs, I stumbled over loose papers and textbooks and swung the door wide open. Neng was standing there, dressed and ready for another long day of exams. His eyes were as wide as dinner saucers – he was obviously shocked at the hap-hazard scene that lay before him. As he used his stubby index finger to push his metal-framed glasses up to the bridge of his nose, he stammered, “D-d-did you finish the registration package? My uh, my project is due today…”
I turned quickly and nearly tripped over my mess of a room to grab the completed paperwork sitting on my nightstand. “Here! See ya!” I said, as I tossed him the envelope and slammed the door in his face. As I rushed to get ready, I looked at the time. “Ten seventeen!?!?” I yelled audibly. I continued to throw on my clothes, snatched my half-open book bag off of the floor and shot out of the room.
As I sprinted towards the main side of campus to try and make my 10:50am exam, I reached into my shirt pocket and grabbed my cigarettes. I knew this was my only chance to get in a few hits before sitting in a classroom for two hours. Cigarette in my mouth, I fumbled for my lighter. Before I could even try to coax the flame from the flint, everything went black.
I struggled to open my eyes. I felt a strange sensation on the right side of my body, like little needles sticking into me from head to toe. “Oh my God,” I thought to myself, “my right side is paralyzed!” I opened my eyelids as quickly as possible. A metal fence. “What? Have I been imprisoned?” Thoughts raced through my head, as I tried to compose myself. What could this mean? I lifted my head. Bad idea. My skull was throbbing with pain so intense that I curled into the fetal position and tried to use my hands to contain it. “FUCK!” That hurt. Why were my hands so heavy? It felt like I had been hit upside the head with a somewhat-hollow femur. “What in the hell is going on?!” I tried to pick myself up off the ground, but my body was not cooperating. I struggled to roll over onto my stomach to make an attempt at assessing my situation. My right side instantly stopped tingling. I looked down – “Is that…hay?” I thought to myself.
My eyes began to focus and I looked past the fence that contained me to see three figures in white lab coats looking down upon me. The one in front had his hands in his coat pockets, and the two behind him were holding clipboards pressed against their waists, pens at the ready. As they came into focus, I noticed an eager grin on what I now recognized as Dr. Beltchenko from the genetics department. On his left stood a young woman, and on his right – “NENG?! What is going on?!” My attempt at yelling came out as a long, almost sorrowful moan.
“He’s conscious!” Neng exclaimed.
“This is unbelievable!” said Dr. Beltchenko in his thick, Russian accent.
It was at this point that I KNEW I had to be dreaming. That was not the case, as my attempts to snap myself out of it were utterly futile. Giving up, I allowed my body to roll back over onto my side. “Wait – why was that so easy?” I thought, as it took hardly any effort. I looked down to try and assess my physical state for the first time. What I saw caused all thoughts in my head to cease. My snout was preventing me from completely viewing myself, but I instantly recognized what I was. Somehow, my consciousness was contained in the body of a fully-grown (and not recently groomed) sheep.
And that is where I still am today. I’m guessing that it has been approximately five to six months since the incident. I should be finishing up my fourth year of medical school. Instead, I’m still here in this cage, constantly having tests run on me. I wish I had never filled out that paperwork for Neng’s assignment. “Dedicate your body to science! Just think, Jason, research done on your body could propel the human race into a bright new age!” Bullshit. I’m tired of being fed forbs and clovers in a metal bowl. I’d rather have a steak – or, better yet, my favorite, lamb chops. I wish they’d give me some beer instead of water. And worst of all, I’m really jonesing for a smoke.