“I’ve got a live one!” a moth surgeon shouts as he runs through the emergency room, a terribly injured moth in his hand. At this stage, it’s not clear what’s wrong with the little fellow. The diagnostic team assembles and concludes that the patient has rubbed up against a wall, leaving a large portion of his weak dust body there. “We have to operate now!” The chief surgeon declares. The next few hours are touch and go. No anesthesia is necessary because moths do not feel pain, so the anesthesiologist just stands there and paces relentlessly until the results of the operation come in, just like he does every day. Finally, the chief surgeon emerges from the operating room, carrying the patient in his hand. “The little bastard is going to make it!” he announces. Everyone applauds and shakes hands, traumatizing the moth. The day isn’t over by a long shot, but you have to enjoy the victories here at moth hospital. They come all too seldom.
The morgue is standing proof of this fact. The room contains five trashcans, and every trashcan contains hundreds of thousands of dead moth bodies. The stench is nonexistent. Dr. Ashwood, the coroner, is a somber man. He used to give each of the deceased an autopsy, but soon realized that their dusty bodies crumble off when you touch them. Now he just throws the moths in the trash. When asked if death has changed him he says no. It hasn’t.
On the seventeenth floor the resident physician, Dr. Taggar, delivers some earth-shattering news to a moth. “I’m sorry,” he says, “There’s nothing more we can do for you.” The moth does not reply. Soon he will be taken to the terminal illness ward of the hospital, where he isn’t expected to make it through the night. He is only three weeks old. His family does not visit him that night because moths don’t have families, but Dr. Taggar waits with him until the bitter end. When the moth dies, the docor goes to the hospital bar. He is still on call, but some nights you just need a drink. Three hundred thousand of his patients died this week. He downs a shot of tequila. Then another. The other doctors begin to stare. He downs another shot. Some of the doctors fill a glass with tequila and start chanting. “Down it! Down it!” Dr. Taggar grimly obliges. Another shot. And then another. Now he’s having fun. He joins a game of tequila pong and sinks three cups without trying. He invented tequila pong and everyone loves him for it. He downs another shot of tequila. Then another one, this time from an ice luge. Another shot. He doesn’t puke all night. This guy is the man.