Road to Hel

‘Is it some kind of training drill of the Territorial Defence Force?’ wondered doctor Zarański, looking through the window, when a real military truck stopped in front of the clinic. The vehicle looked like a real off-road animal. It was covered in slime up to the window line. The mud did not come out due to the specific texture of its paint, which looked like a wall smoothed down by a pro after three strong beers. ‘Okay,’ the doctor thought. ‘It’s Mr Marcin. He called me yesterday to make an appointment, lisping that a rifle butt loosened his lateral incisor and canine.’ ‘I’m near Chernobyl. Yes, the one in Ukraine,’ he spoke in broken sentences. ‘We’ve had a little survival here.’ A silence fell, and later the doctor got a text which read, ‘My friend’s night-vision device broke down, he mistook me for a bear and hit me with a butt in my, or rather your, implants. Help!!!’

And so the doctor was looking at something that had to be Marcin – a big name in neurosurgery – clambering out of the vehicle. He was all hairy and looked like Chewbacca in Star Wars; the only difference was that his coat was green. Marcin’s painted bald head stuck out of that peculiar attire. A radiant smile appeared on the big guy’s surprisingly gentle face.

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Trailing mud on his way to the surgery, he hopped on the chair preventively covered with double disposable sheet by a vigilant assistant.

Meanwhile, one of the patients in the waiting room cheered up. ‘Are you shooting a film here? Perhaps that weirdo’ he pointed to the surgery ‘should jump off a train and later lower himself down a rope ladder from the wall near the tracks,’ he said dreamily. ‘Tell that to the director, will you?’ he asked with a serious face.

‘Unfortunately, it’s impossible,’ answered the receptionist politely. ‘It’s our regular patient. He performs surgeries, here,’ she pointed gently to her head. ‘He goes to the forest and plays war to let off steam. Strange but innocent hobby. And, you know, it gives you a new life. Like video games. Once, a new Gulfstream picked him up from Gdańsk Airport to take him to a private island turned into a private clinic by the wife of a paralysed young man. The operation was a success; the man is now able to speak, eat, and use his hands. He only has paralysis of one leg. But it’s a miracle,’ the receptionist crossed her arms, ‘because he hit against canyon rocks while flying in a wingsuit, like a bird.’

‘What happened next?’ asked the patient curiously. ‘There’s a happy ending to that story, don’t worry before your surgery. The equipment from the operation, worth millions of dollars, was donated and transported to one of military hospitals in Ukraine, to the Children’s Neurosurgery Ward. There is no place in Ukraine where Mr Marcin isn’t welcome, including the exclusion zone near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.’

They heard a loud ‘hooray’ coming from doctor Zarański’s office. The doctor said in a serious but cheerful voice, ‘You’re both so lucky, you and your friend, the one who mistook you for a bear. My implants only loosened up, see? I’ll only have to screw in one small element, a special connector. If it’d been your own teeth, it’d have been much worse. How shall I put it,’ the doctor pondered. ‘The implant cushioned the strike. But for it, who knows, maybe you’d had your jaw broken.’

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‘And what, I’d eat through a straw?’ asked Marcin.
‘Yes, and no meat; you’d eat gruel for about two months.’

‘That’s good,’ the famous doctor was happy to hear it. ‘Remember I lost my teeth when Dziki slung a stone at me. The area is more peaceful now, it’s one of the most desirable locations in Gdańsk, but it wasn’t always like that,’ he rubbed his hands. ‘We’re best friends now, me and Dziki. The day after tomorrow, we’re flying to former Yugoslavia together. You know, it’s still not safe there in some regions. Some Milan or Slobodan, with a made-up name, sent his people to ask me if I take out a piece of steel of his head. I like such challenges although my mum would rather see me in an armchair with a chequered blanked on my legs, relaxing after a ward duty paid by the National Health Fund,’ he cackled.

‘And what, will Dziki be your assistant?’ asked doctor Zarański. ‘Close,’ Marcin rinsed out his mouth. ‘He’ll be on the lookout in a helicopter, like the ones recently bought by our army. In my opinion, Black Hawk is a perfect metal bird. You know how we’re doing it?’ he cheered up. ‘We’re flying in two helicopters – one piloted by me, the other one by my friend, who is a much better pilot than me. If I made decisions in the Ministry of National Defence, I’d send women to professional pilot training. Nevermind, so we have two helicopters fitted with automatic weapons and homing missiles. Jessica, my pilot, don’t laugh,’ the neurosurgeon wagged his finger at the doctor, ‘is suspended in the air next to the family home of our difficult client. It’s my insurance policy. Dziki is manoeuvring in the other over the operating room in an air‑conditioned tent. They already have the best medical equipment, I’ll bring some of mine, too.’


‘Fine, you know, you have a lot of tartar, and we have a small gap in the other surgery, Ms Ola is waiting for you. It’ll be like scraping an old paint off a ship in the shipyard.’ ‘That’s what I like,’ the head surgeon spat water on the surgery wall. ‘I’m afraid I must charge you for painting,’ doctor Zarański chuckled. ‘Go, I must mow the grass.’ ‘Wait a second,’ Marcin stopped him. ‘Wouldn’t you like to go to Serbia with me, take some impressions, put in some teeth for former leaders?’ ‘No, you won’t talk me into that,’ doctor Tomasz laughed. ‘My patients need me here alive.’

‘Thanks for your quick intervention with the implants, I must return the favour now. Come out of the room with me,’ roared Marcin with excitement, looking at his vibrating watch. ‘Tomek, Tomek, I have a surprise for you.’

Lower or even Central Wrzeszcz has never seen something like that. First, decibels appeared in the air, then came the wind – like before a summer storm. But it was not for the rain. Over them, really low, right over the roofs of historical German townhouses, a huge monster was hanging in the air. The MI helicopter with the USSR symbols covered a piece of the sky. Something black fell down right in front of the doctors. A black double nylon rope with a characteristic harness like the ones used for bungee jumping rolled on the ground. ‘We’ll be on the Jurata Peninsula in a student quarter,’ the brain specialist said enthusiastically handing the other harness to doctor Zarański. ‘Well, on the Road to Hel(l) again,’ the latter shrugged it off. ‘The views will be priceless.’

All characters and events depicted in this story are entirely fictitious. Perfect Smile Clinic which is absolutely real.