Human Slices is a love story about a woman who is happily childfree. It’s her natural choice.
She spells her name S-A-L-M but pronounces it Sam. “The l is silent,” she says. It’s her way of combining her given name Samantha, with her father’s nickname for her, Little Salmon.
The story takes place in the late 1980s in Chicago. Salm and her friends, women in their thirties, are thinking about what’s next in their lives and how, and if, they’re going to determine their own destinies.
Salm’s decision to be childfree is about being true to her own self, although the choice does impact the way people respond to her.
Salm thought about her doctor briefly. It was no simple task to find one who so easily accepted a patient who said, “I don’t want to have children. Never have and never will.” Other gynecologists had looked at her with disdain when she explained how she felt. Some had told her, “Oh, you’ll change your mind when the right guy comes along.” Or, “‘You’ll get over being that selfish.” Or, “Having a child is why you’re here on earth. You’ll want one one day.”
On a promising spring day, Salm visits the Museum of Science and Industry and makes her way to the human slices exhibit. It’s always been one of her favorite displays, a series of cross-sections of the human body, real flesh and bones. She is fascinated by the thought that the same shapes and forms are stacked inside her own body, taking charge of her moves and decisions.
At the human slices exhibit, each rectangular display case jutted out from the wall so that people could observe the slices from both sides.
Salm stooped down to examine a shrunken, yellowed stomach from one side of the display case. Playfully, she closed one eye and peered through an open gap between the stomach and the intestines. Through this tiny opening, she could look out to the hallway. She looked left and then right, and then she saw a man appear from around the corner.
Salm decides to follow him.
And she sees him again and again, wherever she goes.
There was a sudden draft and Salm looked toward the diner’s front door. Of all the people in he world, the man from the museum walked in an grabbed a stack of newspapers near the coat rack. Salm immediately put her fork down and wiped hot sauce from her chin.
She was engulfed by grand fantasies about chance meetings and love and romance being predestined by the stars. Her life and his were being drawn together for some reason at this small moment in this same room. It was magical, and she suddenly felt charged.
Luke took a table for two across from the booth where Salm and her friends sat. He didn’t notice them. And even though Salm tried not to be obvious, her friends quickly realized that she was watching someone.
“Who are you looking at?” Sylvia asked.
“Nobody.” Salm was embarrassed. They were all adults, and they should know how to behave in public. But Salm knew her friends too well. As soon as she would point out the object of her attention, they would abruptly crane their necks and stare.
“A great, realistic and ENTERTAINING book! SO many novels are all about women with kids
or who desperately want them. Salm is a woman who has never wanted kids, and she is unapologetic.
Her circle of friends are hilarious and true-to-life, and the story flows well.” — Amazon review
The book is available in print and for the Kindle through Amazon.com. Don’t have a Kindle? You can download a free Kindle app and read the book on your computer or other device. You can also access the first chapter on this Amazon link.
To access a blog post about interactions with a wonderfully positive reader, go to Connecting with a Reader Over Human Slices — Priceless.
To access a blog post on being childfree, go to On Being Childless, Childfree, and Being True to Our Natures.
Human Slices cover art by Christopher Holbert.
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I don’t think the sliced people were done so while still alive which is what “vivisection” means. But I’ve seen this display and like it, too.
Glad to hear from another fan of the exhibit. And thanks so very much for pointing out the wrong use of the word. I appreciate it immensely!!!