“We’ll start by revealing the tendon.” Dr. Dominguez placed his cup of coffee on the gurney and tugged at the dermis of the big toe with forceps, exposing the flexor hallucis. Standing by the skull, Hakim recognized Max smiling through a tear in the body bag.

Jules wore a bow tie. He touched his index finger to his tongue to turn a page in an anatomy text. “You have to know the anatomy and physiology of the ankle,” he said. Hakim tried breathing through his mouth to avoid the putrid stench but the surgical mask made it difficult. He stared at the floor, convulsed by dry heaves.

Dr. Dominguez rotated the leg of the cadaver—now Meredith wearing the blue dress—until it cracked. “Let that be a reminder to get your daily allowance of calcium. Now Hakim, I want you to expose the quadrates plantae.”

Hakim slowly examined the partially dissected foot. He made an incision in the sole, revealing a stringy yellow substance. It was tough, hard to cut. A frustrated Dr. Dominguez took the scalpel. “Let me show you.” He sliced at the tissue forcefully until a piece flew up into his mouth and he instinctively swallowed.





Photo Source: The Foot Surgery Atlas