Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Human Trials, Part Four
First of all, the cat is all right. Let's get that said immediately. Marzi, my little ten month old orange and white male kitten is all right. He lived.
I have some cats. Cats being what they are, you only see three or four of them at a time. So that's how many cats I have. Three or four. Marzi, Andy, Spot and Edie and their mother Dru (oops, five) joined Achilles, Naomi and Cloudy last summer (is that eight?). I blame the idiots who do not neuter their cats and then ABANDON THEM IN OUR DRIVEWAY. Thanks to economic downturn, we couldn't off the strays—the shelters were full. So, here we are. All of us.
For anyone who thinks this is excessive, you are so correct! But we are four (semi) adults who live in the country and the cats are indoor/outdoor varietals. It only gets really hairy around feeding time. I have my bee suit and whip. We make it work.
Andy is a puffy-haired gray male with a lolloping walk and a whisker for trouble. He is a well-known hooligan. If I have an appliance—oven, Cuisinart, coffee grinder, washing machine, electric toothbrush—the cat is all over it, in it or eating it. Many's the time Andy has hopped into the clothes dryer when my back is turned. I scoop him out and shut the door.
Not so last night. I threw in my wet socks and workout clothes, turned to look for Andy who was clamoring for half-and-half in the kitchen. I turned back, shut the door, started the dryer and left the room.
There was a clumping sound, like shoes in the dryer. I don't want to say how long I ignored it before going back to check. It was a, hmmm, I don't remember putting shoes in there feeling. I opened the door and saw Marzi's limp body fall to the bottom of the dryer. Not moving.
I'm not proud. I screamed and ran. The Professor didn't understand what I was screaming about, as if "Marzi! Dead! Dryer! Omigod! Omigod! Marzi! Dead! Dryer!" didn't make complete sense. By the time he got to the dryer, the cat was up and wobbling away. They tell me he was fluffier than usual.
I didn't think it was possible, but after a couple of hours hiding under the coffee table and trying to get as close to the gravitational center of the earth as possible, I was all right. And Marzi is fine. No broken bones or anything. I said his nose looked too pink this morning and the Professor, bless his little cotton socks, offered to roll me up in a rug and take me to the psychiatrist.
To celebrate having lived another day without becoming a cat murderer, here is Part Four of Human Trials. People are different; killing them in fiction doesn't seem so bad.
Human Trials, Part Four
The beauty of the drug was that Richard only had to find one perfect girl.
Sal explained it over beers one night, months earlier. Time distortion was still theoretical at that point and no one knew if the drug would actually create the effect. Everyone at the lab joked about Dr. Mack. Who gave funding to such a whack job?
But Sal believed it might work. Or maybe he just saw future opportunities. Of a financial nature.
"Ever wanted to relive the best fuck of your life?" asked Sal. "Think about it."
"Like virtual reality?"
"Virtual nothing! It's the real deal, Richard. You are there."
Richard paused for a sip of beer, gathering his thoughts. Already, there was a girl. "Does it affect other people?"
Sal shook his head. "Unknown. It's supposed to create a distortion envelope around the subject's body. Like it's Thursday in the world, but Wednesday for you. But we've talked about making it a bigger event with a higher dosage."
"Make it Wednesday in a whole room?"
"Make the whole planet Wednesday, Richard. Or any day you like."
The last time Richard saw Sal in the hall before he died he was too busy to talk. "Gotta run, Rich. Remember that thing we talked about? It's going very well. Know what I'm saying? You won't fucking believe it."
"Wednesday?" Richard asked.
Sal laughed, already moving down the hall. "Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday."
Richard wondered what day it had been when Sal had injected a planet-sized dose into his arm and blown the top of his head off.
In the confusion before the cops arrived, Richard stepped into the booth and grabbed a handful of vials from a cooler. Two empty vials were next to a syringe on the table and Sal's remains were on the floor. Hard to associate the guy with whom he'd shared a few beers to the thing on the floor with a lower jaw and not much more above the collar.
Two empty vials; that was Sal's mistake. All Richard wanted was to replay the events of one night in one crappy little neighborhood. Make it Friday again. You didn't need to mainline a gallon of the stuff to do that.
And he already had the girl.