• Dzama


Mark had left a post-it note for me saying watch the first one so I tried to stay attentive and look out for anything weird when he came in- a tall, skinny, red-headed guy. He looked like a zombie but they always did. I had my laptop on my lap with the forms up on the screen and my chai tea handy. I read through the questions about medications and medical history and there was nothing unusual in his one-word responses. If I had to say anything I’d say he was a little nervous. His chin trembled a little when I’d mention certain animals, like “koala bear” and “leopard”. The whole animal section of the questionnaire seemed to put him on edge. I did have a gun hidden in the desk and if I needed to I could have just rolled my chair back to grab it if he got too weird.

I just kept on with the questions and he stood completely still and answered them. Then I had him click the button that meant he would not hold us liable for anything that happened to him- that he understood medical testing such as this could be potentially fatal, etc.

Then the nurse came in and jacked him up with the flavor of the week -who knows what- and he just stared at her without moving. Then- and it almost seemed like slow motion it happened so fast- he grabbed the gun out of the desk (how did he know it was there?) and shot first the nurse and then me in the leg. We both went down, screaming if I remember right, and he proceeded to ransack the place. I passed out from the pain and when I woke up again he was still smashing about, spinning like a whirling dervish, knocking over cabinets, smashing the windows, splattering chemicals everywhere.

When he set the place on fire the nurse and I made ourselves get up and out of there. We could barely hold each other up but somehow made it to the door. Absolute chaos reigned outside. All the cars in the parking lot were smashed and various employees lay strewn about. The test animals had been released and they were following the red-headed guy like he was the pied piper to the middle of the parking lot where a helicopter had just landed. He got them up the little ramp into the chopper and then the chopper took to the air.

The nurse and I stumbled down the steps to the parking lot and made it to her Camry, which had a smashed windshield and a huge dent in the roof. We got in there, sitting on the broken glass, and drove out, wind blowing straight through the hole in the windshield.

When I woke up I was lying on the nurses’ couch and her room mate was holding out a cup of coffee. I was missing one leg but at least I was alive. The nurse was going on about how the red-headed guy had all the animals on an island in the Pacific and we had to go get our animals back. I said, No, let him keep them. Let’s get out of this testing racket once and for all. She smiled and injected me with something. I heard myself laughing. Nothing was at all funny but I laughed and laughed and laughed until gradually I drifted back into a complete and total darkness.



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