I straightened up from hunching over the microscope, took off my glasses and rubbed the bridge of my nose. The splice completed, I had some time to take a break. A well-deserved break, if I do say so myself. I stripped off my gloves and shot them into the garbage.
I unbuttoned my labcoat with one hand in less than 20 seconds. Oh yeah, I’m pro.
I left the lab and went into the coffee room, where I found my associate Ian; Ian looked up and nodded. That’s the most the guy ever does, look up and nod. What a prick. But his wife is one of my best friends so I put up with him.
I grabbed my coffee and sat down next to Ian. “Hey, whatcha reading?”
“An article Dawn gave me.”
“Oh yeah? Another one of those you’re-destroying-the-world-articles?”
“Yep. It’s all she’s on about since I took this job.”
I feel kind of guilty. I went to high school with Dawn and then the same university; Dawn in philosophy and me in biotechnology. Dawn hated biotechnology. Dawn met Ian in one of her philosophy classes; they were smitten from the get-go.
Turns out Ian was studying molecular biology, so naturally when we met, we had much to talk about. Ian became interested in biotechnology, but, frankly, lacked the skills and education, whereas I struggled in molecular biology. We were a perfect match for starting our own biotech company. Ian also had a really rich, really eccentric uncle that was willing to pour money into random ventures. And so began the history of InterSlice.
Dawn hated it, but loved Ian, so her way of passively venting her frustration involved putting you’re-destroying-the-world-articles in his lunchbox instead of the love notes, other husbands got. Or so I assume; I never married. And I’m not involved with anyone. Or know of anyone that I might be interested in. Or that might be interested in me. I pretty much live to work.
Ian looked up and asked, “How did the splice go? Do you think it worked this time?” We’ve done this splice roughly a dozen times so far and every time I’ve said the same thing: “It went well, I think it worked.” This time was no exception; Ian rolled his eyes.
I became defensive, as per usual lately; I spat “You know, it might not be my splicing that’s causing the problem maybe you didn’t find the right gene in the…. in the… thur-thingie…” (I hate that I can never remember the name of the bacteria we’re using, whereas “Mr. Ian Wade” can rattle off the full name, crystal clear as if he’s been saying it his whole life).
“It’s bacillus thuringiensis.” There he goes…
“Whatever. Or maybe you didn’t find the right gene in the corn.”
… You better not tell me the Latin name for corn, you bastard…
“Maybe. We’ll see I guess.” You’re lucky… this time…
“I guess we will.”
Enough of an awkward silence elapsed and I was about to go back to the lab when the receptionist walked in. “Hugo? You have a call; line 2.” I looked up and said “Thanks Whitney” as I pushed away from the table. This lab is so ghetto, you can’t even hear pages… what’s the point in having a paging system??
As I walked away I heard Whitney say “Oh, and Ian? Your wife called, she wants to know how you like your lunch?”
Oh, Dawn, always checking up on him. No wonder he reads every single one of those articles you give him; he probably has to answer a quiz when he gets home.
Upon entering the lab, I went to my workstation and peered through the microscope one final time. All looked well, I really felt like it could work this time.
I popped the plate into the incubator and then dashed to the phone because I nearly forgot there was a call waiting. It was Samuel Wade, Ian’s uncle, calling to see if there was any progress on the project “It’s really coming along, Sam!!” which is what I always said to the man. I swore I could hear Samuel’s eyeballs roll into the back of his head.
This better work this time…
Big thanks to EliseArt for providing illustrations.