When Fritz got the job at the Hümdinger Research Center he was thrilled. He and Maggie went out for a fancy dinner and everything. He thought he knew what working in an animal test lab would be like. He was wrong.
The rats. Working with them turned out to be easy once he got past that initial stomach-clutch when handling them. It turned out that caring for rats was super easy and preparing them for “sac” — shorthand for sacrificing which is the euphemism for killing — was basically just another workday chore. Even caring for the ones whose limbs had been broken or had other terrible things done to them wasn’t such a big deal. They were rats.
The white New Zealand rabbits were tougher. It was very difficult to prepare them for saccing. They were so gentle and trusting. Fritz didn’t sleep well for weeks after preparing fifteen of those sweet bunnies for sac. Maggie suggested he think about going back into therapy.
Fritz knew other labs experimented on sheep and even horses or goats or dogs or monkeys. Hümdinger mostly worked with rats and rabbits. Until the day eight crates of cats from Baltimore showed up.
Fritz was the one who usually arranged for new deliveries but Professor Schrödinger came out to sign off on the crates.
“My new experiment, Fritz, very exciting stuff.” Professor Schrödinger handed the clipboard back to the delivery people and instructed Fritz to stack the crates in the far corner of her lab. “Leave them for tonight.”
Fritz was surprised to find Professor Schrödinger already in the lab when he arrived the next morning. He was even more surprised at her mussed hair and wrinkled lab coat.
“Good morning, Professor.”
She seemed a little dazed and began walking over towards the crates. When Fritz reached to begin uncrating the cats, cats who seemed oddly silent, she stopped him.
“I’m sorry, Professor. Would you like me to come back later?”
Fritz hesitated. He had twenty rats to get to Dr. Everett’s lab and needed to get these cats uncrated first. Professor Schrödinger seemed to be ready to say something but paused and began walking from crate to crate, pressing her face against the wood briefly and listening intently.
Fritz waited. He liked Professor Schrödinger but hoped she’d get herself sorted out soon. Dr. Everett would be a real pain if he didn’t get his rats on time.
“Well, what do you think? Are they alive or are they dead?” Professor Schrödinger asked Fritz.
Fritz just stood there, dumbfounded.
“Exactly!” Professor Schrödinger’s face shone as she rushed to her computer and began typing quickly. Fritz shifted uncomfortably.
“You can arrange for them to be returned to the supplier. The experiment was a success.”
Fritz found out from Dr. Everett’s administrative assistant about Professor Schrödinger’s admission to the state psychiatric facility. He also found out that due to supplier error those crates had been shipped empty.
He gave his notice that day.
© Remington Write 2020. All Rights Reserved
In August 2020, AleXander Hirka set himself the challenge of creating a daily digital collage based on an image and a concept. The image is that of the antique Omega watch that belonged to his Mom and the concept is Time. In September 2020, the Anomalous Duo is challenging themselves to write a short piece of fiction for each collage — the Our Hours project.