Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hypothesis (Race The Date #5 entry)

“You know, in some cultures they cut off your hand for stealing.” Daniel paced up and down the rows of incubators and centrifuges. During the day, as many as thirty investigators might be working in the lab at any given time, but now it was deserted, and Daniel’s voice echoed off white boards and epoxy resin countertops, making it impossible to tell exactly where he was.

Richard’s irresistible cobalt eyes ricocheted inside their bony sockets like a pair of tandem pinballs. They were the only things he could move. His wrists and ankles were securely fastened to his chair with zip ties, and his mouth was stuffed with filter paper and secured with several strips of rainbow lab tape.

“But you didn’t steal with your hands. Did you, Richard?” Daniel stepped from behind a tower of deionized water. He wore a face shield, safety goggles and insulated gloves. In one hand he carried a coffee-can sized container labeled LN2, in the other a glass pipette.

“No,” Daniel said, “You seduced my lab assistant with greedy eyes that lapped up my research proposals when her back was turned.” He set the container on the counter; the lower half had sprouted a lawn of frost.

“I don’t think losing your hand would do much to stop you from stealing again.” Daniel removed the lid; frigid fog boiled over the edges. He placed the pipette into the container and drew up 6 ml of clear, bubbling fluid. Richard’s eyes bulged like rubber stops under high pressure.

“But I suspect that a few drops of liquid nitrogen on those icy blue peepers might just do the trick.” Daniel peeled back Richard’s eyelids and positioned the pipette above the first writhing globe.

“As we are both men of science, let’s test that hypothesis. Shall we?”

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