June 3rd, 2008
In an abandoned basement lab, deep in the heart of Purdue's campus...
Pranav Lee gently squeezed the bulb and released precisely seven droplets of green fluid into the otherwise crystal clear solution. He then methodically adjusted the bunsen burner to a whiter flame and set the timer to count backwards from seven minutes.
"Professor Anderson kept telling me my thesis wasn't radical enough. Kept telling me I wasn't breaking any new ground. Well I'll show him, Roger. We'll show him, together! Isn't that right, Roger?"
Roger the corpse stared back at him, lifeless.
"That's okay, Roger. Just a few more minutes and I can try Test Solution #21. Where would you like it this time? On the arm, perhaps?"
"Oh, you'd like that very much, wouldn't you, Roger?"
Still no response.
"Don't let me forget, Roger, to turn out the light when I leave. Last night we almost got caught because of your shenanigans. It's a good thing nobody uses this lab anymore, because the door doesn't shut quite right. You be good when I'm at class, okay?"
Roger's lifeless eyes stared at the ceiling.
Startled by the quiet beeping of the timer, Pranav jumped and looked around suspiciously before scribbling some notes into his lab book.
"Professor Anderson always liked good note-takers, Roger. Said the only way to prove a new theory was to record everything so it could be tested and repeated." he said as he grabbed the beaker of light green fluid with a pair of tongs. Gently pouring a few drops onto Roger's arm, the hot liquid sizzled on the dead flesh and produced an acrid odor that caused Pranav to recoil. He returned the liquid to the stand and noted the result, before measuring out more white powder from an unmarked container.
"Pop quiz, Roger. What is Professor Anderson's wife's name?"
"Ooooh, I'm sorry. Time is up and I'm afraid the correct response is 'Bethany'. Would you like to risk all of your winnings for a second chance question?"
"Fair enough. I know it's hard to concentrate when the samples haven't been working very well lately. Maybe the next batch will work better - I'm going to try increasing the ratio of scopolamine to catechol-o-methyl. Perhaps that will generate some response."
The next hour passed in relative silence as the two continued testing various combinations of the chemicals Pranav had smuggled into the building over the past semester.
"The Exponent says that this week is gonna be extra hot, and since everybody thinks this lab isn't being used, I need you to try not to stink up the place while I'm gone, okay Roger?"
Roger said nothing.
"Atta boy. Whew, you already smell pretty rank. I wish I could turn on the ventilation hoods, but I'm already risking a lot using the outlets for the lab equipment. It'll be worth it, though, if I can prove my theory. Anderson will be old news, and I'll rub it in his face."
After carefully washing his hands, Pranav pulled large tarps over his work-in progress before pulling his backpack on. He pulled the last tarp over the gurney.
"Goodnight, Roger. Sleep well."
Current Word Count: 652