Friday, September 21, 2012


 By Wayne Depriest

You’ve got one chance to get this right; one chance to turn the tide; one chance to get you and Madge and the rest of humanity out of the shithole and back to normalcy. You need an antidote and you need it fast. You’re a scientist, for shit’s sake! You made the mess, even if it was some cost-conscious, bottom line-watching asstard who made the decision to use mercury. there’s no time to use any of the normal chelating agents like DMSA or DMPS. You need something that’s gonna flush the mercury out of a person’s system in minutes, an hour at most. It’s the damn mercury vapor that’s the problem. Get the unaffected to stop breathing until the units are stabilized is the perfect answer—not realistic, but perfect.
Meanwhile, back on Planet Gonetoshit, there are hordes of shit zombies sludging through the facility. For the moment you and Madge are safe. You’ve got some favors to call in; people who owe you big time and who can get some shit done in a hurry. You need to develop an antidote for those affected, one that will reverse the manure mange—or at least halt its progression through the body.
You flip back the hood of the hazmat suit, pick up the phone and punch 9 for an outside line, an idea twisting through your head. If we can get the...
You get no dial tone. You punch 9 again. Same thing.
“How the hell do I call in favors if I can’t make a call?”
“There’s no time for that anyway,” Madge  urges. “You have to do something and you have to do it fast.”
“Even if I make an antidote, how do we get it out and dispensed? I can’t even call for FedEx.”
“You’re the scientist. Just make the antidote. We’ll worry about getting it delivered later.”
You race over to the bench and start slinging test tubes and pipettes around like you know what you’re doing. But you don’t. You’re not a chemist, for God’s sake. You’re an industrial engineer. You throw some of this in a tube, add a pinch of that, some more of whatever this is and the damn thing blows up in your face. It burns like a bastard, but your eyes seem unaffected. The bright blue cloud of vapor floats across the lab and envelopes a pile of some former lab assistant. The congealed pile of crap starts to reshape itself into something resembling a human being.
“That’s it!” screams Madge. “That’s it!”
“What the hell is it?” you scream back at her.
“You made it—don’t you know?”
“Hell no.”
“You have to make some more. Lots more.”
You spend another twenty minutes trying to duplicate the formula. Finally you get a controlled batch, one that doesn’t explode. A good thing, too. You’re about out of hair. You get it into an atomizer and start working on a bigger batch, something you can push through the ventilation system here. That will give you enough time to make more and somehow get the formula out to other labs. You can have this thing whipped by tomorrow morning and be the hero again. There’s just one problem.
It’s that damn blinking light in the corner. Madge doesn’t see it. Or doesn’t know what it means. But you do. And you realize that all the determination in the world isn’t going to change what is about to happen. That little blinking light is a security breach indicator. Normally it glows with a soft steady light. When it blinks it means that someone has entered the security zone in an unauthorized manner. There’s always a guy monitoring that light. It’s his only job. When it blinks he’s trained to respond by pushing some buttons or something that will lock down the core of the lab inside a series of sheet steel walls that might yield to a nuclear weapon. Might. Anything less is like hitting a brick wall with a toasted marshmallow.
But Mr Security Breach Guy isn’t there. Well, he is, but he’s not much use as a slush pile of chunky diarrhea overflowing the office chair. And from the way the damn light is flashing, there isn’t any time to batten down the hatches, even if you knew how to batten down anything. Which you don’t. About the only thing you can do is try to get you and Madge out before the shit storm hits. The stool zombies aren’t going to care about a cure and the little atomizer isn’t enough for the mounds of muck on the way.
Of course, by this time there is no getting out. Cameras are showing hordes of shittards scraping along the corridors on the way to the lab. Every exit is blocked by shuffling schools of shit zombies, putrid poop pods plodding toward the lab. You and Madge ain’t in deep shit yet, but it won’t be long.
You search frantically for anything that will help. Of course there isn’t anything. You and your sister are on your own. For a minute you think about throwing her to the zombies. Maybe it will give you enough time to get away. You look at her and realize she’s thinking about making you the star of the Fecal Follies.
“What the hell are we going to do?” You can’t seem to control the panic.
“Just calm down. Let me think.” Madge waves a shush hand at you like your mother did when she wanted quiet. It doesn’t work for Madge either.
“What’s there to think about? We’re dead. They’ll rip these hazmat suits off us like underwear at an orgy.”
“Spray ourselves with the formula,” Madge exclaims. “Even if they get us, we won’t turn to shit. We can fake dying and hold out until they leave.”
You take a gigantic hit from the atomizer, sucking it deep into your lungs as Madge removes her helmet and reaches for the antidote. Just as she’s squeezing the mist into her mouth you feel your lungs ignite. You have time to see Madge’s eyes widen in surprise before your lungs explode and flames engulf her face.

Oops...return to Chapter 5