(Just For a Wee Bit of Fun!)
”two hundred seventeen.... two hundred seventeen darned combinations and no closer.... two hundred seventeen...”
It felt like the passage of time and incessant dry-heat had finally got to old Joe’s mind as he scribbled his notes in the journal.
Compound Test 217a.
Result – Neg”
He pulled his last pack of cigarettes from the drawer and gave them a little shake like he’d done a hundred times before, always knowing that there
was only one left in the pack. But, this time was different: This time he kept going... He opened the pack and took a long hard look at the solitary,
tobacco-filled paper stick and he took it out and raised it to his lips. He could hardly remember the last time he’d gone this far, but he knew that
time was not on his side now.
He stared at the Petri dish on the lab table in front of him with its lifeless smear of gel in the bottom, and then glanced over to the rack of old
medicine bottles that he’d been using to hold his chemicals and a tiny little tear formed on the corner of his eye.
Joe’s mind wandered back to the good ole days of his youth, those hazy “sepia-coloured” memories of the small town where he grew up:
His dad’s old church with its grassy lawns and green trees swaying in the soft cool breeze, the smell of his Mom’s cooking, him and CeeCee
swimming in the stream... all gone now. Nothing was left but a barren wasteland of Arizona-like desert, a never-ending dust-bowl of lifeless sand and
Oh they’d really
messed things up this time. Man playing God... again. What was it they’d done??? Joe strained to recall the spin-stories
that played out on the TV back then, something about cloud-seeding to stop the global warming or something??
He was parched with thirst, way too tired and far too weak & hungry to care any more. The last of the canned food had run out four days ago and his
water supply had finally run dry, as he always knew it would.
Joe’s lip quivered slightly, shaking a tiny spec of tobacco out of the cigarette and down to land on the open dish, as his head slowly bowed forward
and his eyes closed sending that solitary tear rolling down his cheek to mingle in a macabre funerary dance with the contents of the dish below.
They found him 23 days later.
Satellite imagery had spotted a huge and sudden spread of orange flowers, out there in the desert.
They were Chrysanthemums.
Joe had apparently used an extract derived from the flowers as an antibacterial agent in his latest compound test. When mixed with the plant material
from the tobacco and moistened with a briny tear... nature had somehow “found a way” and the blooms had taken hold and spread quickly to the
He had finally succeeded, just too late.