Lab Rat part 64

Posted: March 29, 2011 in Fiction, Test Subject
Tags: ,

“Wake me when Dad gets back.”

“Of course, sweetie.” You know what? Maybe Dad really did find a winner this time. She’s wrong though; I’m not like my dad. He’s always got a plan. Jennifer has seen it too. He doesn’t let stuff happen to him. He happens to stuff. Reminds me of a bumper sticker. Or maybe it was a tee shirt. I forget.

* * *

The heavy vest flops down on my bed, wrenching me violently from sleep. I come awake bolt upright, and I have to take a long breath before I can scream properly. Jennifer stuffs a washcloth in my mouth and shoots Dad a dirty look as she muffles my anguished cry. “Kenneth, that’s no way to treat your boy.”

“He’ll be fine. He’s got his magic cure-all now.” He addresses me. “Next time you have to dump equipment, you find a safe spot and you mark it. I spent all damn day climbing up and down fire escapes.” I pull the rag and Jennifer’s hand away from my face and dry the tears that leaked from my eyes.

“Sorry, Dad. I’m not exactly James Bond, you know?” I pull the vest up onto my lap, and grit my teeth against the pain in my leg. I open it, and my heart skips a beat. Row upon row of cartridges taped into the inside. Power waiting to be turned loose on Agent Johnson and Keegan Parish. My clenched teeth become a grin. “This does go a long way toward making me feel better though.” I scan through the columns until I find a regeneration cartridge. “Jennifer, how much food do we have right now?” If I can, I’m going to eat it all.

“We’ve got a ton of –.”

“Could I, uh, just get the bag?” I get a warning glare from Dad. “Sorry. Please?” I’m impatient. I’ve been gone for four days and someone has Allie and I don’t know who. I slot the cartridge into the injector. Jennifer brings me the grocery sack. “Thank you.” I smile up at her. With my burns, it’s hard to tell if she can see it. “I’ll buy food next, okay?”

“Damn right, you will, kid.” I really will make good on it, if my wallet is still in my pants. I open up the package of lunch meat and cram a wad of ham into my mouth. Ugh. I chew it only enough to swallow. The whole thing is gone in under a minute. I turn on the cheese. “Where are your manners, kid?”

“The regeneration needs stuff to use to rebuild me. Otherwise you get a perfectly healthy beanpole.” I take a huge bite of the block of cheese. As I chew, I unscrew the lid of the sandwich spread and drop it. I dip my hand into the jar and come out with what may as well be a handful of mayonnaise. I cram it in my mouth and try very hard not to enjoy eating like a pig in front of my dad. He and Jennifer sit in silent disgust as I shovel the contents of the bag into my stomach. I lick my fingers clean, and ask Jennifer, “Do we have any kind of intravenous nutrition?”

I still wake up every morning feeling like a freight train hit me. I still go to bed with my fists clenched as though I could fight off my nightmare. I think I’m done talking about the whole mess, but no promises.

I’m tired of shit happening to me. I need to find a way to start happening to shit. Turnabout is fair play.


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