Blast Room

Posted: January 9, 2012 in Fiction, Test Subject

“I’m all in, Allie.” She holds a pen out to me. I reach for it, but she doesn’t let go.

“One thing. Don’t call me Allie.” I snatch the pen from her outstretched hand. I put the paper down on the nearest table and hastily scrawl my name across the line at the bottom. Man,that felt good. My euphoria is dampened a bit when I remember that I just signed up to be jabbed with needles like it’s my job. Whatever. Beats going hungry. Maybe I won’t have to resort to robbing people who live in shitty apartments like mine now. I hand the paper back to the doctor. She’s got that piercing stare leveled at me again. I take a deep breath and match it.

“So, when do we start?”

“Right now. Did you wear your favorite shirt?”

“No,” I say as I look down. I’ve got a white shirt with the logo for some brand of whiskey on it.

“Good.” She turns and walks over to the refrigerator. I follow. “You’ll want to remove your jacket and any valuables.”

“Do I need a locker or something?” She shoots me a glance over her shoulder, then busies herself with something she’s pulled out of the fridge. I guess that’s a no. I strip the brown work coat off as I head to the work table closest to the door. I pull my keys, phone, and wallet out of my pants pockets and drop them on the coat.

“Follow me, Mister Brinks,” the doctor calls from across the room. She heads for the huge cylinder with the window ring in it. I trot to catch up. As we approach a set of heavy looking steel doors, she tells me about the cylinder. “This is the blast chamber. Any on-site testing will be done in here.” She balances a tray of equipment on one hand and mashes a button on the right side of the doors. Both panels slide into the walls. Inside, there is a small bench on one side and a pair of garment hooks on the other. There is a bulky silvered suit hanging from one hook. The far end has another pair of sliding metal doors.

“An airlock?” I ask.

“Just a safety precaution. If something goes wrong in the blast chamber, it will be contained.” Allie puts the tray down on the bench and starts climbing into the suit. I’m suddenly feeling nervous.

“Uh, Doctor Allison, where’s my suit?”

“Why would you need one?”

“That’s a pretty good question, but it doesn’t answer mine. Why would YOU need a hazard suit? What’s behind the door?” I can hear my nervousness creeping into my voice.

“Calm down, Mister Brinks.” Apparently she could hear it too. “There’s no danger in there. I want you to get used to doing things right, and that means we’re going through the motions no matter how small the test is.” She pulls the zipper up the center of the silver suit and pulls the flap over it. “The fact of the matter is that I already know this particular formula works. Trust me.”

“Says the woman who brings a gun when she answers the door,” I mutter under my breath. She looks at me. I guess she heard that too.

“I am sorry about that. It was a necessary precaution. Not every visitor is a welcome one.” She takes a deep breath and pulls the helmet on. It’s got a large, clear faceplate. A crackle of static comes from her waist. I look down, and there’s a small speaker attached to her belt. “You aren’t the only one who gets nervous about things, Mr. Brinks.” She smacks the button on the wall with a gloved hand. The door we entered through slams closed. Air hisses. My ears pop. The interior door slides open. Doctor Allison picks up the tray full of stuff and lumbers inside. The suit looks awkward to walk in, but at least I won’t have to work as hard to keep my mind on whatever’s about to go down.


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