Gear, part two.

Posted: May 27, 2013 in Fiction, Test Subject

So, like an idiot, I scheduled the last three posts in the wrong order. It should be fixed now. If the flow of the story seemed wrong, that’d be why.

I sit and try to look like I’m waiting patiently. Injector. If it does what it sounds like it does, I’ll be stabbing myself. Really not thrilled about that. On the other hand, Doctor Allison’s bedside manner is pretty bad. Maybe I would rather do it myself. Yeah, I would definitely rather do it myself. For a brief moment, I wonder about the potential other lab rats. Have they gotten their goodie boxes yet? Am I ahead of the curve? Or am I behind? That last thought doesn’t thrill me. Should I ask? Probably not. For one, I doubt that she meant to imply that there are others. For another, I doubt she’d tell me.

Her footsteps snap me back to reality. She comes around the curve of the blast chamber with a tray in one hand and a red tool box in the other. I smirk. “My old man has a tool box like that,” I tell her. She says nothing. It’s her favorite thing to say.

“Have a seat,” she tells me. She sets the tray down next to my plastic crate. Assuming she’ll check the crate out to me. She sits the tool box on the floor next to us as I flop down into one of the rolling office chairs. I lean over and inspect the tray. There is a small pile of machine screws, a battery, and three aluminum crescents. Purely by coincidence, I have a good guess what’s going on here.

“So, I’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and you didn’t tell me? I’m hurt.” Doctor Allison doesn’t respond. She bends down and pops the toolbox open. The pieces on the tray will assemble into an aluminum cuff that fits around a wearer’s wrist. It has chambers for cartridges full of whatever medication in prescribed, and a series of hollow needles that ring the inside. It’s typically given to people who need regular doses of insulin or antipsychotics. You know, the kind of people who can’t afford to miss a dose. It makes sense that I’d get one. I get stabbed a lot here, and eventually I’d end up with more track-marks than a methadone clinic. The doc straightens, a small electric screwdriver in hand.

“Your left hand, please,” she says. I prop my left elbow on the workstation. She grabs my hand with icy fingers.

“Is it a rule that doctors have to have super cold hands and equipment?” She ignores me.

“I need you to hold very still,” she says. She takes a segment of the bracelet and tapes it to my wrist with surgical tape. She repeats the process, sticking the three largest parts around my wrist. Then she picks up one of the smaller linking pieces and a pair of screws. She starts attaching the segments together. In short order, my new jewelry would stay on without the tape. The doc picks up her electric screwdriver and starts tightening down the connections. Each screw head is a little triangle. I guess she doesn’t want some idiot just taking apart her little gizmo.

“It occurs to me, doc,” I say, “that this thing will either label me as medically fragile or as a junkie.” I don’t have too many run-ins with law enforcement, but I really try not to complicate things when I don’t have to. Anything that will administer drugs can be considered paraphernalia.

“This model is unlike the more commercially available versions, Brinks.” She doesn’t call me ‘Mister’ this time. “Still the RFID will identify you as diabetic, and your cartridges will be clearly labeled as insulin.” She pauses, finishing the last screw. “So it will identify you as… medically fragile.” She puts the screwdriver back in the toolbox and closes it. She straightens up, pushes her frameless glasses up the bridge of her nose. She looks at me long and hard. I meet her gaze, but it isn’t easy. “There are rules for this piece of equipment, Mister Brinks.” Back to being formal. “The first rule should be obvious, but I’m telling you anyway – you have diabetes. That is what your injector is for.” She was right. Obvious. I’m already not supposed to talk about work, and this is work equipment. I nod my understanding. “Second, I will be allowing you to field test certain compounds. You are only to use one at a time, both for purity of data and for your own safety.” I nod again. “Third, and related to the other two, you do not field test anything in view of others.” That one will be trickier, but I get it.

“Doc, I know you’re on a roll here, but these are all no-brainers.” Dad always told me that there is an idiot’s name attached to every rule. I already suspected I’m not the only lab rat in town. Guess this means, I’m not the dumbest one she’s had. Comforting.

“Clarity is important, Mister Brinks. We’ve been over this.” At great length. My early testing write-ups got rejected every time because I wasn’t being clear and specific.

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