The Lab

Ten days till she got to see her boyfriend. Her coworkers were tired of her bubbly excitement about the upcoming event. She had told everyone she could about it. She knew they had betting pools for how long this long distance relationship would last. She was determined to prove them wrong.

She toiled through the workday, making samples for analysis. The week flew by faster than she had expected. Every night at nine at night she got a call that made her heart soar.

“Hey babe!” She giggled into the phone.

“Things good?” He asked, she melted over the sound of his husky voice.

“Things would be better if you were here.”

“I know honey but not much longer.”

She yawned loudly into the phone, “Sorry, I’ve got data to crunch before bed. I’ll talk to you later and see you soon.”

“See ya.” The line disconnected.

She needed to write an eight page paper on her current research for a grant. Resigned she typed away at her keyboard and eventually fell asleep on top of it. She woke up in a panic in the middle of the night realizing she was only half done. Frantically she wrote and inserted her data. She muttered to herself trying to remember what she needed to include in this particular paper. The sun was starting to peak into her window when she finished. She clicked send on the email and looked at the clock which was just ticking over to seven. She dressed quickly and scurried out the door.

“Hey how’s it going?” Her supervisor said standing over her shoulder.

She continued to sort samples and prepare them for analysis. Her supervisor was making her nervous. “Good.”

He moved on to hover over the next person he spotted. He gave her the creeps when he would hover like that.

She packed up her samples and carried them down the hall. She knocked with her free hand nearly spilling her hard work on the floor.

“Hey, these are ready to go. Do you know how long its going to take?” She passed them through the door.

“Are they time sensitive?”

“To some extent, but nothing specific.”

“I’ll have them ready Thursday at six.”

“Thanks.” She went back to her work space to clean up. She was looking forward to her nightly call.

She stopped to pick up dinner at her favorite Chinese place. She had the menu memorized, but she still looked it over just to be sure. She made her choice and handed over her credit card as she ordered. “Can I have a number five?”

The guy behind the counter nodded and ran her card. Her food came up and she ran back to the car, snow was starting to come down. She ate and without a paper to write she curled up in bed right after she hung up the phone.

She tossed and turned all night, when she got into work she was cranky. She didn’t mean to slam the door to the lab closed. While preparing samples she put four instead of three drops of solvent in.

She cursed quietly under her breath. She had to ditch the whole tray of samples. She jumped when she heard someone behind her.

“Hey its just me…” He said trying to calm her down.

“Sorry…” She muttered trying to get away from the office perv. He had more sexual harassment lawsuits pending than anyone else in the company.

“Did you want to go out tonight, just the two of us?” He reached and leaned over to trap her.

“No thank you.” She said ducking under his arm and getting back to her work station. He hovered around making her skin crawl. He would occasionally make a remark that she ignored. Eventually he got tired and left to find an easier target.

“I don’t know how they keep him on staff here. He’s one lawsuit away from holding the world record.” Her friend said on the phone that night, before the usual nightly call with her boyfriend.

“You’re telling me, I have to work with him.”

“Oh, Jackson is going to call you soon, I’ll let you go.” Her friend said disconnecting before she could say another word. Her phone rang in her hand, she was delighted to talk to her boyfriend again.

She went into work the next morning battling winter storms. She hoped Jackson’s flights wouldn’t be delayed. She stepped into her lab and had just taken her coat off when she heard one of the others curse loudly. Then the explosion.

There was an article in the newspaper about the incident, and the counter for days without injury was reset to zero.



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Writing short stories and flash pieces.

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