Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Specimen

"Okay," he said to himself. "It's okay. You can handle this. Just...just..." He slid down the clear glass wall, slumping to the clear glass floor. His head dropped into his hands.

"Oh, god," he sobbed. "Oh god, I'm in a jar."

And he was. A large glass jar. Large enough to hold what looked like a living room, with food and water in a small kitchenette behind the sofa. It really could have been a studio apartment, except for the fact that it was in a jar. On what looked like a shelf. He couldn't really be sure. At these dimensions, he may as well be on the roof of a skyscraper. He was trying not to think of the size of the creature that had put him there.

"Hello?!" He heard a faint voice calling out. It sounded like a girl. "Hello?!" She called again. "Oh, god, PLEASE, is anyone out there?!"

"I'm here!" he called out. "I'm here too! Are..." he wanted to laugh at the absurdity of his next statement, but was afraid he'd just start crying again, "are you in a jar?"

"Yes!" She called back, after what seemed a bit of a pause. "Yes, oh thank GOD! Thank god someone else is here! I've been here what I think is a week! They keep saying they're going to bring someone else, but they never do. And they laugh to look at me. I've tried not to show them hope, but..." He heard a faint laugh. It was a pure laugh, without a hint of tears or hysteria in it. It lifted his spirits somewhat, to hear it. "Well, here I am, rambling on..." he heard her say, "I haven't even asked your name."

"Don't feel so bad," he called back. "I didn't ask yours either. And it's Bill. Bill Codd."

"Like the fish?"

He sighed. Even here. "No," he called back. "Two d's. My grandfather--" He stopped. No. He was not going to have this conversation here. Not now. Not sitting in a goddamned jar. "You know what?" he said louder, "Yes. Yes, exactly like the fish. So, what's your name?"

"Oh, it's... it's um..."

He didn't hear anything for a little while. He was just about to call out to her when he heard a low sustained sob.

"Ohhhh, no," she said. "Ohh, no. Please no. I want to be strong, I do. They said they'd take it from me. I can't let them. I can't let them take it. My name... oh, god... what's my name? Come ON, what's my NAME?"

He didn't know what to say. He didn't want to interrupt, but he now had so many more pressing questions beyond just her name. Who the hell "they" were was a big one. And how they managed to make her forget her name, and apparently nothing else. That was another concern for him. He felt a hysteria building in him. He wanted to laugh. He wanted it so badly, but he knew he would lose his mind if he started. So he focused on her.

"What if I try to guess?" he suggested, trying to keep his voice even. "I might get close enough for you to remember."

"O-okay."

He thought a moment. He never realized just how many girl's names there were until he needed to pick one at random. "Ummm," he said, just to make some noise. "Debra?"

"No, I don't think so."

"Eileen?"

"No."

"Beth?"

"Mmmmm... no...well...no. No."

"Okay. How about...Lois?"

"Yes, because my parents emigrated here from the 1930s. No."

"Hey, if you don't want my help..."

"No!" Her voice became a bit frantic. "No, I'm sorry. Sarcasm is something they don't understand. I've been using it on them to keep them off guard. I think it's what let me hold on to my name as long as I-- Christina!" she cried. "Christina Margolin! That's my name!"

"Well," he allowed himself a small laugh, "it's a pleasure to meet you, Christina."

"Likewise, Bill. Again, sorry about the--"

"No, it's okay. I'M sorry. That was a dick thing to say." He wished she could see him smiling. He wanted right now to be reassuring. "Listen," he said. "Don't worry. We'll see each other through this. We're not alone now. We can--"

The door opened, and two giants walked in. One put his eye up to the jar Bill was in. Bill scrambled back in his jar, in awe. The giant's eye was twice his height! Bill heard it talk, but its voice was low and unbelievably slow.

"Any change?"

The doctor turned to his colleague and shook his head, looking away from the sight of Bill and Christina in two glass enclosed cells, scrambling around and calling to each other. "None," he said.

"They still think they're in giant specimen jars in some enormous lab somewhere?"

"I'm afraid so. And their memories are beginning to fade. They keep 'meeting' each other for the first time, over and over. This last time, she forgot her own name."

The other doctor nodded. "Terrible," he said. "And you say she actually gave this drug to him?"

"Yes," the first doctor answered, examining Christina's chart. "She thought it was LSD, which both have taken before. Apparently, it was his birthday."

"And the drug was not LSD?"

"No. I've never seen it before. It's obviously some new type of hallucinogen, but no one has any idea what it's made of." he turned to walk away from the windows. "If you'll excuse me, Doctor."

"Yes, yes of course."

When he was finally alone, the doctor took out his cell phone and made a call.

Bill pushed himself as far back as he could in the jar as the giant started growling into his hand. He calmed down a bit as the giant walked away. He heard Christina crying. He wanted to comfort her. He didn't know why, but he just felt the need to. He loved her. He didn't know how, but he knew he did.

"Yes," the doctor said, walking the opposite way down the hall from the first doctor, "it's working as designed. They'll be imprintable within a week. No, they're still completely delusional. That'll wear off a bit eventually. I'll have them flown to the lab as soon as I can manage it. I want the tests done immediately. We need to get this on the streets." He paused, listening to the person on the other end. He smiled.

"Yes, you can tell him his specimens will be arriving soon."

9 comments:

Chris said...

And this one goes out to Lisa. Her comment led me to the title for this story, and then the story just unfolded from there.

So, thanks Lisa!

Hope-So said...

Holy Crap!! Wow, really good idea. Perhaps we are all in glass jars? Sorry, probably too easy to go there. But, makes you think. I had a friend on LSD for three that really belived he was JESUS. Maybe it never wore off. I never did see him again.
Chris, that one was freaky.

rob said...

We need to see where this one will lead. Interesting start...

Sar said...

Excellent story! This strikes me as The Wall meets Operation Mind Crime. And, in my mind, this would blow away Minority Report were it to be a movie.

Chris said...

Heh heh. I love it when I try to push an emotional button and it works. Freaky was exactly what I was going for. Hope, you are a constant source of encouragement. Thank you. :)

And Rob, thanks for the thought, but it's unlikely I'll go any further with this idea. I leave it to your fertile imagination to continue the story. ;)

Chris said...

Sar, you must have posted your comment as I was posting mine. Glad you liked it, and thanks! At the very least, this would probably make a good short film.

Lisa said...

YEEEEEEEEEE-HAAAAAAAAAAW!!!! (and make that a double...) I came in here with a feeling like victory at the end of a close game--loving the story madly--and then to think I was a catalyst??? hallelujah, praise Hendrix.

Chris said...

Glad I managed to elicit a "yee-haw", Lisa. And I'm happy to see that you liked it even before you knew it was for you. :)

So, Lisa and Hope, this would actually make you two muses, wouldn't it? I mean, like, real muses, not in the Nancy Spungen/Courtney Love "I'm on heroin and sleeping with you so I should probably say something nice" kind of way.

Seriously though, thanks to the both of you for two stories I would not have otherwise written.

Anonymous said...

give THIS to the DARE people. it might help them more than what they have going now. ;-)

m