Such was Sunday

Another uneventful day here, for the most part, though I did join my regular weekly writing group this afternoon. We had another three-word prompt, this time picked at random from a handy magazine. Here’s what I came up with:

“It’s not that common,” said Terry. “But it does happen. Dr. Jameson will want to know exactly what you think you heard, but if –”

“I’m not here to see Dr. Jameson,” said Margaret. “I just came in to let you know what happened last night. It’s all there in the log. Everything the subject did, it’s all on camera. I just came in to let you know I’m not coming back. I’m tendering my resignation.”

For the first time, the man looked up from the chemical models splashed across his computer screen.

“Now, Meg, come on. You know there are procedures. And whatever the subject may or may not have done –”

“I didn’t come in to argue, Terry. I’m not looking to make waves, but this isn’t what I signed up for, and you know it. Dr. Jameson never said anything about this when he first recruited me.”

“It was a remote possibility, at best. And I’m still not convinced you actually heard the subject talk to you. There’s nothing in the battery of tests we’ve run on the virus to suggest –”

“Damn it, Terry,” she said, “it knew my name. I’ve never even had direct contact and it knew who I was. It knew we were studying it.”

“What you’re suggesting, Meg…that’s all the more reason for you to talk to Dr. Jameson. If you think it’s actually, I don’t know, evolved to the point that it’s capable of speech, to the point of real sentience, you can’t just run away from something like that.”

“Just watch me. The thing in that cage is dangerous, Terry, and I’m not sticking around to find out just how much.”

She turned to go.

“Well, I’m sorry you feel that way, Meg. You’ve been a real asset to the team, but if I can’t convince you to reconsider…”

“You can’t.”

“Then I’ve got not option but to let you go.”

She never saw the gun that shot her in the back of the head.

* * *

“She could be a handful,” said Dr. Jameson a few minutes later. “A hellcat, even. But did you have to dispose of her in the lab, Terrence?”

“I’m sorry, Dr. Jameson,” Terry said. “But I couldn’t be sure she wouldn’t go to the police, or the press, or –”

“My word, Terrence. You make it sound like she was some kind of insider. Some kind of spy. She was just a spooked biologist. You can hardly blame her, given the recent changes in the subject. The virus has been exerting more control.”

“She said it spoke to her. She said it knew her name.”

“Well now. That is interesting. Have you reviewed the video log of the event?”

“I was prepared to, once I’d removed the body.”

“Leave it. If I’m right, we may make better use of her dead than alive. I’m certainly curious to see how the virus reacts in her system.”

“But, Dr., that’s –”

“Terrence, please. Don’t get squeamish on me now, boy. You can’t expect to build a better vampire without breaking a few eggs.”

I also watched a couple of movies: Real Genius over lunch — I’ve seen it before, but it’s still very funny — and The Invention of Lying before dinner — which is okay, I guess.

I did hear from my parents, though, who arrived safe and sound in London. They were at the hotel when I spoke with my father, no doubt still recovering. (When I went a couple of years ago, I was pretty useless my first day there. If the hotel hadn’t let me check in early when they did, I’d have gone to sleep in their lobby.)

An imaginant can’t move a rubber tree plant

Today’s bit of Forgotten English is “imaginant,” meaning “one who is prone to form strange ideas.”

Me, I had this strange idea that today was Wednesday, when all evidence would seem to suggest that it was actually just another yesterday, with a few cosmetic changes, to fool the tourists.

I have this other idea that tomorrow is, in fact, Thursday, and that the week is almost over. But that just can’t be true, can it?

Monday various

  • There’s no lack of unpleasant news still spilling out of the Gulf and the colossal fuck-up that is BP’s effort (or lack thereof) down there. From these New York Times photos (“Putting a Face on the Gulf Oil Leak”) to this Google Maps application (“Visualizing the BP Oil Spill Disaster”) [via] to just about every evening’s news broadcast, it can be incredibly disheartening when faced with the overwhelming scope of the disaster, and the apparent ineptitude of the people in charge of cleaning it up. That’s why Cherie Priest’s list of Things you can do about the oil spill — from volunteering to donations to consuming less petroleum overall — is so important, a welcome reminder that there is something we can do.
  • Meanwhile, in other environmental catastrophes…don’t call it a sinkhole [via]:

    Instead, Bonis prefers the term “piping feature” — a decidedly less sexy label for the 100-foot deep, 66-foot wide circular chasm. But it’s an important distinction, he maintains, because “sinkholes” refer to areas where bedrock is solid but has been eaten away by groundwater, forming a geological Swiss cheese whose contours are nearly impossible to predict.

    The situation beneath the [Guatemala’s] capital is far different, and more dangerous.

  • As if that wasn’t bad enough, now it turns out children’s books are incredibly eco-unfriendly [via]
  • But at least they’re recycling in Hollywood. And no, I don’t mean the endless parade of reboots, like this wholly misguided Alias one. (Even though I’ll be the first to admit the Rambaldi stuff is what eventually did the show in.) I mean this: Every actor reads the same newspaper. [via]
  • And finally, if things get too screwed up here on Earth, maybe we can go stay with our neighbors on Saturn’s moon Titan. [via] Presumably they’re hanging out with Winston Niles Rumfoord…though, frankly, I think they get the better company on Jupiter’s moons.