Here again is another re-write of a previous story. This one was the first story I wrote after asking people for two words for me to use in a short story: an item and a word.
In this story I used Laurie Mellom’s words: Item – test tube; Word: smitten, so keep an eye out for them as you read.
It was a fairly non-descript building, the kind you’d never give a second glance to. The company called GEN-SYS, short for GENETICS SYSTEMS, had disguised it that way. If the general public ever got wind of what kind of things went on inside that building, well, there’d be hell to pay.
Walking up to the front door as he did every morning for the last five years, Eugene was the kind of guy you would never give a second glance to as well. He was just over six feet tall and had a mop of dirty brown hair on his slightly too big head. His arms seemed to be almost too long for his body and if it wasn’t for the fact that his legs also gave that same impression he’d look more than a little weird. He had a plain face adorned with black horn-rimmed glasses which were fixed in the center with white tape. As always he wore his lab coat to work with his Pass Card proudly displayed hanging from the front pocket which held a pocket protector full of pens he’d need for the coming day’s work.
Eugene was a nerd. He knew it and everyone who looked at him knew it. He had been a nerd ever since the beginning of time – his time. When he was little, the other kids would go outside and play but Eugene would rather stay inside and read about how ant colonies worked or watch ‘Planet of the Apes’ movies on TV. All through school he got beat up fairly often, had never been out on a date, and received the highest marks in class. He went to the prom alone. In University he got the top marks in genetics, but he still was striking out with the ladies and had no real friends to speak of. He graduated at the top of his class there too and was head-hunted right into his current job working for GEN-SYS. For the last five years he had been working eight hour days, five days a week in his division on the third floor. He still had no friends and had still never had a date. Nothing exciting ever happened to him.
He walked into the building, scanned his Pass Card, passed through the security gate and walked up to the bank of elevators. A small crowd had gathered there waiting for the cars to arrive. Eugene was lost in his thoughts of what experiments he had going in the lab and when the group surged forward into a car he blindly followed. The elevator took off but he failed to swipe his Pass Card which would let the elevator know his destination. A few stops later he looked up as the doors slid open onto a floor he’d never seen before. He glanced up at the screen and saw that it showed SUB-FLOOR 4. He never even knew there was a basement let alone floors below that. As people flowed out of the elevator car he scanned the room beyond and that’s when he saw her. She was not quite as tall as he was and had gorgeous brown hair but when she turned and looked at him with those huge brown eyes he was truly smitten. The doors slid closed.
In a daze he made his way to his lab. Eugene sat and thought about her all day. He moved like a man in a dream. He got some work done, but not much. At the end of the day he nearly forgot to turn off a Bunsen burner. He could have burnt his lab down! The trip home took him nearly twice as long. He didn’t notice.
The next day he came to work with a purpose in mind – he had to find out her name. After some careful searching, because technically he shouldn’t be snooping around in another division’s files, he discovered it. Louise. Oh what a lovely name! It went perfectly with her features he thought. Again that day all he could think about was his dear Louise. Sitting there among his vials and beakers, holding a smoking test tube, he’d stare off into space thinking of being with her.
Therein lay Eugene’s problem. He wasn’t cleared to be in her division. It wasn’t like they’d bump into each other either; each division was confined to their own floor. GEN-SYS didn’t want their employees talking to each other about their projects you see. Eugene desperately wanted to see Louise again, to look into those oh so brown eyes! But how? He sat and thought, and thought. He was usually in bed by eight o’clock at night but not this night. The problem of how to see his Louise consumed him. He lay awake until the wee hours of the morning, turning the problem over in his mind. Then he had a plan.
The next day, Eugene drove to work twenty minutes early. He stayed outside the building, hanging around where the smokers stood. He had checked and was pretty sure that the sheltered corner where they did their dirty deed didn’t show up on the security cameras inside. In a few minutes he’d know for sure. Finally a woman from the same division as Louise came over to have a smoke. He introduced himself and explained that he had forgotten his smokes at home and asked to borrow one. As she looked down to get one from her purse, he gave her a good thump in the back of the head with a penny-filled sock. She fell like a marionette with cut strings. Eugene grabbed her before she hit the ground and dragged her over to his car. He duct taped her hands and feet and stuffed her in the trunk, grabbing her Pass Card. Since no one had come running around the corner from the security office, he figured he had guessed right about the cameras and they hadn’t seen anything.
Phase Two of Eugene’s plan was a lot easier. Well for someone of his intelligence it was. He rushed up to his lab and sat at his computer, bringing up the inter division communication program. A few minutes later he had hacked his boss’s account and sent off an inter office memo which appeared to be from his boss to the head of the division Louise was in asking that Louise stay in the lab after hours today for some “inter division data collection”. Eugene thought it looked official enough and hoped no one phoned anyone to confirm things. If they did, he was going to be in big trouble.
The rest of the day went by agonizingly slowly for Eugene. Knowing he had to wait until most of the workers had gone home before Phase Three of his plan was driving him crazy! Twice he had to go out to his car and use chloroform on the woman in the trunk just to be sure she wouldn’t wake up and start making a fuss. What if someone called to confirm the memo? What if after all his hard work Louise wasn’t in the lab when he got there? Would she even remember seeing him that day he was on the elevator? What if she didn’t like him? He didn’t think he could stand that, after putting his job on the line just to see her again.
Finally it was time to go and he headed for the bank of elevators on his floor. Getting into a car, he took the woman’s Pass Card, swiped it, and eagerly waited for the screen to show SUB-FLOOR 4. A few minutes later the doors opened and he was there. He was finally, actually there!
Trembling a little as he stepped out onto the floor, Eugene looked around for his dear Louise. At first he didn’t see her and began to panic, but then noticed she was sitting at the far end of the lab on the other side of what looked like an observation wall. He ran over to it and again swiped the stolen Pass Card over the panel in the door and he was in! This was it! She heard the door open and turned to look at him with those amazing brown eyes.
“Hello my love!” said Eugene, as Louise walked over to him and put out her arms.
The next morning they found Eugene’s remains. He had been badly beaten and torn limb from limb.
“God what a mess,” said the security guard to his buddy.
“Yeah, what a way to go,” replied the other guard. “Did they figure out what the hell he was doing in the gorilla pen yet?”