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Could this morning get any messier?

Twice, I had spilt tea on two different ties, and twice, I had changed them. Two charcoal grey ties that would have immediately screamed elegant.

I blamed the two cups of tea I had binge-drunk in a fit of anxiety. The offending items sat on my bedside table looking deceptively innocent.

The question that had been creeping into my head after I removed yet the second tie, was what was I going to wear?

I was meant to meet with some members from the DEA today at my laboratory and I didn't want to mess it up like I had done the last time. The first impression was nothing to write home about, so the second one had to be near-perfect.

"Why don't you wear another tie?" The robot asked from behind me.

I had put back the microchip I removed back into it's head because I felt guilty and wanted to apologize. Not to the robot, but to Aretha, my wife. I knew she wouldn't like me shutting down the gift I bought for her.

I stood in front of the full length mirror and looked hard at the charcoal-grey colored blazer I had on. Underneath it was a white shirt. Since the two ties that would have gone with the blazer had been stained, I didn't know what to do. I had planned this outfit in my head since I woke this morning but now it had fallen apart.

One of these items I had on had to go.

I moved to my wardrobe and began to check for another replacement. Behind me, the robot approached. "You have twenty different shades of grey ties, ten different shades of red, five shades of blue, and fifty different colors of mixed ties. Surely, you can choose one from any of them."

"You've been going through my things?" I turned round to face it, shocked it knew so much about my clothings.

It laughed an eerily human laugh, and its hands rose into the air. "Aretha made sure I memorized all of your things."

"Hmm!" I turned and began removing my blazer. "But she didn't teach you about colour coordination, obviously."

I removed the white shirt I had on and changed it to a navy blue one. I kept on the charcoal grey blazer and opted to go without a tie.

Not wanting to waste anymore time, I picked up my phone and the robot bid me goodbye as I walked out of the room.


The next few hours I spent briefing my staff at the lab about the DEA and how they needed to comport themselves when they came. If you knew scientists, you'd know we liked to stay in a relaxed environment while working, which meant jotters filled with notes were usually splayed all over the table, and some petri dishes and magnifying glasses were also jostling for space as well as various other canisters used in mixing various compounds.

Sometimes, explosions would take place, exactly as one did last week, due to the explosive properties of a particular compound, and well, it wasn't exactly a pretty sight for external eyes.

So repairs had been underway ever since Kelly dropped the bomb on me three days ago about the DEA giving me a second chance and guess what - instead of coming on the day they said they would come, which was tomorrow, they decided to come today.

I tried not to lose my shit, and it worked - mostly.

"Why is this place messy?"

Raymond, one of my Chemists, looked at me with eyes that were red and smarting. "We just cleaned that area - twice."

I looked at it again and nodded. Sure enough, it looked clean. The coming of the DEA had gotten me hallucinating. I needed everything to be in tip top shape.

My phone vibrated in my pocket. "Hello, Kelly."

"They've arrived. They need to be cleared by security. For goodness' sake, Alex, nothing can go wrong today."

I nodded, like she could see me, and placed a call to the head security to give free clearance to the DEA. Five of my staff and I stood at the entrance of the door wearing big smiles as three of them approached. I recognized Mr. Hendricks and the other two, but I didn't see the rest.

I looked behind therm wonderingly, expecting to see more of them pouring in.

"Oh, it's just us three." Mr. Hendricks proffered. "We have a lot of inspections to do today so we had to divide ourselves."

My smile wavered. Did that mean their attention was being vied for in other laboratories, and for the same thing as well?

I couldn't answer that question. My team were already leading the three of them inside the laboratory. I followed behind, my initial ardor reduced. I felt like a deflated balloon and my attention had to be called back a few times by Mr. Hendricks when it wandered.

Simon took the lead as he led them around the research laboratory, pointing out the different equipments and giving them a little background story of how he was hired. As he spoke, his eyes lit up from within and they sparkled. His whole face transformed into something I had never seen.

That was when it hit me. Simon was proud. As my head molecular biologist, I hired him when I had absolutely nothing except a big dream. Over the years, he had seen the myriad of trials and attempts it took before we finally settled on the final solution that would be called Exceva.

I heard pride in his words, but I wasn't the only one who heard it. My attention was drawn to Mr. Hendricks and the rest of his team. They listened avidly and asked questions as we moved round.

The laboratory sat on the entire length of one end of one plot of land to the other end. It was divided into three sections, namely the research, development and the testing section. Simon had just finished explaining to them about the different research going on as well as the different containers where the second and third solutions to follow Exceva were in. He further explained to them that it would be in three batches, starting with Exceva.

At the next section, my head chemist, Collins, took over. He talked about how different solutions were developed using both stable and unstable compounds in order to see how they would interrelate amongst themselves. I must say, I couldn't have explained to Mr. Hendricks and his team any better.

To say I was proud was a gross understatement.

The last and final section in the laboratory was the testing section which was basically the last and final stage. I stepped in and showed them round the cages where the rabbits and monkeys were kept. I talked about how we had injected only those who had cancerous growth with Exceva solution and how they had responded positively.

Even as I spoke, I was informed that five out of the ten people who were in the beginnings of various cancer growths, were around and waiting to be injected.

I turned to Mr. Hendricks. "Would you, by any chance, like to witness the first human specimens being injected with Exceva solution?"

"I believe I speak for all of us when I say we would very much like to see this." He looked at the other two who were already nodding vigorously.

Simon led them to a section of the laboratory that was cordoned off from the rest of the testing lab. It had a floor to ceiling wide screen. As we watched, five men were led inside to seats. They still looked healthy, which meant the cancer cells in them were still at an early stage.

After taking their statistics and checking their blood pressures, they were told to roll up their sleeves and one of my lab technicians cleaned the tender area on the inside of their arms. I held my breath as I watched Exceva solution being injected into each of them.

Mr. Hendricks and his team were meant to observe the men for at least an hour. They watched for half of that time before they said they had seen enough.

As I escorted them out, Mr. Hendricks turned to me. "I heard about the death of your wife, please accept my condolences." He looked at his other two colleagues as they walked on and moved closer to me. "When I heard about it, I felt we needed to give you another chance, and I'm glad we did." He looked back at where we had just come out from. "You'll definitely be hearing from us."

I shook his hand and watched as he joined his colleagues, my heart heavy at the mention of Aretha's passing.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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