An essay by Dr. Deitolf Hamm, as provided by Eryk Pruitt

The specimen is Sam Tuley, chosen not just for his overzealous sex drive, penchant for alcohol and violence, and inability to make the most of a second chance, but rather because, try as he might, he will forever be damned to a hospital bed with tubes going in and out of him. This is where I found him. This is where our journey began.

Ask him what he remembers most about being awake and alive. To a pretty nurse, the cut of her figure may catch his eye, but the sparkle is long gone. Through cracked lips and a dry throat he will creak three cranky syllables:


Then, as if he’d summoned every last bit of his being to produce that much, his body will collapse back into itself, further into his hospital bed. The machines keeping him alive and reporting his condition will crank and whirr, beep and whistle for a bit, then fall back into their syncopated rhythm.

The poor bastard will be left to his dreams.

So I decide he will be the perfect candidate.


Upstairs. Up thirteen wooden steps, through a skinny, cramped hallway and into a room he’d been so many times.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2012 collection.

DR. DEITOLF HAMM was born in Stuttgart, Germany and studied in Mainz, Brussels, and Princeton. His work was largely controversial and caused him scorn and ridicule in professional communities. His pamphlet “God and the Helicopter Apocalypse,” a treatise on time travel, caused him expulsion from the academic community. His website, long discontinued, was shut down by the United States government. Following an investigation by authorities after reports of large purchases of suspicious materials, he went into hiding and has never resurfaced.

Eryk Pruitt is a writer, screenwriter, and former restaurant professional living in Durham, NC. His short dark comedy “Foodie” has won awards at screenings in film festivals across the United States.

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