An essay by Dr. Radical N. Klein, as provided by Peter J. Carter
Art by Leigh Legler
Most people are goddamned pains in the ass. They’re constantly acting with defective intelligence, when not otherwise acting downright criminally apathetic. As if to prove this theorem on a daily basis, when the people in my immediate vicinity aren’t texting, head bent, while walking into the street or reading the newspaper while driving, then they will perhaps get an inkling to mow their lawn at seven o’clock Sunday morning outside my bedroom window.
And no matter what I say or how I say it, they just get angry with me and go on their own blindingly ignorant way. That’s probably why, up until that point, I never had much to do with anyone. I do like other people, but as a concept not as a practice.
On one particular morning, I sat alone at my usual table at the Good News Diner for breakfast. The restaurant was filled with the regulars that gather there at six o’clock and there’s even a small collection from my place of business. I’d been invited innumerable times to join them, but I preferred to eat alone.
The three people who normally sat at the table were Karen from accounting, who will say, “You know what I mean?” after each spoken sentence even if you try everything to stop her; Jerry from Human Resources, who in addition to having the worst case of cascading dandruff ever known to man, uses the speaker phone constantly and talks only of golf; and Brenda the phone receptionist, who I don’t think has ever listened to a complete sentence from someone else without interrupting while chewing gum with her mouth open.
I have quite enough of that at work without getting it beforehand.
I’d finished my breakfast and was working on my third cup of coffee when a man walked up to my table and looked down at me.
I was deep into an op-ed piece and looked up at him over the top of my paper and said, “Yes?”
He was a diminutive, gray man with just a few hairs left upon his balding pate and those he’d forced into lines to create a horizontal grid work. He wore a blue wind-breaker that seemed fresh off the rack from S-mart and although he wore no glasses, seemed to bring his eyes down into a heavily lidded point just in front of his nose to stare at me.
“I’m Otto Stanislaw, your doctor.” He nodded to the bench opposite to me in my booth.
Although I didn’t recall ever having seen him before, I thought it best to have him sit.
He sat quietly for a few moments, waiting until the words built up and then suddenly releasing them in a torrent like a machine gun, “What do you know about computers?”
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2013 collection.
Dr. Radical N. Klein was born a Mycologist some would say. Fungus grew under his crib in a celebration of his birth to which his mother lamented. His ability to grow any eukaryotic organism allowed his quick rise in the field.
Little did he know, he had been elected Emperor of Fungidom and that’s what gave him this ability. After the Great Mushroom Revolt of 1989, he was overthrown in coop that replaced him with lichen named, “Glort”.
After that any eukaryotic would commit suicide in his presence, which is why he turned to computer science.
His bathroom remains remarkably clean.
Pete Carter lives on Cape Cod where he did most things wrong until he married. After twenty years and two children, he decided he is much happier being right, if only occasionally.
He most often writes short stories and has published with Apocrypha and Abstractions, Static Movement, Bewildering Stories, Theatre of Decay, Oddville Press, Battered Suitcase, Full of Crow, Ray Gun Revival and Wild Child Press.
While working on a degree in Bio-chemistry, he dropped out of school and became an automotive part’s man; amazed that the two fields were startlingly similar.
He is currently building a time machine with parts found in the trash and currently controls only one clock.
Leigh’s professional title is “illustrator,” but that’s just a nice word for “monster-maker,” in this case. More information about them can be found at http://leighlegler.carbonmade.com/.Follow us online: