An essay by Dr. Barrett Eustice, as provided by Chris Vander Kaay
Art by Justine McGreevy
They still call me lightweight at work. They think it’s funny, and I never said anything the first time they did it, so now I’m stuck with it.
I know they don’t take me seriously at the lab. If there were ever a bigger insult for a research scientist than “they don’t take me seriously,” I don’t know what it is. The irony of it all is, I’ve actually invented something that could possibly change the nature of nature itself, and because of the fact that I used it on myself, I’m now a punchline in the scientific community.
The idea was to invent something that helped with weight loss. Personally, I could care less about whether or not someone is overweight, but certain things pay the bills in the medical industry, and weight loss is second only to pills that help you get erections, so that’s what I was working on.
Kay always supported me, though. And not because she thought it was a good idea, because it wasn’t. I’m not sure why, but she did. She was the one who volunteered first to test the serum, when no one from the panel would take my research seriously. I couldn’t let her do that. I told her she was too important to risk for some stupid weight loss thing. And besides, she was perfect the way she was.
An unintended side effect of that conversation, albeit a pleasant one, was the night we spent together. She never said why she came over. She had some vague questions about how to proceed and was sounding off about the modern American disdain for scientific achievement. Then she kissed me. She kissed me, and she had her eyes open the whole time. I know, because I kept opening mine to look at her. She pulled me down and climbed on top of me, and we fell asleep on the couch together, her resting on my chest, my arms around her back.
The serum wasn’t going to be tested, they made that clear. And I certainly wasn’t going to use it on Kay. So my options were limited: find an unwitting test subject, or do it myself. And since I wasn’t Victor Frankenstein, I decided it had to be me (which, I guess, makes me Henry Jekyll).
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2015 collection.
Dr. Barrett Eustice is an associate research scientist at the Creation Bank Global research firm located in San Jose, California. He graduated at the middle of his class at the Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Laboratory Science Technology.
Chris Vander Kaay is a co-author and co-screenwriter (with his wife Kathleen) of many films, and their first nonfiction book, The Anatomy of Fear, which compiles interviews with cult horror and science-fiction filmmakers, is is available at www.theanatomyoffear.com.
Justine McGreevy is a slowly recovering perfectionist, writer, and artist. She creates realities to make our own seem slightly less terrifying. Her work can be viewed at http://www.behance.net/Fickle_Muse and you can follow her on Twitter @Fickle_Muse.