A letter by Peter Kopec, as provided by Alan Murdock
Art by Luke Spooner
From: Peter Kopec
To: Robert Shaw
Subject: KN12604 Testing
Hey Bobby! How’s everything on your end of paradise? Things are more of the same over here. Dinkins left. Pfizer snatched him up. Paula, as you may have heard, was let go. Too much head bashing with corporate is the word on the street. Hinman is still running the show down here, or at least trying to. We need to get out for another round at Western Hills. I worked on my short game all winter, and it seems to be paying off. How about a quick nine holes this afternoon? It’ll give us a chance to catch up and an excuse to fill you in on all the other gossip that I shouldn’t mention in an email. I know they’re keeping you busy up there, but I’m sure you can manage to slip away for a few hours.
Unfortunately, there’s a reason for me to be bothering you, although I’m sorry to do it. I know your inbox has probably been packed ever since you took that god-forsaken quality assurance position. Bet you never realized how many things go wrong with these tests, huh?
But since you are now the “problem guy,” you know why I’m writing, so I’ll get to it. We have been testing KN12604 for two months now and have had some strange results to say the least. Hinman, not to mention all of his bosses and their bosses, and, well you get the point, were extremely optimistic before starting the test trial that this drug would overtake all other antipsychotics and would easily fly through FDA approval. Shockingly enough, they were wrong, LMFAO! (Are your kids teaching you this new shorthand stuff like mine are?)
Anyway, at this rate, the drug may never even see FDA eyes. I fear the drug is having a paradoxical effect on our subjects, and its happened to such a degree that this email was prompted. In a double blind study, it’s blatantly obvious who is on the real deal and who has been getting paid to down sugar pills. At this point, let me tell you there are fifty subjects tested, with half getting the drug, the other half the placebo. As per protocol, all were interviewed individually. Within the first few days, half of the participants began stating that they could actually catch glimpses of the future. I know you worked in our department long before I ever arrived and you know this, but it needs to be reiterated: none of the subjects at any time had contact with each other nor even know of the other participants’ existence. When asked to elaborate, they all used the same term to describe the feeling. They said it felt very similar to that of déjà vu.
So what could we do? We humored them, and ourselves for that matter. Each was quizzed in various ways that would showcase any precognitive abilities. They were seated in our testing rooms and asked various questions. What card would be the next one drawn, what number was written on a face down paper in front of them, what would be the outcome of the Sox-Yanks game that night. Our statisticians compiled the results and informed us our subjects scored 58.17% collectively. According to the number guys, the tests showed nothing peculiar except that the subjects are slightly better at guessing than the rest of the population.
These results, of course, were far from anything that would halt or even slow this multi-million dollar study. So we continued, and even though I received no credit for keeping things on schedule, you were here long enough to know that it would have been my ass on the line had there been even the smallest delay. The tests for psychic ability not only flattened any notions of possibility on the part of the staff, but also seemed to quiet the twenty-five subjects and quell any fear they had felt. However (and would there be an email without that word?), approximately a week after the tests, some of the subjects came forward reporting the feeling had not only not disappeared, but intensified. Over the next several days, some of the subjects living in denial longer than others apparently, the remaining subjects eventually stated the same. Hinman ordered the psychic tests be re-administered, hoping to again repress any questions the subjects were having. This time after testing, the statisticians placed the percentage of correct answers at an astounding 85.73%, putting them in an indefinable category outside of all potential guessing. The subjects were all individually questioned to describe the feeling they had. We were all still under the impression that there must be some logical reason for the results. Again, they used the term déjà vu. They stated they were able to guess the correct card because they felt as though they had already seen the card. They were able to know the number written on the paper because they had already seen it. I know what you’re thinking. They are having those feelings because they have in fact taken the tests before. But different proctors were used, the cards had long since been shuffled, and this time the Red Sox were playing Tampa Bay.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2015 collection.
Peter Kopec was a single father of two teenaged girls. Born and raised in Haven Falls, Connecticut, he graduated from Uconn with a degree in microbiology and a 2.2 GPA. From there he continued his lackluster tenacity, working his way up to a middle management position where he was happily lost in the shuffle of a giant corporation. He never did get a chance to squeeze in that round of golf.
Alan Murdock is a writer of horror, sci-fi, and other weird fiction. He lives with his wife and daughter in New England, but is a frequent visitor to the fictional town of Haven Falls, Connecticut. When not reading or writing, he enjoys spending time with his family, watching the Red Sox, and drinking beer—usually all at once. For information on his upcoming projects, follow him on Twitter at Alan Murdock @AlanMurdock13.
Luke Spooner a.k.a. ‘Carrion House’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at www.carrionhouse.com.Follow us online: