From the desk of Doctor Gracie McMillian
Doctor of Psychological Operations, Germ Warfare, Cloning, and Floral Arranging: Schrodinger–Milgram Research Laboratory
As provided by Allison Spector
Art by Justine McGreevy
TO: Dr. Olivia Carter; Dr. James Peterson; Dr. Wanda Hickenlooper; Mr. & Mrs. Lilith Stein; Chief Inspector Patricia Jordan; Mr. Waggles the Sentient Canine; Experiments 313 (Ted), 345 (Sven), 932 (Annie)
RE: The Unfortunate Incident that Took Place During Our Annual Take Your Offspring to Work Day
My Esteemed Colleagues;
As you are well aware, the annual workplace parent-offspring bonding ritual that took place last week did not go according to expectation. I am writing to you, my intimate group of trusted colleagues and lab subjects, to provide formal guidance as to how we will handle the bothersome stream of questions now coming from several unwelcome sources, including both the mainstream media and myriad ecclesiastical inquisitors.
Although many of you have already left town, or had your likenesses surgically altered, it has in no way deterred me from tracking down the hovels in which you now snivel and cower. You are known to me, and easily traceable through the unique signature of germs that you leave behind upon your every exhalation. Experiment 345–I know you once thought you could elude me through your most inconsiderate lack of breathing, which is why I made you chemically dependent upon the bouquet of peonies that I send you every fortnight. You must be aware of this, which is why you are the only witness to the events of last week who has kindly left me a forwarding address. Your life shall be your reward for your obedience.
As for the rest of you trembling pustules, you shall immediately return to The Sanctuary of the Doom Prophets (the senior faculty lounge or the 2nd floor) and submit yourself to rigorous confession regarding your role in decanting 5.4 dozen unconditioned clones, dressing them as our colleagues’ children, and releasing them throughout the building in an attempt to have the child-doubles murder the originals and infiltrate the inner-sanctums of the greatest scientific minds in all of Eastern Newark.
What you have done (yes, I can taste the foul bitterness of your guilt in your sweet, sweet germ clouds) was quite inadvisable and positively inexcusable. Clearly, you addle-brained fools have lost track of the ritual sundials and miniature Stonehenge planning calendars I provided you upon your initiation ceremonies into my Inner Circle. The Most Ambitious Youth Harvesting and Eventual Murder (MAYHEM) Project was not scheduled to commence during Take Your Offspring to Work Day, in which far too many parents were greedily guarding their precious spawn, but during our Fall Youth Science Competition.
Surely even the most feeble-minded minion would be astute enough to understand that a science fair is the peak time to harvest the memories of our colleagues’ progeny and dispose of their useless husks. After all, every parent signs the legal waiver giving the Schrodinger–Milgram Research Laboratory indemnity against the inevitable murders and mutilations that take place during this auspicious event. Heck, everyone expects a child or two to disappear or be molecularly reconfigured by their overzealous compatriots during this event. There are only so many available spaces in the Newark College of Ethical Relativism, and crushing one’s enemies in a frenzy of blood and fire is part of the entrance exam.
And yet I find myself in the unfortunate position of having to explain to our Board of Directors why their children have transformed into bald, slavering homunculi with the conversational skills of a wilted houseplant.
“You failed to murder Joe’s offspring!” whines Kathy from Accounting.
“Your plot was as half-backed as your feeble attempt at cloning,” sneers Joe from Research and Development.
“Why didn’t you wait until the Science Competition?” inquires Ryan from Human Resources.
Their mockery is both unbearable, and undeserved. Clearly all blame–all responsibility–falls squarely on your shoulders, hunches, and dorsal fins.
As I write this letter to you foolish fair-weather friends, our CEO and her companions gather outside my window chanting and wailing with the traditional pitchfork and torches used for contract renewals and salary negotiations. I fear that my perceived incompetence at the hands of your foolish bungling will cost me my hard-won directorship. No amount of pleading, denials, or tasteful floral arrangements seem to appease their lust for corporate downsizing.
But fear not, my esteemed companions, for without the distraction of your sycophantic sniveling and clumsy ministrations, I have already set a course of events into motion that will redeem me from the foul pit of failure. By taking my letter of rebuke into your sweaty, trembling hands (and/or tentacles), you have absorbed a rare and potent compound which has compelled you to evacuate your pathetic hiding places and return posthaste to Schrodinger–Milgram Corporate Headquarters. Once there, you will absolve me for all responsibility for your shameful and humiliating failure.
After this message has been delivered, and my name is once more sung with praise from every rooftop, you will submit your formal letters of resignation and obligingly incinerate yourselves so that the functional clones I have created for each of you can continue to implement my Grand Works as your previous clone-iterations have done for so many years before.
Thank you, my dear, pathetic thralls for your continued cooperation. May the imaginary and immaterial Sky God have mercy on your non-existent souls.
Dr. Gracie McMillian
Gracie McMillian was a good girl from Bethesda, Maryland, whose preternatural control of statistical probability propelled her into an alternative dimension of crypto-scientific insanity (mad science). She is now a Doctor of Psychological Operations, Germ Warfare, Cloning, and Floral Arranging and holds a directorship at the Schrodinger–Milgram Research Laboratory in Newark, NJ (dimensional iteration 2,642,428,120).
Allison is a New Jersey ex-pat who lives for moments of beautiful whimsy. Their work has been featured in The Cost of Paper, Molotov Cocktail Magazine, & Five2One Magazine, among others. Allison is the author of Let’s Stalk Rex Jupiter! Check out their work at allisonspector.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.
“The Unfortunate Incident that Took Place During Our Annual Take Your Offspring to Work Day” is © 2017 Allison Spector
Art accompanying story is © 2017 Justine McGreevy