Trial Run

“Put the gun down, Amy!”

My voice went hoarse, unexpectedly, as the girl I’d just started dating three weeks ago stood, in the middle of my Persian rug, tense as the hairs on the nape of my neck, with her sweaty hands gripping my 9mm. She had the “kill” look on her face: eyebrows cringed downward, eyes wide open, nose and upper lip cringed upward—an uncommon mixture of disgust and surprise that only shows itself on a human face when something violent is about to occur. Not the sort of social experiment that I expected to come home to.

“Where is it?” She asked, as I looked around, pretending to want to answer her question, but knowing better. My living room was a mess of shattered picture frames, a toppled bookshelf, and a flipped over couch. I knew I might come home to this, which is what can happen when you’re a bio-engineer working for a private, but low-budget firm that’s experimenting on a series of drugs to treat PTSD, and you decide to take the drugs home with you and experiment on the side. Because you got drunk, told said girl about said “designer” drug, and failed to come up with an alternate explanation behind your pet mice. Speaking of which….

“Where are the mice?” It was a dumb question, meant to deter her, to which her response was an arm twitch followed by two steps closer, letting me know that she meant business with the end of the gun. I just held my hands up dumbfounded, when her eyes glanced down and saw my work ID badge. She reached for it.

“No! They’ll kill you on site if you show up there!” I tried to caution, which was almost entirely an exaggeration, as she hit me square in the forehead with the butt of the firearm, and yanked the badge right off of my shirt pocket.

“Move!” she yelled, as I kicked the front door entrance to my home shut behind me, and threw my hands up higher, but wider—a mixed signal of surrender and defiance. I knew I couldn’t let her leave like this; that it was my fault that she, an otherwise calm but carefree, twenty-five year old, had ended up in this state to begin with; and that anything that happened from this point forward—to her, to me, to the world—was all my fault.

And I didn’t want to get caught, fired, arrested, or, in this case, shot.

“Fucking move!” she shrieked, and shoved me with her one free hand—at which point, I thought she was close enough to disarm, and almost went for it, but didn’t—with that one small, stupid part of me thinking that I could still reason for her. Then, I realized that there’s no reasoning with someone going through the yet-untested withdraw effects of DT242. I know. Not a very popular street name, but….


She fired once, which sent white-hot flames shooting through my abdomen, as my intestines slowly began trickling bile into my bloodstream. I hit the ground, expecting—hoping—that she’d just pull the door right open and…no. Another gunshot rippled right through the center of my back—this time, from behind—as if she hoped I’d stay down while she went off to alleviate whatever psychological hell that she was going through, which was no doubt my fault.

In agony, I reached for my phone. I dialed nine…one…and then, pressed the backspace button.

I couldn’t call the police. Not yet. I realized that Amy visited me at the lab on my lunch break last week. I’d buzzed her in. This time, she could let herself in. It wouldn’t take much for her to find the stash of DT242.

But she might be stopped. Probably. Most likely. Someone might catch her in the act of using my stolen badge. Someone might, or…someone might get shot.

Or, she might walk right in, and right out of the place, with an armful of DT242.

I decided to call Brenner, the security officer at the lab; that stuff can’t get out onto the streets.


Six months later, as I sit at my desk filing insurance claims at twelve dollars an hour and facing a foreclosure, I can’t help but think that, maybe one day, those kinds of experiments will lead to a cure for a lot of ailments; mice may one day have the most riveting stories of human progress.

And then, maybe I won’t be stuck in this wheelchair.

(Image:, “Experiment”)

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5 thoughts on “Trial Run”

  1. I like how you incorporate the back-story into the action, how the story behind the current scene grows piece by piece. Nice work

  2. I really liked the way you worked talking mice into this – very clever. I wasn’t sure that your MC would have stopped phoning 911 for an ambulance (if not he police) if he was able to do so.

    1. Lol, very true! Thanks for the feedback!

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