Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Daily Story 27: The Cutting Edge of Research

Doctor Meyers cursed and swept his paperwork off of the table in frustration. The papers landed on his pinkie finger, blood soaking through them and blurring the equations. Across the room Doctors Hastings and Johnson ignored the tantrum.

Meyers waited a moment, hoping for some friendly show of concern, but he was losing a lot of blood and unless he allowed himself to actually pass out he knew he would be the one that had to clean it up. He stormed over to the first aid station, then stormed back to retrieve his finger, then stormed to the first aid station again. Lining the finger up to the best of his ability, he smeared some crazy glue around the cut and wrapped it in gauze.
"I dropped the two-dimensional square, if anyone cares."

Doctor Johnson stood. "Damn it, that's the second one! Those things aren't cheap to make, you know." Hastings stood behind him, nodding in agreement.
"Oh, that's right, you get pissed off at me when I drop one and lose a finger during an important scientific project, and you expect me not to point out that the other one got lost because you wanted to play frisbee with it!"
Doctor Johnson opened his mouth as if to protest, then looked sheepishly down at his feet.

"I suppose," Doctor Hastings said, "It might have been better to make them smaller, and with handles."
Doctor Johnson nodded. "Yes - maybe a very small one, like a scalpel."
Doctor Meyers scowled. "I need it to to be bigger than that."
Doctor Hastings held back a giggle at some joke only he was aware of.
"I bet," Doctor Johnson said, "That we could make the most awesome samurai sword ever." For a moment this idea was met with icy silence, until he added: "For science." The others quickly nodded, mumbling that of course everything they did was for science - in fact by definition since they were scientists in a laboratory anything they did became science.

Doctor Meyers concentrated on his pinkie finger and was rewarded with a slight wiggle. One good thing about getting a cut from an infinitely sharp object is that the parts tend to come away fairly undamaged. Satisfied, he walked over to the whiteboard labeled "ACCIDENT-FREE DAYS" and erased the number one. He stared at the blank space, then at the seemingly undamaged section of floor where the two dimensional square had fallen through on its way to the center of the Earth.
"Gentlemen... are we serious about the... sword experiment?"
Johnson shrugged. "Possibly, at some point. It would have to be low priority."
"We've been told repeatedly that we need to go more days without accidents, correct?"
Hastings perked up. "Of course! Since it's absolutely inevitable that at least one of us will be terribly - perhaps mortally - wounded if we make a two-dimensional samurai sword - "
"for science..." Johnson interjected.
" - for science, obviously - then we have a responsibility to raise it to the highest priority while we still have no days without an accident."

All three rolled this idea around in their heads for a moment.
"Yup..." Johnson gave a thumbs-up. "Solid strategy. Get that sandwich off of the counter and we'll start working."
"Sandwich… Meyers, were you using the two-dimensional square to cut your lunch?"
"Uh… for science."
"Oh. Right. Okay then."