It’s strange the thoughts that come through your head when doing a normal day’s work, although Fred’s work was not really normal in the common sense of the word. He worked in the state laboratory examining food samples from various restaurants and was surrounded by all sorts of bacteria. They were such unobtrusive things really, hardly noticeable, but when Fred started to work on them, they started growing.
“Actually my intelligence is really wasted on this job” thought Fred. “I could do things that would leave my name engraved in the history books. What am I doing all day, just basically breeding diseases. Take a petri dish and put a layer of agar in it, which is just gelatin really. Now all this is harmless up to now. It’s when a microbe is smeared on the agar, then things really start happening. At first just a thin line of growth, but a day later the line is already thicker and by the end of the week I have bred enough to put a lot of people out of action, even towns or countries. These unnoticeable microbes just divide and expand. I wonder if they can think or whether they know who they are. When I look at them under the microscope they seem so harmless, but they are the dead ones. They are not moving, just cells, staring back at me. All I would really have to do is to put a few living cells in the soup in the canteen; what a disaster that would be. I can see the headlines now in the newspapers.”
“Good morning Fred, how are we today?” It was Gillian one of the assistants in the laboratory. “How are the cultures progressing. Growing nicely?”
Fred’s thought process was disturbed. “Of course they are” answered Fred “I am an expert in my work. There is no restaurant in town that gets away with contaminated food. Just a little in a dish and the bacteria starts growing.”
“Nasty little things really” said Gillian, “imagine if they got into the wrong hands. They could do such a lot of damage; contamination everywhere.” Gillian then went to her part of the laboratory and was occupied with preparing slides for the microscope.
It was soon lunch time and Gillian and Fred went down to the canteen. Fred decided to order fish, but Gillian settled for the soup. Fred did have a strange look on his face as he entered the canteen. Gillian did not come to work the next day, she phoned to say she had a stomach upset and was quite feverish.
Creative Challenge #42: unobtrusive