I’ve worked here for quite some time now, it’d be 10 years, 3 months and 5 days tomorrow. I’ve enjoyed almost every moment here, but my time has not been without… incident.
My lab is on the fortieth floor of Complex C, the first block you hit when you walk across the North Bridge from the Main Block. It’s a simple looking complex, a rectangular block, with the lift shaft running through the centre. Exit the lift, second door to your right is where you’ll find me hard at work most of the time. the other two rooms along the corridor as well as the five at the next right turn serve other purposes that do us no benefit to mention here.
But exit the elevator and take a left, then another, and then go straight to the end of the hall and you’ll reach what used to be our pantry. Well initially there was no reason why it should not be our pantry. It was a regular-sized room, like all the end-of-the-corridor rooms, had lighting, air conditioning, plumbing… Everything was normal by any standard. And it stayed like that, mind you, for a good part of it’s service. Say, 9 years? 2 of which were before I joined this brilliant company.
I would not think that such an ordinary room could be a source of such excitement and terror, but I was to find out otherwise alright.
It started somewhere towards the end of October, 1994. As usual many of us would be at work till late, engrossed in our research. It was a chilly night, quiet like the rest, when my concentration was interrupted by a sharp scream. I looked up immediately and listened, my senses suddenly heightened in expectation of some sort of commotion. For a good half a minute I sat there listening, before I decided to go take a look. I slowly opened the door to my lab, poked my head out slowly and quickly glanced left and right. To my left, nobody. But to my right, I saw Dr Fredrickson just leaving his office in a hurry, a look of concern of his face. Needless to say I called out and walked briskly after him.
‘O’Shea, what’s the matter?’ I heard him shout.
As I rounded the corner, I saw him running towards the pantry. I became aware of Dr O’Shea leaning against the wall beside the door and her heavy breathing. From that distance it seemed she looked faint.
When Frederickson got to her side he held her hand and asked again, but I saw she was mumbling and trying to wave him off with ‘no, nothing’s and ‘just a shock…’
Seeing that Frederickson had her, I cautiously stepped into the pantry. Everything looked perfectly normal, but I made a quick inspection anyway. As I approached the sink I noticed there was something in it, and two steps later I was near enough to see in full view what was the unmistakable carcass of a huge, fat rat, lying feet up in the sink. Needless to say it took me by surprise and I couldn’t help but let out a short yelp. I quickly announced ‘Oh no don’t worry, it’s nothing. Just a dead rat in the sink, and an awfully large one at that!’
Frederickson soon appeared beside me and he cussed; we stood there for a good minute somewhat marveling at the morbidity of the scene, before I went to the wall phone to dial for security. At this time of the night the janitors were probably at home enjoying a hot cuppa, so it was only security who could do something… or at least tell someone to do something when they came in the next morning.
By now O’Shea had regained colour to her face and was almost smiling. It wasn’t a big deal but we gladly took it as a sign that we had worked enough. We walked O’Shea back to her lab, and in another 5 minutes the three of us were at the elevator, ready to go home. The short walk to the car park gave us a welcome breath of fresh air and by the time we got to our cars, the small incident was far behind us.
The next day saw us fresh and ready for more work and really, you couldn’t blame us for not expecting anymore exciting incidents. Which made it all the more of a shock when Bailey, from next door, decided to take a trip to the pantry that night.