CHAPTER TWENTY THREE - A Great Pet
Human resources has been flooded with complaints from my employees lately. More so than usual. I don’t think it's wrong of me to require them to work harder. Nothing gets done if you don't work hard. If they don’t like how I run Helix Remedies, then why’d they sign up?
And we are in a crisis, with the transformation going on downstairs and all. We have to work hard.
As I made my way to my office this morning, I came across a tour underway. I thought I cancelled those long ago. It caught my interest.
I recognized the man leading the tour. He was one of our scientists, and I’m guessing the woman and kids were his wife and children.
They started going down the stairs, so I followed them.
As they got closer to the containment chamber, I ran in front of them.
“Hello sir,” said the scientist. “How’s it going?
“What are you doing?” I asked. “Tours were canceled weeks ago.”
“I’m just showing my family around the place,” he replied. “They haven't seen me much lately, so I wanted to show them what I’ve been doing. You didn’t used to have a problem with that.”
“Well today it’s different, George. With Sigma and all. I think you should wrap up your little tour and get out of here as soon as possible.”
Suddenly, I noticed his little boy had started to wander towards the containment chamber. He disappeared behind the door. I could hear a bunch of confused scientists yelling.
“Mommy, mommy!” said the kid. “Come quick! There’s a lizard in here. A big one!”
I started running towards the containment chamber. When I got there, the scientists were trying to pry the kid off the glass. One of them was grabbing his shirt collar.
“Look at that lizard!” he squealed. “He’d make a GREAT PET!”
“A pet, huh?” snarled Sigma. “I’d make a wonderful pet. I’d guard the house. Even from the owners.”
“He talks too,” squealed the kid. “I want him!”
I looked at Sigma and saw that the transformation had progressed dramatically. Sigma’s face had been fully pulled out into a snout, like a dinosaur, but with four nostrils. The bony plate on his snout was now spiked.
His horns had grown much longer and they were now also spiked. He had two larger, longer horns coming from his skull, and two small, short horns coming from behind his jaw. His ear frills had grown significantly longer and larger. They looked like dragon ears now. There were slits on his neck that opened and closed like a fish’s gills would.
His tail was almost as long as his body and his feet had changed too. They were longer and there were raptor-like sickle claws where his big toes should have been.
The spines on his head, back, tail and chest were also longer. He had more muscle on him than he did as a human.
I somehow felt that I was staring at a fully transformed Sigma. This was the most surreal sight I have ever seen as a small town pharmaceutical CEO.
“George,” I snapped. “I need you to leave NOW. And get your creepy kid out of here!”
“We gotta go, Timmy. We have a lizard just like this one at home, son,”
“But I want this one! He’s big and he talks!”
“NOW, GEORGE!” I repeated. “Do you want to anger Sigma?!”
“Hey,” said the kid. “Are you Dad’s boss? You’re a bad guy!”
“Kids never lie,” said a security guard.
“You’re both FIRED!” I roared. “And you kid, are PRE-FIRED from ever working here! So there!”
“You’re right son, he is a bad guy,” said George in shock. “Let’s get out of here.”
It was unsettling to watch George tell his wife what had just happened in only a few minutes. All four of them, including the security guard, left the room, chatting.
“It seems I won't be the only one cheering when you’re dead,” Sigma hissed. “I can’t help but agree with him. You’re a very bad man. And I’m going to eat you for what you’ve done to me and everybody else.”
I didn't say anything.
“A pet,” whispered Sigma, scoffing at how ridiculous that thought was.
I couldn't help but laugh at the thought too, but Sigma didn't see it that way.
“I am so going to kill you,” he spat. “And it’s not going to be quick. I went through more pain last night than any human has ever endured. You must suffer for what you’ve done to me.”
“Was that a death threat? You could be arrested for words like that,” I said.
“But I’m an animal now, aren't I? You can just dispose of me when you're through with your experiment. Forget the trial and the jail.”
“That’s not my plan. Why can't you just be nicer to me and trust me for once?”
“Every time I’ve seen a doctor, they’ve told me they’ll cure my cancer. Every time, they’ve failed and given me a month less to live. I hate doctors if you haven't realized that by now. I thought Helix would be different, but I was wrong. I’ve never met more cruel people on my life.”
I kind of took offense to that, but didn't say anything. So Sigma wanted me dead. Well, he’s not the first one to verbalize that. I seem to remember Subject Gamma being pretty angry too. Everyone at the lab remembers him because his teeth fell out, and then of course there was Delta. She was a cryer and brought everyone down. Why can't we just have a normal person to deal with for a change?
I’ll be holding perhaps the strangest meeting in corporate history tomorrow: deciding what we’re going to do about Sigma.
“Wilbur,” called Sigma, “I want to eat you. I just can't decide if it should be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Maybe you can help me decide.”
“How about none of the above,” l called back as I headed to my office.
“What seasoning should I use on you? Salt? Pepper? It’s going to take a lot of seasoning to get past your bitter taste.”
I shook my head as I went through the door. Sigma could not be negotiated with anymore.