David Fishkind

The bowl of oatmeal turned in the microwave, and Laura watched the clock on the wall, second hand dallying. Her phone pinged and automatically opened a news application.

In the lab, she inspected the centrifuge, which was off and appeared well maintained from any recent use, walked around the room. Checked the temperature on the freezers.

When those needed no adjusting, she printed a document titled final final 3, and walked to the department lounge to retrieve it. ―Oh, I’m sorry, Ellis lifted his head from the table.

―What time is it?

―Well the clock says just after two, though I wouldn’t really take that at face value, but listen, did you hear about that airport shooting in California?


―I just got an alert. There was a shooting just this morning. Some guy went crazy with an assault rifle and killed this security person and injured…

―You said two?

―Like, um, just after.

―Goddamn you. Goddamn it.

―It really is messed up. I don’t know what we’re going to do. These violent acts seem to be just about every week and the gun lobby just won’t even budge to save its consumers. Like, what’s going to happen when every gun owner has suffered a gun related injury? Or, I mean, that’s not going to probably happen, but like, at some point it seems like everyone is going to know someone who has been affected by gun violence. Is that what it’s going to have to, like, take before…

―How long have you had that little address of sanctimonious rhetoric prepared, then?

―What? No, I just got the alert on my phone a…

―Right, okay, just let Lattner know that I still need to speak with him, all right?

―Okay, well, have a good afternoon.

About halfway through the printed text began to fade. The final dozen pages were blank. In the supply closet, a post-it note, not attached to anything, read last cartridge! please order more! thanks!