Tweety and Juliet
Doctor Juliet Rose Gallena called out with a voice that sounds more like a DMV bureaucrat's rather than that of an acclaimed Doctor summoning her patients, her specimens, her lab rats.
Her voice echoed down the sanitary white corridor, bouncing off the bathroom tiles and empty tan seats until it reached the ears of a particular lab rat. Me. But I finally had this chance to read and I wasn't letting her cut it short. She can wait until I finish out this chapter, I thought, as I re-adjusted my leg to avoid the pins and needles.
“You know she's calling for you, right?” a whisper brushed up against me.
Straightening out my back, I glanced toward the ghost of a voice, away from the echoing assault by the good doctor. It was Postumus, at least my eyes, shortsighted as they were, showed me it was. I hunched back over and dove headlong back into uniquely antique smelling pages. The main character, Eiji, had somehow just stumbled into a mob-run club after tagging along with some joker he met in a bar, so whatever the blue clothed Rose had in store could wait until I knew my little literary buddy was safe.
“Every fucking time. I'm beginning to think you're deaf along with being blind and dumb. But no, you heard the good Doctor so get your simple ass to her office, Tweety,” A burly voice growled out of view. With my head buried, all I could see were his shoes. They were some grimy offshoot of white, covered in certain places with mottled gray netting. The red and black rubber sole was worn flat on the bottom and slowly disengaging itself away from the rest of the shoe. Not that I saw it in that detail then. I'd just seen them before when I had my glasses on, or when the owner of these repulsive shoes stood on my nose during those so-called “training sessions”. This time, I'd only seen two lumps of gray nestled beneath green pillars that I halfheartedly assumed were his legs.
I closed my book, taking care to place the scrap of fabric that served as a bookmark near my stopping point.
Lieutenant Marcoh tried to knock the book from my hands, just as he'd done so many times before. My left hand shot out and pressed his right arm at the elbow joint, misdirecting his swat mid flight. Looking up with my blurry vision, I could easily make out a mask of frustrated rage on his face.
“Give me the book,” Lt. Marcoh commanded.
It's not that I'm brave but I was finally getting into this book, which was pretty dull to start off with. So he wasn't getting it. Not before I'd finished at least.
I set my jaw and told him “no,” as resolutely as I could while meeting his stare, careful not to squint even though I could barely see his face, or anything more than six inches away from my face. The Colonel lets me read, so this guy, I knew, was powerless. Still, a bully hates to lose any foothold of power he may come across and Marcoh was no exception.
He swatted at the book again, slower this time. When I flinched at the feint, he came around with his left hand and cuffed me soundly on my ear.
Undaunted, I shot back. “Don't you have bedpans to scrub?”
Ignoring the pulsing in my ear, I squinted to see if the shot hit home, repositioning my feet so that I could rise quickly if this came to further blows. I could feel his trepidation, by the way his blurry form swayed and the way his shoes depressed the ground before me. He may be a bully but he's not so cocksure to believe that he could crush me without complications. Not in this eerily echoing hall. Not with Postumus at one end and Dr. Rose at the other.
“Lt. Marcoh! You've been warned about abusing my sp - patients,” the doctor from the end of the hall finally made her way down the Corridor of Purexed Echoes. “I'm sure you have work elsewhere in the labs, or else you wouldn't be wearing those scrubs.”
Marcoh began to retreat while huffing out excuses, “This canary was being disrespectful to rank again, I thought that it would benefit all of us if it was taught a bit of humility.” He didn't need to be so worried though. Few at this facility would care enough to substantially punish someone like the lieutenant for kicking the shit out of some canary. I say that from experience.
“Come along, Cole,” Dr. Rose purrs, “we're behind schedule as it is.”
Following her heels, I chanced a look back at Postumus, another canary.
“Later, Morty,” I shouted. He didn't hear though, not with his headphones on.
“I don't understand why you seem to drag your feet on examination days. Remember the honor you've been bestowed, and how close you've come to ascension,” Dr. Rose reproached me in the manner she had always done when speaking to a canary; like a kindly mother chastising a child. So beautiful and graceful, we yellow bellied bastards can't resist trusting her, like our very own goddess - magnanimous Athena to the canaries. Around Dr. Rose it's all too easy to believe that we're still thought of as glorious young men - heroes, even - and not as canaries.