Room 0036

September 19, 2015 § 2 Comments

I looked at my watch as I rushed down the flight of stairs into Stevenson’s basement, almost missing the last step along the way. I was 15 minutes late, thanks to the staining process in lab taking too long to dry. The Professor would not be happy if he found out.

I checked his email one last time, confirming that it was indeed Room 0036 that I was going to. Halfway down the hallway I stopped at the door marked 0036. I knocked and the door immediately swung open.

A short, mousy looking woman was smiling at me. Although almost all of the people I had met in Stevenson’s basement were distinguished professors, few dressed the part. However, this one did.

“Come on in,” she motioned with her hand.

“I’m sorry that I’m late, class went-” I started, but she cut me off.

“Hush! I won’t tell The Professor,” she winked at me, “Besides, a few minutes is nothing in the vast expanse of history.”

I laughed the way that I would if my boss told a bad joke.

She began to lead me in, but then stopped suddenly and wheeled around to face me, her hand outstretched in front of her, “I’m Amy, by the way.” I shook it.

Ten seconds later we were entering the room labeled Laboratory, and I was surrounded by hundreds of metal cases with little glass observation windows.

“I’m researching the possibilities of the evolution of man,” Amy filled me in, “In each of these observation cages is a microcosm that contains model humans that reproduce extremely quickly. This way we can simulate thousands of different variables in a very short period of time.”

I cocked an eyebrow at her, prompting her to show me. She walked a few paces farther and pointed at one of the windows, “For example, this is a simulation of what humans would look like after 3 million years of eating the ‘Paleo Diet.’”

I expected to see a health nut doing yoga, but instead there was a hairy, overweight beast of a man sitting on a tiny couch. His mate was equally as hairy, and their heads were disproportionally large in the back. They were quite Neanderthalic, in fact.

“Oh! Look at this one!” she was pointing at a container near the floor, “These guys have adapted to an earth that is 3 degrees warmer than current temperatures.”

The humans looked thin, and their skin pale and clammy looking. She whispered at me, “They’re amphibious.”

A second later she was a few feet away, moving on to the next attraction. For ten minutes she showed me example after example of humans who only lived in constant sunlight, or slept 3 hours a night, or did 8 hours of exercise a day. At the end, I asked her why they were doing all of this research when none of us would live to see these possibilities. Amy giggled mischievously.

“Well, you never know when time travel will be created.” After that, she brought me to the door and said that she’d send a write up to The Professor.  She added on, “Life’s too short to waste your time.”

I thanked her and was on my way, scratching my head as to why she was so sweet to me. A minute later, it dawned on me: What if my life was just part of someone else’s experiment? I spent a minute worrying about it, but shrugged it off as I emerged back on to ground level. As people rushed around me, trying to get to different classes and appointments, I smiled. That would be a pretty boring experiment anyway…



§ 2 Responses to Room 0036

  • jocelyntroth says:

    I loved the humor in this story! It’s something that I really appreciate in this genre, as authors can sometimes take themselves a bit too seriously (in my opinion). Lightening the mood with quips and jokes makes stories less dense, and I think that yours was well served by this technique! And the joke about the paleo diet had me chuckling for much longer than I should have been. Nice job!

    Also, I’m hoping that your “Room” series has more experiments in store for us. I’m becoming a big fan.



  • Demosthenes says:

    I found your story intriguing because although I have thought about the possibility of human evolution, I always thought that change would come about in small increments. For example, we get better hearing/vision or, contrarily, we lose some of our abilities. I never thought about extreme situations, such as the ones in your story. Indeed, what would humans look and act like if we suddenly had to live in constant sunlight? Or a climate that is radically different from our current one? (I don’t think I would survive natural selection.)

    Another reason why I enjoyed your story was because of the thought “What if my life was just part of someone else’s experiment?” This reminds me of a post that I saw on a Tumblr blog that said “”Our whole planet could just be an alien’s science project that he got a C on.” This thought, although amusing, also terrifies me in a sense. We live our lives thinking that we have autonomy and the goal of having a happy, fulfilling life. It is disconcerting to think that our lives could merely be data for someone else’s experiment or project.


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