Bad Day

Some weekend flash fiction. Inspired by a passing comment by Wil Wheaton months ago.

Caleb couldn’t help but smile in anticipation as he approached the door to his girlfriend’s apartment. He really could use some of her tender ministrations — her strong hands and long fingers were better than anyone’s at kneading tension out of his shoulders and back. And then maybe she would massage other things…

Today had been a total shitshow at the lab. Just when the admin people were harassing him about costs, some idiot spilled some solvent, which dripped on some electrical cords, corroded the insulation and caused a short which blew out some monitoring equipment, and now a whole set of embryos might be irretrievably damaged. The whole place was a mess, and tomorrow would be another full day of clean up and damage assessment.

He let himself in with his key, calling out for Helen. She appeared from the bedroom looking all rumpled and sexy, a surprised look on her face.

“Oh, so you found your key?” She asked, “You didn’t say you were going to be back.”

Caleb stopped in the process of taking off his coat to turn and stare at her. “Found my key? I never lost it. And back? I was last here two days ago.”

She frowned. “If that’s a joke, it’s not funny.”

“A joke?” Caleb was really confused now.

“And it’s really not funny, trying to make me think I’m crazy,” she snapped. “You were just here a few hours ago. I had to let you in, you said you lost your key. You were acting strange. I asked what was wrong, you left again without answering me. Now you’re back. With your key.”

Caleb stared at her in horror as the only possible explanation dawned on him. He turned and hastily shoved his coat back on.

“Caleb! What’s going on!”

“I know this doesn’t make sense,” he said, “But don’t let me in again. If I don’t have my key, don’t let me in. Is that clear?”

“Yes it’s clear, but I don’t understand…”

“You don’t have to understand right now, just do it. It’s important.”

“All right…”

Caleb was already heading out the door. In the hall he pulled out his cell phone and dialed a very special number. “Robert,” he said, “We have a problem. In the chaos at the lab today, one of the clones escaped. And he knows where my girlfriend lives.”