I finally got to Writers Connect after weeks of absences due to people getting married or christened or being snowed in, or the like, all falling on the Sundays on which the group was meeting. This week, for an exercise, we each wrote three random words on three separate slips of paper. We folded them up, threw them into a pile, mixed them around and pulled out three slips each. These words were the prompt for a short vignette. Mine were:
The slide was different this time, the microbes dancing under the lens and the clinical light of the room. Something was spurring them on to work, to eat away at the infected matter. He’d left a series of slides out overnight, an error borne of tiredness. Something green had appeared, as if dropped by God.
He needed to phone James- if anything was different, he’d said, if any pattern emerged, it needed reporting immediately. But Robert stayed, fascinated by the Amoebic feast. This was a first. A holy grail for science research, if only he could figure out what had changed. He ran sequence tests, altered variables. He searched for similarities in previous research. He was running out of infected cells to test on. But the system threw up a suggestion as the perspiration built up on his neck.
It was a herb. A common one. Ginger.
Who had brought ginger into the lab? And why? And where was Dave, his slob of an assistant? He needed him to record this and get it validated fast, before someone else discovered it. This was the only cure.
The hiss of the pressurised door startled him, and he guarded the microscope, like his discovery could be discredited instantly.
Dave stood in the doorway eating a sandwich.
“You fucking idiot!” Robert exploded. “Where did you get your degree, you-“
Robert looked at the sandwich.
“Oh.” He licked his lips. He had the cure. “Oh, don’t move.”
Of course, what I didn't know is that ginger is a root, not a herb. I also have no scientific knowledge past GCSE level, so I really didn't know what I was talking about. The group seemed to like it though!