Chicken Soup for your Animal Experimentation Ass

Victoria Washington, about the enter the lab where she worked, paused at the door to look at a hazardous materials sticker she had not seen before. She had been sick and this was her first trip to work in three weeks. Although it had been good to spend the time away from work with her five-year-old daughter—who normally spent the day at a child care center—and her son—a freshman in history at the university who had been very helpful while she was sick—Victoria was worried that she would lose her job if she didn't get better soon. She was still sick, but, since she had to make a trip to the company today to speak to the Risk Manager, she had decided to drop by the lab to say hello to her supervisor.

Victoria worked as a lab technician for Procter and Gamble, one of Cincinnati's largest companies. It was her job to oversee the care of the animals used for testing. In the elevator on her way up to the lab she had read a notice stating that a raccoon had escaped from its cage in the lab during the night and was thought to be lurking in the building. Anyone noticing anything was to phone security, the notice stated. Victoria was glad that she had been sick when the animal had escaped and thus could not be blamed for the incident.

Victoria walked into the lab and looked for her supervisor Janine. Janine was difficult to find because she was wearing a new plastic uniform with a face mask and gloves. Janine seemed preoccupied and appeared to be too busy to talk to Victoria then.

Victoria went upstairs to her meeting with the Risk Manager. Victoria believed her sickness was a result of exposure to chemicals in the lab. The company had been vague on this point. She had been granted workers compensation pay during her leave of sickness, but the checks had not yet arrived. Victoria had missed her first rent payment in four years as a result, and her landlord had threatened to evict her.

The Procter and Gamble Risk Manager—Ward Callahan Jr.—had a large office with a view of Cincinnati's skyline. He stared at this skyline as he explained to Victoria that she had indeed been granted workers compensation because of the possibility—yet unproven—that her recent debilitating sickness was the result of exposure to toxins in the lab. He assured her that the delay was probably a result of misplaced paperwork and would straighten itself out soon. When she asked Ward Callahan Jr. if he would call her landlord Darren Jakobsen to assure him that the delayed rent payment was not her fault, Ward Callahan Jr. chuckled and a savage raccoon leapt from a shelf of bowling trophies above his head and chewed his eyes out in a geyser of blood.

Chicken Soup for the Vegetarian Soul.