I narrowly escaped a bear-hug by the mathematics building. He must be getting old . . and he's losing his hair . . needs someone to wash and iron his clothes .. cook for him, . .what a monster. . .
I half skip down the gentle slope in front of the archway leading to the quad. A voice nearby tells me to run between the architecture and fine arts buildings. Surely I will find somewhere to hide.
I run between the two buildings as they become the small garden between the plant science and soil science buildings at Cornell, before bulldozers destroyed Stone Hall. Perhaps I can hide in the genetics labs.
This is no time to get an ether fix.
The lab seems deserted except for a few non-talkative students deeply engrossed in the contents under their dissecting scopes. I count 4 students. They all look alike. The all look like Gunther, the T.A. for linear algebra . . . Gunther never took genetics . . .? . . Though very nice and kind, he didn't talk much . . I never knew if it was from fear of English or just that he always had to have a cigarette in his mouth. I doubt that I can count on Gunther for help.
Lockers! I see lockers at the end of the room. Perhaps I can hide in the lockers. . .
Well, almost. . . I have to kick out the bottom to be able to stand in them. I kick out the bottom and sink . . what is supporting me? Perhaps I shouldn't use the lockers.
I scrounge around the side room for preparing media in hopes that Ernestine has left a large box or empty container lying around. I don't see Ernestine . .. what has happened to Ernestine? Is she still alive?
Dr. Miranda Rodriguez comes in pushing a flat-bed cart with a huge glass ball on it. Why should she be here? . . My presence does not seem out of the ordinary to her. . . she should not be here, but elsewhere . . . where . .
The ball . . I thought it only a glass ball, but it has quite a complicated interior . . lots of glass tubes and connectors strewn around the inside. The bottom third appears to be free of any apparatus . . many stopcocks and pressure-release valves running in radial pattern on the top. The connecting tubes periodically collect in rounded flasks, or teardrop-shaped separation flasks . . random pieces of foil and wire stick into the open space between the tubes, perhaps connecting to monitors or small greenish metallic boxes of indeterminate function. Miranda has opened the ball by releasing some enigmatic catches along the circumference of the sphere. Two glass hinges along the back keep it proped open at a 60 degree angle. I could easily stand in the bottom though it is perhaps only 4 feet high. She asks me to stand back as she rolls over a large stainless steel cask filled with a steaming substance. She runs a rubber hose from the top of the cask to an intake chute in the bottom of the sphere. She sucks on the free end of the hose to start the flow of fluid before connecting it to the sphere. A thick brown substance flows in . . . molasses?, no, it's too opaque . . .it's fly food!!
'That's fly food . . what's it for?'
'Oh. It's for my son Roger. This is his favorite toy, it's a Fly Oscillator. . . We put the flies in here, ones left over from the lab . . and switch the power pack over here . .' she has set a small fan near the bottom in motion . . ' that gets the flies moving . .and then, well, they just buzz from place to place .. trick is to keep them off the food as much as possible.' She has turned the fan off, and taken hold of a large stainless steel spatula for stirring the incoming food.
'All we need now is some morgue juice.'
'Well, we can't keep the flies in there forever .. and if they fly into the wrong place or get free of the motor-facets, well, we don't want them fogging the glass or laying eggs on the inside . . and maggots would really bring things to a halt . . so we keep a trap of morgue juice to catch them.'
'Ah . . ' I imagine her two year old son staring wondrously into this huge ball shuttling flies from compartment to compartment . . perhaps this is one of those mind-boggling sculptures with the ramps and pulley systems for moving balls around a roller-coaster framework in seeming perpetual motion . . this one just happens to use flies . .
I had two more close calls with the ogre from Brooklyn. Fortunately, in our last encounter I left him suspended from a tree.
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