[This is Part 3 of my original short story "Blood Science" - a tongue-in-cheek look at a scientist trying to write Science Fiction and Fantasy from a logical perspective. See the "Coming Soon" tab above for more on the upcoming schedule, including the return to The Lab Rats Guide to the Brain.]
Bob pulled his car into a numbered parking spot, grabbed his lunch, a notebook, and several portable memory drives. Inside the building, he checked the mail room and stuck his head in his secretary's office.
"Afternoon, Jen." He called out.
"Good morning, you mean, Dr. Bob," she responded cheerfully. It was their usual joke. Jeannette's secretarial duties were shared by the three Assistant Professors in the department, but the other two faculty seldom showed up before mid-afternoon.
Jeannette looked a lot like the stereotype of a 50's era school teacher, but was the ideal person for organizing the schedules, mail and manuscripts of the admittedly most disorganized of the departmental faculty. "Would you like your messages, now? Or are you going to retreat to your office for 30 minutes and then call and interrupt me in the middle of my lunch break?" Fortunately she asked it with a smile to show she wasn't really upset.
"Sure, give it to me straight, Jen."
"Okay, Journal of Neurochem wants to know when they can expect their review, you're two weeks late. Journal of Behavioral Pharmacology says you're ¬three weeks late with their review. The Office of Research reminds you that you have a progress report due on your sleep cycle grant in three days. Dr. Rose wants to know if you'll switch lectures with him next week, and you have a call from 'Russ in D.C.' no last name, just said you'd know who it was."
"Thanks, Jen." I handed her one of the memory drives. "The reviews are on here, 'JNC' and 'JBP' files under 'Reviews.' Put the progress report due date on my calendar, and check if I've got any conflicts with Geoff's class. I don't mind switching as long as it's clear."
"The calendar items are done, and the class period is clear. You'll be happier with his nine A.M. class than the 5 P.M. one any way. I know you're happier writing in the early evening. Don't forget 'Russ from D.C.' and your meeting with the students at four o'clock."
Once in his office, Bob inserted the memory drive into his computer and printed out the latest version of his story. He had to get to work on that progress report, but surely he could spend a few minutes proofreading what he wrote last night.
Robberts looked around at the bloody scene.
"Vampires? You think vampires did this?" She looked at the policeman in disbelief. "Haven't any of you people read my book?
She carried it with her like a shield any time she got called out to one of these scenes. Even now it was visible sticking out of the top of her backpack: 'Blood Science: The Medical Truth about Vampires by Prof. Mary Sue Robberts, M.D. Ph.D.'
"Look, officer, to a vampire, blood is food. It's life. There are essential nutrients that it can't get any other way. This… this is wasteful. A hungry vampire would never let this much blood get away. It's like going for fast food, ordering a cheeseburger, then smearing it all over yourself instead of eating it.
"I mean, you wouldn't leave donuts all over your patrol car…" She stopped as she looked closely at the trail of powdered sugar that started about an inch below the officer's double chins and trailed down over his rather large belly.
Bob pulled out a red pen and started writing in the margin. 'Needs a better intro. Too slow. ' He struck out the reference to the book title, then wrote:
"Van Helsing ain't got nothing on me." Thought Prof. Mary Sue Robberts, author of "Blood Science: The Medical Truth about Vampires", and vampire hunter.[to be continued...]