Well, I've really fucking done it this time.
Let me bring you up to speed... I'm in a lab, far from Boston, with total strangers, about to test an experimental drug for cash. Sounds batshit crazy, right? Well, it is, and to top it off, I have a damn toothache.
Sitting four feet in front of me is Rudy, looking like the long-lost twin of John Wayne Gacy – the serial killer who dressed up like a clown. His eyes are boring into me like he's trying to telepathically communicate, but all I'm getting is "You! You'll die first!"
Rudy's got the whole package – greasy hair, 100 extra pounds, and a stench that could be a biohazard. We all took showers, mind you, but I guess he missed that memo. Imagine a sickening blend of unwashed feet and a decaying corpse, a scent so putrid that he could stroll through a horde of zombies and they'd mistake him for one of their own. If this is what the next 30 days look like, sign me up for the real apocalypse.
Today is orientation day.
I'm typing on a laptop they gave us this morning to share everything that happens as I experience it. I find myself a bit anxious here, like I'm stepping off a cliff into the unknown. Yesterday, I was pretty excited, believing this shit would be a breeze. Today, I'm overwhelmed with doubt, questioning if I truly considered this thoroughly. It's one of my shortcomings; I often rush into things without thinking it through. I'm actually surprised I'm even still alive, to be honest.
On the bright side, they're giving us $300 per day for being a guinea pig in this experiment. That's a pretty tempting incentive, don't you think? I mean, if I make it through the whole 30-day trial, I'll be looking at almost ten grand in my pocket – enough to settle my debts with those Rizetto assholes and finally square up with my bills. That part sounds fantastic.
However, here comes the bad news. This mystery drug they call "Formula 35C" doesn't come with a description. We were told only, "it's for the brain." Gee, thanks. I don't have the faintest idea what the fuck this drug will do to me. I guess that's the whole point right? Dumbasses like me take the pill so the doctors can make the pill better. It's a pretty big gamble, and I'm playing with my sanity on the line. The shit I do for money, man.
Now, back to these other people...
To my right sits Randy. He looks a little unsettled at the moment. He's staring at his laptop with quite an expression. I can't tell if he's having trouble reading or if he needs to run to the bathroom and drop a seismic number 2. Either way, he suddenly demands my attention, and of course, I'm thrilled about it.
"Wah tuck posed to rah?" he blurts out, and I have no idea what the fuck this means... I need a second.
Okay, after a moment of contemplation, I manage to decode his message, but he doesn't give me a chance to reply.
"Well? What the fuck are we supposed to write on this stupid thing?" he repeats, this time slower and with a hint of consideration for my sanity.
I can see he's an impatient person, no problem, I'll help, "Just what they said a few minutes ago. Your thoughts, feelings, and anything that pops into your head."
His face contorts into what I can only describe as pure confusion, and he lets out a throaty growl, which, to be honest, is a funny reaction to something so simple. "What the hell for? Just give us the fucking drugs already," he grumbles, eyes glued back to his laptop screen. I can't help but laugh. I'm feeling better already.
"JACK MCCOY," I hear one of the scientists yell out from behind me.
"That's me," I belt back, and lo and behold, it's the mean balding guy, Dr. Waters, I think.
"Ten more minutes, then you will make your way to Dr. Nelson in the staff office," he yells while checking something off on his clipboard.
"Sir, Yes, Sir!" I reply, adding a touch of sarcasm for flavor.
"You'll call me Doctor, do you understand?" he replies with condescending authority.
"Yes, Doctor!" I shoot back with a genuine smile and daggers in my eyes.
I guess I better get back to it.
Most of these other folks seem pretty normal. This morning was a trip, going through all sorts of physical and mental testing with them. The doctors even hooked us up to polygraph machines to weed out any potential troublemakers. We’re all still here, so I guess that’s good.
We’re certainly a diverse bunch here at this trial. Besides Rudy and Randy, there's Jeff, who looks like the chill stoner type straight out of a small town. Jeff and I hit it off quickly because we're both smokers, but they won't let us light up during our stay, so of course we both had to bitch about it. I'm already craving a cigarette badly and I know it's going to be a tough ride. Jeff's half-baked and not too bright, but he did nail a solid 30 minutes on the treadmill.
Next up, we have Ben, a shy and young-looking redhead who seems like he just got out of highschool. He's been pretty quiet, but I swear I heard him crying after the physical testing. What a bitch. Although, I probably would have cried too had I not jumped off at the 5 minute mark. I don’t exercise. If I were to step into the ring with a 90-year-old woman, my money would probably be on her for kicking my ass.
Ah, and there’s Frank the Asian, sitting there in the corner like he's in timeout. His glasses are so thick, his head would explode if he glanced at the sun. I'm starting to wonder if he's an undercover scientist here to spy on us. Whatever the case, he's keeping his poker face strong, and I can't help but admire the guy's dedication to the loner persona.
Oh, and here's Michael, the over-friendly chef from Columbia in his mid-30s. He's got that charming accent that makes you listen even if you don't understand half of what he's saying. He's been drilling everyone about his grand plans for his future. When he bags the full payment from the trial, we're all invited to his new restaurant right on Newbury Street. Assuming of course, we all do make it through this trial.
There are a couple of other guys in here that I still need to learn the names of. Like the grumpy old commando dude in his 50s, looking like he's stuck babysitting a bunch of stupid youngsters. Then we've got the metalhead with "666" inked on his neck - no surprise he's out of work. And don't even get me started on the used car salesman guy - big smile and all, laughing like he’s having the time of his life. I can already tell I'm not going to like him.
There's only 4 woman here which officially makes this a sausage party. I'm sitting next to one of them now, her name's Lynette. She's a mid-40s black woman, with a pretty face and pink hair. She's sitting nearby, raising her hand like she's ready to interrogate Doctor Rogaine. Looks like she's caught his attention.
“Well, ma'am, what's on your mind?” the balding prick asks, oozing irritation.
“How much crap are we supposed to write down?” she fires back, arms crossed like a boss.
The doctor rubs his balding head, eyebrows raised. “Just jot down whatever pops into your head. When you're done, you're done. Close it up and standby.” He's clearly not in the mood for Lynette's questioning.
She seems content with that response, swiftly shutting her laptop and leaning back. Our eyes meet, and she sighs, clearly over this whole ordeal.
“I'm ready to cash out and get my money, honey,” she says with a sly grin.
A kindred spirit! I can't help but smile back.
Okay, we've also got a girl here named Stephanie, the young college chick kicking back on a comfy chair. She appears pretty shaken up. Her eyes are wide open, and she's gazing at everyone like they're potential threats. I'm not sure if she can handle this shit to be honest. She's hot as fuck with long brown hair and those big brown eyes, but man, she's reeks of fear. The slightest loud noise causes her to jump and scream. It's crazy.
Then there's Emily, another very attractive girl with blonde hair. She's got no fear. What she does seem to have is a Ph.D. in "Bitchology". She's been whining about everything since we got here. Let's just hope the drug we're about to take doesn't enhance some people's already fucked up personalities. The only thing worse than a bitch is a bitch².
And then there's Amanda... She's a not-so-attractive woman in her 40s, maybe 50's, rockin' short hair and horn-rimmed glasses. She's not much of a talker, but she's definitely a writer as she hasn't stopped writing since we got here. My guess, is she's one of those "fuck all men" types and won't be afraid to say it. I can't wait for that can of worms to open, let me tell you.
I have 5 more minutes before I have to go see the Wizard of Oz, Dr. Nelson himself, so I suppose I should give you the lay of the land here.
We're all hanging out in what the doctors call the "common room." It's pretty big, but honestly, it's pretty dull. There are these two huge tables that can fit all of us, and I'm chilling at one of them right now. Right behind me, there are these massive bookshelves crammed with all sorts of books about everything under the sun. I'm a big reader and have read well over 2000 books, mostly sci-fi and fantasy stuff. But I gotta be real, these books don't look too exciting – mostly seem to be textbooks and manuals. I guess I'll have to make do with what's there.
They tossed in a deck of cards and a chess board, which is cool. There's also a couple of big couches and three comfy chairs scattered around. Oh, and there's a water dispenser tucked away in one corner. But guess what's missing? Vending machines! No way to grab a snack or a drink. I really hope they figure this out soon, or I'm going to enlist the aid of Emily to fetch a supervisor.
I wasn’t supposed to be doing this alone. My buddy Vic told me about this drug trial during our last gamblers anonymous session. He didn't make the cut, so I guess it's just me flying solo. We're both a couple of reckless knuckleheads, but Vic's got his own place and wheels, so I'm scratching my head wondering why I got picked over him. Maybe they were looking for the absolute bottom of the barrel, and it seems they nailed it judging by the company I'm in.
I suppose I should be happy in a way. While we're stuck here, everything's on the house. Hygiene products, food, and they're even throwing in "room and board," which basically means we each get our own small bedrooms. No need to waste a single penny on stupid shit like toilet paper and toothpaste. Trust me, those things become pure gold when you're flat broke like me.
Oh, and by the way, did I mention I'm a gambling addict getting the boot from my apartment? Yup, that's my golden ticket to this paradise.
Now, let's talk grub… so far, they've been feeding us like Gordon Ramsay's the chef. After the testing this morning we were greeted by a long table with trays upon trays of fresh veggies, succulent grilled chicken, delectable fish, and a couple of rice dishes to top it off. No more ramen noodles and stale donuts in my diet, thank God.
There is however a giant fucking red flag... they confiscated our phones, wallets, and keys. No way to reach the outside world for the entire duration. It's a bit sus, don't you think? Is this even legal?
But hey, let's not whine too much. My lousy studio doesn't even have electricity and it's the middle of winter. Not to mention the eviction notice that is glued to my front door. So, what I've got here is pure luxury in comparison. At least I won't freeze my ass off.
"JACK MCCOY," bellows the balding asshole doctor.
"Yes, Doctor?" I respond with the sweetest voice I can muster.
"Time's up, buddy. Let's move it!" he declares without even giving me a glance.
Well, folks, it seems I'm off to have a meeting with the big cheese. Hopefully he can give me something for this toothache.
Catch you later!