by [email protected]
A man had a dream.
He dreamt that he woke up on a cold metal floor. He
cradled his head, nursing his massive headache. He rose to his feet and
took in his surroundings. He was enclosed in a wire fence. He walked
over to the edge of the fence and looked out.
He was inside a very large room with cabinets, shelves, and metal
tables. Computers and microscopes littered desks. The manís eyes panned
over the rows of vials and beakers with different color liquids.
Syringes and needles lay on metal trays all over the counters. Then he
noticed the large
figures walking around the room.
He fell back, gasping, as he looked at the figures. They were giants.
Walking, talking animal giants. Cats, rats, mice, pigs -- all different
species. Animal giants in white lab coats. He was not behind a fence --
he was in a cage!
The man, realizing he was in a laboratory of sorts, and that he was the
size of a mouse to these giants, rushed at the bars of the cage in a
"Let me out of here! Get me out! Get me out!"
A white rat, hearing the man scream out, approached the cage. The man
stepped back in fear.
"What is it, little human?" the rat asked.
"Get me out of this cage now!" the man commanded, his voice trembling in
The rat shook his head and smiled. "Iím sorry. I cannot do that."
Fear overtook the man, and he backed up against the back of the cage.
"What are you going to do with me? Feed me poisons? Stick me with your
needles? What vicious thing are you going to do to me?"
The rat blinked his large red eyes. "Whatever are you talking about?"
The man pointed to the liquids on the counter. "You're going to feed
those chemicals to me to see if I die, aren't you?"
The rat looked in the direction of the beakers and vials. "Those? Why
would we feed those to you? Those would kill you. They're disinfectants
and detergents. Those are for our toxicity tests."
"So what are you going to do, insert them in my veins? Drop them in my
eyes?" the man spit out as ferociously as he could, given the state of
fear he was in.
The rat looked curiously at the man. "What are you going on about? Why
would I do that to you?"
The man quivered as he spoke. "Youíre conducting toxicity tests. How are
you going to administer them to me?"
The rat laughed softly. "Why would I administer those chemicals to you
when I have computer models to tell me how much toxicity is in each
chemical? And clinical studies to aid my findings? Why would I test such
things on a human, when your chemical structure is different from mine?
Doing so would only be a waste of time, and gain nothing of any
scientific value. I would hope the average lupine or feline would know
enough not to pour laundry detergent in their eyes, or not to drink
drain cleaner. Common
sense plays a large part in the survival of all our species, not
"But how do you know that it really isnít toxic? Shouldnít you test it
on another living being? To be sure?" the man inquired.
"Why would I give another being a chemical I know would hurt myself, and
possibly kill me? Where is the moral and scientific sense in that?"
The man thought for a moment. "But surely greater findings would be
found if you tested them on other living beings."
"No," the rat said. "If we had tested Trialecylcine on humans, we would
never have found the cure for feline aids. Trialecylcine is fatal to
humans. And such everyday items as Nopran for headaches and Citisan for
tail-itch have no effect on humans. Aspirin, which cures human
headaches, kills felines. But with clinical data and other information
we already know, as well as computer models of the different species, we
have been able to advance our medical research quite rapidly. Sickness
is rare, and life
expectancies have lengthened greatly. Testing a medicine intended for
canines on a human wastes valuable time."
The man let this sink in. Then he spoke. "Then why am I locked up in
"Because one of our co-workers found you along side the road, injured.
We put you in this cage so you wouldnít hurt yourself further."
The rat walked over to the counter and pulled out a bottle, took a tiny
tablet, and returned to the man. He slipped the tablet into the bars.
"Here, this should help."
The man swallowed the tablet, and in seconds, his headache was
completely gone. "Thank you."
The rat smiled and opened the cage door. "There. Now you are free to
The man awoke from his dream. He got up, showered, drank
his coffee, and drove off to work, forgetting his dream. He reached his
job, and walked up to his office. He laid his briefcase down on the desk
and put on his lab coat. He walked into his laboratory and picked up a
syringe. He filled it with a liquid marked "unscented laundry detergent"
and the brandís name. He opened one of the many boxes lined up on
shelves. The pulled out a white rat from the box. He was about to feed
the rat the detergent, when he suddenly remembered the dream. He looked
at the rat, trembling in his hand.
The man sighed and put the rat back. He put the syringe down on the
counter and took off his lab coat. He grabbed his briefcase and was
about to leave, when he stopped. He put the briefcase back on his desk
and walked into the laboratory. He took the box with the rat he had just
been holding moments before. The man took the rat, placed him carefully
in his briefcase, and walked out of the office, and the building, never
Go on to Another Short
Piece About Veganism With a Recipe at the End
Return to 9 May 2001 Issue
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