Side Effects May Vary - @krazydiamond - CandlePunk

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Side Effects May Vary

A CandlePunk Story by krazydiamond

Jeb Meyers hadn't slept in weeks. His doctor insisted that wasn't physically possible. The human body couldn't survive such strain. He'd have gone mentally insane after a few days. Blah blah, all that medical bullshit. Jeb was too damn tired to convince him otherwise. He was the one who hadn't sleep in six weeks, not Dr. Ritcher, though the idiot had the decency to recommend Jeb to a specialist in the field.

Which brought Jeb to his current location, a nondescript low brick building with blacked out windows. There was no sign out front, or number on the door. He checked the gps twice to assure himself he was in the correct location. The blacked out windows gave him pause. Only time he'd encountered that kind of setup was at Lucky Jim's pot farm. Did Dr. Ritcher send him here to get high? Maybe a couple puffs would help him finally sleep. He frowned at the 'lab'. The only sign of occupancy was a rusted station wagon in the lot, which didn't improve his opinion of the joint. In the end it was exhaustion that drove him forward, knocking on the rough metal door. He didn't think he would physically survive much more of this. He was barely surviving now, on his feet thanks to a steady stream of energy drinks. He'd read those stories and wasn't too keen to make his brain bleed out his ears.

Once he finished knocking, Jeb stepped back, rubbing his arms as he waited. He'd just made up his mind to stuff it in and head home when the mail flap lifted and a small camera popped out, like a low tech version of the security of Jabba's palace.

"Can I help you?" The question was a snap of a feminine voice that jolted Jeb to correct his posture.

"Uh yeah, Dr. Ritcher sent me."

The camera retreated a second before the door slammed inward. Jeb blinked into the dim entry way at a short woman, her blond pixie cut in a disheveled array or wayward spikes. Her white lab coat bore several smudges of take-out lunches with a distinct whiff of General Tso's, and she wore no shoes. Jeb took a step back, ready to run when she jumped into the light and snatched up his hand.

"The impossible insomniac! So pleased to meet you. I'm Tricia Kneeves. Do come in, do come in," she said and practically yanked Jeb over the threshold. The door slammed shut behind him, trapping him inside with her.

Not that Dr. Kneeves paid him any mind, her ruby painted toes silent on the concrete floor as she wandered back down the hall. "Let's have a look at that restless mind of yours."

Seeing little other choice, Jeb followed her. Despite her appearance, the interior was cleaner than he expected and much more lab like than the exterior revealed. The windows appeared to be blacked out to protect an array of black-lit plants, definitely not pot by the smell, growing in rows in several rooms. Kneeves padded all the way to the end of the hall, revealing an ordinary medical office and observation room. Her desk was cluttered like the rest of her but her actual work station was pristine. She gestured to a chair.

"Sit, please."

Jeb sat as she hooked him up to a series of electrodes. She pulled up a computer on wheels, clicking and typing for several minutes before she gave an excited squeal.

"Why, Mr. Meyers, you haven't slept in six weeks," she said.

She believed him? "Can you help me?"

Kneeves tapped her chin. "Don't you want to ask me why you aren't dead?"

Jeb blinked. "Okay, I'll bite."

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