Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Postmodern Prometheus

For all that six long years had unfurled since the passing of my darling Evangeline, the ocean’s damp seemed to cling to her porcelain skin and dark, curling tresses. I dismissed the illusion as a trick of the cryogenic chamber’s glass cover and glanced at the radar animation on the computer monitor. Outside the lab, the sky squeezed out a thin crackle of lightning.

For six long years, I had perfected my method, on frogs and rats, cats and dogs, chimpanzees, and finally, an executed convict. His remains, having outlived their usefulness after nine successful attempts, chilled in the chamber beside Evangeline’s. His temperature reading held at five degrees below zero. The display on my beloved’s clicked up from eight to nine.

The storm drew closer. There were injections to be given, electrodes to attach, connections to be adjusted, all with the greatest of care.

An hour later, the process well underway, the pounding on the lab door began. “Vick, please open this door.” After so many years of being ignored by my supervisor, I had no trouble ignoring him at the moment of my greatest triumph. “Tell me you’re not doing what your FaceBook page says you’re doing.”

Electricity flowed through the conduits. My eyes remained glued to the stark, smooth flesh of Evangeline’s face, marred only by the oxygen tubes snaking from her perfect mouth and nose.

“It’s not science,” the voice beyond the lab door hollered. “It’s an affront to science. You’ve got to let this go, Vick. It’s disgusting.”

But love would not be swayed, and love was undying. Thunder argued overhead, and the mechanical bellows massaged her adorable heart beneath her perfect breast. A final stab of lightning lit the windows and it was done.

The veins pumping beneath the white cheek filled it with a pretty blush, her eyelids twitched, and her hands, with frantic convulsion, ripped the oxygen tubes from her face, ripped the mechanical bellows from its mount. My Evangeline lived.

Her wide eyes gaped behind the glass panel. Anticipating the shock and fearing her fear, I ripped the cover open.

A low, gagging noise emanated from her throat. She half sat up, then scuttled back. “Oh, god,” she moaned, her voice faint and hissing. “Oh, god. I’m in hell.”

“No! Evangeline! You live! I have stolen you back from the arms of death. For you, I have conquered mortality. We shall never be parted again.

The pounding on the lab door increased in volume. Many men and women demanded entry, like the proverbial angry mob bearing pitchforks. They called themselves scientists, but, no better than ignorant peasants, they would not understand.

Unsteady, like a child, she clambered from the chamber, fell, and glared up at me from all fours on the lab floor, hissing, “Pervert! Can’t you take a hint? I committed suicide to get away from you! What do I have to do? Immolate myself?”

“We were meant to be together.”

She tried to dash for the lab door, which shook with the rage of the crowd outside, but she could not control her newborn muscles and collapsed like an invertebrate. She must rest, convalesce on beef tea and my undying love. In her weakened condition, she needed me more than ever. “Help!” she screamed and crawled past me, this time catching her hand on the locked door and turning the deadbolt. It swung open and she fell into the arms of another.

She disappeared from view as the fools descended upon my equipment.