Happy Birthday, Tuck

Prompt Day #11: Describe the first birthday party for a disturbing mutant

 So, I took some creative liberties with this one, but man, I really like it. I hope you do too.

Happy Birthday, Tuck

The creature sat in the darkness of his cell. This was just another day as far as he was concerned. He was sore in the freshly incised areas and itchy in the spots that were starting to heal. He ran his hand down his arm; it rolled up and down over the topography of scars. He wondered if there would be more surgeries today. He reached up and felt the nose they were growing on the side of his head. It felt just about ready. He did not like the pain of surgery of course, but he did like getting out of the cell, liked interacting with the scientists. He likes it when they talk to him, when the helpers come to take care of his incisions. If it wasn’t surgery day, then the most interaction he could hope for was when a helper came by to look at whatever organ they were getting ready to harvest. He was covered in ears and noses. Sometimes they put balloons beneath his skin and blew them up to stretch his skin out, and then later, they would remove the balloon and all the extra skin for some needy human. Sometimes he wished one of those humans would decide to come see him and thank him but they never did. He supposed even if they did, Dr. Werner would not let them. He wouldn’t want them to see the monster he had become. He saw the looks on the helper’s faces when they came to measure an organ, he knew he was horrifying. Sometimes it made him sad, but then he would think about the little children that used to come to visit him at the zoo, before he came here. He would think that maybe one of them needed a nose or an ear or some of his skin and that made him feel better. Sometimes when the pain got really bad, he would see one of their faces smiling and laughing and pointing at him in his mind’s eye, and it helped more than the medicine they gave him.

He heard voices and footsteps coming down the long corridor. He eased himself up off his hay mound and made his way towards the door to his cell. More than one voice was a good sign. He heard the keys in the door and he shaded his eyes against the light wedge that grew to encompass the room as the door opened fully.

“Hey there, Tuck, how you feeling today?” Dr. Werner’s voice said. His eyes hadn’t quite adjusted to the light yet, so all he could make out was outlines. He grunted.

“Did you know it’s you’re birthday? Well, it’s an anniversary at least. One year that you have been here at InnoGene Labs with us.” One of the female helper’s voices now. It sounded like the one with the thick, curly hair. He liked her. She was always so nice and gentle. He grunted happily a couple times.

“He acts like he knows what you said.” Dr. Werner said to her. Tuck could make out both their features now. It was his favorite helper. He hooted and waved his arms. He forgot about the pain. Something about today’s visit was very different. Maybe he was going back to the zoo.

“You know what a birthday means? At least a birthday here? It means no more pain, no more surgeries.” The helper lady smiled. She had something in her hand, she handed it to him. “Here’s a cupcake for you. Come on, Tuck, we’re having a little party down in the procedure room.” She held out her hand. He’d swallowed the delicious cupcake in one bite. It was like nothing he had ever tasted before. Maybe there were more of them in the procedure room. He took her hand. Together, with Dr. Werner, they walked the familiar path to the room.

All the helpers were there waiting. He hadn’t seen so many people all in one place since they’d brought him here from the zoo. He was getting very excited now. He walked around, swinging his arms. He hopped and jumped. He felt like a new born chimp again.

“Come here, Tuck. We want to get a picture of you.” Dr. Werner said leading him to a large white screen. He stood obediently while they took several pictures from every angle, turning him this way and that. Then they brought over the beeper machine and scanned his wrist. It beeped and the same old words and numbers showed up on the screen. He heard the door click.

No! No, the door had the bad stuff. The stuff that made him sleep and that’s when the surgery happened. They told him no more surgeries. Why did they lie? He saw his female helper getting out supplies. He began to hoot and grunt and pound his chest. He wanted her to look at him so she could see that he knew she had lied to him. She turned around and she was crying. She had tears running down her face.

“This isn’t right, Dr. Werner! Why can’t he just be left alone? Why does he have to be put down? Can’t he go back to the zoo or some kind of reserve or something? She had a big needle in her hand full of milky looking stuff that Tuck had never seen. He looked at Dr. Werner to see what his face looked like.

“It isn’t up to me, Lisa. It’s a government rule. Once they have been used for a year for harvesting, they have to be put down. And look at him. He can’t go to a zoo! He’s a monster. He’d scare everyone. We’d have PETA knocking down the door or bombing the lab. This whole company would be ruined. He was born and raised at the zoo. He’d never survive on the reserve, his fellow chimps would kill him, and they would never accept him as one of their own; not looking like that and without any normal primate social skills.” Dr. Werner sighed and rubbed Tuck’s head. “Come on, Tuck, let’s get you another cupcake and some punch.” Tuck took his hand and they walked over to the table where the rest of the helpers were standing. He got to eat three more of those cupcake things and he had a big glass of sweet juice of some sort. It was the best day ever. He forgot all about the big needle Lisa had and the way she and Dr. Werner had sounded when they talked about him.

“Here ya go, Tuck, have another glass of punch. This one is extra special. Just for you, because it’s your birthday party.” A male helper said, handing him another glass. Tuck took it greedily and drank it down completely. It wasn’t quite as sweet as the first glass but that’s ok, his stomach wasn’t feeling so good after all that sweet stuff. He climbed up on the bed. The one he used to have to get on for surgeries but no more of those! Now he would be having visits and cupcakes and punch instead of surgeries. Maybe he would get a new cell in the lab so he could see everyone all the time. He liked birthdays. He hoped tomorrow would be a birthday too.

Lisa came over and sat beside him. She held his hand.

“Hey, Tuck. Getting sleepy?” She said and started crying again. Tuck thought maybe she was really happy for him. He looked at her. He tried to smile. She laughed a little bit and wiped her tears. “You’re still very handsome to me” She said and then she kissed his head! He loved her. She made him think of his mother.

“Listen, buddy, I have to give you one little shot. Just one. It won’t hurt too badly, I promise, then you’ll have all kinds of great dreams about the zoo and your mom and Tuck, no more surgeries. I promise.” She kissed his hand. “No more pain, no more dark cell. It’s your birthday, remember?”

Tuck was falling asleep. This was all so wonderful. He reached out and touched Lisa’s hair. She started crying again. He barely felt the shot when she gave it to him. He was already starting to dream about his mom, the kids at the zoo, and now cupcakes and punch. He drifted off, his hand still on Lisa.

Lisa took his hand and laid it on his chest. He looked so peaceful, she could almost imagine a smile on his lips.

“Happy Birthday, Tuck.” She said through her tears and then she walked out, leaving Dr. Werner and the others to do the final harvesting.

 

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