I was bored a couple days ago and posted in a Figment forum asking for inspiration in the form of two to five words. I would then string the interesting/challenging ones up into ... something. Here are the results:
1. Formaldehyde, whiskey (Rose Bown)
The scientist was quite sure that this pub didn't operate under optimal hygienic surroundings. It was even worse than his lab — and that was saying something, considering he left Bunsen burners unattended all the time. Skirting a chair that had an algae-like, spongy substance clinging to it, he perched on the very edge of a moldy stool, careful not to touch the table.
"Can I getcha anythin', sirrah?" slurred the bartender.
"The ..." The scientist squinted at the handwritten menu. "The house ... special?"
"'Course, guv'nor. Here ya go." The bartender slammed a mug down and filled it with dark yellow liquid, then took out a jar. Inside, an octopus was suspended in murky yellowish substance. "Enjoy."
The moment the bartender turned his back away, the scientist whipped out his pipettor and put a sample of beer into a reaction tube. With slightly more difficulty, he also managed to whisk the octopus into an autoclaved plastic bag, slopping the yellowish substance over the bar.
"You need t' drink it," the bartender said after the scientist had resumed a normal position. "Here, lemme show you." He lifted the jar and glugged the substance down. "Formaldehyde, the best," he told the scientist, grinning grotesquely.
He needed to double-check, but the scientist was fairly certain formaldehyde solution was not edible.
(Somewhat related post linked here.)
2. They lived on rain and wishing. (Starflower)
It was only four minutes after the weather forecast announcement that my Facebook News Feed was deluged with spam.
"Heavy rainstorm no school oh yeah!"
"R41n5t0rm 1 luv u XD XD XD"
"Thank you, rain. I'm not going to whack you on the Economist anymore."
The last one rather confused me.*
In any case, our fervent imitations of tribal rain dances apparently worked. We lived on these little gifts of mercy sprinkled over the relentless weeks of tests and homework and projects; we lived on rain and wishing.
(Sorry Starflower, I think I utterly butchered your very philosophical prompt.)
*Actually inspired by real life — OK, I more or less directly copied from a real Facebook status.
3. Volatile, cinnamon (Becky Hill)
(In which our scientist returns)
"So what are the results?" the scientist asked his research assistant, having gone out for 'lunch' to avoid seeing the samples he took from the bar.
"Not much," the assistant answered, making a note on her pink clipboard with a pink pen. "The whisky is just normal whisky, I think, with an unusual proportion of mould, fungi, and cell cultures. But the octopus is slightly more interesting. Take a look at this." She whirled around and walked down the aisle.
Dodging her braid with pink ribbons, the scientist followed her to a cluttered bench. The assistant managed to clear out some space and lit a Bunsen burned with a pink lighter. "The samples I took from a tentacle were unreactive, but when I try this, it's very ... volatile." She picked up the octopus carcass from a giant flask of growth media with a pink pair of tongs and held it over the flame. With her other hand she grabbed a handful of cinnamon rolls from the snack box and tossed it at the burning octopus.
"There isn't anything happening," the scientist began, but then the octopus leapt away from the flame and latched itself to his face.
The discovery of resurrection would have earned him a Nobel prize, if not for the fact the octopus strangled him to death.
All this certainly got me thinking. Thank you to everyone who participated!