Subject: Concrete floor, brick walls, and a display tank.
Posted on: 2020-07-16 13:42:44 UTC

Wednesdays are doctorlit's day to spend lunch break with his head keeper, [A]. This does have one small drawback, in that [A] only keeps one chair in her main work room. So doctorlit eats on the floor, in the alcove between the exhibit rooms for the chinchillas and the red squirrels that [A] is responsible for. Next to him is the stepladder used to access the spiny-tailed iguana's display case, mounted against the wall between the two rooms.

On the one hand, it was lucky the head of Grounds, [M], had shown up and interrupted [A]'s lunch to replace the air fan in the ceiling of the red squirrel room, because that meant [A] was inside the room when the meat thing showed up. On the other hand, though, there were now two potential witnesses yards away from the meat thing, with only a pair of doors in the way of them returning to the work hallway.

doctorlit said, "Uh."

The meat thing didn't say anything, but made a squelching noise as it crawled across the concrete floor towards him.

doctorlit sealed his cheese sandwich back inside it's plastic container.

"[D]," called [A] from inside the red squirrel room. "Can you turn the room fan off?"

"Uh, yeeeeaaah . . ." doctorlit got to his feet, sliding up the brick wall at his back. He tiptoed around the meat and hit the right switch on the room's power plate, then climbed onto [A]'s chair before the meat could reach him. He waited for the meat to start oozing up a chair leg, then made a dash for the stepladder. On top of the iguana's tank was a pair of metal grabbers, since the lizard had an infrequent habit of knocking her food bowl down the floor. As he picked it up, he saw the iguana was just inside the tank's lid, head cocked to one side and watching him through the plastic mesh.

"Don't look at me that way," doctorlit told her. "I'm doing the best I can."

"Hey, [D]?" called [M].

"Hand us the gloves." said [A].

"Do you have, like, gloves, or a rag—"

"The gloves."

"—or just, like, a wad of paper towels or something?"

"Do the gloves."

doctorlit huffed. The gloves were on a feeding cart close to where the squirrel room's power switches had been. He jabbed the grabbers down at the meat thing and snagged it, then jumped down the stepladder and headed over to [A]'s chair, throwing her microwave door open. He released the meat thing inside, slammed the door shut, and hit numbers until it started heating. Then he grabbed the animal handling gloves and took them through the double doors to the squirrel room, passing them through to [A].

"Thanks," she said.

doctorlit headed back to the microwave and tried to peer through the little holes to see if the meat had stopped moving yet, wiping down the head of the grabbers as he did so. Unable to see, he put the grabbers back on the iguana tank.

He heard a clunk from inside the squirrel room. [M] demanded, "Do you think you guys could fit any more branches in this room? There's still some walking space you haven't filled in yet. God." [A] giggled. More clunking followed, and doctorlit realized they were coming out. He ran for the microwave and stopped the timer, but [A] was already forcing the ladder through the double doors, and doctorlit couldn't risk opening the microwave.

[A] leaned the ladder against a wall and switched the fan back on.

"All right," said [M], plopping the old, failed fan unit on the table. "There you go."

doctorlit sat awkwardly through the ensuing small talk, trying to make himself eat and praying neither of them would have reason to open the microwave. Once [M] left, and [A] went outside to smoke, doctorlit took the grabbers back and gingerly started to open the microwave, ready for the inevitable jump scare.

But the microwave was empty, and completely clean. All trace of the meat thing had vanished.

—doctorlit, using his location from when he first read this thread

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