"I want to be a vet,"
By, "vet', Willow meant 'veterinarian,' of course.
This is what she'd say to anyone who'd asked. Even in grade school, when anyone asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she'd say something animal related: "I want to work with animals?"
"That's wonderful thing," a teacher would say. "Do you know what kind of job?"
"A vet!" An excited, young, grade-school, Willow would say. Her head would pop up as she said 'vet'. That particular time was in first grade.
Those days faded as Willow got older and moved up several grades. Now, Willow was teenager. She was 15.
Willow remembered the day when she did a presentation in science class in her freshman year at high school that she attended. The class was biology. The project: write an essay on an inventor that you admire or an invention that you are interested in. The presentation was last Monday.
Willow sat at her desk and looked at the familiar posters around the room. At her feet, laying on the grey carpet, was a black Labrador. His brown eyes were mostly closed--he was dozing off. On his back was a red and back 'vest.' On the vest was a handle for Willow to grab on to.
The vest read:
Service animal on duty: Please do not pet!
They were xeroxed posters of colorful cross-sections of animal and plant cells with lables on the different parts of the cell. There was one poster that had an organsms as large as an elephant and blue whale, down to bacteria and viruses. The poster read in bold letters:
Binomial Nomenclature: The Six Classes of Living Things.
So often, she had seen this poster (and others) in the room so often that she had committed the information on the poster of: TheSix Classes of LivingThings (and along with others) to memory!
Now, if only the walls had the cross sections and labels of animal anatomy instead of human anatomy. That would be ideal for the want-to-be vet.
The teacher, Ms. Young, called Willow up to the front.
"Midnight. Up?" The command was gentle. A near whisper. That's all that was needed.
As Willow stood up, students could see that the red leash looped around Willow's right shoulder and left hip. The metal piece clicked--this secured the leash around her body.
Midnight slowly got up. He shook once, then padded right beside Willow as she went to the wooden podium.
The fount on the paper was large and thick. Willow swallowed then peered close at the paper. The paper was in inch and a half from her face.Too close! Her glasses made her vison clearer, but not nearly better, so to say.
"We can't see your face." It was a student.
Willow was silent for a moment, unsure of what to do or say. I'm Sorry, Willow though instead of said.
"Continue, dear." It was the teacher.
Okay. Here it goes.
"Have you ever wondered how all that cargo got to the moon on the Apollo mission? Or, how war was stopped in Europe in 1945? Or how an ecological disaster was averted during the 30s? Or even how American's were feed at the soup kitchen during the stock market crash? The answer might surprise you?" Willow turned the page. .... "The size altering ray. It was invented by *need female name* in 1932. The invention was created to help someone--- someone like her brother. She had a son whose vision was deteriorating! He'd go blind within a matter of years. Instead of putting him in an institution, she kept him at home. She invented the ray, which was from a particle beam.
The first prototype was crude. She had to play with the particle beam to get it just right. The beam was focused through a series of lenses, at a fine point. Later, after a lot of testing, she found out that the beam emits a bit of radiation as well.
Once she was finished perfecting the device, she enlarged her son's braille wooden blocks and books. The blocks were enlarged to the size of a house cat. The books: twice the size of a newborn calf. Her son loved it! Now, he could feel the objects better. In a way, he could "see" them.
She was quite proud of her accomplishment! Her family were the first to know of this invention and how it had helped her son.
Soon, her family wern't the only ones to know. Elsewhere, in Washington DC, the government took notice. He had ideas on what the device should be used for. The first application of the device: war! This was the only application (among others) that the invener was not in favor of.
In secrecy, the atom bomb was shrank. It was now the size of a jug of milk. Unknown to the president of the United States, a secret group in the US military made the choice to drop it over the ocean, instead of Japan. This spared lived. This also lead to the end of the war. Peace!
The shrink/ growth ray was utilized during the stock market crash crash. During the ecological disaster, bedsheets were enlarged to cover whole houses. Food (such as vegetables, corn and wheat) was enlarged to feed hungry American's a soup kitchen's. This plan was put in place by the government and the was supervised by the military and police. Also, money was enlarged (to the size of a plate) and divided equally among families. This enabled families to purchase more items that were necessary, like: rent, food, clothing, and medicine. As a result of supply and demand, this created jobs. Soon, the stock market climbed and recovered.
In 1969 the Apollo 11 mission went to the moon. The cargo (which was for setting up a research base on the moon) on the spacecraft was miniaturized. A whole research base and living quarters fit inside a three foot, wooden box. It looked like a model city. When they got to the moon, they made the cargo full size. This is--"
Willow was about to say...This is just a few examples of when the shrink/growth ray was utilized," when she paused her reading.
She was just about to go onto the closing paragraph when she felt a familiar feeling in her airways. She could feel a thick chunk of mucus within her lungs.The piece of mucus had to be loosened and brought up.
Willow's lung's shutterd. She had to cough. She coughed a few, loud, wet, coughs.
"Sorry," Willow apologized to the class. An air of silence was in the room. No one knew what to say, if anything.
Willow was about to say how her lungs were damaged a long, long, time ago--- when she was an infant--but she stayed silent about that. Instead, she plainly and kindly said: "I'm okay. I'm not contagious."
The only sound in the room was the ticking of the clock.
Midnight looked up at Willow. His marble eyes had a look of 'are you okay?' Willow met his gaze. "I'm alright, Midnight," Willow said sweetly. She scratched him under his chin. "Good boy."
Willow turned her attention to the class.
"This concludes my presentation."
Willow bowed. Her long, curly brown hair fell over her face.
Applause broke out in the room.
A smile was on Willow's face. Warmth was in Willow's cheeks. Her cheeks felt like they would split.
"Very good," said Ms. Young.
Too bad, Willow's best friend was not in the same biology class as her. Otherwise, she would congratulate Willow on her presentation.
Midnight black fur brushed Willow's leg as he walked right beside her as she went to her seat.
Just as she plopped down in her seat, the bell sounded. It was the last bell of the day.
Willow grabbed Midnight's harness. Her lungs were feeling tired and heavy.
As they walked, side by side her dog pulled her forward gently, lessing the strain on her lungs.
Willow pushed open the doors of her school. Now, she was outside. She was hit with air that was slightly cool. The temperature was in the 60's. Comfortable. The sky was overcast-- a single shade of grey. The sky was questionable if it was going to rain or not. Willow doubted it. No rain was forecasted for today.
She and her dog made her way to the buses. As they walked, they wove through little knots of students. Some were on the beidge pebble entryway that the American flag and doors were on. Some were on the green lawn-- talking and laughing or hanging out waiting for a ride. Anything that was a yard and a half away, were a blob of color.
In the mass of students, Willow spotted something. Or, at lest she thought she could see something that could be a bit off. The two blurry figures looked a but unuseal. Both were wearing black. On blob of a head had a strip of brown, the secont had long, blond hair.
This was the only thing that Willow could make out--just figures and color. No specific details.
Willow knew what to do in an unfamiliar situation.
"Midnight? Go say "Hi."
The dog trotted up to the figures. His tail wagged.
"Hi sweet dog," it was the blond figure.
"Hi, boy," it was the person with brown hair. He reached down and pet the dog's head.
The two figures seemed friendly.
The dog obayed. She and her companion got on the bus. Midnight took up a spot under the red, leather seat. Willow sat in the seat and leaned forward to speak to her companion.
"What did you see, boy?" Willow said to a relaxed Midnight. His head lay on the dirty ground. He sighed. Then he began to pant. "Anyhow, you can tell me at home."
Willow stared out the window as the bus rolled out of the school parking lot.
Hmmm, I wonder who they were?