Posted by Leo Tarvi
This is for Daily Post topic #277, which was to write a story ending with the relevent sentence.
Cold water washed quietly over the floor, shocking the dazed man lying in the wreckage back into motion. The air smelled of wet stone, oil and grease, and smoke with just a hint of ozone. The soft humming of the high voltage transformers was occasionally drowned out by the crackle of a Jacob’s Ladder, or the mewing of a cat. As the man groaned and sat up, his vision gradually cleared enough for him to peer through the haze at his surroundings.
The lab was a shambles. Nearly a third of the various machines and instruments had suffered some sort of significant damage. The Van de Graaff generator was a total loss, the glass tubes & beakers of mysterious colored liquids would need to be swept up and disposed with a dustpan and mop, the big water tank was leaking badly enough to put the piranhas in serious jeopardy, and the machine that goes “ping!” had pinged its last. No sensible person would dare use the elevating thunderstorm platform until all the rails had been thoroughly inspected, and there were probably books knocked off the cunningly built swinging bookshelf that disguised the outer door.
Worse than the damage and mess, though, was that the experiment had been set back months at least, and all for nothing. The only change in the cat at all was that its fur had turned bright pink. Having learned his lesson, it was the last time Dr. Jiggybones would let the crossbeams get out of skew on the treadle.