„I got you a blanket, so you won’t freeze.“ Steve smiles and hands Tom a grey woolen cover.
Already half undressed, Tom furrows his brows. He stops mid motion, shoe laces around his fingers. „It looks scratchy. I’m hungry, and it’s freezing.“ He looks at Steve’s face and stops again, irked. „Don’t stare like that!“
„Like I was a piece of cherry pie. Stop that. It’s awkward.“
The blanket flies to the autopsy table. „I just can’t please you, huh?“ Steve smirks. „When did you eat the last time?“
„Six hours ago. As you told me to. I’m hungry. When this is done, you owe me! Not only dinners and lunches and lots of roast beef! And steak. You owe me big time.“ He throws his left shoe to the door. „And roast potatoes. Oh, and pizza. See? Goosepimply. All over. God! Tell me, everything’s going to be okay.“
„It’s going to be okay.“
„Everything prepared?“ Tom swings himself onto the autopsy table uneasy. Looking around in the morgue increases his doubt by the second. Steve can’t let him doubt the experiment. He is the most important subject to this experiment. He is the only subject.
The table seems to be really cold, he shivers slightly and folds his hands over his bare chest. Suddenly his gesture seems inappropriate to himself and he changes posture, forcing his hands down.
Steve pats his shoulder. „No need to be nervous. You remember everything?“
„Yeah… Why did I let you talk me into this? Tell me again. When did I say yes to this?“
„Hey! Are you going to be a sissy about this? We are pioneers. Our names will go down in history! We’re gonna be famous! Stars!“
It didn’t help. Tom looks unconvinced. „Relax buddy, I checked the defibrillator twice. We talked about this, remember? I got you a doctor on stand by. Decker is just a door away, waiting for my call. He’s on duty today.“
„Who? Decker? You mean dickweed Decker? Are you kidding me?“ Tom sits up, all tense pulling the ECG electrodes off of his chest. He starts shaking his head in disbelief. „Are we talking about your medical backup? I mean, MY backup? Please Steve, say you are joking.“
Steve rolls his eyes. „Why? He IS a doctor.“
„-And an idiot! He wouldn’t find my heart, even if it crawled out of my chest and tried to bite him! Steve, I got a bad feeling.“ Tom’s pleading eyes lock on Steve’s face just for a moment too long. He can’t stand the look and turns away.
“Don’t say, you are backing out on me. Not now, Tom! Not now!” The words get pushed through gritting teeth. They dissolve into the strained silence around them.
“Are you listening to yourself? Do you know, what you demand from me?” Tom buries his face in his hands. “You ask me to die!”
“No. Technically not!” Steve nods. “Okay. Okay! I know. I know. Sorry, sometimes I am a real jerk,”he pauses. He has to very careful now. His only test subject is about to scrub everything. Everything he worked so hard for, all the money he bribed Dickweed with, for nothing? Actually, it isn’t necessary… For a moment he ponders, he could force Tom into this, all he needs is chloroform, or laughing gas, and a plastic bag… When the crunch comes, he’ll knock Tom out, and do what is needed to be done. It would be way better though, if he does it voluntarily. “You will not die. I promise! It’s only coma. We discussed this, remember?” He throws a look at Tom. He sighs with relief, he caught him, and now he just reels him in. “Don’t you think I’m nervous too? Nothing will go wrong. People lived through these things.” He swipes his hand above the monitors,”and now we have the chance to prove the existence of the soul, and it’s capability to detach from the physical body.” Tom looks at his toes, and nods slowly. “Now lets get you some iv accesses, and the dream juice flowing.”
Steve knows better, than to look at his best friend. The crushing trick his face makes, the hurt radiating from his eyes, the disappointment, Steve isn’t able to take that in. He knows it. He needs to focus, this is too important to be tainted with mixed feelings.
Tom surrenders, with a soft, barely audible sigh.