He shoved his plans for revenge aside and stuffed the vials from the box into his book bag. But what if Ann or Jason checked their samples before he could disappear? An empty box was too obvious. He smiled as he remembered that samples frozen at minus seventy quickly frost over when brought from the freezer, making it difficult to read the attached labels. Any vials of the right size might delay discovery. He replaced the stolen samples with vials from his study, examined the box critically, and congratulated himself. The box would pass a cursory inspection.
His bike chain and padlock were in his book bag. He put his padlock on the freezer, and made sure it was locked. Satisfied a casual observer wouldn’t notice anything amiss with the freezer, he checked his watch. It was getting late; he’d have to hurry to pack and make his plane. Ahmed threw his book bag over his shoulder and hustled to the elevator.
Two floors above, Margie stomped out of the lab, tears blurring her vision. She dabbed at her eyes with a tissue and wiped her nose, silently cursing the teaching assistants in the lab. Her work had been praised at Cold Spring Harbor, one of the premier molecular labs in the world! It couldn’t be her fault if she flunked a simple lab course in a fucking fly-over school!
She took the elevator down and stormed through the door as soon as it opened, slamming into a well-dressed teaching assistant equally impatient to get on the elevator.
The man glared at her. He shoved her out of his way, pushing her back into the elevator. “Watch where you’re going, slut.”
The elevator door closed, and Margie was trapped with the bastard. She lunged past him and hit the “door open” button. He shoved her against the elevator wall and aimed a finger at the “close door” button. Margie wasn’t going to be a docile victim if this guy was thinking of sexual assault. She blocked his hand and forced him to turn toward her.
Margie had never even slapped a stranger before, but she’d never been this pissed off and had a jerk give her an excuse, either. “You miserable—” a knee there, “fucking—” swing with an elbow here, “male chauvinist—” a kick to the kneecap, “—pig,” and her years of martial arts training had paid off. The elevator door was open. She stepped over the moaning figure on the floor and strutted down the hallway to the exit and the student parking lot, her tears forgotten.
Outside, Margie took a deep breath of the sharp Minnesota spring air and walked to her car in the moonlight. “God, it’s a beautiful night to be alive,” she told the empty parking lot.
Ahmed lay motionless for several minutes, blood spraying in a mist from his broken nose. He moved to a kneeling position and screamed from the pain in his knee and groin. Using the steel handrails in the elevator, he struggled to a standing position and punched the button for the second floor. Gasping in pain, he hobbled into the hallway when the elevator doors opened.
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