Zeke knew he’d have to work his way up in the organization, that he wouldn’t be starting at the top. There were dues to pay. He got that.
But still, he thought: This was ridiculous.
“Don’t get me wrong—it’s not your fault,” he said to Molly as he opened the chute and slid an unwrapped Snickers bar into her cage. “I just really don’t see the point of this.”
Partly, Zeke blamed himself. He had been warned he might end up in a position like this. On more than one occasion, when he had confided in someone his ambition to enter this career field, they had told him about this: About how striking out on your own as a mad scientist was extremely hard to do, how his best option was to go to work for someone established, blah blah blah, dues-paying and all that.
And he was also told how there were two sides to mad science: The conquer and/or destroy the world mad genius plots, and the smaller, garden-variety insane projects. He was warned he’d probably spend years doing the latter before he’d be given a shot to work on the former. His passion for the work, though, was too great, and he figured it wouldn’t be that bad.
But as he stared at Molly, who seemed to be just staring at the Snickers bar, he couldn’t help but feel impatient. He’d heard rumors about the Death Ray project, and he wanted in on that. He really felt like he’d be able to contribute to it.
From what he’d heard, though, the Death Ray was the highest of high-level projects, and he hadn’t even been working there a year. So instead of the Death Ray, he was tasked with determining if an anteater would eat anything other than ants. He wasn’t told why he was on this project or what it was supposed to accomplish.
But he was paying dues, so he tried not to think too hard about it. He just scribbled down some notes, opened the chute, pushed a McRib sandwich through to Molly for her appraisal, and daydreamed about how he’d get himself to the next level.