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Franz rolled his eyes. "Could you please explain to him about
She decided then that she'd like to stab Franz herself. He was
correct; he was in the control group. The trial was supposed to be
a double-blind, randomized study, with numbered dosages sup-
plied by the pharmaceutical company. But within days she knew
which eight men were receiving the real dose. Guards and pris-
oners alike could sort them as easily as if they were wearing gang
colors: the psychos and the crybabies.
"He's playing you, Lyle," she told him. "Pushing your buttons.
That's what people like Franz do."
"You think I don't know that? I invented that shit. I used to be
fucking bulletproof. No one got to me, no one fucked with me.
Now, it's like everybody can see right through me."
The lieutenant cleared his throat. Dr. Liddell glanced back. The
mass of helmeted men behind him creaked and flexed, a machine
ready to be launched.
Franz hadn't missed the exchange. "You're running out of time,
Lyle," he said. "Any second now they're going to come in here and
crack you like an egg. Then they're going to take you o to solitary,
where you won't be seeing your girlfriend anymore."
"What?" Lyle asked.
"You don't think they're going to let you stay in the program
after this, do you?"
Lyle looked at her, eyes wide. "Is that true? Does that mean you'll
stop giving me GLS?"
They're going to stop giving it to all of you, she thought. After
Lyle's breakdown, the whole nationwide trial would be canceled.
"Lyle, we're not going to stop the GLS unless you want to."
"Stop it? I never want to be the guy I was before. Nobody felt real
to me---everybody was like a cartoon, a nothing on the other side
of the TV screen. I could do whatever I wanted with them, and it
didn't bother me. I was like him."
Franz started to say something, and Lyle pressed the screw-
driver blade into his neck. The two men winced in unison.
"You don't know what he's like," Lyle said. "He's not just some
banker who ripped o a couple hundred people. He's a killer."
"He shot two teenagers in Kentucky, buried them in the woods.
Nobody ever found them. He brags about it."
"Stories," Franz said.
Dr. Liddell stepped closer and knelt down next to Franz's out-
stretched legs. "Lyle, I swear to you, we'll keep you on GLS." She
held out a hand. "Give the weapon to me, Lyle. I know you were
trying to protect me, but you don't have to be a murderer. You don't
have to throw away everything you've gained."
"Oh, please," Franz said.
Lyle squeezed shut his eyes, as if blinded.
"I give you my word," she said, and placed her hand over his. "We
won't let the old you come back." After a long moment she felt his
grip relax. She slowly pulled the screwdriver from his fist.
Shouts went up behind her, and then she was shoved aside. The
extraction team swarmed over the two men.
Three days later she came down to solitary. She brought four
guards as escort.
"You know, you're good," Franz said. "I almost believed you
myself." He lay on the bed with his jumpsuit half unzipped, reveal-
ing the bandages across his chest. The blade had missed the lung
and the heart, tearing only muscle. The wound at his neck was
covered by two long strips of gauze. He'd be fine in a few weeks.
"'I give you my word.' Genius."
"I did what I had to do."
"I've used that one too. But did you have to break his heart? Poor
Lyle was in love with you, and you out-and-out lied to him. There
was no way you were going to keep him on GLS---you made a petty
thief into a suicidal, knife-wielding maniac. How can they put
anyone on that stu now?"
"There'll be another trial," she said. "Smaller dosages, perhaps,
over a longer period of time."
"That doesn't help Lyle, now, does it?"
"He's going to live, that's the important thing. I have plenty of
GLS left, so I can bring him down slowly. The suicidal thoughts
are already fading. In a few days he won't be bothered by remorse.
He'll be back to his old self."
"And then someday you'll get to wring him out again." He shook
his head, smiling. "You know, there's a certain coldness about you,
Doctor---has anyone ever told you that? Maybe you should try some
"Tell me about Kentucky," she said.
"Kentucky?" Franz shrugged, smiled. "That was just some bullshit
to get Lyle worked up."
She frowned. "I was hoping you'd want to talk about it. Get it o
your chest." She turned to one of the guards, and he handed her the
nylon bag from her o ce. "Well, we can talk again in a few days."
He blinked, and then he understood. "You can't do that. I'll call
"I don't think you'll want a lawyer any time soon." She unzipped
the bag and lifted out the plastic-sealed vial. "I have a lot of GLS,
and only one patient now." The guards rushed forward to pin the
man to the bed.
She popped the needle through the top of the vial and drew back
the plunger. The syringe filled with clear, gleaming liquid.
"One thing I'm sure of," she said, half to herself. "In a few days,
Franz, you'll thank me for this."
DARYL GREGORY'S SHORT STORIES HAVE APPEARED IN THE MAGAZINE OF FAN
TASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, ASIMOV'S SCIENCE FICTION, AND THE YEAR'S BEST
SF. HIS FIRST NOVEL, PANDEMONIUM, WAS RECENTLY PUBLISHED BY DEL REY
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