Nothing Doing

By Dwayne MacInnes

Dayton, Ohio. October 23, 1954, 2:53 PM. Ranson Research Labs

Dr. Reeve rapped his knuckles lightly on the closed door. The plain white door in the plain white wall was similar to the one belonging to Dr. Reeve's laboratory except this one had "Dr. David Poole" stenciled in black on the opaque window.

"Enter, enter," an excited voice answered from the other side.

Dr. Reeve swung the door open and entered the sterile room. The lab also resembled Reeve's lab. Worktables cluttered with a medley of apparatus pertaining to whatever the researcher was currently working on. On the walls were attached various charts and clipboards holding sheets of data.

Like Reeve, Dr. Poole was wearing the ubiquitous lab coat covering a white dress shirt, black tie and black slacks. The coat's pockets stuffed with pens, markers, slide-rule and a sundry of various small implements made Dr. Poole look like a walking advertisement for an office supply store.

"Dave, I came as soon as I could break away," Dr. Reeve said. "By your message I assume it is something important."

"Yes! Yes, very important, Frank," Dr. Poole replied. "Here take a seat."

Dr. Reeve sat down on the metal folding chair that Dr. Poole offered. The excited Poole then walked to the wall and flipped the light switch. Darkness completely enveloped the room.

"What do you see?" Poole asked his excitement barely contained.

"I can't see anything, Dave" Reeve responded.

"Of course not!" snapped Dr. Poole. "That is what Jenkins is working on next door."

"OH!" exclaimed Reeve. "I see it now. You did it! I see nothing."

Dr. Poole flipped the lights back on. Then he snatched a clipboard off the wall.

"Look at these figures," Poole gave the clipboard to Dr. Reeve.

Dr. Reeve pulled his black framed glasses out of his shirt pocket unfolded them and placed them on his face. He then meticulously flipped through the white sheets one after another. Not a page had anything written on it.

"Nothing. Absolutely nothing," Reeve responded.

"Years of research and thousands in grant moneys well spent," beamed Dr. Poole. "You know it was Arthur Jenkins who put me on the right path."

"What's he working on again?" asked Dr. Reeve.

Poole snorted, "He's working on anything and everything. Of course he hasn't found anything yet."

"Well, I'm afraid I'm still searching for something. Looks like you've got us beat Dave."

Dr. Poole again started to get excited, "Just think of it. The blind can see it. The deaf can hear it and the dumb can speak it! It's truly an amazing breakthrough."

"Are there any negative effects?" probed Dr. Poole.

Dr. Poole took on a downcast look, "Well, Frank. It is stronger than God."

Dr. Reeve sternly looked over at Poole. "We better be careful to whom we give it to."

"Quite, quite," Poole said thoughtfully.

Dr. Reeve stood up and shook Poole's hand. "Congratulations, Dave. I assume you'll be a very wealthy man now."

Poole looked down at the floor, "Yeah, there' been a snag in that."

"Oh, I can't believe that. You know the lab allows you to patent any discoveries from your research as long as it gets exclusive distribution rights," Reeve consoled Poole.

"Yes, I've already looked into that," Poole said somberly. "That's why I've asked you over today."

"I'm afraid I don't quite follow." Reeve said scratching his head, "You've already found nothing. I'm still working on something and Jenkins is still looking for anything and everything."

"Well, I'm afraid I got so wrapped in the research of nothing I neglected to check out certain patent rules," Poole said forlornly. "I went down to the office to patent my discovery and the clerk asked me if I hand anything to patent. I snorted at that because he must have thought I was Jenkins. Anyway, I replied I had nothing. He then said I must at least have something."

"Hmmm...that is a setback," Reeve said.

"Yeah, I have nothing to patent and it cannot be patented. So I was wondering if maybe..." Dr. Reeve looked down at the floor.


"This is a bit embarrassing, and I rather ask you than Jenkins -- but -- would you -- um -- like some -- er -- help looking for something?"

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This was a bonus story in honor of Dwayne's upcoming Birthday!

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on October 12, 2007 5:00 PM.

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