A Day In The Life, Part 4: Phil

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(June 5th)

The lights were off in the storage room. Nothing moved; the crates and packages, each bound for a different part of the world at the behest of one of Malefico's fine customers, loomed ominously towards the ceiling and cast deep shadows across the floor, contrasting with the few tiny windows near the room's top. Utter silence reigned – the noises from the building behind could not be heard through the thick soundproofing that Doctor Ecchs required on every room in Malefico skyscrapers.

Crouched down in the darkness, a shape lurked. Yellow eyes flashed in a momentary reflection as it shifted position, gaze sweeping the room. Then everything was as still as before.

And then came the squeak. Sharp teeth moved into a smile as the shape exploded into motion. Tendrils flashed forwards, towards where a small cloth had been laid out with various crumbs of cheese, and a cloud of toxins filled the air as Phil lashed out at the noise. This was it. Those rats were not going to get past him this time!

A moment later, Phil was flying through the air after his tendrils. “No you don't! Thtupid ratths!” He growled in English without thinking, sending all of his deadliest poisons through to where his tentacles were embedded in ratflesh. A twist sent him crashing through a set of boxes, and a crate crashed down on top of him, but he kept his balance. The monster laughed joyously as the rat turned to fight.

Several minutes later, the door to the storage room opened, and Phil limped out. His skin was covered in tiny droplets of blood and layered in grime, but he whistled cheerfully as he trundled across the floor, tendrils still trailing back into the room. Employees stopped to stare at his passage. Someone asked tentatively, “Is there any trouble, Mr. Phil?”

“Nah. Jutht fighting a rat.” Phil gave a rough approximation of a smile. “I'm heading to the cafeteria now.” Resuming his whistling, he continued on his way. A moment later, his retracting tentacles finally managed to get the rat around the corner, and its six-foot bulk dragged down the corridor behind him. The man who had talked to him nodded happily, turning to a companion.

“Oh, good, he finally got it. Damned thing kept gnawing my computer in half.” Satisfied that he had resolved the mystery, he continued on his way.

“Hey, Phil, what are you up to?” Nightshade tapped on the door of the cafeteria kitchen. “No one's seen you all morning.”

“Jutht baking.” Phil called out. He came around the corner with a large tray balanced precariously between his claws. “Brownie?”

Nightshade frowned, looking around the kitchen. “Is there any meat in the brownies?”

“Nah.” Phil paused, considering. “Oh, wait, maybe. Ith rat a meat?”

“Of course rat is a meat, dumbass!” Nightshade yelled. “And you can't cook with rat!”

“Why not?” Phil asked.

“Because they're diseased. It's not healthy.”

“I eat rat all the time.” Phil retorted. “I never get sick.”

“Reverse the order of those statements. You never get sick, which is why you can eat crap like rats.” Nightshade paused, looking at the brownies. “Those smell really good.”

“They are really good.” Phil slid the tray onto the table, spearing one of the brownies for emphasis and swallowing it whole. “Try one. You're tough.”

“Yeah, but… well…” Nightshade took a step towards the brownies. She took a deep breath. “Maybe just one won't kill me… hang on.” She stopped, one hand already halfway out. “Weren't you in Storage Room C when I came in this morning?”

Phil nodded.

Nightshade pressed. “Phil, are these brownies all made from the same rat?”

Phil nodded.

“The same giant radioactive rat?”

“Couldn't make this many otherwithe.” Phil said.

“Dammit, Phil!” Nightshade took a careful step back. “Radiation gives humans cancer! It kills people! You cannot serve radioactive food to the employees!” She shook her head. “At the very least, the medical bills would cripple us. At worst, you could kill all of our best talent. Pack those things up.”

Phil sighed heavily. “Yeth, ma'am.”

With a glare, Nightshade wagged her finger. “Don't you try those puppy-dog eyes on me, mister. I would eat more of your things if they weren't all deadly!”

“They don't tathte right if they're not deadly.” Phil muttered as he gathered up the brownies. “Nektht you'll thay I thoudn't fill the rat with poithon too.”

“You…” Nightshade broke off, glaring. “Are you actually trying to kill our employees? Is that it? You know the Doc won't let you eat them if they die.”

“I don't eat humanth any more.” Phil said disdainfully. “I jutht bake thingth right. It'th not my fault you're all tho flimthy.”

“Right. Well, when you finish cleaning up, the Doc wants to see us all upstairs. I'll catch you there.” Nightshade walked out, shaking her head. Phil caught a mutter of “poison rats”.

He sniffed, swallowing two more brownies. Let Nightshade complain. She didn't know what she was missing.

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