It’s no secret that Dr. Gerald Gillilander DPPM PB [Doctor of Psychiatric Pet Medicine, Physio-Biotamist] has recently defended himself against charges of unethical practices regarding his experimental subjects, as well as the way in which his studies are reviewed–or, shall we say, the way Dr. Gillilander treats his reviewers at his extensive grounds right here in the city of Austin.
This reporter braved the rumors on the wind and drove to the dreaded research facilities to investigate the accusations for herself. Upon entering the drive, I stumbled on an unknown aspect of Dr. Gillilander’s shame: the man on his knees, clutching at a woman’s left leg while she attempted to climb into a Toyota sedan. The distraction of an unknown vehicle gave the woman the impetus to strike Dr. Gillilander with her sensible heel, slam her car door closed as he reeled from the attack, and then peel off down the drive.
Quickly, I leaped from my own vehicle, snapping at my cameraman to follow. I knelt beside the weeping scientist, who wore a white lab coat with a yellow polka-dotted bow tie.
“Alma,” he wailed. “Alma come back.”
The bells dinged in my head. Alma was the name of his wife. I took his hand. “Did your wife leave you, Dr. Gillilander?”
“She’s suing for custody of Caroline.”
“Is that your daughter?” I patted his hand.
“Our terrier. Our baby. The one we raised together. Who are you, anyway? And why is that camera in my face?”
“My name is Julie Swisher. I’m a reporter for the Austin Chronicle, and I’d like to get your side of the story.”
He shook his head, and his shaggy hair trembled. He pushed his glasses up his nose. “I don’t allow reporters here.”
“You’ve had an awful lot of bad press lately, Dr. Gillilander. Don’t you think it’s time to tell your side of the story?”
“No. You’re a woman, and I’m afraid I can’t listen to your questions. I’ve heard all the female command frequencies my pituitary gland can take in one day.”
“What if my cameraman and I switch places?” I asked him.
Reluctantly, Dr. Gillilander agreed, and he stood to his feet while Antwerp, my videographer, showed me which button to push for go and which to push for stop. Then I explained to Antwerp that a good journalistic interview resembled a natural conversation, only with poignant, leading questions.
Antwerp rubbed his hands eagerly. “So show me the chimera creatures,” he said to Dr. Gillilander. “I wanna see the ones that are three-fifth human. Do you think they should get the right to vote? Some people argue they should.”
“I treat all of my subjects ethically,” Dr. Gillilander shouted. “We use the democratic process right here at the ranch.”
“Don’t get bent out of shape,” Antwerp said.
“I’ll show you, if you don’t believe me. But this video only gets released at my say so. Understand?”
Both Antwerp and I nodded eagerly, and I made a mental note to edit out the camera jags caused by my natural journalistic enthusiasm. We followed Dr. Gillilander to a cluster of prefab metal buildings that hummed from the use of enormous fans on their roofs.
Dr. Gillilander unlocked one set of rolling garage doors and pushed them up. Unwittingly, I gasped at the sight of the disfigured creatures, who cowered at the sudden burst of sunlight. But as my eyes focused on them, I realized what Dr. Gillilander meant by ethical. Each pen resembled a cozy living room and bedroom space, complete with computers and televisions. One pen, belonging to a creature that appeared as a dolphin with legs, contained a library, mainly composed of Shakespeare. The creature–a he?–wore the same style of glasses as the good doctor, and he held Macbeth in his flipper hands.
“Good afternoon, Dr. G,” said a creature who resembled either a sasquatch or a humanzee.
“You see?” said Dr. G. “They’re perfectly happy. They vote on meal choices, and I’ve even allowed them to organize.”
“Organize?” asked Antwerp.
“Yes, they belong to the Chimera Creature Union.”
I could tell Antwerp was impressed with that. Antwerp was an outspoken union sympathizer. He seemed to have forgotten about the leading poignant questions, however.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Dr. Gillilander, if you’ll allow me just one question.”
The doctor stuck his fingers in his ears. “I can’t hear you,” he said.
I kicked Antwerp’s anklebone, and he yelped.
“Um.” Antwerp gazed around, then stared up at the giant fans that washed the strong animal smell away.
“What about the reviewers?” I asked.
“What about them?” Dr. G shouted, and the humanzee-sasquatch growled at me.
“What about the accusations of kidnapping and bodily harm of prominent Russian scientists?”
“I’ve only done what was necessary for the proper journals to accept my work.”
“Yes?” I prodded, directing the camera intently at his face.
“I change their cage liners twice a day. I give them fresh food and water.”
“Show us,” I said.
He walked us over to the next building and paused, his hand at the padlocked door.
“The video is only shown at my discretion,” he reminded me.
After unlocking a series of chains, padlocks, and fingerprint-encoded sealing devices, he threw open doors, gates, until finally we entered the inner sanctum, where famous–and missing–scientists writhed on tables, punching words into keyboards with the help of electric shock collars. One looked up at us, startled by our footsteps, if I could even safely use the word look. He was missing both eyes, as were all the white-coated lab dummies. They were double-blinded.
Nary a poignant question occurred to me. I swept the mess of mangled reviewers, my camera hand shaking.
“I’ll have to confiscate that,” Dr. Gillilander said. “Released at my discretion, remember?”
I turned on my heels and booked it, Antwerp close behind. We raced from the lab of horror back to my car. Breathless, I handed Antwerp his camera and slid in the hot car interior.
“We’ll make history,” I panted. “I might win an award for journalistic achievement. I might even become the next great documentary videographer.”
“Um,” Antwerp said.
“Do you think you could speak in words?”
“Um, you forgot to push the go button,” he said. “But don’t worry, I’ll back you up on this.”
For more Dr. Gillilander, click here: The Gillilander Pituitary Scale of the Male out of Eden Complex