Perhaps one of my most favorite places to work, other than my wonderful desk, would be the main Research Facility not too far from my apartment. Seriously, just standing in the lobby for two minutes makes you feel smarter. How can you not feel smart in a large building with wall-to-wall information, with space for both sharing it and gathering more to spare? The selection of reading material's great, but it's also great for people-watching, one of my favorite past-times.
It started out as a normal day (in these kinds of stories, when does it not start out as a normal day?), I curled up in my usual spot on a couch, my laptop case on one side of me, a stack of books the other, and a giant encyclopedia of British authors on my lap. I was almost tuned completely into the book when I sensed two shadows in front of me. Two young guys, around my age, stood before me. Both were lank, except one looked a bit older and more muscular than the other.
"We, er, didn't mean to disturb you, but we couldn't help noticing you," the younger, scrawnier one began.
I sat up a bit. "Well, I'm kind of hard to notice in the first place..."
"What my friend here means is we couldn't help recognizing you," the older corrected. "You wouldn't happen to be the writer called Roger, would you?" I nodded slowly. His face seemed to light up, but it was more of a fluorescent light than sunlight; it didn't seem natural. I had to stay wary.
"I read your essay on Sherlock Holmes' observations of people and their accuracy," the older continued in "excitement."
"We both did," the younger chimed in, nodding furiously. I was afraid his head would fly off. "And we were wondering if we could ask you a few questions about it."
I raised my eyebrows. Hardly anyone ever approached me about my work, let alone act this enthusiastically about it. It was quite the surprise, but I have to admit it was quite a welcome one.
"Alright, send 'em at me," I replied, closing my book.
They hesitated, unsure of how to proceed. "Well," the younger one said, "some of the questions are kind of sensitive for us. D'ya mind if we go somewhere else?"
I thought nothing of it. I shrugged, "Sure, I guess." These two seemed to materialize at my sides, gripping my elbows. Nearly lifting me off my feet, I was half-dragged out of the library and into a side hallway. I tried to stutter something about my books.
"I'll get them in a bit," one of them said, not breaking stride. Perhaps now would've been a good time to start panicking?
Eh, not quite
They finally stopped dragging me as we reached the Science Wing of the building. I happened to catch one of them fishing in his pocket for something, catching the other's eye. They nodded.
"Well!" I began nervously, my voice cracking a bit. "How 'bout those question?"
"Ah yes," the older said, his hands clasped behind his back. "This one's more a matter of opinion." He paused a moment, a glint in his eye. "Does this smell like see-ayeech-sea-ell-three to you?"
I was taken aback. I blinked a few times, trying to understand him.
"I'm sorry, come again?" I asked, turning to the other one. But before anyone else could say anything, something was thrown into my face: definitely cotton, but it smelled weird. I grew dizzy, I felt like I was spinning slowly to the floor.
Just before I went out, I had a combination of thoughts pass through my mind: something along the lines of, "Huh. So this is how it feels to be rendered unconscious," "Man, I should've remembered that was the chemical makeup of chloroform," and, "Aw frick, this stinks."