Author: Tina Mullane

Through the grid of the window in the lab, I view the much-hailed apparatus. It seemed to glow with shiny promises of freedom from the heavy cloak of medical tyranny. I misinterpret the glint of fluorescent light bouncing off the small metal tag, which I note to be screwed in slightly askew, with its engraved serial number, as my dear mother beaming down proudly upon my adventurous spirit.

A white-coated lab technician hands me a form and welcomes me to the test group. Excitedly, I check off the boxes to every hypochondriac’s dream needed lab and DNA values.

As I enter the room, feeling an odd and assured belief that my results of over 100 lab values, as promised, will be interpreted accurately and without bias, I hear the hermetically sealed door hiss shut.

Unencumbered, I take a closer look at the faded black box with its absence of congruent corners and its boxed window presumptuously devoid and empty of any apparent software. I feel that, with its multitude of plastic and metal parts, and its puffy promises of unraveling DNA absent of Darwinian prejudices, the box seems proud and self-assured.

I search for an obvious button to push while simultaneously listening for gears to unwind, and I find my hand reaching out instinctively to the clear plastic side pocket, hoping for operating instructions…a pamphlet. I imagine a small alpha smearing of letters folded up neatly in an elixir of languages…Fold box a flap into flap c.

I realize on the right-hand corner of the plastic siding, there appears to be a silhouette of the image of a drop of blood. Eureka!! I glance about the room and notice a small box of lancets. I poke my finger, and with shaking hands, I lay the blood drop on the etched blood image.

The box’s window remains devoid of sounds, pictures, or prompts, which seems to reflect the empty promises of multiple and accurate interpretations.

Over the intercom system, I hear “thank you for participating, your results will be processed, and you will be notified shortly”. As I slouch forward and exit the room, I take one last glance back through the window at my now nemesis. I notice it appears to have lost its grandeur and stands almost obstinate and sullen in its failing.