Characters: Walter, Peter (Gen, Humor)
Summary: Nobody is immune to having 'one of those days.'
Author's Notes: For fox_las ("someone's computer blows up").
Also for writers_choice ("Technology").
"Ah, Peter. Nice of you to stop by."
"Hey, Walter. I brought you a sandwich. Where's Astrid?"
Walter opened the wrapper. "Roast beef! Delightful!" He set the sandwich aside and went back to entering data into the computer. "Agent Farnsworth had to report in to the Bureau this morning."
"Good day for it," Peter remarked. "Something in here smells terrible."
Walter glanced behind him distractedly. "I was heating some chemicals earlier."
"I don't think that's it." Peter wandered around the lab, sniffing the air.
"Gene has suffered some… digestive problems this morning. But we don't speak of it."
Peter looked over at the cow. She'd been in Walter's lab since the beginning, but the whole idea would never stop being strange. "No," he said finally, "it's more like something's burning. Something electronic. Good God, Walter, there's smoke coming out of your computer!"
"Ridiculous," Walter scoffed.
The computer made a popping sound, and a flame shot out the back.
"How dare you," Walter reproached it. "After all I've done to keep you running. Why, I added those memory-expansion RAMs myself!"
Peter brought over a fire extinguisher and gassed the back of the computer.
"There, you see?" Walter said. "Much better."
But the flames mounted again, rising through the top of the computer. A high-pitched grinding noise started up inside the chassis.
"Jesus, Walter, this thing's going to blow. We've got to get out of here!"
Walter pulled the memory stick out of the computer and scrambled after his son. "Wait, what about Gene? We can't just leave her here."
"No time!" Peter said, yanking the door open.
Walter rushed back to the wall for his coat and hurriedly threw it over the startled cow's head. Then he ran out the door after Peter and slammed it shut. "All right, we're safe. But are you sure that was strictly necess—"
Walter blinked. "Ah… Well. Pity about the experiment."
Peter rolled his eyes up toward the ceiling. "Walter. We should call the fire department now."
Walter frowned. "If you like, then go right ahead. But I really must insist we check on Gene first."
He opened the door and crept back into the lab timidly. Gene was in her stall, looking placid. Walter's coat had fallen to the floor, and she chewed contentedly on one of its sleeves.
Walter pulled the coat away gently. "Sorry, old girl. A misunderstanding." He toured through the lab slowly, assessing the damage. "What happened to my sandwich?"
Peter searched for a moment. "I think part of it's on the ceiling."
"Hmmm," Walter grumbled.
"There's a hole in this table."
"Don't touch it!" Walter hastened over. "That's hydrochloric acid. The remains of the vial I stored it in are right there. Looks as if it's working through the floor now, too."
Peter gathered the fire extinguisher again, and unleashed it on the computer fragments and everything else in the blast radius.
"Really, Peter, you've destroyed half my lab," Walter protested.
"It's safe now, though. You won't lose anything else."
"Yes…" Walter muttered. "But hardly consoling. I've lost days and days of work that will have to be recreated. I can't fathom mustering the energy to begin…"
Peter went over and put his hand on Walter's arm. "It'll come. And I think the best way to get there is to go out for lunch."
"Lunch!" Walter's face lit up. "Yes, lunch. Where shall we go?"
Peter grabbed Walter's coat and handed it to him.
"After this morning, Walter, we can go just about anywhere you want…"
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