Cleopatra and Richard the Third were going at it. From his window, Oliver could hear the squeaks as Cleopatra drove her claws into the soft fur of her feeble lover. The sound of animal lust brought a smile to his lips. It meant the potion was working. The cool night air brushed his face, carrying with it the fragrance of the city street below. The aroma of hot dogs and fried food mixed with the musky smell of rainwater running down the dumpster behind his apartment and congealed into a pungent mist which made its way into his nasal passages. The sounds of the city were muffled by the rain outside his window. Car horns and loud New York voices were blotted out by the resounding pitter-patter of droplets hitting the glass pane.

The light from the hallway cast a line under the door. Oliver was alone in his apartment, save the three rats, Adonis, Cleopatra, and Richard the Third, who he’d rescued from the Chanel laboratory a week ago. In that lilac scented dungeon, rats were treated like cheap objects, used and discarded like tubes of toothpaste or disposable shaving razors. Oliver pitied the rats for this, and had decided to smuggle them out of work in his lunch bag, making a pledge to the furry little critters that he would use them for one experiment and one experiment only before setting them free to run through the streets and sewers of Manhattan.

Adonis, the larger of the two males, whimpered from his cage as he watched his former mate make passionate love to the nefarious Richard the Third. Richard was a runt, and as he mounted Cleopatra, the disfigured leg from which he got his name wiggled, trying to find purchase in her white fur. Oliver walked to the cages and gave the rats their water. Norway rats mated for life, and up until thirty-six hours ago Cleopatra had been Adonis’s one and only. But through the subtle manipulation of chemical bonds, Oliver had pulled love up by the roots. Now, the once prideful Cleopatra had become Richard’s whore.

Across the street, a twenty-foot Kate Upton crouched on a billboard, wearing a silk nightie and brandishing a vial of Chanel’s new fragrance, “Passio”. Oliver had been one of the top chemists behind the fragrance, but it was unlikely that his contribution would rise to the surface and become public knowledge. The true nature of Passio would remain concealed, buried beneath the massive ad campaign launched in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. And yet it was that hidden power—that secret science of Oliver’s—which had brought the giant Kate Upton to her knees, clutching the potion like a priceless jewel.

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Peter Krumpe

Peter Krumpe

Peter Krumpe is a recent graduate of Muhlenberg College with a major in English and a double minor in Philosophy and Creative Writing. He enjoys reading fantastical epics like Dune or The Stand, but also loves cerebral novels which focus on troubled or isolated characters. Peter craves outdoor activity, be it hiking, cycling, running, or just traipsing around the wilderness. His drug of choice is philosophical conversations with friends over coffee.
Peter Krumpe

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