Wendy Stories
February 1996

Something dangerous happened at work.

Did you know I was a biochemist? Before I was a writer. So there I was working in the laboratory, weighing dangerous compounds and using advanced laboratory techniques. Radioactivity, sharp blades, acids, everything you want Wendy to avoid. And I had to discard some toxic old acrylamides.

You can't just pour them down the drain. TOXIC. The best way to get rid of the acrylamides, is to polymerize the liquid into a solid non-toxic mass, then you can toss it in the trash. This stuff is what they use crumbled as "clear dirt" if you've ever seen that hydroponic gimmick. So I mentally figured the right quantity of AP and TEMED to add, squirted it in, gave the flask a swirl, and left to use the restroom.

I must have figured wrong. When I returned from the toilet, a crowd of people and a cloud of smoke hung over my bench. The chain reaction of polymerization had run too fast, and heated the acrylamide into a mini-explosion.
Like a nuclear meltdown right on my bench.

Another Dangerous Happenstance >
Other things explode too. >

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