A story by Mark Smith (part 7/7)
I couldn’t believe it. I thought for sure I was going to get into horrible trouble. I had caused the unthinkable! A zoo escape! On top of that, I had no data. No exhibit. No nothing. I had to leave for grad school too in a couple of days. We all had a meeting to try to figure out what to do. Nothing like that had happened before. Nobody knew where the drains went except that they were all connected somehow so the monitor could end up anywhere. My last couple of days there were spent going over all the stuff I had tried to build and show everyone how at least it was supposed to work. By this time the dragons had completely worked over their new enclosure and had turned it into a desert. When I left them they were happily asleep in their dried mud encrusted caves. At least they used those. When I left the zoo I felt like a total failure. I knew I shouldn’t have tried for the internship.
When I left San Diego I traded the truck back for my car, and then I drove to Salt Lake City, Utah to start grad school. It took me two days to drive there, and when I got there my student housing where I was supposed to live wasn’t ready. The other guy hadn’t moved out yet. No place to live, so you can guess what I did. Sleeping in the tiny car was way more uncomfortable than the truck was, even though I was back on the street. When I finally got settled I looked in my mailbox and I had a letter from the curator at the snake and lizard house. It was great! He told me that they found out that the drains went out to various places outside of the zoo where they dumped into larger city drains. There were gratings over the drain outlets so that the monitor could not get through. They took one of the antennas that I had built along with the receiver I was going to use to get data from the wireless sensors and went to the drain outlets one by one. They figured the Water Monitor would probably be very happy to just live in a drain with all the water in it. And they found it! They went to all the outlets until they heard the radio signal coming from the transmitter that it had swallowed. They went in, dragged the monitor out, and put it back in its enclosure. They said that the transmitter worked perfectly all the time it was in the monitor, and nothing happened to the monitor at all. They were very happy with the results, and I was amazed. And that’s how it all ended. Graduate school started for me right after that. It was then that I started to form my ideas about schools, teaching, education, and what I thought it meant to be a student. When I graduated 7 years later I promised myself I would never forget what it was like, and I never have.
~~~ The End ~~~