It was a challenge he wanted to face. He had specific reasons for doing so. It was almost his reason to continue on living. His teacher at the Professional High School had recognized his life goal and threw down the gauntlet. To do what most scientist couldn’t do even with their vast knowledge and various doctorate degrees. It was a challenge that he had no choice but to accept. The final presentation of this project would be due second period tomorrow. He had to present his theory to the class with a slide presentation and a chemical demonstration simultaneously. It had to be perfect. This would make or break his chance to get into Vanderbilt and he needed to pass it with an A+.
It wasn’t easy trying to prove the link between household chemicals and leukemia. He knew it existed by the chemical structure between lye and genetic mutation of certain types of the cancer. This was doctorate work. What was the teacher thinking? He had certainly pushed him this year. This class was the hardest, yet the most fulfilling. “I only wish Mom were here” he thought. She was his motivator. If she were around she’d be standing beside him with her left hand on his shoulder and her right hand holding that huge Ruben stacked sandwich which he was craving. There would also be a gigantic oatmeal and raisin cookie on top. He could hear her words of encouragement, “Go on, son, you can do it. It will all be worth it in the end.” She was right about everything except the last part. The end had already past. Dad was a hard working man. He worked in the coal mine and his days were long and arduous. He was already passed out on the couch from exhaustion. He was a good father but could never take the place of his mother.
He shoved the school flash drive into his computer and brought up the last slide on the presentation. It was a challenge, because it needed to show a formula and it was long. The process of working through it was complex and perhaps flawed in the most obscure way. He checked his notes again and proceeded to plug in the formula. There was at least another two hours of work ahead of him and it was already after midnight. It would have been completed if his computer hadn’t failed earlier. Thank goodness, he had thought to back up the work on the flash drive that he had completed last night. He only had to reestablish what he had lost since then.
Time chugged on and as he neared the completion, weariness fell over his body. He was tired but also relieved. He had figured out what the link was between lye and leukemia, the thief that stole his mother from him two years ago. She had worked in a soap plant and became suddenly ill. The cancer had been in her body for years, but she never let anyone know. Tomorrow he would give the killer one final stab of death when he presented his findings.