Can I Be Honest?
Cindy was awoken in the middle of deep slumber by a high-pitched whining noise. It took a moment to realize it wasn't Humphrey snoring away at the foot of her bed, so she sat up to investigate.
"Proxima Centauri, come in Proxima Centauri". She had completely forgotten about the black box on her desk. She jumped up and grabbed it.
"You know, all things considered you could just use my cell phone now."
"I think a call at two in the morning would look a bit suspicious on your bill."
"It's two in the morning? I think I liked it better when you were a reverse insomniac."
"Ah, but I've finished everything necessary for tomorrow. I want you to come see."
"Oh that will go over well. I'll just trot down the stairs and yell out, 'Goodbye, I'm off to my boyfriend's house in the middle of the night. Catch you on the flip side!'"
There was a pause on the other end before, "You called me your boyfriend."
"You are my boyfriend, genius."
"I know but…I've never heard you say it before."
"Oh… well, regardless I still don't think I can-"
"Go look outside."
A small red light shone through her bedside window. She opened the latch to see what nonsense Jimmy Neutron had cooked up now. Closer inspection proved it was Goddard in flying motorcycle mode. "If you think for a second I'm riding that thing-"
"I think your curiosity will get the better of you and you won't be able to stand not knowing."
She deliberated for a second before climbing onto Goddard's back.
"I really hate you sometimes."
The door to the lab opened as Goddard flew in and landed gracefully in front of Jimmy's desk. He deposited a very sleepy Cindy before heading to his dog bed in the corner. Jimmy had to smile at the state she was in: her hair was slightly disheveled, and her eyelids still looked heavy, but other than that she was her usual pristine self, clad in a pair of crisp pink cotton pajamas which had a white and black design of-
"Are those sheep?"
She looked down before blushing slightly. "Oh, yeah… I didn't exactly have time to change ya know."
"Well no need, with the urgency of this". He gestured to the glass wall that sectioned off part of the lab.
"What is that?" she walked closer and noticed a flask of swirling purple gas being supported by a wire rod. "Oh no, you didn't make another love potion, did you?"
"No! That kind of had horrible consequences" he chuckled sheepishly, "Besides, the manipulation of pheromones would be no help this time. This is, in essence, a truth serum."
"It affects the neocortex and thalamus in such a way that a person can't make up details and therefore lie. One cc allows for fifteen minutes of truthfulness, so we just need to get them into the containment chamber and hash it out."
He looked over at Cindy, expecting applause or at least a 'good job', but she looked kind of uneasy.
"Jimmy, as your girlfriend, I think it's my job to let you know when you're doing something morally reprehensible."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I want them to talk as much as you do, but this would kind of force them."
"Some people just need a push in the right direction."
"This isn't a push, this is chemically altering their brain!"
"Just for a few minutes! They'll be back to normal before you can say medulla oblongata."
"I still don't know. Libby's my best friend. It just wouldn't feel right".
"Ordinarily I would agree with your argument, but this is a desperate situation. The sooner they talk, the sooner everything will go back to normal. The ends will justify the means, I promise".
There was a pause as the two just looked at each other. Cindy broke the silence. "Exactly how much of that stuff did you make?"
"Huh? Oh, well…enough."
"Enough for them to be honest for five minutes… or enough that you can store some after this?"
He looked sheepish, "Well, this is an experimental breakthrough…"
"Jimmy, if this stuff fell into the wrong hands, it could have dire consequences!"
"I am fully aware of that. It will be stored in my quarantine chamber vault and only used for special situations. Nothing will-"
"Don't say 'nothing will go wrong'! When you say that something always goes wrong. It's like it's scripted or something".
He chuckled, "This much is true. Like a certain dinner that was supposed to go off without a hitch."
"Don't remind me. My stomach hurts every time I think about it."
"Well, in a way it got the job done. Your mother hasn't put a hit out on me and we don't have to keep our relationship a secret anymore."
Cindy froze. This was neither the time nor place to have this discussion. Jimmy looked at her expectantly, as if waiting for her to confirm.
"Yeah. That's, um… true."
"I mean, that was the whole point of secrecy: she would be enraged if she learned of this from a third party source. Right?"
He eyed her suspiciously. "I don't know Cindy? Why else?"
"That was a hypothetical question. There's no reason."
"I mean, I highly doubt the clan of slack-jawed troglodytes known as our classmates would understand the complexities of our relationship, but by all means, we'll let them know. We can watch the various means of social media explode and deal with everything as it happens."
"Are you sure there's not-"
"You never explained to me how you arrived at this composition?" That distracted him.
"Oh, well you see-"
"Well, do you plan to sleep the day away?"
Cindy awoke with a start. She turned to the shrill voice and noticed her clock read 9:05.
"No mother, I just…yesterday was a long day". This much was true, but the middle of the night jaunt hadn't exactly helped. She had returned to her room at about 4:30 and fell asleep almost instantly.
"Hmmph. I did not realize spending the day with your friends took so much out of you. We don't want you to get off your sleep schedule when break is over".
"No that would indeed be a catastrophe."
"Don't mumble Cynthia, it's very unbecoming. Now, I've left a list of tasks for you to do today. I should be back around seven" she continued her monologue while placing a basket full of clothes on the floor in front of her dresser. "I want you to get on the SAT website and sign up for the next available test date too."
"I've already taken it four times this year, can't I wait until-"
Her mother's head swung around and made her blood chill with the glare alone. "Cynthia Aurora Vortex, you have until October to make a perfect score. Do you the Ivy League is going to wait to accept you? Or do you think they have a special spot reserved, and that all the other students applying will have to wait until her majesty, Princess Cindy gets her act together?"
Cindy said in a small voice, "I have a 1560".
"Then those forty extra points should be easy to obtain". She stomped out of the room, slamming the door as she went.