(1737 - )
The Deacon Antidote*
Down along dark corridors, where coordination chemists lurk,
This thallium stuff in buckets, is tossed around like dirt.
And the metallation chemist every time that he thallates,
Mixes potions carefully, holds his breath and hesitates,
For fear of dying early, or perhaps of going bald,
Since there was no cure for thallium poisoning known in all the world.
No cure, that is, until the day our hero he did gloat,
That he had found, at long last, a thallium antidote.
Now Deacon was a chemist with a promising career,
But the constant sight of thallium filled his students with a fear.
And he wondered why they all expired while under his command,
“Were they over worked?” he thought, “No, I think I understand.
The reason why my students die so slowly, one by one,
Is due to that famous oxidant, the one called thallium.”
And so it was with urgent zeal he set to work in haste,
Before his final student croaked - he had no more to waste.
After years of speculation and experiments that failed,
A cheer of jubilation burst aloud as Deacon wailed:
“Here it is, the Grand Elixir, the greatest blessing ever known,
To prove to all that in my labs the mortality is slowin’.
Think of all the students I can have for evermore,
Saved untimely expiration by my wondrous thallium cure.
It will bring me fame and fortune! In the happy days to be,
Men of every clime and nation will be round to gaze on me.
Chemists in their thousands and scientists of note,
Seeking out the recipe, for my thallium antidote.”
He rang his colleagues straight away, told them to come around,
To see a demonstration that would prove his work was sound.
“I intend to drink a lethal dose of thallium to be sure,
Just to prove the sterling value of my wondrous toxic cure.
Even if I drank a pint, back to life I would float,
When I swallowed just a teaspoon of my thallium antidote.”
Said the chairman, “If you really want to die, go ahead, but if you’re doubtful,
Let your healthy student try, we’ll give him just a mouthful.”
So deacon went and fetched the boy, hauled him forward by the throat,
“Son,” he said “we’ll show them we’ve the genuine antidote!”
The lad was promptly syphoned full with deadly thallium solution,
(Smirked the chairman, “A most efficient way to abolish heavy-metal pollution!”)
Then a sip of antidote was given to afford the boy protection,
As he smiled, somewhat grimly, contemplating his digestion.
Alas it was most puzzling as they watched a half-hour’s spell,
The student was a dead as mutton, by no means alive or well.
Off dashed the chairman with utmost speed and found it was a certainty,
When analyzed the antidote was mostly oxide of mercury.
Since that day - poor Dr. Deacon - has found it all most strenuous,
For his tenure-track position became suddenly more tenuous.
And colleagues were unmerciful with derisive jokes and sneers,
Though Deacon pressed ahead despite a lack of volunteers.
But worst of all, despite revisions, the editors still gloat,
For no journal ever yet has published the Deacon Antidote.
*The theme, of course, is entirely fictitious;
no graduate students were ever (willfully) thallated in lab 128N.
And any resemblance to A.B. Patterson's "Johnson's Antidote" is purely intentional