How much does Yaakov Berger get paid, were those really food stamps his wife was using in the grocery, and if so, how did they pay for their Costa Rica vacation???

Find out if Zissy Rubin is expecting or if she just put on some weight. “When are you due?” I’ll ask casually, gauge her reaction.

What is Leah’s password for

Three days earlier

“Ready?” Dr. Petrushky asked.

V12 squirmed. I fixed one double-gloved hand over the rat’s neck and front paws, and a second over the hind legs, spreading my hands tightly so its torso faced the lead researcher in the lab. “Go ahead.”

Dr. P deftly injected the regulator in the peritoneal cavity. Then he removed the syringe, flicked the needle into the waste receptacle, fitted the syringe with a fresh one and nodded at me. “Okey-dokey! Next.”

I carefully released V12 back into its cage, securely latching it before moving on to V13.

Leah, our graduate student volunteer, strolled in to observe. “Need help? That’s the dopamine gene thingy activator, right?”

“Official name for gene, it is DRD-4,” Dr. Petrushky clarified, his accent thick, wiping his hands on his too-big lab coat. I caught a glimpse of his pink-and-yellow Hawaiian shirt underneath. “Dopamine receptor D-4. Some people, they having variant of gene, is shown in birds to be much inquisitive, yes, and in humans to ask many questions—”

“The Yenta Gene!” Leah slipped on a lab coat from the rack behind her, as Petrushky explained the study protocol. I worked part-time as an assistant in his neuro-psychobiology lab, and had spent the last five months reviewing the research for him. We got a bunch of rats, some with the 7R variant of the gene and some without, and were studying the mutation’s systemic effects on hormone levels.

We finished 15 rats over the next hour, injecting them with a DNA methylator of the DRD-4 gene to activate its expression. Dr. Petrushky left to teach, instructing me to store the remaining activator in the lab refrigerator. Leah and I cleaned up the injection area, and since I still had some time before leaving for my second job, teaching AP biology in a local high school, I helped her and the other student volunteers dish out rat chow in little glass jars to place in each cage. “Watch out for that one, he’s feisty,” I warned, as she unlatched V21’s cage.

“Sure. I wonder how the Yenta Gene works in humans!” Leah reached her gloved hand inside. “Like, if you have the mutation — yeeeooooowwwwwww!”

A ball of white fur shot out from beneath her hand, tumbled to the floor, and streaked like lightning across the room.

Another technician slammed the lab room door shut so V21 couldn’t get too far. “Near the window!” Leah yelped, dashing in that direction. The rat raced along the window sill and leapt onto the table, knocking over the remaining vial contents — oh, shoot, I’d forgotten to refrigerate it — and dove to the floor. Leah and I both lunged for it.

“Ouuuuch!” we shrieked in unison, our heads colliding. Then, from Leah: “Okay, got his tail.”

My heartrate slowed to normal, as Leah carried the squirming rat back to its cage and secured it shut. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 571)