Like so many others, Amanda Petrus got a bit lost after college. She had a chemistry degree and not a lot of direction.  But she was able to find work at a juice factory in the vineyards of western New York.  Her job was quality control, which meant overnight shifts at the factory, tasting endless cups of fruit punch and comparing them to the ever-evolving set of juice standards that they kept in the “juice library.” 

She calls herself and “odd creature”, especially for the time and place: she was a woman working in a factory dominated by men, she was openly lesbian (and yet still rebuffing advances from her coworkers), and she was a lover of Richard Wagner’s—sometimes dressing up as a valkyrie.

Unfortunately, much of her time at the factory was characterized by the antics of her juice tasting colleague, Tim, who, in some ways, mirrored the traits of her favorite composer.  He was incredibly gifted at understanding the flavor profile of fruit punch, able to predict the exact ratios of passion fruit, high fructose corn syrup, and red 40 needed to please the factory’s  clients.  But he also shared Wagner’s xenophobia and misogyny, with his own brand of paranoia, too.  Often, Amanda was a target of his outbursts

This came to a head when Amanda was suddenly fired and escorted from the factory after Tim levelled an incredible accusation of conspiracy against her. 

After this incident, Amanda got into grad school, and started her path towards teaching.  She is now a professor of chemistry at the Community College of Rhode Island.  She also runs the website Mail From A Cat where you can order mail...from a cat. 

Producer: Jeff Emtman
Music: The Black Spot, Serocell, Ride of the Valkyries (performed by The United States Marine Band),Overture from The Flying Dutchman (performed by University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Prelude from Parsifal (recording from the European Archive). 

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