An essay by Samantha Higson, as provided by Davin Ireland.
“Don’t talk to me about the ironies of life,” Josh Rideout complained for perhaps the twentieth time that afternoon, “I’ve had it up to here with ironies. Big ones, small ones, they’ll be the death of me yet.” Possibly to illustrate the point, he shook another Lucky Strike free of the pack, lit up using the butt of its still-smoking predecessor, and puffed a few times to get it going. This was back in the days when smoking in pubs was still allowed, and nobody had even heard of a subatomic codon mutator.
“Just look at the state of the damned planet,” Josh groaned, and rubbed a hand across his eyes. “The second biggest killer of young people in the United States today is obesity, Sam. Fucking obesity. Not war, not AIDS, not crossing the street on a Friday night. No chance. Too many chilli dogs, that’s what doing it. How’s that for ironic, huh? On one side of the world, gluttony and over-indulgence are killing people like there’s no tomorrow; on the other, there is no tomorrow. It’s famine and starvation all the way.” Josh blew smoke at the ceiling and offered me a look of utter bewilderment. “How many innocent people die in the Third World every century from a lack of that which we throw away? Hundreds of thousands? Millions?”
I glanced about the rear of the darkened pub as I considered my response, but salvation seemed nowhere nearer than it had at lunchtime when I’d bumped into Josh upon exiting the downstairs Ladies’ Room. It had proven one of those random, chance encounters that only seem to occur when you’re least expecting it … and are therefore least able to deal with. Josh Rideout, the dashing young medical student who’d turned the last two years of my pharmacology degree upside down, and I had to run into him at the most awkward of moments. Who’d be pregnant, I ask you?
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Spring 2012 collection.
Joshua Mitchell Rideout (born 13 April 1974) is a British evolutionary biologist and historian of science credited with developing the notorious subatomic codon mutator, a tool for hyper-accelerated genetic manipulation. Rideout is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and one of the most contentious writers of popular science in the world today. He is currently serving a thirty-year life sentence at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, New York, for murdering his long-time friend and collaborator, the synthetic chemist Dr Robert Clementine, during a professional dispute.
Davin Ireland was born and bred in the south of England, but currently resides in the Netherlands. His fiction credits include stories published in over sixty print magazines and anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic, including Aeon, Underworlds, The Horror Express, Zahir, Comets & Criminals, Rogue Worlds, Storyteller Magazine and Something Wicked. You can visit his site at http://www.davinireland.com
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