An essay by Newton Hickson, as provided by Justin Short

I’m the guy who punches tigers in the face for a living. You might have read about me in one of those articles on animal cruelty. Maybe heard my name shouted by the hippies who spend their time playing chicken with whaling boats. But I swear, it’s not as bad as all that.

For starters, the tigers in question aren’t what I consider “real.” Don’t care about the Supreme Court ruling that says otherwise. It doesn’t change the less-sensational facts.

This mess all started a few years ago. Back in college, I lived down the hall from this dark-haired chick, Candy. In spite of her name, she was a genius. One of those scientific types who can’t enjoy a patch of good scenery. Too busy analyzing the particles in the breeze, determining the chemical compounds in the cloud formations, junk like that. She spent most her life in Davis Hall, the science building. Even when she wasn’t in class, she just liked being there.

Nights she’d come in raving about this idea she had. A sort of radical offshoot of cloning. She swore she knew a way to create organisms out of next to nothing. And when she invited me to the laboratory for a preview, I couldn’t say no.


The cat’s eyes looked skyward, right before one of its ears started to fall off. I tried to intercept it with my right glove. I missed. The ear splattered into a stack of textbooks, but a replacement soon fizzled into being. This time I didn’t let it break off. Kept my hands constant, using my gloves almost like magic wands.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2012 collection.

Newton Hickson is a scientist, more or less. When he isn’t punching vapor animals in front of audiences, he can usually be found in his laboratory. A tattoo on his bicep reads “Candy.” Sometimes he listens to Baroque music and weeps. Sometimes not.

Justin Short lives in the Midwest. His fiction has previously appeared in 365 Tomorrows.

Image credit: sirylok / 123RF Stock Photo

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