Response to the Board’s Decision to Terminate Project Cornucopia

An essay by Professor August Flemming, as provided by David Neilsen
Art by Leigh Legler

Respected Board Members,

It is with great urgency that I reach out one final time in an attempt to dissuade the Board from its calamitous decision to withhold further funding for my project.

Mrs. Davis’s injuries aside, the fact that members of this Board were taken aback at the contents of my presentation is a testament not on the quality of my research, but on the limited imaginations of those foolishly entrusted with safeguarding and nourishing this University’s scientific reputation.

I admit that my studies and experiments may be seen as unorthodox, but I defy anyone to prove they in any way deviate from my original proposal. When I came to this noble Board over two years ago, I professed my aim to create strains of common agricultural varieties through genetic engineering that could withstand the damage being done to this planet by our species. We are killing our world. On a purely practical level, if mankind is to survive (I leave it to others to debate the morality of this question) we must develop new sources of food that can thrive on an ever-warming globe.

All I have done is succeed beyond my wildest dreams. How, I ask you, is that a crime worthy of banishment from the hallowed grounds of the very University to which I have pledged my life? Where have I done wrong? Why has the Board chosen to act so stringently now when four months ago it turned a blind eye to the unfortunate business which forced my graduate assistant, young Jeremy Franks, to take up residence in Newton Psychiatric Hospital?

What message does this send the world at large? That the sanity of a brilliant and promising student is tragically unimportant but the well-being of a gluttonous old hag decades past her prime is worth severing the scientific process of discovery at the core?

I feel the Board’s actions following the unfortunate incidents that took place during yesterday’s presentation–incidents for which I take no responsibility–were uncalled for and may even constitute a breach of contract. I also took great offence to Mr. Chambers’ implication that my work was, in some way, evil.

Science is neither evil nor good, Mr. Chambers. You would do well to remember that fact.

Response to the Board's Decision to Terminate Project Cornucopia

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2014 collection.

Professor August Flemming holds PhDs in Molecular Biology, Genetic Engineering, and Molecular Chemistry. Two days after The Board received the above Response, fire consumed his laboratory, gutting the entire Eastern wing of the Localio Memorial Science Building. Authorities are investigating the cause of the blaze. Professor Flemming has not been seen since, though unverified reports claim he was spotted in the deserts of New Mexico.

David Neilsen is the author of a number of relatively disturbing short stories, and a slightly-less-disturbing novel. When he’s not writing, he’s performing one-man shows of either The Legend of Sleepy Hollow or The Call of Cthulhu. David wants to be a mad scientist when he grows up.

Leigh’s professional title is “illustrator,” but that’s just a nice word for “monster-maker,” in this case. More information about them can be found at

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