An essay by Andrew Fowke PhD, as told to Maureen Bowden
Art by Leigh Legler
My laboratory assistant, Goodison Button, known as Goody, may have been an imbecile, but without him I would never have discovered teleportation fluid: Jump Juice, as it became known.
We were attempting to formulate a shower gel that wouldn’t settle in the water outlet pipe, congeal into drain-blocking slime, and evolve its own ecosystem. Goody had been assigned to me only two days earlier. He was a clumsy boy, all knees and elbows, and he spent more time cooing gibberish to the caged rats, which he called Brad and Angelina, than engaging in the menial tasks I allocated to him. I am, however, a patient man. In order to put him at ease, I made small talk while we were applying a range of chemicals to beakers of the potential wonder-gel. “You’re the first Goodison I’ve encountered. What’s the story behind that?”
“I was conceived in the stands at Goodison Park.”
I’m not a sports fan by any means, preferring cerebral activities. I did, however, recognise the name of the stadium occupied by Everton Football Club. I passed it every day on my way to and from the lab.
“Presumably the activity on the pitch was lacking in entertainment value on the day in question,” I said.
“Yeah. The Blues weren’t scoring but my dad did.”
“And, he, no doubt, approves of your name.”
“Dunno. He disappeared at half time and Mam hasn’t seen him since.”
Feeling it would be politic to change the subject, I handed him the beaker I was holding. “Stick label 241 on that and put it on the shelf next to the others.”
“You got it, Doc. No probs.” He stepped backwards, slipped in a pool of number 37 that he’d spilled earlier and neglected to mop up, and lost his balance. He flung out his arm, seeking support from the specimen shelf, and sent two-hundred-and-forty beakers full of sludge vomiting their contents across the laboratory floor. He lay on his back, holding number 241 aloft. “It’s okay, Doc. I didn’t spill any of this one.”
My patience ran out and slammed the door. I grabbed the beaker from Goody’s hand, held back his head, and poured the liquid down his throat. He disappeared.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2015 collection.
Andrew Fowke was born in 1955. He attended Everard Avenue Co-ed Grammar School, and later obtained a PhD in biochemistry at Liverpool University. He is employed by Mega-Chem International PLC and is best known for the discovery of the teleportation fluid, commonly referred to as Jump Juice. He is unmarried and lives in a modest bachelor flat above a GP’s surgery close to his old grammar school. His hobbies are chess, the study of pre-Roman Britain, and astronomy. He is a founding member of the Patrick Moore Appreciation Society.
Maureen Bowden is a Liverpudlian, living, with her musician husband, in North Wales, where they try in vain to escape the onslaught of their children and grandchildren. She has had fifty-one poems and short stories accepted for publication and she writes songs, mostly political satire, that her husband has performed in folk clubs throughout England and Wales. She was nominated by Silver Pen publishing for the 2015 Pushcart prize. She loves her family and friends, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Shakespeare, and cats.
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 http://leighlegler.carbonmade.com/.Follow us online: