A Question of Somatics

An essay by Professor Matthew Bibby, as provided by Maureen Bowden
Art  by Errow Collins

Wavertree Parke was a perfect woman, and I intended to clone her. My position as head of the Biology faculty at Riverside University enabled me to hone my technique to a standard far above that of my rivals in the field. I’d cloned chickens and chimps, beagles and bulls, hamsters and horses, all under a cloak of secrecy. I was staying ahead of the game, and the next specimen would be human.

My life-long friend and confidant, Dr Erin Rafferty, who was a consultant at the major city hospital, disapproved of my choice. We discussed the matter one Sunday afternoon in our favourite café, The Crumbling Cookie. “You’re an idiot, Matt. Why the hell do you want to clone a B-list celebrity with the IQ of a radish, and with nothing to recommend her but large breasts and a talent for advertising shampoo?”

Erin was an intelligent, well-educated woman, but she had an annoying tendency to refuse to think outside the box. “You underestimate Miss Parke,” I said. “Her superb bodily proportions endow her with outstanding physical beauty.”

“Oh, whoopee-do. What about her brain?”

“It’s clear that her schoolteachers, whoever they were, failed to do their job, but she possesses a charming naïve wit.”

“Why don’t you admit you’re obsessed with the woman?” She paused, while the waitress scowled at me, placed our coffee and cakes on the table and flounced back to the kitchen.

“She heard you,” I said. “That’s my reputation down the toilet.”

“Don’t blame me for telling the truth. I’ve seen the box set of I’m A Celebrity. Get Me Off This Snake Infested Desert Island that you hid under your sofa. You wouldn’t touch that ooze of pus with heavy-duty surgical gloves if wittering Wavertree wasn’t in it. Right?”

“I merely undertook thorough observation to ensure that she’s a suitable host. Now, will you help me to get her somatic cells, or not?”

Art for "A Question of Somatics"

We met for coffee next day at the Crumbling Cookie. “You once called me an idiot,” I said, “and you were right.”

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2018 collection.

Professor Matthew Bibby is a genetics specialist. After abandoning his research into cloning techniques, he designed an incubator for premature babies. Its innovations saved many infants’ lives and led to him being awarded an MBE, after which, he and his partner, Doctor Erin Rafferty, formed a close friendship with Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Professor Bibby was recently invited onto the television reality show, I’m a Celebrity. Get Me Off this Snake Infested Island. He declined the invitation. He and Doctor Rafferty have two children: Erina, and Matthew Junior.

Maureen Bowden is a Liverpudlian living with her musician husband in North Wales. She has had eighty-nine stories and poems accepted for publication by paying markets. Silver Pen publishers nominated one of her stories for the 2015 international Pushcart Prize. She also writes song lyrics, mostly comic political satire, set to traditional melodies. Her husband has performed these in Folk clubs throughout England and Wales. She loves her family and friends, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Shakespeare, and cats.

Errow is a comic artist and illustrator with a predilection towards the surreal and the familiar. She pays her time to developing worlds not quite like our own with her artist fiancee and pushing the queer agenda. She probably left a candle burning somewhere. More of her work can be found at errowcollins.wix.com/portfolio.

“A Question of Somatics” is © 2017 Maureen Bowden
Art accompanying story is © 2017 Errow Collins

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