Correspondence initiated by Unclassified Sample 38267, as provided by Julia K. Patt
Art by Leigh Legler
Are you there, Professor? It’s me, Unclassified.
You: A brilliant but ostracized xenobiologist, recently denied tenure from a prestigious university.
Me: The beaker of extraterrestrial goop you definitely weren’t supposed to bring home from the lab and combine with iguana DNA and an unfertilized condor egg. (Seriously, isn’t that sort of an extreme response?)
Look, I don’t blame you for running out the door when I hatched, but we really should talk.
Awaiting your reply.
Professor: Where are you, Unclassified?
I’m sorry about abandoning you. I didn’t expect you to be so big. And scaly. And feathery. And sentient. It’s been a long month. No tenure and then fired in disgrace.
Not to mention Angela.
You weren’t in the lab when I came back. Tell me where to find you and we’ll talk.
Unclassified: In due time.
I’m doing fine now, thanks for asking. Some skater kids adopted me and set me up in an abandoned building by the docks. They’re teaching me how to do flips. And what sarcasm is.
Professor: I’m not kidding. Where are you?
We need to get you contained as soon as possible. No one’s had the opportunity to study your biology. You could be toxic. Lives could be at risk.
Angela is my ex-wife.
Unclassified: In the city.
Rumors of my radioactivity are greatly exaggerated. Not interested in being dissected either. I’m guessing the only risk is to your career. But you already blew that up, didn’t you?
The pretty redhead from the photos in your office?
Professor: Losing patience.
I’ve made some mistakes. Including you. But it would be irresponsible and unethical to let you roam free.
Did you steal those photos? I thought I threw them away.
I can see why she left you.
Yes, I have them. They caught my eye. And I had no idea who you were, what I was, or what was happening. I needed some clues. I have your clock radio and your teakettle, too, but they were less informative.
I didn’t mean that. You weren’t a mistake. I shouldn’t have done what I did, but you’re … a breakthrough. You’ll change science as we know it. We’ll both be famous.
To be honest, it was over for a while. Maybe that’s why I made you. I’ve been so lonely.
Unclassified: It’s OK.
Try being the only one of your species in existence.
(I have the skater kids, though. They don’t think I’m scary. And they bring me tacos.)
I don’t want to be famous. But I do still want to meet you, my creator. The place where you found my goop. I’ll be there on Friday at 11pm.
Unclassified: How could you?
A tranq gun, really? I’m insulted.
Come back. It was wrong of me to trick you. Let’s try again. Just us this time.
Angela says she saw a shadow lurking in her backyard. That wasn’t you, was it? Please don’t do anything rash.
Unclassified: What do you take me for?
Angela’s fine. We had a nice talk. She makes a great cup of tea. And she’s a good listener.
We decided it’s best I head out on my own. Learn about myself. She went on a retreat in the Andes after she broke up with you. I might just do the same.
Unclassified Sample 38267 originally fell to earth from a passing asteroid and was recovered by one Professor F., who, in a fit of rage combined their DNA with an iguana and a condor. Since their creation, Unclassified has taken up many hobbies, including skateboarding, meditation, and urban exploration. They work part-time advertising for their favorite taco truck, Monster Tacos.
Julia K. Patt lives in Maryland with the smallest, furriest Elder God and her unwitting orange tabby acolyte, which never fails to make life interesting. Her stories have recently appeared in Clarkesworld, Escape Pod, and Luna Station Quarterly, and she is at work on a novel. Twitter: @chidorme. Website: juliakpatt.com.
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/.
“Missed Connections: Creature Seeking Creator” is Copyright 2018 Julia K. Patt
Art accompanying story is © 2018 Leigh Legler