Flash Fiction: Monkey Gland

This week’s Flash Fiction Challenge is alcohol based. In particular, the title of our piece will be derived from some of the more odd and unusual cocktail names. I rolled a 6, which gives me “Monkey Gland.” Lucky me.

[Late note: This story may be almost completely incoherent, especially toward the end. Jet lag from the Vermont and New York trip is truly kicking my ass tonight. I’ve fallen asleep at the keyboard in a “micronap” a dozen times or more in the last ten minutes. This should be fun to re-read tomorrow morning when I’m awake. The good news is that I hit the word count target, at 1,479 words, even if many of the words are stupid and senseless ones.]

As always, comments and constructive criticisms are appreciated.

MONKEY GLAND

“Have you considered the possibility that this might be a really, really bad idea?” Cruz asked.

“Not really,” replied Graham. “We’re doing a science, searching for greater truths, teasing out the least likely details of the universe’s operating system. We now have in our hands the ability to conceive and carry out experiments that only a few years ago would have been inconceivable!”

“Your logic sucks almost as bad as your hyperbole. You’re sounding more like Frankenstein every minute.”

“Frankenstein’s biggest problem was that he was still thinking small compared to what we can do even in high school these days.”

“Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.”

“Graham, stop sounding like a cheap bumper sticker and help me here. I’m getting to the tricky part.”

“Would ‘the tricky part’ be where you unleash a horror that makes the zombie apocalypse look like child’s play?”

“Exactly. Watch that timer. When it hits ten seconds, spritz one squirt of that solution into this incision. Then get ready with the glue. When the timer hits zero, I’ll insert the test material and you immediately close the incision. Got it?”

“Got it. I spray the blue goo, you insert the funky junk, I super glue the critter back together. What could go wrong?”

“Here we go. On three, two, one, spray! Good, get the glue. Here goes the insertion. Seal it!”

“Okay, now what do we do?” Graham asked.

“If it’s working, it should only be a matter of a few minutes before we start to see the effects,” Cruz said.

“Should I even ask what effect you’re looking for?”

“You’ll see it soon enough. Just be patient.”

Graham looked down at the extremely large snake on the operating table. “This might be a bad time to ask, but what are the possibilities of this effect being dangerous, as in ‘we’ve only got seconds to live’ dangerous?”

“Ridiculous. It will be harmless, it will prove that my theories are correct, and soon we’ll both be rich beyond our wildest dreams.”

“Why do I get the impression that your wildest dreams are much different than mine?”

“Look! See there on the monitor? It’s happening!”

“I don’t see anything.”

“If you look at the scales of the snake you can see the transformation taking place. It works!”

“I still don’t…” Graham paused, then gasped, his eyes flying wide open. “Jesus, Cruz, what did you do?”

“I found a way to induce the expression of a genetic trait from one species in a completely different species, even if the host species was previously completely incapable of expressing that trait.”

“In English, and slower this time?”

“I found a way to make a snake grow hair.”

There was a significant pause before Graham said, “I’ll go along with the possibility that you might not be completely delusional since I can see the hair growing on the snake. How do you plan to get rich off of this?”

“Do you have any idea how much men spend to cure baldness? If I can grow hair on a boa constrictor, I can grow hair on a middle-aged businessman with an inferiority complex.”

“Now the snake’s got something from another critter and it’s growing hair. What did you put in it and where did it come from?”

“We inserted a monkey gland into the snake, specifically the pituitary gland. In mammals, hair loss is caused by hypopituitarism, brought about by autoimmune thyroiditis. The snake, of course, has no pituitary gland at all, nor does it have hair follicles.”

“How does a monkey gland make a snake grow hair? Why wouldn’t there be hairy snakes every time one of them ate a chimpanzee?”

“First of all, a chimpanzee is an ape, not a monkey,” Cruz said. “Regardless, the secret is in the spray that you applied just before I inserted the sample. It acts as an interface between the old tissue and the new and accelerates the expression of the chosen trait.”

“When you say ‘the chosen trait,’ what do you mean?”

“In this case, I chose to express the hormones that cause hair growth on monkeys. I could have chosen to express other characteristics, such as growing hands, feet, or being warm blooded. I was trying to keep the experiment simple.”

“Simple. Thanks, that’s wonderful. By the way, that snake’s going to need a comb or a perm pretty quickly, it’s looking shaggy.”

“No experiment is without its unexpected consequences.”

“Did you expect to create an eight-foot long, furry boa constrictor that looks like the universe’s biggest caterpillar, or was that an unexpected consequence?”

“It was a possibility. We’ll figure out what to do with it. For right now, we have to keep this very quiet. I don’t want the secret stolen.”

“Right, because then everyone will want an anaconda with a full-body afro. By the way, where did you get a monkey’s pituitary gland?”

“Amazon, of course. You would be amazed what you can find there.”

“Right. I’ll respond to that later when I’m no longer in shock. What’s next?”

“Next,” Cruz said, “is the second phase of the experiment. We have to see if the technique works on humans.”

“So you’ve got FDA and NSG approval to be playing god in these mad scientist fantasies?”

“Not quite, but they’ll be supportive after I’ve proven my theory.”

“If you’re looking for volunteers to be your guinea pig, wait right here, I’ll go get some for you.”

“You shortsighted fool. Do you really think that I would allow anyone else to be center stage in this moment of triumph? I will continue a long tradition in bleeding edge science and I will perform the technique on myself next!”

“You’re going to make yourself hairy?”

“No, I’ll be trying something more spectacular still. Get the bottle labeled ‘eagle’ out of the refrigerator for me.”

“And who’s going to do this insertion on you?”

“Why, you are, of course,” Cruz said. “You saw me do the last one. I’ll show you where to make the incision, then you just have to squirt, insert, and seal.”

“If you want me to use a scalpel on you, you’re crazier than I thought, and that bar’s set pretty high at the moment.”

“I’ve had a tattoo put there. Just cut along the dotted line.”

“Okay, making the incision and starting the timer in three, two, one, go! There, the incision has been cut, right where you said to. I’m squirting blue goo. I’m inserting the sample. I’m sealing the incision. I’m running like hell in case you turn into some horrible monster.”

“Running will not be necessary,” Cruz said, taking off his shirt, “but you will have the unique opportunity to see in person one of the greatest accomplishments of human history. Behold!”

“What am I beholding again?”

“I will be the first human beings with wings, wings born of my own body. Soon there will be thousands of us and I will be their leader!”

“I’ll watch your back for the wings to start growing. It should be… Wait, did you put this bottle here?”

“What do you mean?” Cruz asked.

“This was supposed to be the eagle gland that I put into you, but that’s still over here, or at least that’s what the bottle is labeled.”

“Did you mess this up that badly?”

“It’s possible. I’m confused now. I don’t know which glands are which, eagle or monkey.”

“So you might have inserted into me… Oh, God!”

“I might have. We’ll see what happens, see if anything grows out. Let’s hope it’s wings.”

“I feel itchy all over. It feels like a hundred thousand bees are stinging me softly. What’s going on?”

“Did you ever see Lon Cheney in ‘The Wolfman’? That would be a good point of reference for you.”

“How bad is it?”

“It’s not that bad, if you like, for example, dogs or horses.”

“You put the monkey gland in me!”

“I must have, sorry. But you’ll be really warm in the winter without even needing a jacket.”

“Oh, God, this can’t get any worse,” Cruz wailed.

“Of course it can. For example, at the moment you still don’t have fleas, at least none that we know of.  Give it a day or two for them to move in. Then it will be worse.”

“Now I’ll never have fame or fortune, just humiliation and ridicule.”

“Don’t forget the fleas.”

“Huh?”

“The fleas. You’ll have humiliation, ridicule, and fleas.”

“You’ve got to help me! You’ve got to do something!”

“Here, put these on, and use this.”

“What are they?”

“They’re cat flea collars and a nit comb. Even after the fleas are gone, you’ll still have head lice.”

“Head lice?”

“Yeah, but all over your body, not just your head.”

“Do you know what I need right now?” Cruz asked.

“A good groomer?” Graham replied.

1 Comment

Filed under Science Fiction, Writing

One response to “Flash Fiction: Monkey Gland

  1. Ronnie

    Nice one dear

    Like

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