Poor Mojo's Almanac(k) Classics (2000-2011)
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Fiction #37
(published April 26, 2001)
1K+1 Astral Nights:
Cycle 1, Packet 4
translated by David Erik Nelson

I sprint into the house— I mean, it doesn't take a biochem genius to figure out where my family went. I have a pal at the U run down to the pound and "adopt" the dog and pup. A couple blood tests demonstrate that the bow-wows are dogs in roughly the same way that syntheboard is wood: they got lots (even most) of the dog-type attributes, but are hardly dogs at the cellular level. Look at a scraping under a decent microscope, and you'll see that those poochies are just a jackstraw mess of cells. Not dogs at all, properly speaking.

I call the cops and explain that my ex-wife, the evil supergenius, has recombined my wife and kid's DNA and made them into dogs and she needs to be arrested immediately, great risk to public safety, horrible allergies—

They assure me that they're on the case. They send a cruiser to pick me up, and have me locked in a holding cell before I can say "ironic turn of events."

The next afternoon they release me to the care of my brother, who has a good rep as a district attorney. On the ride home he explains to me that the hell of the mess is that my ex hasn't committed a crime, technically. There are no corpses and no test in the world can show what the dogs were, only what they are (and, for that matter, aren't.) Sure, any high school kid could look at a skin sample and see that they aren't natural dogs, but not even a Nobel winner could say what they really are. Or really were. It could be a couple of chickens that someone made into a couple a beagles— who knows?

I know. But "knowing" isn't "proving."

I can't even get close to them— I mean beagles! It's diabolical; they're the worst dogs in the world for someone with allergies. Christ, I hate her still!

God, I wanted to kill her. But murder yields corpse yields evidence yields lethal injection. I mulled the mess over, backwards and forwards, until it hit me:

Tip for tap.

You know that it only costs 1.5 million US dollars to get a couple brilliant, impecunious grad students to mix together a hypo of mitochondrial-fueled ferro-lattice growth serum? Sure, that's a hefty chunk of do-re-mi, but worth every penny. The stuff comes on slow— first manifestations looks like those almost-suspicious moles, the ones with the rough edges— then WHAM! in the space of 36 hours your body temp jumps to 105 and the metal erupts both ways, braiding out and around the body, and down deep to the bones and organs. 72 hours later you're ready to walk on the darkside of the moon or float through the cold void of space, although I'd suggest staying the hell out of the rain.

And she ain't dead. She'll never "die" in the conventional legal sense of the term.

The best part is that I gave it to her myself— mixed the serum with DMSO, salted a basket of ladies silk knickers with it, and showed up at her door one Monday afternoon. Told her Spanish lover that I was her brother, come to drop off some laundry.

"And turning her to a killbot cured her of her treachery?" The Distributed Nanobot asked.

"What? Oh, no, not at all. In fact, I'd say that she's worse than before. The electro-tether pumps a lot of EM static into the bus in her neck, keeps her docile. But, whoo-damn, she's even more vicious than ever."

"Then why—"

"Oh, well, see, the claws— with the pincer claws, she can't do all the lab stuff with recombo DNA and, you know, whatever. And the synth on her voice is really crappy, so she can't access all her old data. It's a lot safer, in that respect. Besides, you can always use a killbot, right?"

"I allow that your living situation is even more bizarre than this poor fool's. You may have his legs."

"I dunno. He sorta has chicken legs and is pretty big through the gut; I figure legs and hips is a third, you know, by mass."

"What?" the programmer asked.

"Indeed, legs and hips," the Distributed Nanobot agreed.

"But my legs—"

"Hey, shut-up," the first old man said, "this codger's gotta tell the story about his spinny, floaty boxes."

"They're massively parallel special-purpose machines, thank you very much; they spin so as to ensure an even airflow across the boards, and thus guarantee efficient cooling. Listen:

to be continued next week . . .

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