Don't get me wrong. They came in peace, bringing it in their multiple six-fingered hands. But looking back, we should have known better.
Ben sat at the bar, eyes drifting drunkenly across couples sitting at darkened booths. Odds flicked through his head, some more rapidly than others, and numbers practically overlaid the couples he watched. He took another sip of bourbon, hoping to burn them away.
The bartender tipped his head toward him, the question plain. Ben raised a finger and nodded. Another glass of the cheap, honey-colored bourbon appeared, neat. No use watering it down. The pond where I grew up was swampy and buzzing with insects. I slept in a bed of stargrass, and Mother whispered lullabies in the gentle current. Mother grew up in the ocean, and she hated our pond. Too many memories of Father lingered beneath the surface, long after drought had stolen him away.
"Why don't we go back to the ocean?" I asked. The piece of amber that held the inclusion--the fragment of shed snakeskin--had arrived in a load from Iraq, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. There were also twelve pieces that had leaves and tiny bits of bark--a fruit tree, it would turn out. When the material was isolated, removed, and its DNA analyzed, the company--one of the "species resurrection" companies providing collectors, museums and wealthy consumers with product--knew it had both a non-venomous snake of a new genus and a fruit-bearing tree in the ficus genus. When the techs had made their report, a young man in Marketing suggested that they package the two as the "Eden Pair." The amber, after all, was from one of the three locations that might, scholars believed, have been the location of the mythic Garden of Eden. "A snake and a tree," his boss responded. "Why not?"
The tech responsible for DNA scanning noticed anomalies, but had seen such things before. Like leglessness in some lizards, it wasn't a red flag. What mattered to the company was that it wasn't venomous and that it couldn't breed with living species. If the buyer wanted more, the company would clone them. Before I introduce the provost, who will address the rest of your concerns, I just want to say, and with all due respect to the parents, I think you're missing the upside here.
For the past several years, my team has raised fish out of water. As much as I admire my colleagues at McGill who studied the birchir, they managed to do so for only eight months, and their fish lived in special tanks. Our fish, thanks to minimal funding, slosh around a muddy yard. Nonetheless, they mature early, they spawn repeatedly, and through careful husbanding the phase one generations developed increasingly sturdy walking fins. These fish have already added a great deal to our understanding of how the early tetrapods became adapted to land.
by Jedd Cole
Published on May 27, 2015
by D.K. Holmberg
Published on May 26, 2015
by Caroline M. Yoachim
Published on May 25, 2015
by Bruce McAllister
Published on May 22, 2015
by Stephen S. Power
Published on May 21, 2015
by Beth Powers
Dear Superhero, I'm not sure you know who I am anymore, or else you probably wouldn't have asked me for help. You told me you loved me once, but I doubt you remember the day you broke my heart as vividly as I do.
Published on May 20, 2015