February 24, 2016


 Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them. 
SF Trope: (reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmutation. I think I’m going to mine THIS idea in various ways for a while!) biological transmutation, more specifically covered here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_transmutation

Seamus O’Neille and Brooke Sherman glared at each other over the lab table. Brooke crossed her arms over her chest and said, “The only reason I’ll work with you is because Ms. Harkonnen said I had to.”

Seamus scowled, his pale skin flushing red, making his freckles and red hair look dull by comparison. “Yeah, well Ms. Harkonnen said I had better be your partner ‘cause she felt sorry for you…”

Ms. Harkonnen – who hadn’t threatened or matched them out of pity – thought they make a cute pair. She knew that their IQs, if added up, would total more than any THREE other students (and the teacher, she silently amended). If their initial lab reports and test scores were any indication, Ms. Harkonnen was fairly sure there were a dozen people in the room whose IQs wouldn’t total the pair of young geniuses.

Ms. Harkonnen said out loud to the class, “I want you to read the article on ‘biological transmutation’ tonight and be prepared to discuss it tomorrow. I’ll also want you to use the index in the text and a wiki search to find one reference that favors it and one reference that refutes it. Now, back to work on the sheets. Tomorrow we’ll also be starting energy levels.”

Seamus and Brooke had finished glaring at each other when Seamus said, “It’s true. My sinseanathair told tales of the Viviparous Lizard that would eat lead and pass gold beads. He said it changed in the Lizard’s intestines.”

“That’s ridiculous! I had the same ancestors as you and none of them ever told absurd stories like that! You’ve got a brain between those ears, Seamus – use it for something besides a doorstop for once!”

Ms. Harkonnen barely managed to damp her grin. She nodded to the two and said, “It seems natural then that Seamus will lead the discussion from a pro-biological transmutation stance and Brooke will lead the discussion from an anti-biological transmutation stance.” The bell buzzed and she waved the class away, saying, “Have a nice night!”

The division soon became obvious and an undercurrent of discussion carried through every class that day – they were all in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program so they often had classes together. It also soon became apparent that it was going to be a bit of “boys against the girls”.

By the time she got home, Brooke was hungry, tired and irritated all at the same time. Dad met her at the door of the kitchen. He was a biochemist at Princeton University. Brooke said, “So Dad, can you give me a few sources to use to smash my nasty opponent in a debate tomorrow?”

Dad perked up as he sat on the bar stool, took and apple, bit into it, chewed a bit then asked, “So, who’s the fool who decided to take you on and what’s the subject?”

Brooke sniffed, “The fool is that idiot, Seamus O’Neille. The subject is the absurdity of biological transmutation!”

Dad’s face suddenly went blank. He stood up abruptly, nearly knocking the chair over as he said, “Oh, sorry Sweetie. Just remembered – I’ve got papers to grade tonight…” He scurried away, leaving Brooke startled and bothered. What would have made him act like that?

Names: ♀ England/Germany ; Ireland

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