And why not?
A short story about genetics


Adara's waters broke and soon after that she began to sink. She disappeared beneath the tarry, black surface of the ocean, and the baby floated up to the top, startled and bemused. He was wearing inflated armbands - they had been fitted to his arms while he was still in the womb - and he bobbed along the tide towards the shore, staring up at the horizon as it flickered with the ebb and flow. He was hot. He was warm-blooded like his human mother. His father was a lizard who worked for the miliatary.

When he reached the shore he was greeted by the delegates. They wore checked ties, paisley waistcoats and fixed, ecstatic smiles. There was a delegate from every country in the world except for Namibia, who had boycotted the birth on moral and religious grounds. The global press branded Namibia old-fashioned, and the international community declared war.

The baby's name was Edam. It was supposed to be Adam, to symbolise rebirth and mankind's first genetic crossbreed. But there had been a typo in Geneva, so now he was named after the cheese with the famous red rind.

The delegate from the United Kingdom spoke first - it seemed appropriate since the half-breed's mother was Scottish. Well, she had once been Scottish. Now she was just fish food.

"Welcome Edam. Welcome to the world." The delegate fiddled with his spectacles as he spoke. He appeared nervous, but inwardly he was beaming at the importance of his words. His was a critical role in human development. So much depended on the next few minutes: would the baby respond? It had been taught English, German and Esperanto while in Adara's womb. There was no reason to believe the education had been anything other than totally successful.

"Hello", said Edam, spitting seaweed out of his round mouth. "Was it really necessary to drown my mother?"

The UK delegate pushed his spectacles up and cleared his throat.

"It was an unfortunate necessity. I am truly sorry, but your birth must remain top secret."

"Boy," said Edam, "That sucks."

"Have you any other questions? If not, we should get you into the secure complex as soon as possible..."

"Just one question. If you answer it correctly, I will co-operate. If you answer incorrectly, I will destroy you." The baby's eyes gleamed with nascent power.

"Alright," said the UK delegate, sweat dripping off his brow like gravy. "Ask away."

"How long will I live?"

A murmur arose as the delegates conferred. Some were puzzled and others were panicky. The French delegate ran off towards the hotel. After a number of minutes the Swiss delegate - a hefty blonde woman in her forties, wearing a black business suit - replied:

"You will live over two-hundred years. You are invulnerable to disease and you twice as slowly as normal human beings."

The baby smiled an innocent smile, toothless and brave. "I'm afraid you're wrong. I won't live to see dawn."

And with that, Edam pulled the pin from his grenade and exploded, showering the front delegates with blood, bone, skin and the remnants of his orange armbands

Women screamed. So did men. Only the inscrutable Peruvian delegate remained calm, chewing on a cocoa leaf and looking idly at his watch.

He coughed under his breath and mumbled to himself. "It is getting late. I'm hungry." He wandered back to the hotel and ordered himself a steak.


The moral of the story? Never mate a human with a lizard. And if you do, don't be so stupid as to kill the baby's mum in front of it.