Nothing actually happened for a solid fifteen minutes after Eddie drank the formula. He turned to us (once again) with a forlorn look and asked, “Any change yet? How do I look?”
We knew he was crazy. He was one of those people: perpetually dissatisfied, determined to prove that he was ‘special’. He wanted fame, popularity, success (despite being an already brilliant scientist) and he was driven…you know, crazy…AND he had full use of the company’s laboratory. He had access to all the good stuff too; plasma reactor, laser diffractional transmogrifier, crazy glue – not to mention ebola, thermite and flu vaccine…and I think our awkward, mild mannered (crazy) Eddie used all of it on this new batch.
By the sixteenth minute, everything changed and Eddie’s fondest wish was realized. He began mutating wildly, spreading outward in every direction, emitting the strangest squeaking moan. He shook, twisted and bloated. He grew tendrils, sprouted claws and screeched Latin gibberish from three of his seven worm-haired monkey faces as horns emerged from his leathery spine. He puffed a sweet yellow smoke, shed tufts of pink fur and dribbled buckets of gooey puss. He was a frightful sight…but he was just sooooo excited we didn’t have the heart to terminate him.
When he finally slowed and stabilized, he turned all of his seventeen eyes-on-a-stalk to us and in a clever series of musical farts, he asked, “Okay!…How do I look now?”
***The featured rough blue sketch is the original rough for an illustration that was supposed to be a 2 page spread for a story in Asimov’s Sci-Fi Magazine, just as those corporate cheapskates were choosing to eliminate all interior art (to save money). I managed to convince them to let me do it as a cover, which was my first cover for the company. The story above and the final art is featured in my new book, “A Short Burst”. Find it and buy it by going to etsy.com and searching EEWbooks. -Marsha