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.
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?”
***This brings me right back to my days writing side-effects disclaimers for big Pharma…and Eddie helped me come up with some doozies. He’s still alive and well and the subject of great intrigue at a secret government laboratory in Nevada. I think the locals refer to it as “a sighting” every time he manages to get out for a stroll. John’s image was his very first cover for Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine (Jan. 2003). -Marsha