My WriterHouse Science Fiction & Fantasy group gathered again for a Pint & Prompt at our favorite (recently) watering hole, Miller’s Downtown in Charlottesville. These events stimulate discussion of all things worthy of ‘speculative expansion.’ The prompts go into the “hat”—which looks much like a small black plastic bag. This week, out came, “Designer Babies,” and the clock was set for ten minutes.
I set my Vienna Lager aside and wrote:
“It has your eyes,” Dak said peeking into the crib. The overhead lights reflected red off the newborn’s jeweled facets.
“I did design them,” Kili said suppressing prideful tears. “I didn’t like anything in the catalog.” She turned to the nurse. “Can our daughter catch flies?”
“In a few weeks, with her tongue, we gave her all the traits you requested.” The nurse flipped back the baby’s blanket to reveal its long legs and webbed feet. “But until she can eat on her own, she needs these.” The nurse held up a half cup of mealworms.
“Can I feed her?” Kili asked her face squinched with delight.
The nurse handed her the mealworms. “Chew these to a fine pulp.” Kili took a big mouthful and rocked her head as she chewed.
“She has everything listed in the application?” Dak asked examining the handbill for next year’s Star Stomper auditions.
“Mmm, mmm,” Kili said jabbing her finger at the handbill.
Dak looked where Kili pointed. “Will she be ready in time for July’s audition?”
“Everything’s in order.” The nurse scrolled the aerial display and pointed to each attribute. “Her green-brown mottling ‘ll come in in a few days. You see the compound eyes atop her head, semi-circular mouth, rigid lips—”
“I asked the date?” Dak said impatient.
“Sorry, yes,” the nurse scrolled to the end. “We’ll start growth acceleration injections on Tuesday and put in the educator chips next week. See, right here, ”Her finger traced a horizontal line near the bottom of the display, “Completion June 6, so she’ll be ready for her audition.”
Kili spit mealworm mash into her hand. “My daughter in the movies,” she sighed, “Thank you, my love.” She stood tiptoe and gave Dak a kiss.
“Kili’s a big Star Stomper fan,” Dak said wiping mealworm off his mouth.
“Don’t let those get cold,” the nurse pointed to Kili’s palm-full of worms. “Open her mouth with a finger and spit them in using your tongue. Here let me help you.”
Please comment and offer a prompt—we’ll give attribution to any we select.
Special invite to our fellow Pint & Prompters at Vironeveah.
4 thoughts on “Designer Babies”
This has some great lines– “it has your eyes” and “can our daughter catch flies.” Funny, I just finished a book where designer babies was a major theme. Wasn’t wild about the book as a whole, but nothing like a good coincidence to inspire. A great classic science fiction theme–what inspires more hope and fear than the idea that mankind will evolve and leave us behind?
I suspect once the practice begins and is perfected (or not) there will be a race … like gamers wanting to be the first to get the new upgrade. And there will be garage scale knockoffs offs. Lots of danger and a tremendous upside.
Made me think of Psalm 139 about the One who actually does create designer babies in every species.
Indeed, in usurping the great architect are we being responsible or frivolous like Dak and Kili? Are we wise enough to know the difference?