Nothing to Show–Blog Hop April 2020

Wow. I say this too often, but it’s been a long time since I posted. I really ought to be writing more often. sigh

I wrote this story to go in a collection that’s being put together to give people a reason to smile during these troubled times. Once that anthology is available I’ll let you know. In the meantime, enjoy my story (and the others in the hop!).

Nothing to Show

Honestly, I didn’t know there was a problem until it was too late, and by then I’d already lost the baby.

But, wait… I know. Start at the beginning.

So, the beginning. It was just like any other project I’d started.

How could I have even anticipated that some simple research could have gone so wrong anyway? I mean, it’s not like I was doing bio-weapons research for the Pentagon again. I learned my lesson on that last time. Leaving the blood on someone else’s hands is fine with me.

And I wasn’t working with one of the major known contagions. All those annoying and hard to follow protocols. Why does meaningful research have to be so hard? So much bureaucracy.

So I started my own project just working on some simple gene therapy. Elementary stuff, really. I used a proto-virus as a carrier and a little bit—just a tiny segment, really—of insectoid DNA.

And I didn’t use any unwilling subjects who didn’t understand the science. In fact, I only used myself. Again with the paperwork and all those government hoops to jump through. It should have been perfect. I’m healthy. I’m willing. And it would have been awesome—I would have been awesome—if it worked. Real life superhero stuff. Seriously.

What was the goal? I have to tell you that, too? But my proprietary research… I…

What?

Fine. I know. I’ll tell you.

I wanted to add a higher level of chromatic discrimination–to create tetrachromats. I wanted my subjects… well, myself… to see what nobody else could by adding the ultraviolet spectrum to visual perception. You can imagine what a boon that would be. What an advantage.

I thought I’d failed. It was a huge disappointment, but not entirely unexpected. Most genetic research can’t even manage to alter the ears on a mouse, so this was really a shot in the dark, so to speak. Because, you know, if it worked like it was supposed to, I’d never really be in the dark again.

I spent months developing the gene therapy protocol. I couldn’t do any animal testing. Paperwork. You know. But the theory was solid, so I decided, what the heck.

I stayed in the lab for a month to monitor my progress, and nothing. No clinical changes. No functional changes. It was a complete dud.

Finally I gave up. Went home. And, let me tell you, the wife? She was not too happy with me. I tried to give her a kiss. Hadn’t seen her for a month after all. But she slapped me, shoved the baby, Cooper, into my arms and walked out. Said she’d be back in a month or so and just left. Not that I really blame her with Cooper fussy and teething and a little bit feverish because of it.

What do you mean, what did I do to him? You can’t be accusing me of… well… nothing happened. I held him and bathed him and changed him. And held him some more because have you ever been around a fussy, teething baby? Nothing makes them happy.

But then he finally fell asleep. And so did I.

And when I woke up, he was gone.

Right. Gone.

Except not.

It took a minute for me to realize it while I was searching, but he wasn’t gone. I just couldn’t see him. Oh, he was still there, squirming in his crib. I just didn’t recognize what I was seeing because I was expecting a baby. A whole, entire, visible baby.

Instead I had a giggling void wearing a diaper. I suspected his tooth finally got through because he was happy again. I proved it when he bit me hard enough to draw blood.

The wife, though. She still is not one bit happy. Can’t take a picture for the baby book of that new tooth. Can’t take Cooper to his grandma’s which apparently was planned for weeks. My mother-in-law would definitely not be understanding about this. She already doesn’t like me.

Oh, right… the science. Well. I can’t really say for sure. There’s been no time to develop an adequate UV scanning system to observe what’s going on at a cellular level, especially when you won’t even let me in my lab. But I think the DNA I used must have mutated somehow. Created some kind of ultraviolet refraction. Rather than adding to the visual spectrum, it interfered with the normal reflection of light from the baby.

Yes, I know it’s weird.

No, I don’t know what the mechanism was that caused it.

Yes, it obviously affects children in early development differently than adults.

No, I absolutely did not do this on purpose.

No, I did not intentionally release this into the community. I suspect that my wife picked up enough to become a carrier when she handed off Cooper to me that first day. She visited her sister and Amelia. Amelia went to day care.

How could I have known it would be contagious?

Why is it my fault that we now have at least 340 invisible children under the age of two? What? 392? Since yesterday?

It’s not my fault!

I didn’t plan this! And where is the sympathy for me? It’s my failed research, and now I’ll probably never qualify for another grant! All those years of hard work and nothing to show.

Literally.

Links

perpetualbloghop

I hope you’ll take the time to read the other stories in this Hop. These are some great writers and wonderful people. And if you like what you read, I hope you’ll consider joining their lists too. The world is a richer place when there are more stories to tell.

Please note, if you find links that don’t work, try again later. Sometimes it takes a little time to get the gremlins worked out.

  1. Nothing To Show by Elizabeth McCleary (You are here!)
  2. Super Grammy (Radioactive Breakfast Cereal) by Vanessa Wells
  3. Bone Killer by Juneta Key
  4. One More Time by Karen Lynn
  5. Trail Of Carnage by Jemma Weir
  6. A Phoenix In Hell by Sabrina Rosen
  7. Friends Of The Deep by G. Craddock
  8. Collateral Damage by Nic Steven
  9. A Ghost’s Life by Barbara Lund
  10. A Startling Revelation by Bill Bush
  11. A Hiding Place by Gina Fabio
  12. A Family Reunion by Katharina Gerlach
  13. Better Off Alone by V. S. Stark
  14. A Day In The Life by James Husum

Comments

  1. This is soooooo funny. I love it. I’ve got a 3jr old and know exactly how troublesome it would be should he become invisible.

  2. Vanessa Wells says

    Adorable! I always enjoy your work!!

  3. Darn bureaucracies! They always get in the way of research. 🙂

  4. I’m so glad you finished this in time for the anthology and blog hop! This is hilarious and great!

    • Elizabeth says

      Me too! It seems I’m always happy with my results when a deadline actually pushes me to finish something. Probably means I need more deadlines!

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