Don’t Grow on Trees
by Oonah V Joslin
Dr. Bratwurst pulled down a slat of the blind. “There’s a thicket of placards out there, Frank.”
“A forest, more like,” replied Stein. “We’ll be lucky to get out of here alive.”
“Ironic isn’t it... Most of these protesters are religious people yet they’d kill over a hot dog?”
“We’d better hope not.”
The press room was full.
“So, how exactly did you achieve this recent breakthrough, Dr. Bratwurst?”
“Hardly recent. It began almost a decade ago when my colleague, Dr. Stein crossed the genetic material of willow and soya. That was the first step.”
“Yes, and the next stage was developed in collaboration,” added Stein, “so I can’t take all the credit...”
“Or the blame it would seem, Doctor.”
“Blame, ah yes. It seems that many people see it that way.” He took off his glasses and cleaned them on his tie.
“The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope have both spoken against this creation of yours as a dangerous precedent. What do you say to that Dr. Bratwurst?”
“This creation could end famine forever. Think of all the possible permutations...”
“Fundamentalists are calling it the devil’s work, a second Eden tree.”
“With all due respect, gentlemen, their fundaments are where the fundamentalists are most at home. Let us show you this miracle of science.”
Bratwurst pulled the chord that revealed the specimen tree. It rose fifteen feet on a straight stalk like a giant sausage and from its willowy tendrils hung clusters of perfect pink chipolatas.
“These are edible now,” he explained, “but in summer they will be fully grown sausages and in autumn, will develop into long smoky frankfurters. They’re delicious; we’ve tried them.” The two geneticists posed for a photo in front or the tree as the journalists continued to gather information.
“And this was achieved be adding DNA from a pig, is that correct?”
“Pig. Yes. That is so.”
“Now, Rabbis and Muslim Clerics alike are warning that these ‘fruits’ are still to be regarded by the faithful as unclean meats. Are they actually pork sausages?”
“Analysis suggests they are suitable for vegetarians as far as their proteins go,” said Bratwurst.
“That is correct. But this is a whole new animal — I mean concept — in nutritional terms,” added Stein. “Who knows what we could grow next?”
“Parallels are being drawn because of your name, Dr. Stein, with a certain...”
“Not that old chestnut... Might as well cite his name!”
After their grilling, Bratwurst and Stein, Nobel prize winners, left by the back door.
Copyright © 2008 by Oonah V Joslin