Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

The Mad Scientist’s Evil Twin

by David

His brother started it. Fame and fortune weren’t enough for Stephan. He had to rub it in Eldon’s face every day by being gracious, magnanimous, and successful. Curing cancer, solving world hunger, inventing a practical matter transmitter, discovery after sickening discovery. Whatever Stephan did just added to his wealth and reputation. He got more girls. He even had a better name!

Eldon was not going to be a copycat. Being the second most famous scientist in a family just didn’t cut it. He chose a darker path.

* * * * *

Eldon specialized in biochemistry and genetics. He started small, a new viral disease here, a rust that ruined the taste of sweet corn there. He wore black, cultivated a mustache and goatee, and found that this persona drew women to him like vultures to a sheep carcass. He smiled a lot, and stroked his beard. He married frequently, if not well, and spent a lot of time in the lab. His brother was never far from his mind.

* * * * *

Carol buzzed around him, angry reminder of another almost-successful experiment. Maybe next time he should try something more substantial, something with a bigger brain. Not a mantis or spider; something benign, harmless. Perhaps a grasshopper, or a katydid. That was it! He’d always liked that Steely Dan album.

Carol came to rest on one of the windowsill plants. As the green jaws closed she realized she’d chosen poorly. Her tiny struggles grew louder, then were muffled, silenced. To his first wife, a housefly was nothing more than a snack. The Venus fly trap rattled its leaves suggestively.

Eldon pressed a button on his desk.

“Ms. Collins? Would you assist me in an experiment?”

* * * * *

Eldon picked up on the second ring. “Stephan! So good to hear from you. I’m in the midst of a groundbreaking experiment, Stephan, so you’ll just have to wait. Perhaps lunchtime on Friday, my treat. Yes, let’s meet in my lab.”

Eldon turned back toward the examination table, where Miss Collins rolled her eyes frantically above the duct tape. Eldon adjusted the controls on the somatic gene-therapy transformer.

“This won’t hurt a bit.”

* * * * *

Eldon slammed the cup down over the oddly deformed grasshopper. “Got you!” The grasshopper hopped weakly, bumping into the glass. He dumped it into the terrarium. The machine had performed perfectly on this last run. Friday he would use a cicada.

the end

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