I was exhausted after slaving over the petri dish for eighteen hours. Though I’d injected 783 different liquid compounds into the gooey, greenish-white clump of mashed potatoes, it refused to transform into an elephant embryo. It sat there doing nothing, as if mocking me.
“You dirty sonovabitch! What the hell do you need? I’ve given you $15,735 worth of the purest compounds in existence. Why don’t you respond?”
Something my sainted mother used to say popped into my mind, “Spaghetti is the staff of life. When all fails, try spaghetti.”
Racing to the kitchen, I grabbed three strands — remnants of yesterday’s dinner — and pressed them into the moldy mashed potatoes. I left one trailing outside like a fuse. Lighting it with the Bunsen burner, I ran for cover and hid under my bombproof desk.
Nothing happened. Dammit! I’d done something wrong. But what? Perhaps I should’ve inserted a fourth strand.
Then it dawned on me. Maybe Mom had been speaking cryptically. Could she have meant something deeply metaphysical?
Pondering the possibility, I realized spaghetti includes sauce, or it isn’t bona fide spaghetti. Marinara sauce has near-magical properties and makes eating pasta a transcending experience.
“Sauce is the lifeblood of spaghetti,” I mumbled. “That’s why it’s so red. Lifeblood… lifeblood… lifeblood.”
Immersing a syringe in the marinara, I drew 100cc. I broke Olympic records as I raced back to the Petrie dish. Slamming the syringe into the lump of mashed potatoes, I pressed my thumb hard against the plunger. When the syringe was empty, I counted. By the time I reached 39, the mass emitted a sound like the sigh of a contented lover. Eureka!
“Thanks, Mom for your exquisite wisdom of the ages.”
Four hours after I injected the spaghetti sauce, the mass started to grow by one millimeter every 39.293 minutes.
I didn’t sleep for three days. I couldn’t. Not after making the most amazing discovery in the universe. Miraculously, the moldy mashed potatoes transmogrified into another substance: ravioli.
By midnight, the ravioli had further transmogrified into triple-layered lasagna. My scientific intuition urged me to act immediately. Running to the kitchen, I drew another 100cc of sauce, and injected it into the lasagna. Once again, the substance sighed. Then it emitted a second sound that sounded like a greeting in Italian.
I pressed my stethoscope against the lasagna. My Lord! A regular heartbeat! I’d just created the world’s first living lasagna!
Soon, lack of sleep and fatigue struck. Before collapsing, I put the Petrie dish and its precious contents into the freezer to retard further transformations. Within minutes, I was sound asleep.
Eighteen hours later, I woke refreshed. As my mind cleared, I remembered I’d created one of the wonders of the world. Yanking open the freezer door to gaze upon my fabulous creation, I found it covered with three inches of frost. Worse, I couldn’t find a heartbeat.
Chiseling an opening through the frost and noodle topping, I gave the lasagna mouth-to-mouth. No response. Placing it on the lab table, I pressed paddles against the lasagna and yelled, “Clear!” Though a million volts surged through my creation, it didn’t stir.
My mother’s advice came to mind. Racing to the kitchen, I grabbed the saucepot and dumped the contents over the lasagna. In seconds, it sighed and said something in Italian.
The lasagna didn’t transform into an elephant embryo, as I’d calculated. Instead, it sprouted long strands of black hair on one end. Then feet and shapely legs on the other. This was followed by buttocks and abdomen. Before long, it turned into a magnificent woman.
Unfortunately, she was only large enough to fit in the Petrie dish.
Instead of being glad she was alive, she started bitching in Italian about her miniscule stature. She never stopped nagging.
To shut her up, I put her in the freezer. By the time I removed her, she was forever silenced.
Next time I conduct this experiment, I’ll use a hundred pounds of moldy mashed potatoes, and ten gallons of marinara.
Michael A. Kechula is a retired technical writer. His flash and micro-fiction works have won first prize in six contests and honorable mention in three others. His stories have appeared in seventy-one online and print magazines and anthologies in Australia, Canada, England, and the US. He’s authored two books of flash and micro-fiction: A Deck Full of Zombies–61 Speculative Fiction Tales and Crazy Stories for Crazy People. Both paperbacks available at www.amazon.com. EBook versions of the former are available at www.BooksForABuck.com and www.fictionwise.com.