Stories from a Dublin Scientist

Month: June, 2015

Picture it and Write: Real

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s picture it and write for Ermilia’s blog here. Once again, the picture is not mine, it is by paleotic, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway, enjoy.


Robert Fields was in a bad mood. Today was turning out to be one of those kinds of days at the DinoZoo, America’s primary prehistoric park.

The Pachycephlasaurs were pummeling each other.

A Triceratops had toppled a tree on a Troodon.

The Mammoths were moulting.

And the T-Rex had a toothache.

Each one of these on their own would be a great enough problem to lead to Robert pulling his hair off. But then, to top it all off, he had just gotten a call from the raptors.

Just to be clear, this wasn’t about the raptors, it was from the raptors. They had turned out to be a lot less aggressive but considerably more intelligent than originally envisaged. They were so smart, in fact, that the park was forced to consider them employees rather than exhibits. Pretty good wages, their own on-site apartments, lunch breaks, full health insurance, and paid leave, though few places actually would let them visit (a team of lawyers were working on that).   

Knowing better than to let his prize attractions wait Robert rushed to the Raptor exhibit. As expected; they were not on display, it being lunch time, so he went on back to the employee lounge. There they were, all five of the raptors and maybe another eight human park rangers, sitting around a table, chatting away. There appeared to be a heated discussion going on and Robert caught Billy, the head greens keeper end with a “You’re right! It is a disgrace. We should give those guys back in the office a piece of our mind.” There were shouts and hisses of agreement from around the table. But that all stopped when someone spotted Robert at the door.

Every eye turned at once on Robert, human and raptor both equally cagey. Then Doris, the raptors’ pack leader, and union rep for the whole zoo (raptors were very good negotiators, even without the threat of disemboweling) got up and walked over to him. She had some papers in her talons, this was never a good sign.

She practically tossed the papers at Robert. “What isssss the meaning of thisssss?” she asked in accented but perfectly passable English. He read through the first few. It was a selection of articles harvested from the internet. He knew quickly enough what this was going to be about.  Oh crap, he thought.

More feathered dinosaurs discovered in Mongolia, one headline said.

Tyrannosaurus; Scaly or Fluffy? said another.

And most damning of all, All Real Dinos had feathers; how DinoZoo got it wrong.

“Thisssss isssss Outrageousssss.” Doris said. There were ‘yessssses’ and ‘damn rights’ from back at the table. “You make usssss. But you do not do it right. Exssplain yourssself.”

Robert let out a sigh of anguish. He had tried everything in his power to prevent the raptors finding that out, no modern text books, censored internet access, everything but it was only a matter of time. He still wasn’t  sure how it was going to explain it. The lab boys had their share of the blame, using lizard and crocodile DNA in the mix. So had marketing, convincing everyone that ‘scaly is scarier’. But he had a feeling that most was going to fall on him, like it always did.

He checked the organiser on his phone. “Dave from Head Office will be over for the next Board meeting on Monday. I can add your concerns to the agenda an discuss them then. Is that alright?”

“For now.” She nodded in assent “We exsspect an apology for this abysssmal treatment.” She turned her back on him, that meant their conversation was over, you didn’t argue with a raptor.

Robert left the room and headed straight for the office, his mind already thinking of the thousand other problems that demanded his attention. Still; ways to diffuse this latest raptor problem occasionally surfaced in his head. What if he got an artist to draw Doris as she would with feathers? Went all out ridiculous, maybe she would find it so silly she wouldn’t speak of it again. Or what if he changed the rosters for the petting zoo so that Doris got out of it? The others would get jealous at that and maybe he could break-up their united front. He shook is head, Doris would see through that in a second, he’d have a strike on his hands quicker than he could say “Clever Girl”. Nobody wanted that.

Robert mulled it a bit more as he walked past the rest of the exhibits and thronging visitors. He laughed at himself. If anyone told him back in business school that he would he negotiating with a dinosaur…much less how good she’d be at it.



My Hero

I lay on the beach gasping, Looking at my hero, confused at how he reached me so fast.

“Thank you” I said then looked at his feet, noting the unusual ball of the ankle

“Mutant?” I asked.

He nodded.


Written for The Grammar Ghoul Press’ Shapeshifting 13 # 7

Picture it and Write: This City

Hi There! This is my offering for this week’s picture it and Write for Ermilia’s blog here. Once again the picture is not mine, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway. Enjoy.

This city

I love this city. I love the vibrancy, the constant bustle of people, the lights, the smells, the sounds. I love the fact that you can live in the same building as a beautiful woman for years and meet her for the first time this morning. I love the people from all over the world who have flocked to these scant few square mile for a shot at greatness. I love the fact that here truly anything is possible, no matter how unlikely the dream. I love the way the city fills with possibility every new day.

I hate this City I hate the crowds, the constant noise and bustle, the fact that there is no place you can go that will get away from it. I hate that the city never sleeps so neither can you. I hate the crime, I hate the garbage, I hate the pollution, the chemical taste in the air and the water. I hate how rude people can be. That you can live next door to a person for years and they will still never give you the time of day. I hate the fact that the streets are filled with people who came from all over the world but never made it, I hate the way their numbers are added to each and every day.

I need this city. I need the excitement, I need the shops, I need the restaurants. I need the connection with the multitudes, I need something new everyday. I need the hope of a better life, I need the reminder that it sometimes does not work out. I need the buildings around me, comforting me like a warm urban blanket. I need this place.

I love this city.

I hate this city.

I need this city.

I am part of this city.



“I said we’d need a frog decoy.”


“Size determines target.”


“That’s six feet.”

“What do you mean?”

“We’re going to need a bigger trap.”

Written for The Grammar Ghoul Press shapeshifting 13 number 6

Picture it and Write: By Her Face

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s picture it and write by Ermilia’s blog here. Once again, the picture is not mine, it is a sculpture by Mark Newman, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway enjoy.

By Her Face

There was a knock on the door and Mark went to answer it. There he found Graeme, his oldest friend, waiting at the door, holding a bulging suitcase. “Ummm?” Mark asked.

“She kicked me out. Can I crash here for a spell? You know; while I try to work things out.”

“What happened?”

“Well… Do you remember the dream I had?”

“The one you obsessed over?”

“It wasn’t an obsession. I just kept on having the same dream over and over again.”

“That was just weird. What was it about it?”

“She came. I saw her.”

“You what? You saw her? You saw a figment of your imagination.”

“She wasn’t a figment. She was real. She is real. I told you I met her.”

“Bullshit! You’re kidding me.”

“Look!” Graeme took out his phone and showed a picture on it to Mark. True enough, there was an image of a woman posing. She was eerily familiar, it was uncanny.

Mark grabbed the phone and took it down to his sitting room. There, in pride of place, was the statue that Graeme had made ten years previously. Mark looked at the delicate features of the statue and the young woman who had taken part in the drawing class. “I don’t believe it, I can’t believe it. There must be an explanation.”

“There is,” Graeme said earnestly, “She is the one. The one who was prophesized.”

“Buddy. You know what I think about this.”

“Well explain this then.” Graeme pointed at his phone “It is exactly what the psychic said. “By her face you will know her.” I saw her face, both in my dreams a decade ago, and now, in the flesh.”

“I take it you told Susan about this.”

“Yeah! That is why she kicked me out. I just need to explain to her what I need from…”

“Need from her?” Mark snorted “Do you know what this looks like?”

“I’m not into her that way. This is just for guidance. To find my way.”

“Susan didn’t agree?”

“She went ballistic. She refuses to believe what I told her. She thinks the resemblance against that picture is only a coincidence. Not real.”

“She could be right? It is the only explanation that doesn’t require spooky mumbo jumbo.”

“You can see it. Mark! It is her. I can see it in your eyes. I know you can see it.”

Mark had to nod in agreement. “That doesn’t mean you have to track her down. Maybe you just met her before. She is very good looking. She could have stuck in your mind without you remembering consciously.”

“No No no! It can’t be that.” Graeme seemed more and more agitated. “She is real and I need to find her.”

Mark thought about this a second. Graeme had been his friend for years, they were almost like brothers. He knew that he was not going to back down on this. “Ok. What do you know about her.”

“The secretary of the club would know her name and may be able to give me her number if we ask nicely. We can say we are looking for a model for another project. He’ll believe that.”

“You’re mad. You do know that?”

“Thanks for your help. I really appreciate this. You’ll be able to help me make Susan see sense.”

Mark watched as his friend just dropped his suitcase in the hall and went back out of the door. “If you insist on calling it “seeing sense” you’re only going make things worse.”

“When we find this woman. My life is going to change. All for the better. You mark my words.”

Graeme was already halfway out the driveway. Mark had never seen him this excited. At least not since he had made the sculpture back inside. It was not a good sign.

Mark sighed. “By her face you will know her.” the old psychic had said.

All he knew is that she was trouble.



Picture it and Write: Wife

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s picture it and Write for Ermilia’s blog here. Once again the picture is not mine, it is by Lily Little at flicker, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway, enjoy.


“So this is what married life is like?” Carl spoke softly to himself.

Denise was still in bed, the covers wrapped around her naked body. She must have been exhausted after all of the hullabaloo of the day before.

Funny; he thought, things felt different. He had noticed it the night before. Whenever he referred to his new scenario

“Would you like to meet my wife?”

“My wife will be along shortly?”

“I am just going to go and get my wife.”

Every time he said that word he could feel a tingle, it reinforced a feeling that had kept him walking on air for the whole of the day.

But strangely, as far as he could see nothing had changed. She looked the same, he glanced at the mirror, and he looked the same too. Denise still did that thing with her hips when they made love, she still snored and drooled when sleeping, and she still mumbled unconscionable swearwords in her sleep. Everything he loved about her was still the same, but something had changed.

“Carl! Are you just going to stand there gawking or are you going to say something?” Denise must have been faking it.

“Hi honey! I was just down in the local shop, I’ve got your magazine.” He placed the glossy down on the bed. She reached from beneath the sheets to grab them and then lay down on her stomach, letting the morning sun play on the pages she was perusing. Carl said some more, “I also checked with the front desk, if you want I can bring you up some breakfast from the restaurant. They have french toast, your favourite.”

“Yeah!” She said in that mischievous way that made him smile and got back to her reading. Carl turned to go.

“Oh Husband!” She called just as he was opening the door. Carl looked back, Denise had paused for a second, the same grin on her face that he had saying wife, “Could you bring up some bacon with that, and sausages and beans? I was three months starving myself to fit into that thing.” She gestured at the wedding dress rumpled on the chair “I want to make up for lost time.”

“OK Wife!” Carl said and grinned. Denise grinned back and then returned to her reading.

As he walked down the hallway towards the lift, Carl thought again about the change.

Everything was the same as far as he could tell, but they seemed different, as if the word wife made it all new.

It was better, he thought. Yeah, much better.


Handling animals

“This rat is growing. Pregnant perhaps?”

“God!  Did you put the males with the females?”

“Yeah! Why not?”

“They’re chimeras, Rat/human chimeras.”

“Even the?”

“Reproductive Organs? Yeah!”


“Then there’s a 50/50 chance some of the fetuses are???????”

“Human. Yeah!”


“We have to kill them. Nobody can know.”

“I’ll get the gas.”


Written for Grammar Ghoul Press Shapeshifter 13 Challenge #4.