Flora and Fauna
When Waylon Temple was born, the doctors were certain he wouldn’t live to see his first birthday. His head was far too large for a newborn, they asserted. There must be something wrong with him.
They ran a battery of tests and Waylon passed them all with flying colours. It turned out that his abnormally large head contained an abnormally large brain. By the age of two, Waylon spoke in complex sentences and ate with a knife and fork. At four, he was solving mathematical equations and could tell a salad fork from a dessert fork. Waylon obtained an undergraduate science degree when he was nine, and received his PhD in Theoretical Biophysics at the age of twelve.
Waylon was the smartest guy you’d ever meet, but his trajectory through life placed him at a distinct disadvantage when it came to interpersonal relationships. He could tell you why synaptic vesicles played a key role in the mating rituals of humans, but he had no idea why Deirdre Jones wouldn’t go out with him. He could program biological nanites to build tiny, perfect replicas of any ecosystem on Earth, but he couldn’t tell Sandy Stephens how he felt.
So, despite the staggering depths of his intellect, Waylon Temple grew up to be a very lonely man. And it was at the height of this loneliness that Waylon devised the perfect experiment.
He knew that Sandy’s favourite flower was a rare type of Dracula orchid that grew in the highest reaches of the northern Andes Mountains. He also knew that his nanites could reproduce that ecosystem, including Sandy’s orchid, perfectly.
Waylon planned everything meticulously. He put the nanites to work in his new, state-of-the-art solarium laboratory. He programmed Sandy’s favourite classical music, consisting mostly of Wagner and Puccini, to play through the speakers. He paid a graphic designer to do up a beautiful invitation, which he tucked into the purse on her desk early one morning.
Sandy was thrilled. She accepted Waylon’s invitation, planting a soft kiss on his cheek. If it hadn’t been for his meticulous nature, Waylon might not have washed that cheek for days. As it was, he smiled awkwardly and mumbled something about how beautiful the ecosystem was starting to look.
That weekend, Sandy arrived at the lab at precisely 7:30 p.m., just as the invitation had suggested. Her punctuality warmed Waylon’s heart, and her hand on his arm spread that warmth throughout his tall frame. Buoyed by Sandy’s smile, Waylon escorted her into the Andean Mountain ecosystem.
The evening was perfect. They listened to Wagner, admired the perfect orchids, and watched a rainbow of hummingbirds buzz above their heads. And, at precisely 9:30 p.m., Waylon Temple worked up the nerve to kiss Sandy Stephens.
Neither of them expected the Utricularia asplundii to grab Sandy and gobble her up, even though they both knew that particular genus of flowers was carnivorous. Of course, neither of them knew how the nanites felt about Waylon. The appearance of a strange human woman in the ecosystem they had created for him was more than they could take. But it also gave them an idea.
Waylon stared in disbelief as the pretty plant that had eaten Sandy began to morph into something else. Moments later, a beautiful woman stood before him. She looked a bit like Sandy and a bit like Deirdre Jones. She had big green eyes and long dark hair that tumbled over her shoulders and curled around her waist. She smiled and held out her hand.
As Waylon debated whether or not to take her hand, he wondered how he had missed such a vital variable in his experiment. He had been so meticulous. The nanite woman’s soft touch on his arm interrupted his thoughts. Waylon met her lovely green eyes and grinned. In that moment, through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.
This is my submission for the speakeasy #154. We had to write a piece of fiction or poetry under 750 words that ended with the line “Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned” and made some sort of reference to this video:
Come and check out the other submissions, then come back and vote for your favourites on Thursday!
Image credit: Google Images