#FridayFlash: Caution - Genius At Work

"Let me get this straight: you have an idea, but you won't tell me what it is."

"That's right."

"And you won't tell me because you think I won't like it."

"I know you won't."

"But you think I will like what your idea can do for my company."

"I'm certain of it."

"And for an exclusive worldwide license to this wonderful mystery idea, you want me to give you full access to the facilities and staff of the NovoGeneTech laboratories in Palo Alto and buy you a dairy farm."

"One that can handle at least four hundred animals in confined pens. There's a place by Gilroy that would be ideal, but the location is something I can be flexible on."

"Not to mention that you also want twenty million dollars in cash, up front."

"It doesn't have to be in cash. An expense account would be fine, so long as it didn't have a monthly spending limit."

"And the return on my investment would be...?"

"I can reduce by 97% the production cost of all nine of NovoGeneTech's blockbuster nucleotide therapy treatments while also increasing output by at least 800% in the first six months. We both know that you'll hit market saturation at the high end of the income curve in about six years. My idea will position you to lock in the top three quintiles of the entire population for the next thirty years, not just the richest 0.1% who can afford your gene augmentations. Everybody wants perfect pitch, high intelligence, ultra-charismatic sex appeal and so on. Give me what I want and I'll make sure you can give them what they want."

"You can really do that?"


"Then why won't I like your idea?"

"Because it's not very... nice."

"Professor, I promise to listen with an open mind."


"If you can deliver on that scenario you laid out, then yes, I promise you that I'm interested in hearing your idea."

"Fine. I should tell you that without the antigen recognition sequences I've developed, you won't be able to do this without me. Just in case you had some thought of stealing my idea."

"Noted. Go on."

"OK. You're limited in your production because you have to extract your nucleotide preparations from the blood of the people you have locked in the basement at NovoGeneTech, right? No, wait! Please don't call security - I'm just putting your current problem in context."

"That's a damned lie. I don't know what you're talking about. There's no one... we don't... that's a damned lie. You can't possibly know anything about how we run our production facility, which, I might add, is operated with the strictest, most scrupulous adherence to all NIH and FDA ethics guidelines."

"Fine. We both know what the truth is. I'm not here to blackmail you, I'm here to help you."

"You can't blackmail me because that's a damned lie! No one is 'locked in the basement'. If any of our employees in the production facility want to leave, that's perfectly within their right to do so. Their employment contracts stipulate certain things about transportation of company property, but -"

"Said company property being the engineered gene-constructs you put into their bone marrow. Please, can we just get back to my idea?"

"I will NOT have the good name of this company threatened by unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct!"

"Look, you don't have to say anything, OK? Just sit for a minute and neither confirm nor deny. You extract the nucleotide preparations from their blood, which means you're limited by the amount of blood they can give you. I'm guessing you have maybe twenty people in the facility. That's twenty pints of blood every six weeks, maybe more if you're giving them hormones and iron supplements."

"This is outrageous!"

"My idea is this: pull some of the genetically engineered bone marrow cells, retrograde engineer them back into the adherant cancer cells they started as. Alter the surface antigen bindings so that they mimic bovine stem cells. We take a herd of cows, inoculate their bladders and large intestine with these engineered human-bovine chimeras. The cows all get benign bladder cancer and bowel cancer, huge masses of cancerous tissue that signal-stimulate the growth of new blood vessels. In short, they'll bleed like crazy into their urine and feces. We keep them penned up and collect it for processing and extraction."

"Extraction? You mean isolate the nucleotides from their... from the blood in their waste?"

"Yep. Each cow will produce at least thirty pounds of usable material every day. Conversion efficiency will be lower than from pure human blood, but the numbers work out perfectly. Plus, it's fully scalable. Need more blood? Infect more cows."

"But bladder cancer is really painful, isn't it?"

"Not nearly as painful as bowel cancer, but so what? It's a minor surgical procedure to clip the major nerves. They won't feel a thing, probably. Of course, that kind of blood loss will wear them out, but not much more than milking would. When an animal is reduced to skin and bones, you throw it away and infect a fresh cow."

"That's... an idea we hadn't thought of. I'm not sure how it would go over with the FDA."

"What? The animal welfare aspect?"

"No, the fact that we'd be making our line of gene therapy treatments from bloody cow shit. Still, that's what the PR guys are for, isn't it?"

"So we have a deal?"

"Professor, let's just say that I'm willing to pay to hear the real details of your idea."

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. LOL, talk about a cash cow!!! Does this perhaps tie in with the vampire teeth farm in any way?

    Oh, I just looked at your comment "guidelines" above the comment box. I actually know how "newly hatched chick(s)" are treated, and it isn't exactly gentle. :-D

    1. Not exactly vampires in the traditional sense, but gee, that blood is awesome, isn't it?

  2. This reminds me of one of Jack Holt's dialogue bits from a few weeks ago, though his was about fearing to share his novel's plot. It also reminds me of paranoid inventors I've run into who had patently terrible ideas they were afraid even I would steal if they talked about them. At least there's a fruitful ending? Of sorts?

    1. Oh, I know plenty of those people, too. They think just having a great idea should be enough to get rich. The fact is, great ideas are pretty easy to come by - it's the work of turning ideas into reality that is worth rewarding.

  3. milking cows for their blood, nice twisted idea. Bloody cows, producing all that methane on the planet. Now it's payback time!

    marc nash

    1. Not so very much different than current practice!

  4. Eww. Poor cows -- takes the factory farming concept to an entirely different level. Find myself hoping Mr. Inventor winds up with some cancer of his own! (*dusts hands and steps off soapbox*) :)

    1. These days are coming sooner than we might expect, IMHO.

  5. It worries me that you've sat and worked all of this out...

    1. Actually, Icy, I have many, many horrible things all worked out. This is just one of the latest ones.

  6. Somehow I found this very disturbing - but then I like animals, more often than not they're nicer than people can be. Poor cows!

    1. In my science fiction world, I've done far worse in the name of profit for a soulless multinational corporation.

  7. I'm curious what kind of spin PR would put on this one. :)

  8. Wow, Tony! Bloody cow crap? That's excellent!


Thank you for leaving a comment. The staff at Landless will treat it with the same care that we would bestow on a newly hatched chick. By the way, no pressure or anything, but have you ever considered subscribing to Landless via RSS?