In 1996, a young man decided to apply for graduate school in genetics. He wasn’t very smart, and slept through his ethics class. He wanted to show his professors he was capable and inventive, so he started a secret project using genes stolen from the lab. He went to a small state college in northern Michigan, and the only genes available were from local white-tailed deer which were easily had during hunting season, and dogs, which were easily had from the local shelter.
Marty, which isn’t his real name, to preserve his anonymity and because he is fictional, went to work in his tiny apartment. He had stolen a high-powered microscope, some petri-dishes, and syringes from the university lab.
He tempted a female deer into a trap using honey-covered apples laced with a sedative, and kept her in the bathroom. He went to work splicing the genes, and when he had some he thought would work, he injected them into the deer’s womb. Somehow, she became pregnant, mainly because the author is not a geneticist and needs to move the story along. Several months later, a baby animal was born.
Marty set the mother deer free and cleaned up the shithole mess that had become of his bathroom. He bottle fed the young creature and began making notes about its appearance and manner. It had a dog’s nose, but the head of a deer. Its fur was soft and reddish golden, like a retriever or a labrador. It had long legs, even longer than an average deer, so that it tottered long after it should have been steady, and constantly fell over.
Marty named the new creature Molli Odocoileus Ruff Ruff Inconstantius Solus, or Morris for short. He took the creature, his copious notes and doodles, and a report on the new creation to his professors, proudly demanding that they award his diploma immediately and give him a tenured position with full benefits. Instead, they had him arrested for theft, and took Morris into their own labs.
They poked and prodded poor Morris. They looked at his teeth, which had canines, and looked at his anus, because all Ph.D.s like to look at anuses. They came to the conclusion that Marty had not cloned a new animal, and they set Morris free.
Morris didn’t know what to do. He barked to be let back into the lab, but all the professors did was throw a Milk-Bone as far as they could onto the quad and shut the door again. Some students playing Frisbee golf tried to ride him, but he was so unstable he fell over, so they got bored and went to get some weed.
Morris wandered into the woods, and came across some deer. They said he smelled like dog, and laughed at his black nose. Morris decided to find some dogs.
Morris jumped, or rather he leapt and fell, into a yard with some beagles. Beagles are crazy, and all they did was jump at his anus, which reminded Morris of the scientists, so he got spooked and left.
Morris had nowhere to go. Luckily it was hunting season and someone put him out of his misery. The hunter thought he was a funny looking deer and had a taxidermist stuff him. When the hunter died, none of his kids wanted the weird stuffed-dog-deer-thing. The last time Morris’ body was seen was at a thrift shop. However, upon a subsequent visit, Morris was gone. Someone took him home. We have no idea why.
Kristin LaTour’s life is like a small Victorian boarding house of familiar guests. Some may only visit occasionally; some never leave, and all are welcome. Find out more at her website.