'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Green Goo

We had some snow on Monday, but it didn't stay for long. Maybe it's just nostalgia, but when I was young we seemed to have much more snow. The summers were warmer too. I remember being in school just before the summer holidays one year, when it was so hot that our teacher melted. That's when I realised that he was made out of wax. I suppose I'd have noticed that sooner if I'd been paying attention in class.

My cousin Craig used to work in a laboratory with a friend of his called Owen. Owen fell in love with a model called Kirsten, but he knew she was out of his league. He struggled to make eye contact with her when they met. He used to spend a lot of time talking to Craig about her when they were supposed to be working in the lab.

A man called Phil set up a magazine with his brother and they both became millionaires within a year. They developed a rivalry with the owners of another magazine. They were always trying to out-do each other. If Phil and his brother bought Ferraris, the owners of the other magazine would buy Ferraris and conduct experiments to see how many naked women they could get into the cars. Phil wanted to go to the moon just to say 'up yours' to them, but he married a beautiful model instead, and he said 'up yours'. The priest didn't like that.

This beautiful model was Kirsten. Owen was heart-broken. He knew he never had a chance with her, but he liked to fantasise about marrying her and living by the sea with lots of dogs and kids. He spent a day drowning his sorrows in the lab. Craig joined him, and they forgot about the experiment they had been working on. They only remembered it when a test tube exploded and covered everything in what could best be described as a green goo. When Craig attempted to describe it scientifically he said, "It's a sort of a goo, isn't it?"

"Yeah," Owen said, "and it's green."

"We should probably write that down."

"And it smells too. We should go home to wash it off."

On their way home they couldn't help noticing all the attention they were getting from women. Given the fact that they were covered in a noxious green goo, it was no surprise that they'd attract the attention of women, but all the women they came across were obviously attracted by the smell. One woman wrote her phone number on Craig's arm. Another one invited them back to her place to determine how many naked people they could get into her Jacuzzi.

Craig wanted to conduct this experiment, but Owen was desperate to test the goo on Kirsten. He knew that Phil was out of the country (he had been on TV drinking champagne in Greenland), so they went to his house to meet Kirsten. She was there with her friend, Janet. Owen was able to look in Kirsten's eyes instead of at her feet, but he could still tell that she was going weak at the knees. Janet couldn't keep her hands off Craig. They conducted an experiment to see how many naked people they could get into the swimming pool. They were able to demonstrate that four people would fit in it with plenty of room to spare.

When Phil arrived home he had no desire to make it five. He had been thrown out of Greenland. Ever since he first met Kirsten he'd been afraid that she'd fall for someone else and he'd end up having to kill someone, because he didn't want to kill anyone, even though he often said he did. Coming home to find his wife partaking in a swimming pool experiment meant that he'd have to kill someone. He didn't have any choice in the matter.

When he went upstairs to get his gun, the subjects in the experiment got dressed. Craig, Owen and Janet climbed over the wall at the back of the garden and Kristen stayed behind to see if she could talk some sense into her husband. Sense had been talked out of Phil years earlier, and he paid no attention to Kirsten. He followed Craig, Owen and Janet.

Craig said he knew a perfect place to hide. It was an abandoned warehouse. So they went there, and they thought they'd be safe, but Phil must have been following the smell. They heard him trying to break down a door.

"I think it's time we formed an escape committee," Janet said.

A man came out of an office. He said, "My name is Bob and I'd like to apply for the job of chairman of the committee."

He showed them his CV. He had served as the chairman of many committees. They interviewed him for the job, and they had to make a quick decision. The only other candidate was Craig, and he had been picking his nose during his interview, so they hired Bob. He immediately convened the first meeting. It had only just begun when Phil broke down the door. Craig, Owen and Janet ran into the office. Bob admonished them for leaving the meeting before the end, but he followed them when he saw Phil's gun.

They broke a window in the office to get away, but they didn't get far. Their escape was blocked by a brick wall. They watched as Phil approached with his gun. The only weapon they had to defend themselves was a frog, but fortunately Phil had a fear of frogs. Craig put the frog on the ground and it started jumping towards Phil. He shot at it a few times, but he missed and he used up all his bullets. He ran away.

Bob said, "As chairman of the committee, I'd like to extend my thanks to this humble frog, who performed above and beyond the call of duty in the name of justice and honour. He brought honour to his species in expediting the work of this committee. When faced with the prospect of becoming just a green goo, he chose to advance rather than retreat. Only through this action can I now proclaim the work of the committee to be complete."

"What if he just gets more ammo?" Janet said.

"There's only one way to find out," Craig said.

They went back to Phil's house. They looked over the wall into the back garden. They saw Phil inside. He had a machine gun and he was putting bullets into an ammunition belt.

"I think it's time to get Bertha," Owen said.

Bertha was a weapon they'd developed in the lab. It emitted an electric shock that would incapacitate a man by making him laugh for three hours. Owen had called it Bertha after his aunt, whose voice could make a storm retreat with a whimper.

Craig, Owen, Janet and Bob went to the lab. They removed Bertha from its cabinet and they put it into a wooden box. They went back to Phil's house and looked over the garden wall again. Phil was putting bullets into another belt. Kirsten was there too. "We need to get her out of the way," Owen said. "Bertha can lose control when she's angry."

"I'll see to that," Bob said. "I'll go around the front and ring the doorbell. I'll say I'm looking for directions."

Bob left them, and a few minutes later they heard the sound of the doorbell. Kirsten went inside to answer it. Owen climbed over the wall with Bertha. Phil was so surprised that he nearly fell into the swimming pool.

"This time it's personal," Owen said.

"What was it the last time?" Phil said.

"It was..." Owen tried to think of what it was, but his thoughts didn't progress very far. Phil turned around when he saw the look of shock on Owen's face. They both saw Bob and Kirsten on a sofa inside. Bob had put some of the green goo on his neck when they were at the lab, and Kirsten found him impossible to resist. Phil went inside. He decided that Bob was the one he should be killing. Bob ran away, but he didn't get far. He couldn't open the front door. Phil had enough ammunition to kill every living creature on a large farm, but he couldn't kill Bob. He couldn't bring himself to kill anyone. He ended up paying Bob to stay quiet about the whole thing.

The moose's head over the fireplace has an interest in science. I've been reading him passages from my grandfather's notebooks. These notebooks record numerous experiments conducted in my grandfather's laboratory (the garden shed). He started out with the intention of building a perpetual motion machine, but he ended up making tiny phones for garden gnomes. The gnomes didn't have much use for the phones, but they did prove to be a very effective way of electrocuting rats.