Stories

DNA Double 4

This story has been posting on Mondays since February 15. Nancy Bellarmine has found out that she is not quite as human as she thought she was.

Skye plunks down across from me in the cafeteria; as usual there’s a malodorous squelch when she sets her paper lunch bag down. I’m not vegan or anything, but my rule is that meat shouldn’t smell like dead animal with mustard.

“You were totally out of it in Science today, Nan.”

“You noticed?”

“Everybody noticed. It was when Mrs. Abrogast asked you to identify that picture of an asteroid and you said it was ovaries. You were up late looking at those files, weren’t you?”

“Yeah, a little too late. Then I had a nightmare about it.”

“You should have a piece of toast with melted limburger just before bedtime; it keeps bad dreams away.”

“It keeps everything away!”

“It doesn’t keep Washington away.”

I raise an eyebrow.

“Not like that! I didn’t mean that! He’s not my boyfriend, okay? He just likes limburger!”

Watching her face turn red and everyone turning to look at her gives me my first real laugh of the day. That’s a lot of protesting for a boy whom I’d never met before yesterday.

“Anyway, Nan, did you find out anything?”

“No. Yes. Maybe. Apparently her name wasn’t Kathryn, it was April, and she was an alien or mutant or something. Do you remember Science last year when we studied sex?”

“Don’t you mean Health?”

“No, Biology. All that stuff about chromosomes. Remember, boys are XY, girls are XX? Well she was an XZ. I looked on the internet and only birds and reptiles have a Z chromosome.”

“Does that mean she was part lizard?”

“Yuck, no! I don’t think so. I hope not. I have the same DNA as her, remember?”

“Maybe you’re part chicken. Try clucking and laying an egg.”

“Skye! I am not a chicken!”

Once the attention dies down, I decide that this conversation is over. We eat lunch in silence.

---

Skye takes it up again on the way to the mall after school.

“You know, Nan, those files didn’t say you were awful or anything; in fact they say you’re better than normal. That’s what ‘transhuman’ means.”

“Maybe, but… Wait! You read them?”

“I looked through them. Washington got them for me, remember? I didn’t even try to understand what they said, except that you’re somehow better than us mere mortals. Have you noticed any super powers recently?”

“My hair grows fast.”

“That’s it?”

“As far as I can tell. If I concentrate I can make it grow an inch in about five minutes. If I do it too much I get hungry.”

“Can you make it move?”

“No, but I can make it come out straight or curly. Lighter or darker, too; I had blonde hair for a bit this morning.”

“That’s awesome! If someone puts gum in your hair you can fix it in no time flat.”

“Did we just time travel back to the third grade?”

“No, think about it; if you want to change your hairstyle you can just grow a new one! No need for dye or perms or any of that stuff. If you have a bad hair day you can just shave your head and start over from scratch. It’s actually pretty cool when you think about it.”

“Skye, I no longer think of myself as the weird one.”

“I mean it, Nan. Look, life has dumped this on you and I don’t think it’s going to go away any time soon. You might as well make the most of it.”