“I can’t believe we’re doing this.”
Roger sighed and made a slight adjustment on the instrument he was working on. “And I can’t believe how many times you can repeat the same damned statement of disbelief. Just shut up and get the job done, Bill.”
“This is ground-breaking fucking work, you know that, Rog?” replied Bill, ignoring Roger’s previous statement, angrily shoving a print-out to the floor and consulting another one. “This is work worthy of Nobel prizes. But will we get prizes? No! Why? Because the assignment is fucking moronic!”
“We got our prize already with the monkeys,” grumbled Roger. “Any progress with the neural rewiring yet?”
“The monkeys were a cakewalk compared to this. The problem is that the neurons will take so much rewiring that I don’t think the god-damned thing will still be classifiable as a frog any more.”
“Just do the best you can.”
“Look at this fucking thing!” shouted Bill in frustration, shaking a piece of paper in the air in such a way as if he expected Roger to jump from his seat and look at it in interest. Roger did not even glance in his direction. “It’s a fucking frog! It’s eyes are nearly useless for what we need. They can’t see a fucking thing unless it moves!”
“Did you know that if you buried a frog up to its ass in dead flies that the damn thing would starve to death? Dead flies don’t move. Frogs like to eat things that move and fly. Fly, Roger! That’s why frogs like flies Roger!”
“I know Bill.”
“But you know what, Roger? Human food is usually dead when they eat it. It doesn’t walk. It doesn’t run. And it most especially doesn’t fly, unless you happen be in a fucking middle school cafeteria.”
“Yes, Bill. Please….”
“And you know what else doesn’t fly, Roger? Pizza doesn’t fly. Therefore, frogs have no interest in pizza. It’s why you don’t see frog infestations at Italian restaurants.”
“I know Bill. But the lady is paying us very well, so we should just do the job and shut up about it. She wants a frog that likes pizza. Forget the eyes. How about smell?”
“Yeah, frogs can smell. They use their sense of smell to find other frogs. Now, if the lady wanted a frog that would MATE with a pizza, that would be a lot easier. But sex is different than food…”
“Truly words of wisdom, Bill. Can you cross wire…”
“…Yes I can try to cross wire, but figuring out what the hell will come out when we engineer the gene is hard to predict. If we’re not careful we might get a frog that tries to eat other frogs and wants to mate with flies.”
“Look, just make it happen. We promise to genetically engineer any pet that the patron is willing to pay for. We got the flying monkeys, and we won a Nobel prize. We’re getting paid to make a frog that likes pizza. It’s possible, we’re going to do it. This is our job. Now quit bitching and just fucking make it happen!”
Bill grumbled, but said nothing in response. Roger closed his eyes at the sudden blissful silence.
Blissful, but, alas, short-lived.
“And did this lady wonder for even a second about just how the fuck the frog is supposed to eat the fucking pizza? That tongue ain’t going to accomplish shit unless we cut the pizza into crumbs. We sure as hell can’t get those damned legs to hold a slice. Frogs don’t have opposible thumbs…did you know that? And then there’s the fact that frogs can neither bite nor chew their fucking food. Their teeth would come in very handy though if the damned pizza tries to get away.”
“We’ll just explain to the woman that the pizza will have to be pre-cut.”
“Also explain to her that pizza would best be petrified, ’cause I don’t know how else the damned tongue is going to pull one of those greasy things into his mouth.”
Roger slammed his hands on the keyboard. The table rattled, and several petri dishes almost bounced onto the floor.
“Okay Bill. Your call. We can tell the lady it can’t be done, and turn down one of the most lucrative contracts we’ve ever been offered in addition to spoiling our near perfect reputation. Or we can try to give her the best damned pizza loving frog that we can engineer. Either pick one or the other, but either way, stop whining about it! Please.”
Bill looked thoughtfully at Roger, a rather blank look on his face. He stared almost a full minute before he responded.
“Okay, we’ll make the damned frog.”
“Thank you. Good.”
Bill grimaced and went quietly back to his work. They worked silently side by side for a long time.
“Those monkeys were something else, weren’t they?” said Bill, interrupting the silence.
“Yeah, they sure were. Too bad they’re banned almost everywhere because they like to dive bomb people and throw monkey poo on them.”
“Yeah, well, what do you expect from a flying monkey?”
“Yeah. You get what you pay for.”