Professor Ezekiel Alphonse Horatio McFlurryphontos frowned deeply. He hadn’t meant to harm anyone. Quite the opposite, in fact. He deeply and truly wanted to help humanity. He shook his head, deep in thought, and raised his hand-forged Spectra-Laser-Goggles , settling them high on his forehead.
Now, to be sure, many people saw his actions in a different light. They were, put simply, fools. Professor Ezekiel Alphonse Horatio McFlurryphontos knew them for the fools they were.
For example, he thought, didn’t turning Mrs. Wilkinson into a small, self-contained universe prove beneficial? Of course it had! No one was hurt (except for Mrs. Wilkinson and the feelings of her family and friends) and the cause of science had been advanced by hundreds of years. Einstein himself could never hope to solve the equations that Profession McFlurryphontos solved, with the aid of what had once been Mrs. Wilkinson. Even now she advanced humanity’s knowledge, swirling in the Post-Destrucionalized bell jar that housed her in her universal state.
But no, even then, the world had come to think of Professor McFlurryphontos as “a villain” or a “mad scientist” as if all scientists worth their salt were not mad, to the untrained eye! Pfah!
When the Professor solved the secret equations to ignite imagination into fire itself, where was the harm? Finland was hardly even singed. Granted, it had been all of Finland. At once. And everyone in it. But simple second degree burns, at worst. A small price to pay for Imagi-fire! But no, the world pointed and called for his head on a stick.
The Professor rubbed his tired eyes. Enough recriminations about the way others saw him. After this he had to admit that perhaps they had a point. It wasn’t as if he had meant to harm anyone. He never did (the relatives of Mrs. Wilkinson would still disagree) and never wanted to. No, he simply wanted to further the cause of science itself.
But now… oh now. What to do. It started perfectly normal. Little Jebediah Sucrose Klienschtop came over to assist the Professor in his work. Jebediah thought that would include getting the clean test tubes and pet a few lizards (he heard the Professor had a large lizard collection). The Professor, meanwhile, knew that Jebediah would be assisting in the same way Mrs. Wilkinson had. DNA was the latest thing to obsess the Professor. He wanted to carve it, cut it apart and use it like so much Lego. Parts of that were easy, but other parts required… assistance.
Everything had started off fine. Soon the genetic splicing yielded results. Jebediah felt changes happening in his tiny body. Changes that he thought wouldn’t happen until a few years hence, if his older brother was to be believed. But these changes were far different. He grew, he shed skin, his eyes turned a bright goldenrod in color… Professor Ezekiel Alphonse Horatio McFlurryphontos winced. The boy grew. And grew. And grew some more.
When he burst through the wall of the lab, the Professor knew he was in trouble. When Jebediah roared and ate the Post-Destrucionalized bell jar that contained Mrs. Wilkinson, the Professor decided to retire. But when Jebediah grabbed the town’s radio tower and threw it in an arc that, the Professor calculated quickly, would mean it hit Sweden, the Professor wished he could go back and fix this somehow.
“I AM GARGANTUA!” roared Jebediah.
“No, son, no, you’re little Jebediah Sucrose Klienschtop,” the Professor tried, “and your brothers will be worried sick.” Which is when the Professor found out that Jebe… Gargantua could also breathe fire. This latest experiment was too much. Maybe his whole life had been a sham. Just one failed experiment after another.
The light from the power company’s explosion dazzled his eyes. Gargantua still raged. Soon, unstoppable, he would destroy the world. There was nothing for it. Professor Ezekiel Alphonse Horatio McFlurryphontos sat and waited for the world to end, knowing it was his own damn fault. If only he hadn’t given in to every whim. If only he had listened to others. If only. If only. A chorus a thousand strong in his head, beating him senseless.
If only he hadn’t let his imagination get the better of him. If only his imagin… ation… hadn’t… The Professor leapt up from the floor! Regret was a meal he could only eat for so long. He dug through the rubble and found what he searched for. The Imagi-fire helmet! With that, perhaps, just perhaps, powered by his astounding imagination, the Professor would ignite Gargantua and save the world!
Then they would thank him, right enough. Unless they thought to blame him for making Gargantua in the first place. Always the way with those people. Blame, blame, blame, they never saw the big picture. Regardless! Professor Ezekiel Alphonse Horatio McFlurryphontos was off to try and save the world. Or, at least, not damage it up any further. He hoped. He would feel just terrible if he did. Well, if he damaged it up too much.