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The Press Conference of Dr Moreau

by David Barber

Yes, beautiful, says Moreau. He trails a fingertip between
the vorpal racer's eye-nacelles and strokes the streamlined face.

Of course a winner must make sacrifices; in her case,
gonads, gut and breasts. The new Olympic rules insist

competitors are human, at least the 98 percent
we shared with the DNA of apes. Arbitrary, but where
else would be the skill, the art? Dreams without rules are nightmares,
just geneered cheetahmorphs cruising at two hundred miles an hour.

The vorpal shifts — they do not sit — easing her limbs into new
postures of discomfort.
You speak as if choice was ever ours.
A skin as pale as yours — there are viral fixes now — courts tumours.
My vorpals have discovered what they are. Did your parents choose?

How I love to hear the media preach. Yes, they live to run
— since we bred them so — as your ancestors fashioned each of you,
so carelessly. Soon humans will metastase into the new.
She trembles. They find it torture to be still. One last question.

No, manimals were my father's work, the knife almost as crude
as athletes training years to shave a hundredth from their time.
All that pain was pointless, caused by an outdated paradigm.
The Old Olympics are on some midnight channel still. Feel free

to watch them wallow in the pool or lumber down the track.
Moreau checks the chromophores counting seconds on his wrist.
The first trick of his youth.
Things change. You are in love with the past.
We demand the fastest and the best, a race that vorpals won.

Atalanta here will answer questions now. The keyboard
is because at speed vocal chords restrict the flow of air.
They have promised her the freedom of a run, so she will bare
her soul. The joy of perfect grace. Something beyond the Slow.

Copyright © 2012 by David Barber

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