Pausing for a moment by some fried meat, I noticed Dr. Reysal out of the corner of my eye. I remembered him as being a frequent - and eccentric - customer at the hardware store where I had worked as a teenager. Curious, I walked over to greet him.
"I don't suppose you remember me..." I began, with my usual modesty.
"Of course I do! How could I forget someone who sold me so much metal and wood?" he said with enthusiasm, and laughed his playful laugh. "So what are you up to these days?"
I delivered the standard what-I-was-up-to speech, and the follow-up what-I-was-going-to-do speech. "So, what's new with the family? I guess Timothy must be ready to enter high school by now?" I asked.
"That he is. And Justin is doing fine in the fifth grade."
"Is Justin..." I paused, trying to think of a polite way of asking this awkward question. "... like Timmy?"
"Well... I'd like to think Justin will a chance for the wife and I to fix some of the mistakes we made with Timothy," he said with a grin.
"What kind of mistakes?"
"For example, Timothy's eye shields. Yes, his eyes are much safer, but he can't see. And replacing his hair with small insects trapped in tar turned out to be nothing but a temporary solution - they're all dead now, of course. Timothy's a great boy, don't get me wrong, but I think Justin will be something really special."
"What... um.. procedures has Justin had so far?" I asked, both worried and excited.
"We got the antlers in quick. They are three feet long and made of pure ivory... sharp as a knife blade. Once he got big enough that he could walk with them, and once he learned not to touch them, Justin took a real liking to them. We installed a whirring device in his shoulder, which just whirs. We figured, what the hey. We inserted Timothy's extra teeth (since we installed that oral jackhammer on Timothy) at various points all over Justin's body. So if the little guy ever needs to chew without his mouth, at least he'll have a chance, which is more than most other kids his age can say. I want him to have everything I never had as a kid. And we also eliminated the torso, and put in a thorax instead. Oh! And the thorax has a built-in airbag, so Justin's safe no matter what car he's driving in."
"Yeah well. We decided that women are still discriminated against, but that men don't exactly have it easy, so we're working on inventing a new sex for him that will be completely compatible with the other two. We're thinking of incorporating a rhombus somehow. We took off his left arm and leg, in case he ever has to fit through a narrow space. In his right leg, there are gladiatorial shows where the little players really die. We managed to bring Euclid back to life and we combined his DNA with that of the local wolverine, the end product: Justin's face. The stirrups begin at his left ear and stretch to his blafe-spot - oh, I haven't mentioned the blafe-spot yet, that's a very exciting new body part we've designed, but it can't exist in the known universe just yet. And of course the whole thing will be edible, just in case."
"Wow. My dad took me to the dentist for braces, but that's about it."
He sighed. "I do a lot for those boys. And yet, somehow, I feel they don't appreciate it. They always seem down, and they're always crying and moaning about how they're freaks of nature and that they hate me."
"I guess you'll have to fix that next," I suggested.
"Good idea!" he exclaimed, brightening up.