[Edge1.1.13] An Offer You Can’t Refuse – Dave Bailey

[Edge1.1.13] An Offer You Can’t Refuse

“What!” Art exclaimed. “What a jerk. How could he do that to me? I’m gonna kill him! Is that how you found out? He told you about it?”

“No, we found out first. Remember, Johnny approached you first. You were the one who had to convince Pedro and the rest of the board that they should let you continue developing the project so we could partner up together.” Tony explained.

Art shook his head in disbelief. He stood up and walked to the window. Tony picked up a bottle of water and stood behind him. He waited for Art to turn around again and poured him a glass.

“So, then we got word that Pedro was putting out feelers about this to a few other tech companies.” Tony continued.

“He’s going to sell off my idea and research.” Art fumed. “That turkey didn’t even want me wasting time on it in the beginning. I had to invest my own money and work on it in my spare time. Then when Johnny came down, he realized it was important, so he started telling me that we shouldn’t share this with the greedy gringoes in capitalist countries.”

“Well, your good friend Pedro has his hands deep in the pockets of a lot of politicians with government contracts which I’m sure you already know. They all want a piece of the action. Their plan is to offer it to other socialist countries so they can promote their agenda that socialism works better than capitalism.” Tony finished saying by raising his cup in a toast to Art.

“Viva la worker’s party,” Art said ironically. “I’ve never been so furious in all my life.”

“Well, word on the street is that your company is going up for sale at noon today. They’re going to make it look like a real auction, but the fact is that they already have a buyer in place to front the money for their investors.”

“But all they really want is my research?” Art fumed.

“Another good reason for Johnny to kidnap you. With you out of the picture, the company would be worthless. That would give him more time to get you on his side.”

Art stood speechless. He opened his mouth and then closed it again. He turned and sat down facing the window again.

“Look, Art,” Tony said gently. “I don’t mean to pressure you, but I really would like the chance to work with you and use your research to make a real difference in the world. I’d like you to come work with us. We’ll give you the freedom to work and all the resources you need to make this thing happen. Name your terms and your price. I’ll have my lawyers draft up a contract before the company goes on sale at noon.”

Art sighed and shook his head. “Johnny told me it was a trap. How do I know you’re not lying?”

Johnny shrugged. “You can always wait and call my bluff. But the fact is Johnny’s dead. And your research is about to fall in the hands of greedy government bureaucrats that are going to tie it up in research so that no poor people are ever benefited from it unless they pay through the nose for the technology. It’s gonna be worse than what companies are doing with genetically modified seeds today. You won’t even be allowed to use or promote the very research you developed unless you play by their rules.”

“No!” Art screamed and jumped to his feet. “They can’t do that. That’s not fair.”

Art stormed to the window breathing heavily. Tony gave him a minute to compose himself and waited patiently for him to turn around. He smiled sympathetically at Art who scowled back at him.

“What will you let me do with my ideas and research if I close this deal with you first?” Art blurted out.

“I’ll let you do anything you want, Art. I told you that my company has no interest in the modifying crops and plants. You can turn it into a non-profit organization and give it away to all the needy people and poor countries that you want.”

Art scoffed and wiped a hot tear from his right eye with the back of his hand.

“Yeah, right. So, then what’s the catch?” Art asked. “Do I have to sell my soul to the devil. This deal sounds too good to be true.”

Tony turned and waved his hands for them to leave. He turned back to Art who was really fidgety.

“You tell me the truth, Tony!” Art shouted. “Don’t try to play me here, or else I’m walking.”

“No, you won’t because I’ll have you arrested,” Tony said with a smile. “You realize that I have the upper hand here, Art. I could force you to sign this over right now. But I don’t want that. I really do want to make a fair deal with you. Don’t you see that?”

Tony seemed sincerely hurt. He pouted at Art.

“It’s nothing personal, Tony. I just don’t know what to believe. I’m sorry. Please just tell me why you really want my research if it’s not for the food and crops and money?”

Tony smiled and motioned for him to sit down. He flipped open his laptop and set it on the coffee table between them.

“Please, Art. I’m not trying to be facetious here. I just want you to open your mind and think bigger. Why is being able to splice DNA into living organisms such a unique concept?”

Art thought for a minute. Suddenly it dawned on him. His eyes lit up, and he sat up straighter.

“Because we can splice human DNA with wolf DNA to create a real, live werewolf.”

Tony burst out laughing. He laughed so hard he stomped his feet and held his belly. His whole body heaved with rolls of laughter. He finally gulped a few times to catch his breath and managed to contain himself. He wiped away the tears of laughter from his face.

“That’s a good one, Art. We’ll have to add that to the contract in our sales agreement as a bonus for you. Wow. I hadn’t even thought of that idea myself. Maybe I underestimated you. Genius, but no. That’s not what I had in mind.”

“So, it’s health-related technology that your company is looking to achieve.” Art asked. “And you want to splice healthy DNA into sick individuals.”

Art’s eyes opened wide in amazement. He looked off into the distance and then looked back at Tony in awe.

“That’s right, Art,” Tony said quietly. “Just imagine a world in which we could recreate anyone’s DNA and make them healthy again. Maybe even undo the aging process. We could change the lives of humanity on a massive, global scale that has never been seen before. And you, my friend Art, are the genius who invented this technology. Next year, you’ll be awarded the Nobel prize.”

Dave Bailey

Dave Bailey started writing short stories when he lived in Brazil to help his students learn English. Now, he lives in Florida again where he continues to write fun and inspiring sci-fi and fantasy fiction stories. You can read his weekly short stories here on his blog. Make sure to join his advanced reading crew so you know when new stories become available >>> https://davebailey.me/go/crew