Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

We put Jesus24K99 into his cage for our own protection. The anti-coagulants weren’t holding. He was destabilizing. He’d bleed out soon.

The hole in our research was the stigmata. The actual crucifix had been uncovered in a basement vault of the Vatican. The nails from the cross had been scraped for flakes. The DNA, when used to make clones, had created short, dark babies.

Obviously not Jesus.

We tinkered with the DNA, adding a lot more milk to the coffee, if you will, to make the clone more acceptable to Middle America. We needed an Aryan beauty the likes of which would make women swoon and men envy. We needed today’s Jesus, not the old one.

Blond, emaciated babies were being created in our lab. They refused to eat. They cried a lot. Vials of their tears had cured cancer in my wife and two of the assistants. Even Jeffrey’s back was normal again.

Plans were afoot to release the cure for a price that was low enough to afford but would still make our company billions under masked creation papers. Lies, basically. The cure for cancer. Probably the cure for AIDS. Who knows? Maybe the cure for everything. If nothing else, at least these crying babies could make the people of earth healthy again.

Unfortunately, it made me picture rows and rows of eyeless Jesus Baby Clones crying into suction tubes in cages like chickens in KFC farms. I got back to work.

Most of them had turned out hemophiliac. We had no idea what to do when the holes in their hands and sides appeared. This baby Jesus was moving sluggishly.

It was like some unseen force was killing these babies, like what we were doing was not for the greater good and we were being sabotaged.

Jesus24K99 rolled onto his back and stopped moving. The pool of blood spread out beneath him, eventually slowing to a stop as his heart stopped pumping. The tattoo on his arm was scanned. The lights in his cage went out.

The compactor took over. He was added to the basement remains.

We hadn’t even figured out how to accelerate his aging when we made a stable copy. There was talk of hiring an actor as Plan B and cutting our losses by sticking with the whole ‘cure for cancer’ thing.

I’d be out of job if they did that but I was starting to think that maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

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