Matt sat on one side of the table in his boxers and socks, looking contrite. His pants were neatly folded on a bench behind him, next to his shirt. On the other side of the table were three members of airport security looking aggressive. On the table were three plastic baggies and four film canisters, each canister a different color.
“It’s not what you think,” said Matt.
“I think you had those hidden in your pants,” said Guard One.
Guard Two added, “Yeah.” Guard Three nodded.
“Okay, well it is what you think, but they aren’t drugs. Uh, I mean, not all, I mean––”
“––Well, let’s just see what they are then, shall we?”
Guard One reached out for the nearest of the baggies. Two said “Yeah.” And Three nodded. Hmmm, Matt was noticing a bit of a pattern.
One opened the baggie. “Seeds?”
Matt looked over to Two, who obliged him with, “Yeah, looks like seeds.”
Three nodded yet again.
“Listen, these are apple seeds from an engineered strain I’ve been working on. See, once we fully mapped the genome, we got a far more viable strain. I’ve been talking for months with a bunch of people from all over the world and I need to get them samples. But it’s illegal to mail home-grown fruit or even seeds without filling out forms. The fees are impossible––”
“––Uh, so why were you sneaking them on a plane?” interrupted One.
“Well, honestly, I didn’t think I’d get caught but also the smuggling fines for controlled substances is a lot less than the filing fees for my bio-hacked seeds. Do you know how much paperwork and money would be involved if I tried to mail these? It’s much cheaper for me to book a flight and bring them myself.”
“What’s bio-hacked? The seeds?” One asked. “Did you make them into like cocaine apples or something?”
“Yeah, cocaine apples?”
“No!” Matt shook his head. “What I did was more difficult. These particular seeds produce five times as many apples per tree than average. That allows the tree to pollinate itself twice a year and the apples, man they taste delicious! Oh, and the wood trunk grows twice as fast and three times as thick around as a normal apple tree so it makes great furniture, too! And, the thing that makes it even greater, it will grow in sandy salty soil!” Matt smiled.
Then he added with an attempt to sound humble, ”I’ve signed my name in the DNA of the seeds.”
“That doesn’t sound bad. So all that the baggies and canisters contain are apple seeds?”
“Yeah, just apple seeds?” Two was starting to get on Matt’s nerves. He began to wonder if the man could talk at all without starting every sentence with the letter “Y.”
Matt realized Three had not nodded. Hmmmm. Three was looking at the seeds, then he spotted Matt watching him. He looked a little embarrassed and, again, as if it was a required part of his job, he nodded.
“No, actually, they’re not all apple seeds. The blue canister holds a couple of peach pits modified the same way. The white canister has cherries and the black one has walnuts. I used the same variant on all of them. The red canister came from a friend who wants them for his lab. It’s got spores bio-hacked to produce high protein mushrooms. While the––”
“No, not hallucinogens, these mushrooms taste a lot like pork. They grow the same way as mushrooms do everywhere, wet soil, in the dark.“ Matt grew more excited as he explained, ”A bushel of these has the same nutritional value as a pig and makes a MUCH smaller environmental footprint. You can grow a crop every couple ‘a weeks! Mix them with some non-modified amaranth paste––uh, that baggie over there has those seeds––and you even get the same texture as pork or chicken! They make great breaded nuggets!”
One, Two and Three stared at Matt.
“OK. So, what’s in that last baggie?”
“Yeah, that last one.”
“Oh, just a little marijuana.”
At that the room got quiet. Matt still on the one side of the table, the three airport security guards on the other. All of them staring at the pot. Finally, One said, “Watch him. I’m gonna make a call and find out what to do about this.”
Matt sat still in his underwear waiting for One to come back. No movement. No talking.
One returned and began stuffing the baggies and canisters into a paper sack. “Here’s the deal. You may get dressed and leave. We will confiscate and destroy the bio-hazardous materials.”
“All of it?” asked Matt.
“No sir,” said One. “You may keep the marijuana. Enjoy your trip.“
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