Blood is thicker than money.
Well, not really, but it sounds good when you say it.
At the time I was working for a security company and I’d been recruited straight out of university.
Top of my class in molecular biology.
Sounds fancy but it was a hard slog and I was ready for some excitement. I didn’t get any; I had too many loans to pay off, so off to the work force I went.
The head of our department was completely nuts but no one seemed to care.
What did I know and what did I care, as long as they paid me I was happy.
We didn’t get a lot of work done due mainly to our insane head of department. He had this crazy idea about breeding pine trees. He wanted to make them built-proof.
No, I don’t know why, and neither do I care.
The request came through on a standard request form and I was standing by the vacuum tube when it came in.
‘Please start work on a feasibility study for a money die-bomb that can be identified through DNA.’
In a sea of insanity someone wanted a DNA detectable die bomb.
Mine was not to reason why mine was but to do or dye.
On the bottom of the request was the budget for the feasibility study and I thought that it must have been a mistake.
I don’t remember seeing that many zeros before, or since.
I had the answer within five minutes but I kept it to myself.
If we didn’t spend all the money they probably would not give us as much the next time.
I worked on the solution in my own time which meant from the time I arrived in the morning till I went home at night.
We had been working on synthetic blood for some time so I used what we had, but the artificial blood would not hold DNA for more than a few days. We knew that we could work it out eventually but in the short-term we needed to show the top brass that we were making progress.
Each of us gave a pint and we distilled it down to a thick sludge that didn’t really look like blood. We told the brass that it was artificial and they believed us.
We hoped that this would keep them happy and we could go back to quietly spending their money.
With a bit of luck we could stretch this project out for a year or more but unfortunately, someone got their wires crossed and the brass presented the product to law enforcement and the major banks, as a completed project.
They loved it and the orders rolled in.
There were only fifteen of us in the research lab and after a while we were all a bit light-headed from giving blood. Even so, we were never going to keep up with the demand.
The whole thing came apart when one of the die bombs was involved in a bank robbery in the central business district. The bomb went off and the armed robbers were captured after a shoot out in a high-rise car park. Two of the armed men were killed and one was wounded. One of the armed response team broke a leg when he fell from the first floor.
Initially it was thought that the blood on the money was from the slain armed robbers but it did not take the forensic team long to work out that the ‘dye’ was really blood. The DNA survived all the mayhem but the idea of using human blood for such a purpose was causing outrage, particularly in the ultra right-wing press.
Andrew Doorbolt had a field day. “Is this what we have come too? This is what rampant left-wing, tree hugger thinking has brought us too. What next? Using false teeth for bullets?”
Our crazy department head lost his job but was immediately snapped up by an ultra right-wing political party and he ended up as the leader of the Senate.
I kept my head down.
They offered me the head of department position even though I was the youngest one there but I respectfully declined.
I worked there for a few years and eventually took voluntary redundancy and moved to the coast where I set up a bar on the beach that specialised in whisky and blood transfusions for old people who had lost the will to spend money.
I became very successful, drank lots of whisky and never had my blood changed; not even once.
I know what goes into it!