The doorbell rang.
George looked at his wife, Angela, and for a moment they just stared lovingly at each other. They both walked to the door, but it was George that opened it.
Standing in front of them two well-dressed men sporting suits, long coats, and hats, smiled and introduced themselves as employees of ‘The New Life Project’.
“Mr and Mrs Harris?” The taller of the men enquired.
“Yes, please come in,” George replied.
The men entered the house, smiled, removed their hats, and made formal introductions.
“I am Mr Henson, and this is my associate Mr Baxter,” the taller of the two men stated.
They were invited to sit and as they did so Mr Baxter removed some paperwork from his folder and handed it to his colleague.
After swapping pleasantries they got down to business.
“So, I see here that you have decided not to raise a child of your own but have shown interest in our organisation in order that someone else will benefit from your unused allowance. I do hate to use the word allowance, but it’s as the regulation is worded, so for the sake of removing any confusion we’ll just stick with that repulsive word,” Mr Henson said.
It was indeed a fact that regulation 7C which was put into law some five years ago, in 2057, stated that an allowance of only one child be given to each married couple.
“This has meant that children are a somewhat rare…”
“And valuable,” Mr Baxter interceded.
“Quite so, Mr Baxter, quite so. Rare and valuable commodity, especially when making use of our enhanced genetic improvements procedure. On conception, our specialised team will remove the fertilised egg and make certain adjustments to the DNA. This will make the child stronger in every way. We will discard any faulty genes that could lead to problems in later life, and replace them with our scientifically created ones. A hereditary heart defect, gone. A history of lung disease in the family, well that’s history now if you forgive the pun. Then it’ll be put back where it belongs, so it can have a natural birth. We have found that the benefits of a normal birth far outweigh the risks when it comes to how strong the newborns are. We’ll then take the little one and, depending on how the market is doing, place it where it’s most needed. “
“Can I ask? Well, I mean to say, with the modifications of the DNA, will it still be our child? Or, well I don’t know how to put it. I know that we’re passing it on, but I’d still like to think that there was a part of us in it,” Angela enquired.
“A perfectly good question,” Mr Henson replied. “The baby will comprise of nearly 50% of your genetic makeup…”
“49.6% to be precise,” Mr Baxter interceded again.
“Quite so, quite so, Mr Baxter,” responded Mr Henson. “And as such, once expenses are deducted, certificates and medical costs etc, then you will be paid that percentage of the profits. The market is very fluid at the moment, there is always a buyer out there.”
George wanted to think that it wasn’t the money that was important, but rather the chance to give a loving couple who couldn’t have their own child what they longed for. But truth be told, their finances were in dire straits, and this was their way out. When he had put the idea to Angela, she had reluctantly agreed.
They read through the contract, paused, gave each other another loving look and then signed on the dotted line.
Within a relatively short time Angela received a positive pregnancy test. She was then admitted to a private clinic. The embryo was removed and put back within a day. Before she knew it she was back home. Then the days, weeks and months just shot by.
A month before it was due George caught Angela sitting on the bed, gently caressing her ‘bump’ and quietly sobbing to herself. He moved away from the doorway not letting her know that he had witnessed her torment. He hadn’t the words to soothe her pain, so thought it better to let the moment just slip by.
The day came when it was time to return to the New Life Clinic. Within a couple of days, the baby was delivered. Angela and George had only a brief moment to meet their child before it was whisked away. They were assured that it was better for all concerned if they didn’t have time to bond with the child. For Angela, it was too late. She had felt it growing inside of her. Felt its first kick. Looked into those huge blue eyes. Looked into its soul and the child had looked into hers. The following day she left the clinic minus her child and a huge part of her heart.
The next week was filled with tears and sorrow. The following Monday they made a phone call to The New Life Project.
The doorbell rang. Mr Henson and Mr Baxter followed George into the living room, removed their hats and sat opposite a tearful Angela.
George explained that they had come to a decision. They wanted their baby. The parting of Angela from her child was too much to bear. They realised that there would be a financial cost in ‘buying’ their baby back but were willing to do whatever was necessary to regain what had been given away.
Mr Henson told them that it was quite impossible for them to acquiesce to their demands. The board of The New Life Project had already completed the sale of the child. Unfortunately, it was out of his hands.
“But it’s our baby,” Angela protested.
“Actually, with the project owning over 50% of asset….” Mr Henson started to explain.
“50.4%,” Mr Baxter interrupted.
“Quite so, Mr Baxter, quite so. With the project owning 50.4% of the asset, any decisions regarding its future have been made by the rightful owner. It’s all completely in order as set out in the contract that you both signed,” he continued.
Mr Henson then tried to calm the mood the best he could, which was awkward for all concerned as he was a businessman through and through and this was nothing more than a business transaction after all.
Angela asked if she could see her child one last time.
Mr Henson told her that it would be impossible.
After a period of deafening silence, Mr Baxter removed a sheet of paper from his briefcase and passed it to George. He and Angela read through it.
“What the hell is this?” Angela asked, confused as she tried to comprehend the list.
“Ahh, to the good news. You will see that the organs have made a very respectable profit for all parties concerned,” Mr Henson smiled as he explained.
“Organs?” George stuttered.
“Yes, organs,” Mr Henson replied in a completely matter-of-fact tone. “Surely you read sub-paragraph 11B of the contract? The asset was placed where it realised the most profit. “
“But we thought that meant it would be adopted by a family that was willing to pay the most for it, regardless of which country they lived in,” George responded in shock.
“Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The market has shifted quite considerably over the last few days in favour of organ donation over adoption. The heart alone made over $500,000. And the spleen, lungs, and kidneys also made great returns on the investment. A perfect example of the sum of the parts being worth more than the whole. All in all, with 49% of the net profits going to you, you stand to make a tidy sum.”
“49.6%,” Mr Baxter corrected.
“Quite so, Mr Baxter, quite so,” Mr Henson replied.
∼ Ian Sputnik
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