“A squid! A squid!” the children screamed.
“That’s right,” their father said happily. “Your very own squid. Go ahead and jump in the pool with him. Have fun!”
The three youngsters squealed their delight. They peeled off their clothing and jumped into the swimming pool to play with their new pet. Soon the squid was wrapping them in its long tentacles and swirling them around in the deeper end of the pool.
“Martin! A squid?” Alice asked.
“He’s a genetically altered 10-footer,” her husband said. “Just the right size for the pool and the kids.”
“But what if he harms the children?”
“There’s a 96-percent safety rate with this model. At least that’s what the salesman said. And even if something goes wrong, that’s what the backups are for.”
Alice couldn’t argue with that, and together they enjoyed the wonderful family moment, watching their three children – Annie, 12; Ron, 9; and Ben, 6 – splashing around with their new friend.
Alice’s concerns were eventually borne out, though, and Ben was heartbroken when his parents had some people come and take away Neptune the Squid.
“But he never killed me!” Ben sobbed. “Just Annie and Ron, and they were mean to him. He loves me!”
Alice rubbed her younger son’s back. “I know, honey, and Daddy and I are very sorry. But activating the backup clones of your brother and sister – and having new backups prepared – was awfully expensive, even with insurance. We can’t afford to keep doing that. But we’ll get you another pet. A walrus, or maybe a seal. Something the geneticists have really perfected.”
Needless to say, nothing can truly take the place of a beloved squid in a boy’s heart.