Mina Montgomery - 35 Chestnut St, The Eldervai Lab
August 31, 1989
Sam and Kate Montgomery
51 Pine Avenue
Doortree City, Wisconsin 54101
Dearest Mom and Dad,
I am well aware that your faith in my scientific endeavors has been dwindling. However, I am writing to inform you that after nearly a decade of intensive study and experiment, I have created something truly prodigious! I have created a creature that the whole world will one day marvel at, a creature so grand, so beautiful, so magnificently unexpected that you can only hope I forgive you for your doubts.
I created a winged pig, a flying pig! Her name is Mina 2, after myself, of course, and I intend to study her. I spent years of my life cross-breeding cells, and at long last, I have found the perfect combination. Birds with curled tails, pigs covered in feathers, nothing with the power of flight until today! I shall recount my day for you in full so that you may feel as though you accompanied me, the woman whose name will be in the papers worldwide, on this remarkable journey:
I was eating breakfast without the radio on. I sometimes prefer to think silently while I eat, but thinking is a detriment if one doesn’t have a clear mind, and, dear parents, my mind was all but clear that day. I was on the precipice of one of the greatest scientific discoveries in the modern world. My specimen, for lack of a better phrase, was incubating in my lab. I could no longer bear the silence, so I listened to the radio.
On Elksville’s local news station, my beloved town was reported as falling into disarray. Our local protestor, Sharlameign Jonsnow, was rioting at Midpark, claiming something about car theft. But the part of the news story I was focusing on was the part about the trees growing legs! For, I thought, certainly a tree cannot grow legs. He is surely imagining things and, let’s be honest, he is rather unreliable so who am I to believe a recounting of his words? I needed to see for myself, as nobody can truly know anything unless they have done just that.
I left in a hurry, only realizing I had forgotten my shoes when I stepped onto the scorching hot concrete, nearly burning off my toeprints. I tightened the Velcro on my sneakers and was off! I pushed past the crowd and took a shortcut through some sandboxes to the front of the pack where Jonsnow and the news crew were huddled.
To my surprise, the trees really did have legs! Legs like tree roots, woody and rugged, they were walking around, the same as people, trampling picnics and sandcastles left and right. I reached for my camera and found that it wasn’t there! A woman nearby had a camera, and miraculously she let me buy it from her for only a hundred dollars! Camera in hand, I snapped as many photos as I could. The camera was primitive compared to those of my own design, but I clicked away regardless.
I documented findings on my arms because I hadn't brought any paper. It’s lucky that I’m ambidextrous since I certainly needed the space of both arms for everything I observed. When I’d completed my observations, I returned to the Eldervai and plugged the camera into my computer for further investigation. I noticed something odd: the roots of the tree were all cloven. You may be thinking, what’s abnormal about this? The split roots looked like those of pig hooves! And what is the very thing I nucleated just before this event? A flying pig! I couldn’t deny the likelihood of a connection between the two occurrences.
I hardly slept that night between thinking about the trees and my great invention incubating in the same building I laid in. I got up early, running on four hours of sleep, and decided to go into town and see if anything else out of the ordinary was going on.
There was something that struck me deeply: every food establishment I passed had taken all bacon, and some all meat products, off of the menu. My favorite restaurant, Pigs ‘n Blankets, had closed its doors entirely! I was shocked at the strange, meat-related phenomena. If I thought I was flabbergasted before, it was nothing to how I’d feel upon seeing Velveeta Smith the local coot dancing on a picnic table. Interpretive dance was Velveeta’s preferred method of communication. Some around town said they’d never heard her speak. I inquired if she’d seen anything abnormal, but she just danced at me. Through quite a bit of miming and prompting, I managed to gather the following information: the dance was a tribute to a pig god, Master Swinesworth, with whom she’d had an encounter earlier that day where he told her that I had summoned him. I doubted her, and myself, for how on earth could I have caused the summoning of such a creature? Surely not the invention of Mina 2?
Disappointed that I hadn’t gotten more leads after hours of searching, I headed home. On my way, I stopped into the Nicky B’s a block over from Pigs ‘n Blankets to get a dipped cone in a feeble attempt to ease my stress. I was approaching the Eldervai when what stood before made me drop my dessert. Before my eyes stood, or rather floated, four feet up from the ground, towering at least six more, who could be mistaken for none other than Master Swinesworth, exactly as Velveeta had described to me earlier in the day.
Master Swinesworth wore a suit jacket with a gold vest beneath it, large angel-like wings protruding from the back. Atop his head sat a hat, the band colored to match the vest. He had a monocle as well, but no shoes, exposing cloven hooves.
“Mina Montgomery,” he said to me, voice cracked and quippy. “For so long have I waited to return to Elksville. Oh, how good it is to be back.”
“Did I summon you? Are you my fault, as Velveeta said?”
“Fault… such a negative word. To put it simply, yes, you summoned me.” He spoke with oinks between his words.
“How?” I paused, the great hog simply looking down at me. “Mina 2,” I said, under my breath, realizing the error of my ways. My invention, my beautifully advanced creation, causing chaos across town, and now this! A six foot tall, three foot wide floating pig in tops and tails! You can imagine my horror upon this realization! “Wherever did you come from?”
“The Swine Dimension, where else, dear human?” He paused and floated around me. I’d never seen a pig with fangs. The ends were discolored from years of bloodstains. “Picture yourself, down in the lab. It’s morgue-like. You pace, heels clicking in the eerie silence. Your eyes rest on me, Mina 2. Eyes shut, but I am not dead, I am merely in a deep slumber, dormant for thousands of years. Eyes pop open, I come alive once again to finish what I started, leaving behind my former pork-chop body and expanding into the great hog I fly before you as today!”
I put my hands over my face, ashamed at what I had done. I thought my creation was brilliant, and while the craftsmanship was unrivaled, it summoned a devilish creature whose intentions I could only dread. Hesitantly, hoping to appease him, I inquired: “What do you want with me?”
“I’ve come to rid the world of carnivores, meat eaters! They dare prey on me and my peers? Not as long as I’m around, for I shall eat every last one!” His nose began to twitch, beady eyes darkening on me. Quietly, he continued: “Meat. Eater. My own summoner!” He pounced on me, and I barely made it out of the way. I rushed off, attempting to photograph him as I ran. He followed, zooming through the air towards me, screaming my name. I made it inside a few meters ahead of him and bolted the door. I pulled the emergency activation lever, a device of my own invention that would surround my house and create a protective barrier.
I waited behind the door, praying that my device would keep Master Swinesworth away until I had figured out what to do about the havoc I had wreaked. I heard banging, but it dissipated, and through the window, I saw that the brute had turned away and was moving quickly. I knew he must be on the prowl for other meat eaters.
I then went down to my lab to check on the incubation chamber where Mina 2, or Master Swinesworth as he was now known, had been. The case was empty. Shattered. I decided to consult research on godly beings across cultures to see if I could find out anything else about Master Swinesworth. Alas, I found no trace of him throughout all of history except a very small scribble in the bottom of a book about worshiping practices that used to be common in Elksville.
The scribble was barely legible, but I deciphered it as “vegetable protection.” I created a vegetable concentrate to use to keep my carnivorous scent untraceable. I rummaged through my kitchen and brought down to the lab with me everything with even trace amounts of vegetables. Every soup, salad, and sandwich, even old carrots in the crisper permanently vacationed with me to the lab. I crushed and boiled them down. Like magic, I was producing vial after vial of their concentrate. I collected the stuff in Erlenmeyers. Frankly, I couldn’t believe that I had the amount of vegetables needed to produce so much. I rummaged through my drawers to find a spray bottle and washed it thoroughly before pouring the vegetable purees into the bottle in color order, just for the heck of it.
The radio rattled as I worked and my horror grew as reporters remarked on a giant floating pig gobbling up pedestrians with no remorse. Names of people I knew were listed off as victims to Swinesworth’s attacks. I had to hurry.
Upstairs, I donned one of dad’s old polo shirts, one of my many pocketed lab coats, and strapped the vegetable spray inside after spritzing myself. I decided there was no better way to stop the tyranny of Master Swinesworth than to follow him and see what I could learn. I locked up the Eldervai, protective measures engaged, and set out. I hadn’t a clue where to find him, but I started at locations that were not pig-friendly. Though it appeared shut down for good, I went to Pigs ‘n Blankets to assess the situation there. I saw something that not only sparked my interest, but seemed a monumental clue. A small creature, formed of bacon bits, which I later would find out through my investigations was called a sned, was walking before me. The bacon minion caught nary a glimpse of me. I followed it back to its hideout: the cave in which Master Swinesworth had taken refuge.
It took the rest of the day before the boar vacated the space. In my haste, I’d made a commoner’s mistake and forgotten a light! Through the dim natural light, I saw faded inscriptions. I squinted but I knew I’d never get all the information I needed with how much of the cave I was unable to see. I felt around on my person and remembered the camera in my pocket! Though it didn’t have a light on it, it did have a flash. I snapped photo after photo, lighting my way around the cave to make sure I had photographs of everything inside. When I’d documented sufficiently, I returned home.
I walked quickly, desperate to upload the photos to my computer and investigate them. I rifled through drawers to find a cord that would connect my computer to the camera. I waited impatiently as the photos uploaded. When it was finished, I looked through them and read the writings on the cave walls that I hadn’t been able to read in the aforementioned darkness.
There was ancient artwork of the sneds and a riddle, or perhaps a limerick, telling me of Master Swinesworth’s history and, to my excitement, how to vanquish him forever.
“Banished to the evils of the Swine Dimension
Is a creature of who came of great conception
Terrible are his plans for elsewhere
A brave one must stop him, if they dare
Reincarnated by the bringing of a pig with wings
Destroy a creature of the same, of all things
Sacrifice the winged beast
And The Hog will vanish, forever deceased”
Upon this discovery I knew what I must do. To send Master Swinesworth back through the dimensional gate, I had to create another flying pig, Mina 3, and then sacrifice it before the creature. Of course, I worried that creating a second flying pig would summon another like Master Swinesworth. I concluded that since I didn’t have much time to think of another solution, creating Mina 3 was my best bet, especially since it was so unlikely there was another pig demon whose soul was in another dimension waiting to inhabit a vessel in the earth dimension.
I scanned through the other photographs and found nothing much of immediate interest, so I began to work on Mina 3. I referenced the journal I had kept throughout the process of creating Mina 2 and followed my own instructions. It took all night and most of the morning, as well as half a container of Folgers, for me to finish the procedure. Depressingly, Mina 3 needed time in the incubation chamber to grow. At the moment, Mina 3 was nothing more than genetically engineered embryos in a petri dish. I placed the dish carefully in the incubation chamber and adjusted the settings to grow her as fast as possible while ensuring that she’d be safe and alive.
I did the math, and for Mina 3 to reach half the capacity that Mina 2 had, it would take another eight hours in the incubation tank. It was risky to grow her with such speed, but I needed the aerial piglet. I stared at the ceiling, counting the bumps in the stucco. How was I to think of anything but the damage I had caused? The otherworldly properties unleashed by my creation not only caused trees to become sentient, they also caused a demon hog to return to this dimension! What else was I to do but mope at the damage I had caused?
Eight hours later, Mina 3 was ready for me to begin the sacrifice. I took Mina 3 from the incubation chamber, still asleep, and cradling her like a baby, grabbed a few things from the kitchen, and headed off. I predicted that Master Swinesworth would be in his cave. I took a deep breath and crept inside behind a trail of sneds. I heard a huge sniff and the shadow of Master Swinesworth approached me.
“I wondered how long it would be until you came to me. Have you accepted your fate?”
“Your fate to die by my hand. It’s in my legend to obliterate the meat eaters. Naive that you thought you evaded my sneds. They reported back to me right away, loyal, as always.”
“Funny of you to say such a thing,” I said, unrolling the blanket from around Mina 3 and setting her on the ground.
“A sister? Brother? Another of my kind?”
“You could say that,” I said, Master Swinesworth floating closer, oinking with delight. I pulled out a bottle of whiskey and poured it over Mina 3. The odor made my eyes water, but I continued until I’d emptied the vessel in its entirety.
“What is the meaning of this?” Master Swinesworth snorted, offended. I watched his face in guilt-ridden glee as I pulled a box of matches from my pocket and struck one, dropping it onto the body of Mina 3. She shot up in flames, the inferno reaching the height of Master Swinesworth. I stepped back to avoid the blaze.
“No! What are you doing? Your ow-wn creati-ti-tion!” Master Swinesworth’s voice was becoming garbled. He began to writhe in pain, his form flickering out of reality like a broken hologram. He disintegrated until there was nothing left but his suit and top hat, monocle laying beside it.
“Now that’s a nice sound. The sound of success,” I said, the enticing sizzle filling my ears. The sneds had gone too, each of them now a little pile of ash resembling bacon bits. I left the cave, wanting to escape the horrible smell of burnt bacon.
It was a bittersweet return to my lab. I’d created two flying pigs and had an experience that was truly once in a lifetime, but I couldn’t help feeling as though something was missing, as though all that I’d gone through the last few days was for naught. What had I accomplished, really? All that I’d made was gone. There was no proof of my work other than the journals I kept. I could make another hog, but what would be the point after all of this? I felt small, and I certainly did not wish for another of my creations to become malicious or cause any sort of harm. For this reason, I have decided to pursue kinder science for the time being.
So, Mom and Dad, that was my week. Return my correspondence with the enclosed stamp. I look forward to seeing you over Rosh Hashanah weekend when I visit.
Mina Montgomery, PhD