ALONG CAME A MOBILE HOME
October 1, 2021
There is a line in the movie Doom, delivered masterfully by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, that captures Duncan’s passion towards his mobile home. “I need soldiers. I don’t need anybody else but soldiers.” Replace the word soldiers with mobile home and you’d have a pretty good grasp on his priorities.
You’d also have a pretty awkward sentence. (You’d also have to switch the word ‘anybody’ to ‘anything’, but I thought including that information might really bog down the story so I stuck this observation in parenthesis)
(Just seems slightly less obtrusive)
Ironically, the movie Doom revolves around the consequences of scientists playing with forces beyond their control. The “mad scientist” archetype began shortly after the first man began systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. Show me a man with a microscope and I’ll show you another who believes that magnifying things is unnatural.
In the case of Duncan, and for the purposes of this story, the second man might have a point.
Duncan genetically engineered eight giant tarantula legs that he then attached to his mobile home. Not eight mechanical legs that function like a spider’s but eight giant hairy living forty foot long tarantula legs that allowed his mobile home to pick up and move anywhere he desired.
With one stipulation;
(Another archetype, whenever breakthroughs occur there are always mysterious strings attached. Limitations that make any powers or abilities more interesting. Limitations that often require parenthesis)
His mobile home could only come to rest in a mobile home park. His all-terrain mobile home could move swiftly and silently across any landscape but when he needed a break from his travels he needed to find a mobile home park to stop at.
Every morning his day would start the same way; hearing the terrified screams of women and/or children seeing his home for the first time. Oftentimes no amount of explanations would suffice and he’d be forced to have his tarantuhome head off to greener pastures.
If you have not already pictured his eight-legged mobile home moving I would invite you to do so now. It might be the creepiest thing you’ll think all day.
He had thought of attaching more whimsical-looking grasshopper legs instead but quickly thought better of it as every time it launched itself skyward no amount of bubble wrap and packing peanuts would save the dishes and glassware on impact.
(Which goes a long way to explaining why grasshoppers are rarely seen with such items)
Scientists like Duncan rarely watch movies like Doom. They much prefer movies that have a more pro-science bent. This is unfortunate because many scientists, especially those that fall into the “mad” category, of which Duncan is certainly a member in good standing, need the occasional reminder that the road to hell is often paved with good intentions.
You don’t need to have seen Doom to understand how things turn out in that particular movie. It’s right there in the title.
For Duncan it was unwillingness to accept that the slow growth of hair on the surface of his mobile home, originally localized to the areas where the legs were attached, might be foreshadowing that the need to come to rest in mobile home parks might not be the only unintended consequence of his experimentation.
This was especially true some weeks later when he saw the tiny fangs beginning to grow above the front door.
Lance Manion has authored ten short story collections. His writing has appeared in 50+ publications and a dozen anthologies. He has been posting content on his eponymous website for almost ten years.