Disappointing rejection

This Valorcat on the other hand is the best idea yet! I can see one or two minor problems, however.

Disappointing rejection

I regret to report that my proposal to develop a bio-engineered apex predator to control the populations of feral hogs in Texas has been summarily rejected. I was bitterly disappointed to receive the following letter, from Michael Rainone, CEO of PCDworks, a firm that specializes in cutting-edge and innovative solutions.

Reproduced here, in full, with some minor edits, is the letter in response to what I considered a most excellent idea.

Feb. 10, 2016
Jerry Johnson
The North Country

Dear Jerry,

After painstaking investigation and analysis of your most recent entrepreneurial product development proposal –  which we have filed under the title “Valorcat: Genome Manipulation” in our “Potential Projects Pending” database –  we have decided to decline your offer to pursue this idea and return to you, herewith, all intellectual property rights which you generously offered to us.

Regarding your comment that we have not given your previous proposals serious consideration but have treated them in a “casual and cavalier manner,” I want to assure you that your suggestions, which you term “billion dollar ideas,” have been given all the consideration that they warrant. The electricity-generating donut idea was very clever in its own way, and as you remember I wrote a detailed discussion of the efficiency problems with all of the various conversions that would involve. It simply was not a viable project within the laws of physics as they now stand. Your other proposals, even less so.

This Valorcat on the other hand is the best idea yet! I can see one or two minor problems, however.

For example, our work on somewhat similar projects has revealed that the CRISPR technique of gene splicing (Clustered Regularly-Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is a promising bio-technology and has made great advancements over the past few years, but to date CRISPR has not reached the level of precision, predictability and reliability that would be demanded by your Valorcat organism’s genome construction. We are not quite up to that complexity just yet.

The other minor problem is that nature does not fully appreciate human tinkering. Chaos theory would suggest that no matter what you do, something unexpected will happen. For instance, the Valorcat may eventually run out of feral hogs to prey upon, and with the plethora of genetic material that you want “blended” to create this hypothetical apex predator, I suspect one of the Valorcats, or perhaps an entire “Flutter” of them, will eventually accidentally attack, kill, and devour a pig-like mammal and will find it both nourishing and tasty.

Domestic hogs are the most likely but not necessarily the only alternative prey. I note that pigs are routinely used for human gastrointestinal testing since their plumbing is very human like; and records of several investigations of incidents of human cannibalism have described homo sapiens flesh as “tasting much like pork.” If a Valorcat were to wander upon a human corpse, maybe a roadkill or a disoriented backpacker, it will almost certainly become aware that our flesh and internal organs are gastronomically pleasing, relative to feral pigs. Voila, we as a species would be on the menu.

Bioengineering such things has never worked exactly as planned. No, I think that specifically breeding a new species of predator to hunt large, invasive, mammals with similarities to humans is a questionable, even dangerous, undertaking. So we decline to pursue this particular proposal. We do, however, look forward with great enthusiasm to your future suggestions.

To paraphrase a line from William Goldman’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, “You just keep writing, Butch. That’s what you’re good at.”


– Mike

p.s.  – We think it would be in everyone’s best interest if you do not use the name or likeness of our company in any public discussion of your Valorcat project so that there is no chance, however remote, that someone in the scientific community may infer that we were in any way involved in or supportive of this concept. Thanks.


More stories about hunting and life in the North Country are published in my three collections of essays, Crazy Old Coot, Old Coots Never Forget, and Coot Stews , and my novel, Hunting Birds. All are available in Kindle and paperback editions at Amazon.com, and in paperback edition at the North Country bookstore Dragonfly Books in Decorah, Iowa, and through IndieBound independent bookstores.


About Jerry Johnson

Curmudgeon. Bird hunter and dog trainer. Retired journalist and college public relations director. Former teacher, coach, mentor. Novelist and short story writer. Husband, father, grandfather.
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5 Responses to Disappointing rejection

  1. HP Jorgensen says:

    What a hoot.

  2. mrain1 says:

    On the other hand, when I think of the underbelly of humanity here in East Texas that often makes pigs, especially feral pigs, seem amazingly intelligent, I am tempted to reconsider your Valorcat offer…

  3. Duane says:

    I want the movie rights. I envision something ala sharknado.

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