Hairingbone Herbie and His R.C. Cubster
“Number Nine . . . Number Nine . . . Number Nine . . . Number Nine . . .” Herbie slowly drones from the sidelines (though, as he was not born for multiple decades after the initial release and subsequent public broadcast and popularization of the Beatles’ identically-titled avant-garde White Album track, he could not be consciously mimicking its revolutionary import in some raga-like chant). No, this is just a form of vehicular encouragement.
Herbie is, after all, in most respects just a fairly typical 9-year-old, coaching on to victory his radio controlled Cubster racer, No. 9. The gleaming sunburst-yellow roadster responding to his hand-held controller is in the thick at the front of the pack, trying to take the checkered flag in the third heat of this morning’s Pre-Teen Preliminaries. All eyes in the audience — whether male or female, pre-teen, adolescent, adult or geriatric — are trained upon this Bi-Annual Benton County Boy Scout Bikeathon and Race Match heat. Those spectating eyes number roughly 1700 or so, or more than twice all the eyes possessed by the tiny city of Avoca, Arkansas’ year-round residents. Every time one of these summer family fun events is staged, this small rural town swells to well over twice its normal population.
But this year, there’s even more reason than usual for visitors from far and wide to seek out this small burg nestled in the far northwestern corner of The Natural State. And little Herbie here represents that impetus. Herbie has become the most famous Arkansas native since a certain William Jefferson Clinton happened to ascend to prominence on the national scene and, eventually, to the Oval Office.
For Hairingbone Herbie is almost certainly the first denizen of this “downstream place of the south wind” to be transgenic. Yep — Little Herbie’s got more than Homo sapiens in his determining deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA, to the unlettered). You might say he’s more ‘transformer’ than his little car.
You see, years back, when Herbie’s foreword-thinking folks were undergoing their initial family planning, they not only wished to overcome a raft of substantial fertility issues — apparently including lack of production, poor motility, hormonal imbalance, uterine hostility, unreceptive lining, borderline calcium uptake, bad timing, detachment, improper body temperature, and doctor knows what else — they also wished for their progeny to be decidedly cutting edge and different. So, they opted for transgenesis. Their coming child would be more than human, they decided.
Sequentially considering gene splices from sheep, goats, crayfish, manatees, gibbons, mollusks, carrier pigeons, arachnids and even, believe it or not, emus, Herbie’s mom and dad eventually settled on the helical strands of cotton tweed twill herringbone (in a fine rich russet with a subtle chocolatey cast to it). So, the distinctive hairdo you see upon Herbie’s gently rounded cranium is therefore not the product of some talented salon-keeper’s patient art, but merely a natural pre-programmed outgrowth of his cellular machinery. Herbie is a hallmark of mankind’s rapidly-arriving future!
(We understand that Herbie may soon be joined by a sibling — in the stands with Mom, but still in utero — by the planned name of Sisal Sally.)
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