While the rest of us were drinking and drowsing and stuffing our gizzards this Christmas someone, it seems, was busy cloning a baby.
And although the announcement came from members of a cult that seems to be, at the very least...I'm trying to think of a polite euphemism for 'bugfuck insane' - and may well be a hoax, sooner or later it will be for real.
I think it behooves us to accept this development with a minimum of pissing and moaning and stern Brave New World editorials. Cloned children will be much easier to raise than the normal kind, because you'd be able to second-guess them all the time. If ever I was egotistical enough to bring a little Michael Horatio MkII into the world, I would always be one step ahead of him because I would know exactly how his mind worked. "Come out of the bathroom, you little bastard! I know exactly what you're doing! Keep away from the fluffy towels, you pervert! And I know you're giving me the fingers behind the door."
It would cut short a lot of adolescent histrionics:
"Jesus God, Dad, look at you, I'm never gonna end up like you!"
"Yes you are."
And clones would tend to be much better behaved than ordinary kids, because they could never be quite sure you hadn't had them just for the sake of the spare organs, or to transplant your brain into their body. All you'd have to do would be to admire their fresh young limbs or measure their cranial development and they'd start creeping round you with cups of tea and stuff. "I brought your slippers, Dad...and I tidied my room...please don't vivisect me..."
But cloning is boring anyway. The one I'm waiting for is genetic modification of babies. All of my offspring will be genetically engineered - I will purchase them online, if need be, if I can't find anyone to let me diddle with her eggs.
Lancelot Kelly, my firstborn, will be handsome and intelligent, a lot like his old man. Unlike me, though, he will also have a set of tentacles with suckers on the end, enabling him to cling to the ceiling to surprise his enemies.
Rachmaninoff Kelly will be designed to fulfill my thwarted musical ambitions. He will be gifted with great piano-playing ability and will have very long arms with twenty fingers on each hand. He will also have bat-wings and clawed feet.
Triton Kelly will have fish-like gills, enabling him to breathe underwater and give great head.
Hoppy Kelly will have grasshopper genes implanted, enabling him to spring over tall buildings to escape pursuers. A drawback might be that he would also have to communicate by rubbing his legs against his arse, though.
Nehemiah Kelly will have eyes that can come out on stalks like a snail, enabling him to see round corners and register astonishment easily.
Melmoth Kelly will on the face of it be a normal child. But he will have a small third arm attached to his abdomen, enabling him to pick pockets, do magic tricks, and masturbate discreetly. I may also give him a spiny tail like a stegosaurus, I haven't decided yet.
Stanislaus Kelly will be designed to be useful to me around the house. He will have eight arms, an industrious disposition, and a long aardvark-like nose for sucking up dust in places the hoover can't reach.
Sacheverell Kelly will have a big bushy tail and the head of a squirrel. I like squirrels, and it would cheer me to see a large one wandering around my home. I suppose he might reproach me in later life, but as anything he said would emerge as a pleasant squeaking noise I wouldn't mind too much.
Murgatroyd Kelly I envisage as an all-purpose attack and reconnaissance child. The shell of a crab, pincers for hands, the ability to shoot sticky fluids or porcupine-like quills at people, etc.
All in all they will make a pretty formidable family. I would spend a lot of time with my sons walking ten abreast along the pavement barging into people, or revisiting bars where I have not been treated kindly in the past, looking for anyone who wanted to start any trouble. No-one would mess with the Kelly boys, in fact most people would tend to scarper as soon as we appeared. In their spare time I imagine they would form an elite crime-fighting force or go around rescuing people from mishaps with their various powers.
You may have noted that all of these offspring are male. I plan to have daughters too, but it is best you do not know what I intend for them. Suffice it to say that they will be comely and obliging and have unusual numbers of breasts and, since they will not share my DNA, anything I do with them would not technically be incest.