A Love Story With A Twist (Flash Fiction Part 2)

Image by Annie Le from Pixabay

This is the second part of the story. The first part is here.

Mother: You are right. It is not allowed. The beautiful nurse was transferred to a nursing school. Rumor had it that she didn’t really finish her nursing school overseas. And the assistant professor helped her get a loan to go to a nursing school, which is located not too far away from our campus. And that’s another story for another day. Anyway, coming back to the fraud investigation, and my life.

Daughter: So he still refused to marry you?

Mother: Yes, despite the fact he was devastated and depressed by his divorce, he still refused to choose me. However I finally got my chance to force him to marry me. At the time, there had been rumors of a fraud investigation going on, but I didn’t pay much attention since it had nothing to do with my project. You know the National Institute Of Health (NIH) located in Bethesda, Maryland has an effective fraud detection unit that investigates all academic frauds. After all, NIH has more than 40 billion dollars each year in research funding and it is essential to safeguard the integrity of so many research projects. One day, he came back a little worried. You know we were living together. He told me that he was called to our professor’s office to discuss a serious issue of fraud. He did nothing wrong and had actually raised doubts on some of the experimental results and the interpretations. However still his name appeared as the second author on several fraudulent papers that were published.

Daughter: What happened?

Mother: You know whenever a paper is published, people would try to reproduce the result in the paper. If by any chance, other people cannot reproduce the result, a fraud warning would be raised and an investigation would be launched by NIH, which funds most of the health related research.

Daughter: Oh, how did he get involved? What really happened?

Mother: You know people have a general misconception of biomedical research. They think a research result is clear cut, either right or wrong; a hypothesis is either proved or disproved. In reality nothing is clear cut. The reality is as messy as our life. Research result is often vague and it is often open to different interpretations. It takes countless efforts, repeated experiments, prolonged debates, hundreds if not thousands of trials and errors in order to finally settle down on some conclusions. And some people can be impatient. One of these impatient people is a young ambitious college student Tim, who’s the son of a Nobel Price winner. He was only 19 at the time and in order to hasten the publication of his paper, he tweaked some data, changed some figures. He worked in our professor’s lab. You know our lab is like a huge workshop. The professor is usually not the one who is doing the day to day experiment in a big workshop. He would attend meetings and write grant applications etc. He usually doesn’t know the details of the work even if his name appear as the last author in the papers published from his lab. So young Tim actually published four papers in three years’ time that he worked in our lab.

Daughter: Oh, that sounds… Wait, what does this have to do with you forcing your loved one to marry you?

Mother: Well, my loved one was also involved in Tim’s projects. Did I tell you that my loved one was very good with his hands? There were certain experiments that could only be run best by him. He was that good. I nicknamed him Little Tiger, but Tiger is not a good name for a person who has such a good skill with his hands. The electrophoresis, the PCR, the sequencing etc, now being all done by machines, used to be done by human hands. And he had the best hands in biomedical experiments like an expert gardener with a green thumb. I really admired him in those days. No matter how hard he tortured me, I just wanted to hang on. So he came back home, telling me that the Nobel Price winner flew over that day and they all had a meeting discussing the ongoing fraud investigation. The Nobel Price winner was crushed. He had never suffered such a humiliation before. His own son was a fraudster–that was such a stain on his good name.

Daughter: Oh, that must be hard.

Mother: So after I listened to the story, I asked him whether he wanted to be an academic or an entrepreneur. His ambition had always been to get a degree in America and came back home to be the expert in immunological research. Probably he could even become a dean or a president of a college in the future. However this bright future would be somehow stained by this fraud investigation. An inconclusive investigation can hang on for years, affecting everybody involved in the project and negatively impacting their career advancement. Since I had been very good at gathering information, I have looked up these things. So I exaggerated the negative impact it would have on his career. And he was quite worried. At the same time, I also pointed out that if he went to his own professor and the Nobel Price winner to tell them that he could plead guilty and take the blame for Tim’s fraud, he would be rewarded with entrepreneurial opportunities that he would never have otherwise.

Daughter: What kind of entrepreneurial opportunities?

Mother: I knew that our professor also had his own biotech company, which invented a new way of producing antibody. The traditional way of producing antibody was to use rabbit, but he invented a way of doing it through eggs laid by hens. This would cut the antibody cost by 90%. He was the sole owner of this new patented technology. I knew it. If he could grant this technology to my little Tiger, who would only sell the products in certain areas of Asia, Tiger would be a successful entrepreneur. I mean if we just have the Southeast Asia market, it would be sufficient. So I told him that. I asked him to go to his professor to make a deal.

Daughter: Oh, that is so immoral. No, that is really criminal. Did he do it?

Mother: He thought about it overnight. Then he did it the next day. His own professor hesitated at first, but he was a good friend with the Nobel Price winner and owed him many favors. He didn’t want to see an honored name being tainted by the son’s misconduct. And finally his professor agreed to it. Of course my Little Tiger would claim that he was the one who faked the data. He would be banned from the biomedical field unless he could repay the quarter of million dollars to NIH. He would be thrown out of the country and would never be allowed back in.

Daughter: Oh, that’s bad. I can’t believe you suggested this to him. Why did you do that? How could you stay with a man who didn’t love you?

Mother: Listen, here comes the more dramatic part. So he was getting ready to fly back home since he was ordered to leave within a month. Just as he was ordering his plane ticket, I dropped the bomb on him. I told him that unless he would marry me and give me half of his immunology company he’s going to setup back home, I would go to the federal investigator to report him and his deal with his professor. He was stunned. He couldn’t believe that I set up the trap for him to fall in first before I revealed my true intention. He had always thought that I was a little submissive door mat who’s happy to be trampled on. He never thought I would be so wicked. Haha. My goodness. I almost enjoyed my own villainy. At first he didn’t think I would do it, but I told him that I would not hesitate. My firmness really frightened him. And under pressure, he finally decided to marry me. You know, it was the easy way out. He had no other choice. The alternative was too unthinkable. So we packed up our bag, flew to Las Vegas to get married before flying home.

Daughter: Wow, you were really wicked. I can’t believe this. Did you really have to be so wicked in order to chase your love? I mean I can’t believe Dad didn’t love you. I mean how much you suffered in chasing after him…

Mother: What are you talking about? He is not your dad.

(To Be Continued Here)

13 thoughts on “A Love Story With A Twist (Flash Fiction Part 2)

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