Homegrown by Cat Jenkins

Apr 28 2015 Published by under The WiFiles

“Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, right? Welcome! Welcome! So good to see you folks could make it over. You know, you’re the sixth couple to come through this morning. I tell you, these little masterpieces are gonna sell like hotcakes.

“Now, I know you’ve probably got a lot of questions, so let me start by giving you a little background on Skin-Surround. Some people come in here with preconceived notions, even outright prejudice about stem cell propagation, so let me assure you right from the start there’s nothing in our procedures that anyone could object to on any ethical or religious grounds whatsoever. No sirree, not anymore! But let me start at the beginning and give you the Skin-Surround story.

“As you probably know, stem cell research goes way back to the early 1900s. That’s when the actual term “stem cell” first popped up in scientific research, but it wasn’t until the last half of that century that they started to suspect all the uses they could make of those little gems. Of course, it was all medical stuff at the time, like treating leukemia, spinal cord injuries and a bunch of other diseases. Back then everyone was working with embryos, and that’s where the trouble began. You know, we’re still finding potential buyers who think that’s where the process begins and ends? Even today? That’s why it’s so great to have folks like you take advantage of this tour and see what it’s really all about!

“As I was saying, way back then they had to retrieve stem cells from human embryos, which caused all kinds of trouble. Pro-lifers were up in arms and even when they used mouse embryos for research, there was always someone who waved a flag for the sanctity of life in general, rodents included. But things changed, and thank whatever deity lights your soul they did, or we wouldn’t be able to show you around this little beauty today!

“So first and foremost, Skin-Surround absolutely does not take it’s stem cells from embryos of any kind. No, sir! We use only adult stem cells, and that doesn’t hurt anyone, right?. See, we don’t need cells that can differentiate into all the things the human body contains. All we need are ones that have limited differentiation capability and the ability to self-renew over a lifetime. We can get that from any healthy adult, and that’s where things get really exciting for our buyers! But I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself here. Let’s go inside and take a look around while I tell you how Skin-Surround was born, so to speak. I will ask you to take off your shoes, though, before we go any further. Ordinarily, you wouldn’t have to, but the amount of foot traffic we expect to see through here, well, we just want to avoid developing any calluses on our demo model. But don’t be shy; feel free to touch the walls or anything else. That won’t do any damage that can’t heal itself up in practically no time at all!

“Now where was I? Oh, yeah; the early beginnings that made Skin-Surround possible. It was back in the early 2000s that Junying Yu as well as the team of Kazutoshi Takahashi and Shinya Yamanaka theorized a way to produce a stem cell from almost any other human cell instead of using embryos. From there it was just a matter of time before we could guide the basic stem cells along chosen paths of differentiation. It was the Japanese, by the way, who developed the whole system of production that led to Skin-Surround as it is today. They were the first not only to direct the cells’ differentiation, but to apply the acceleration techniques that make production of a structure this size feasible in terms of volume as well as timeliness. So if you decide to take advantage of our limited-time offer, rest assured your Skin-Surround dwelling will be ready in two to three months depending on the model and procedure you choose. Why, that’s faster than you could ever expect to get a new home built the old-fashioned way!

“Anyway, like I said, the Japanese were the first to take stem cell research into the housing industry. Some say it’s because natural resources were just getting too expensive and impractical, what with Japan’s population increase in the last few decades, but I think it’s just that they’re always on the cusp of any really innovative high-tech advancement. I mean let’s give credit where it’s due, right?

“Plus, a Skin-Surround home is practically indestructible! Take that window you’re tapping on. No, no! It’s O.K. Nothing to worry about like you would with the old glass windows! See here, this is a membrane grown around a titanium and surgical steel frame. Pretty much unbreakable. No, sir. No worries about little Timmy hitting a baseball through this baby. It’ll just absorb the shock and any slack the impact creates will tighten itself back up overnight.

“Now, the whole infrastructure we grow your home around is steel and titanium just like that window frame there. We also insert wiring, lifetime batteries and a system of tubing to bring nutrients and stimulants to the finished structure. It really all depends on how customized you folks want to go.

“If you’re thinking you’ll start small, we’ve got the Skin-Surround Starter. It’ll have your basic two bedrooms, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. We’ll erect the frame and nutrient tanks, and flesh the structure out using cells from a standard cloned colony based on a tried-and-true plan that was the first wave of development in Japan. You know, today the hillsides there are covered with the Starters? I’m told when you fly into Tokyo it looks like the whole country’s got goose bumps!

“On the other end of the scale from the Starter is the Skin-Surround Derma Palace. I just know you’re gonna love this! We start with stem cells taken right from the customer. We tailor the framework and nutrient tanks to whatever number of rooms and layout you want, and we keep a colony of cells in our main lab cryo-storage in case you need minor repairs or even want to grow additional rooms sometime in the future. There are a lot more features available when you decide on the Palace, too. For instance, see that kind of puckering up there? Now press that third button down on the panel to your left and see what happens.

“There ya go! See? Pretty amazing, right? We directed some of the cells into becoming sphincter muscles, laid a little wiring along the frame and when you push that button and deliver the stimulus, the sphincter dilates and…presto! Instant skylight!

“Now, one nifty feature all our models have, from Starter to Palace, is temperature interaction. In summer, your home will sweat a bit on the outside, so you do need to monitor the liquid/electrolyte levels in the tanks until you know how much is generally needed. But it keeps the inside nice and cool without the ongoing inconvenience and expense of air conditioning. In winter, why nothing’s cozier than being sheltered in a nice, draft-proof home that gently radiates warmth from its own constant 98.6 degree temperature.

“Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, I can see you’re impressed and you probably want to look around some on your own, and talk over how you want to proceed. So, I’m going to let you have some privacy while you imagine yourselves settling into your very own Skin-Surround in a matter of months!

“If you have any questions, I’ll be out in the backyard. Come on out when you’re done and I’ll show you one of our Derma Dog Pet Cottages. Our demo model was grown from a German Shepherd, but depending on the level of customization you choose, we can base it on any of 29 breeds of dog, or even grow it from cells taken from your own little fur friend!.

“So take your time, but don’t let this opportunity slip by. Skin-Surround’s the housing industry’s fastest growing company today. Like we say, ‘If you’re gonna own…own homegrown!’”


Cat Jenkins lives in the Pacific Northwest where the weather is often conducive to long hours before a keyboard. Her stories in humor, fantasy, speculative fiction and horror have been published both online and in print, in Niteblade Fantasy and Horror Magazine, Greenprints, and the anthology ‘Metastasis.’ She is working on her first novel, a psychological thriller with touches of magical realism.

Cat’s blog can be found at: catjenkinsdotcom.wordpress.com

On Twitter: @CatJenkins11

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