Friday November 12th, 2021

To the Managing Director of Mattoy Educational

Dear Sir

I am writing to complain about the Mattoy “My First DNA Sequencer Kit” I purchased for my daughter Blaze’s fifteenth birthday in October.

From the widespread publicity and advertisements, I had been given to understand that the kit would “turn my kid on to the intricacies of genetics with simple experiments such as extracting DNA from root vegetables and revealing DNA fingerprints on doorknobs, thus giving her a head start in one of today’s most exciting and challenging growth industries”. However, upon opening the kit we discovered that not only did the electrophoresis chamber lack a power cord, but that the manual was missing.

Temporarily transplanting the cord from her PlayStation Seven, Blaze was naturally eager to begin experimentation, even without a manual, and so downloaded what at the time I believed to be appropriate material in order to make a start whilst we waited for the replacement manual to be delivered.

My first indication that something had gone wrong came on Monday morning when I observed Blaze catching the school bus as usual only to spot her ten minutes later sneaking out the backyard gate. Naturally of course I put this down to tiredness, although the weirdness continued that evening when I overheard what sounded like Blaze having a furious row with herself about “whose turn” it was to go to school the following day. However, the next morning she caught the bus to school as normal and so I dismissed it.

Later that morning as I was cleaning the lounge, I spotted Blaze backing my car out of the driveway. I was furious - not only was she skipping school, but also she hadn’t asked permission to borrow my car. The exact copy of her in the passenger seat was something that at the time I was prepared to turn a blind eye to, as it didn’t make any sense.

A week later I was no longer able to ignore what was going on. The neighbors had started complaining about the noise Blaze was making as all ten of her quarreled nightly about who was going to wear what the next day and who’d have to go to school. Most of the time she just ended up cloning off another copy to do the latter for her, which only made things worse. In addition, Mrs Manzarek was now phoning me up almost every day, bellyaching about how her son Vaughn (who had been Blaze’s boyfriend) had run off to stay with his dad in Alaska.

The last straw came two days ago, when I switched on CNN only to be confronted with a report that a rampaging mob of my daughter had run riot in Griffith Park, been arrested and were now all cooling their heels at 3353 San Fernando Road courtesy of Captain Sanchez and his colleagues in the LAPD Northeast Division.

As I am unable to afford bail for all twenty-two of them, I am turning to you for financial compensation. You will be hearing from my lawyer directly.

Yours faithfully

Azura Mantra (Ms)

NB: I have resurrected this old piece of writing to keep the blog ticking over whilst I finish the first draft of my novel.