Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Anthony Gambrill | Fake news

Published:Sunday | April 30, 2017 | 4:00 AM

If you are disadvantaged and Chinese in Port Antonio, you might, like others, seek your fortune elsewhere because there are those who have turned their early circumstances into considerable fortunes. Aiming to replicate their success, Peter Chang-Chong located Mice and More Ltd in the parish. He won't say precisely where in an effort to avoid attracting unwanted publicity and the anti-vivisectionists..

His enterprise consists of a mouse-breeding farm and an extensive laboratory where his staff are carrying out research projects in an attempt to alleviate the often simple, sometimes serious, diseases that affect us all. My first question was, just how did he get the idea?

PCC: Well, I have always been a lover of red wine and about 10 years ago I read that there was something in red wine called resveratrol that helped overweight mice live longer. And at the time, despite doing pilates, yoga and the occasional triathalon, I was carrying a few extra pounds.

AG: So then ... .

PCC: Resveratrol had been tried on flies and worms but never before on mammals. On mice it mimicked the benefits of eating less without the effort of a diet. Helped extend their life spans, too.

AG: So mice on red wine enjoy a healthier old age.

PCC: Exactly. With that in mind, I decided to see what other things I enjoyed could improve Jamaican lives.

AG: Such as ... .

PCC: ... Triple cream brie, dry martinis, Singapore rice noodles and smoked marlin.

AG: How did you get started?

PCC: We have 4,000 mice on the farm here for export and for research purposes. In fact, we are in contention for an Exporter of the Year Award.

AG: You never considered other creatures?

PCC: We considered monkeys, goldfish, kangaroos, baboons and bats, but mice proved to be the most suitable. So we began by breeding mice for export.

AG: Fantastic. Did you have any problems?

PCC: First, we had complaints from some protesters. They were sentimental about mice like Mickey Mouse, Jerry - you know from Tom & Jerry - Stuart Little, the movie mouse. But we soon persuaded them of the contribution our mice could make to the future of mankind.

AG: And the Jamaican economy.

PCC: Then there was the RSPCM - the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Mice.

AG: Who is that?

PCC: I think it's headed by the Duchess of York. She was looking for a new cause. No, the only real problem we have had was when a few dozen mice escaped and invaded a local girls' boarding school.

AG: Could be worse.

PCC: I have to keep reminding people of how dangerous some of our fellow creatures can be. Rats, for instance, were blamed for spreading the bubonic plague in the 14th century. They killed a quarter of the population of Europe. Did you know AIDS can be traced back to monkeys?

AG: Ah, yes, but pigs' heart valves have been successfully transplanted in humans.

PCC: True. Anyway, the world has plenty of medical dilemmas to solve and mice are ideal to use for research. At the moment, we are working on the problem of irritable husband syndrome, post-traumatic hiccups and erectile misfortune.

AG: All life-threatening conditions.

PCC: We're also developing a couple of unique Jamaican cures. One is for gas on the knee that my old nanny used to suffer from. Another is impotence preventing our politicians from making decisions ... a growing concern in Jamaica, you will agree.

AG: Well, you certainly have your work cut out for you.

PCC: Without a doubt. Anyway should we perhaps proceed to the lunchroom. I believe the curried goat will be accompanied by a glass of 2007 Beaujolais.

- Anthony Gambrill is a playwright. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.