As CEO of BioSurgery Solutions Ltd, how do you introduce yourself at parties?
As registered maggot-farmer to the stars.
Do you have many celebrity clients?
That’s really just a joke I use sometimes, in these kinds of interactions. This is a production facility. We grow, test, package. Our customers are trading entities – specialist clinics, some private hospitals. We’re no more concerned with the beneficiaries of the product than a car manufacturer is with the individual motorist.
But they might be celebrities.
I imagine that there would be problems in that case with finding any natural tissues at all, bad or good.
No disrespect meant.
Of course. Tell us a bit about the industry.
It’s niche, for the time being, but we’d like to change that. It’s a case of altering perceptions, of expanding application possibilities. This is one of the safest, most proven methods available, with a body of research and practice stretching back to antiquity. In spite of this, or because of it, people are inclined to see a medieval aspect that simply doesn’t exist. We’re not dealing with humours and leeches here.
Explain the process.
The technical term is ‘debridement’, which perhaps makes us sound like divorce attorneys.
[Laughter] You seem to have a head for humour as well as business.
But not for humours, as I’ve stated.
We harness nature. There’s a purity about it – of itself a purifying kind – this symbiosis of soft bodies. The brutalism of medical science, a mechanising nightmare of angles and steel, a kind of warfare, is replaced by healing of an almost spiritual simplicity: the human and the animal organism joined in sanctifying communion, life returning life to life. The maggots of the greenbottle – that handsomest of flies – will clean a wound more carefully than any instrument. And the maggots we breed here, I needn’t tell you, are the finest that money can buy.
This is your passion as well as your livelihood?
The sated maggot leaves a wound puckered like a moist rose, like pink silk. There’s nothing more beautiful.
You mention spirituality. Are you a man of faith?
I’m glad you bring that up. As I say, we at BioSurgery Solutions want to move the industry beyond its current obscurity, and the re-imagining of any business must be done in bold strokes. As such, I wish to take this opportunity to announce our new partnership with the National Committee of the Church of the True Presence.
That sounds like an unconventional manoeuvre.
My great-grandfather was an army chaplain at the Battle of the Somme. He frequently observed the work of Dr John Briar who, with pioneering audacity, administered maggot therapy to the catastrophic wounds of the soldiers coming from the front line. ‘Dr Briar,’ my great-grandfather wrote in his diary, ‘with pale, priestly fingers, accomplishes a kind of Eucharist. He beckons the worms from their tabernacle, watches serenely as the wine is drunk, the black bread put to inscrutable digestion. He turns his eyes to the soldier’s as if to say, This is your body, which is given up for you. By these means he has saved uncounted souls.’
Yes, it is. Those words recurred to me one afternoon as I was reading a book. The book was The Concise Praesantian Atlas of the Anatomy of the Soul Incarnate by Rev Dr Augustus J Powell.
The Chairman of the NCCTP. We interviewed him a few months ago about his new line of pasta sauces.
You see? This is a man who understands diversification. I read his teachings and thought of my great-grandfather, quaking in that hospital tent, amid his own exploded atlas of the human form. If, I asked myself, if the spirit rots from the body’s sin, could the process not be reversed? The gangrene eaten away? Why should the incorporated soul be condemned to fester? Wasn’t there an opening in Praesantian dogma for the concept of direct application? Over the following weeks my negotiations with the Reverend Doctor progressed from scepticism and uncertainty to the final embrace, by both parties, of this fact: a new Trinity of science, business and religion must be the scaffold on which Progress is raised.
But how will this philosophy be implemented?
Our R&D Department, together with a crack team of spiritual-genetic engineers furnished by the Powell Academy, have designed a strain of greenbottle whose larvae fairly incandesce with divine fire. Unfortunately I can’t show them to you, due to health-and-safety regulations –
Of course, of course –
– but you should see how they bathe the labs in this…this fierce yet somehow deeply compassionate radiance when all the lights are turned off. Next to be addressed is how the mechanism of action will play out in a real-world scenario. What we’re talking about is more complex than your standard soft-tissue procedure, and we’ve had headaches in determining specific sites of soul necrosis in the typical 21st-century, atheistically-inclined, morally-susceptible human being, but Solutions is our name and a few of those are already suggesting themselves.
When can we expect a general roll-out?
Any announcements about that are still pending, although availability will likely be exclusive to Church of the True Presence members. Joining the congregation, of course, is entirely free, and simply a case of enquiring at your local Praesantian branch-office. Not that we’re concerned here with proselytising. This is a production facility.
So you will act as supplier, while the Church will handle the application end?
Exactly. Once everything’s ready to go we’ll be providing grass-roots training to pastors and selected lay people, as well as informational literature for the flock. Rev Dr Powell won’t mind my telling you how excited he is about this. Together we’ve brought a vision to the verge of reality. And who knows? I, for one, would not hesitate to broach even the idea of a government contract, in time. Imagine it: in every baptistery in the country, a busy clinic; beside every holy water stoup, a font of maggots.
You might say you ‘have a dream’. Do you anticipate any reluctance from the public?
Perhaps initially. Innovation can be frightening. But I have total confidence in the procedure; I’m actually undergoing trials myself, and experiencing no ill effects.
Well, it’s more in the line of a personal experiment, not anything like how I imagine orthodox application will look.
Can you share any details?
Put it this way: we’re radical thinkers here, and radical thinking involves both forward momentum and a willingness to return to first principles. Every successful businessman has a Cartesian ego. If this is true, I said to myself, then what else does René have to teach us? The problem that’s slowing us down right now is of physically locating the soul; why not eschew the whirring, blinking contrivances of modernity and listen to the past instead? A potential answer revealed itself. Again, I attach the disclaimer that this is unorthodox stuff, very much of a prototype character.
Just for the sake of illustration.
Descartes suggested the brain’s spiritual centre is also its literal core, the pineal gland. Assuming this, it follows that the pineal gland is the fountain-head of the decay we want to eradicate.
How did you test the hypothesis?
By taking the smallest larva from the new batch and pushing it deep into my ear canal with a cotton-bud.
Was that uncomfortable?
A little, but I immediately sensed that the maggot knew what was happening, knew where to go, as though in response to some ethereal transmitter. Where the soul squats, it seems, the grub squirms. For the last two weeks I’ve been following a daily regimen of one maggot in the right ear, and I must say that I’ve never felt more inwardly wholesome, more synchronised with the Celestial Infinitude. It’s just a case now of figuring out what happens when the maggots get through all that corrupted grey matter to the really juicy bits, as it were.
We wish you the very best. Finally, anything to say to those who might question your methods?
Yeah: here’s one in the ear for you, guy!