The Inappropriate Appropriation of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA as Dramatized in a Dialogue Between Waitress and Patron at T.G.I. Friday’s.

The Cast

JAMES WATSON, wisecracking 25-year-old American, recently arrived in England

FRANCIS CRICK, British counterpart; not as ably cast as, say, Colin Firth; married; more sedate, but getting a giggly rush out of his new sidekick

ROSALIND FRANKLIN, quiet, self-assured crystallographer with no patience for Honest Jim’s irritating flirty brilliance, nor any desire to go halfsies on the research. Also, she speaks French.

MAURICE WILKINS. He’s this other guy.

DR. JOYCE BROTHERS, quasi-therapist and pseudo-cultural commentator. She is not involved in this case.

The Immediate Background

Rosy was a skilled X-ray diffracter, snapping the shots that likely clarified the double-helix structure of DNA while Jim and Francis were out tinkering ad nauseam with so many helices they were actually—God’s honest truth (actually, no)—nauseous. They’d been trying to outwit the older, more famous, more likely discoverer, Linus Pauling, in a race to nail this thing down. Jim and Francis sort of, how do we say, pilfered the pics from Rosy’s lab, kept it on the QT, and skated to everlasting fame. She died of cancer shortly thereafter, and Watson and Crick took the Nobel, without her, in 1962. By the bye, Jim’s tell-all, The Double Helix, is a smidgen less than gracious toward the altogether reputable Dr. Franklin.

And so we present, for wide release …


Setting: T.G.I. Friday’s, the one off Wabash Ave., south side
Soundtrack: Hootie’s Greatest

FRANKLIN: Hi, I’m Rosalind Franklin and I’ll be your discoverer of the structure of DNA today. Can I start you guys off with an appetizer, or some drinks?

WATSON AND CRICK: No, thanks, but can we get some of those X-ray diffraction slides you have pinned to your suspenders?