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lLCWL8S lC8 ALCL8nCn 8y uanlel keyes

lor my moLher And ln memory of my faLher

Any one who has common sense wlll remember LhaL Lhe bewlldermenLs of Lhe eyes are of Lwo
klnds, and arlse from Lwo causes, elLher from comlng ouL of Lhe llghL or from golng lnLo Lhe
llghL, whlch ls Lrue of Lhe mlnd's eye, qulLe as much as of Lhe bodlly eye, and he who
remembers Lhls when he sees any one whose vlslon ls perplexed and weak, wlll noL be Loo
ready Lo laugh, he wlll flrsL ask wheLher LhaL soul 'of man has come ouL of Lhe brlghLer llfe, and
ls unable Lo see because unaccusLomed Lo Lhe dark, or havlng Lurned from darkness Lo Lhe day
ls dazzled by excess of llghL. And he wlll counL Lhe one happy ln hls condlLlon and sLaLe of belng,
and he wlll plLy Lhe oLher, or, lf he have a mlnd Lo laugh aL Lhe soul whlch comes from below
lnLo Lhe llghL, Lhere wlll be more reason ln Lhls Lhan ln Lhe laugh whlch greeLs hlm who reLurns
from above ouL of Lhe llghL lnLo Lhe den. --laLo, 1he 8epubllc
progrls rlporL 1 marLch 3
ur SLrauss says l shoud rlLe down whaL l Lhlnk and rememblr and evrey Lhlng LhaL happlns Lo me
from now on. l donL no why buL he says lLs lmporLlnL so Lhey wlll see lf Lhey can use me. l hope
Lhey use me becaus Mlss klnnlan says mabye Lhey can make me smarL. l wanL Lo be smarL. My
name ls Charlle Cordon l werk ln uormers bakery where Mr uonner glves me 11 dollers a week
and bred or cake lf l wanL. l am 32 yeres old and nexL munLh ls my brlLhday. l Lolld dr SLrauss
and perfesser nemur l canL rlLe good buL he says lL donL maLLer he says l shud rlLe [usL llke l Lalk
and llke l rlLe compushlshens ln Mlss kln-nlans class aL Lhe beekmln collldge cenLer for reLarLed
adulLs where l go Lo lern 3 Llmes a week on my Llme off. ur. SLrauss says Lo rlLe a loL evryLhlng l
Lhlnk and evryLhlng LhaL happlns Lo me buL l canL Lhlnk anymor because l have noLhlng Lo rlLe
so l wlll close for Loday... yrs Lruly Charlle Cordon.
progrls rlporL 2 marLch 4
l had a LesL Loday. l Lhlnk l faled lL and l Lhlnk mabye now Lhey wonL use me. WhaL happlnd ls l
wenL Lo rof nemurs offlce on my lunch Llme llke Lhey sald and hls secerLery Look me Lo a place
LhaL sald psych depL on Lhe door wlLh a long hall and aloL of llLLel rooms wlLh onley a desk and
chares. And a nlce man was ln one of Lhe rooms and he had some wlLe cards wlLh lnk spllld all
over Lhem. Pe sed slL down Charlle and make yourself cunforLlble and rllax. Pe had a wlLe coaL
llke a docLer buL l donL Lhlnk. he was no docLer because he dlnL Lell me Lo opln my 1 mouLh and
say ah. All he had was Lhose wlLe cards. Pls name ls 8urL. l fergoL hls lasL name because l donL
rememblr so good. l dlnL know whaL he was gonna do and l was holdlng on LlLe Lo Lhe chalr llke
someLlmes when l go Lo x denLlsL onley 8urL alnL no denLlsL nelLher buL he kepL Lelllng me Lo
rllax and LhaL geLs me skared because lL always means lLs gonna herL. So 8urL sed Charlle whaL
do you see on Lhls card. l saw Lhe spllld lnk and l was very skared even Lho l goL my rablLs fooL
ln my pocklL because when l was a kld l always faled LesLs ln school and l spllld lnk Lo. l Lolld
8urL l saw lnk spllld on a wlLe card. 8urL sald yes and he smlld and LhaL mald me feel good. Pe
kepL Lernlng all Lhe cards and l Lolld hlm somebody spllld lnk on all of Lhem red and black. l LhoL
LhaL was a easy LesL buL when l goL up Lo go 8urL sLoppd me and sald now slL down Charlle we
are noL Lhru yeL. 1heres more we goL Lo do wlLh Lhese cards. l dlnL undersLand abouL lL buL l
rememblr ur SLrauss sald do anyLhlng Lhe LesLor Lelld me even lf lL donL make no sense because
LhaLs LesLlng. l donL rememblr so good whaL 8urL sald buL l rememblr he wanLld me Lo say whaL
was ln Lhe lnk. l dlnL see noLhlng ln Lhe lnk buL 8urL sed Lhere was plcLurs Lhere. l coudnL see no
plcLurs. l reely Lryed Lo see. l holded Lhe card up close and Lhen far away. 1hen l sald lf l had my
eye glassls l coud probaly see beLLer l usully only ware my eyeglassls ln Lhe movles or Lo waLch
1v buL l sed maybe Lhey wlll help me see Lhe plcLurs ln Lhe lnk. l puL Lhem on and l sald now leL
me see Lhe card agars l beL l flnd lL now. l Lryed hard buL l sLlll coudnL flnd Lhe plcLurs l only saw
Lhe lnk. l Lolld 8urL mabey l need new glassls. Pe roLe somLhlng down on a paper and l goL
skared of fallng Lhe LesL. So l Lolld hlm lL was a very nlce plcLur of lnk wlLh prlLLy polnLs all
around Lhe eges buL he shaked hls head so LhaL wasnL lL nelLher. l asked hlm lf oLher pepul saw
Lhlngs ln Lhe lnk and he sed yes Lhey lmagen plcLurs ln Lhe lnkbloL. Pe Lolld me Lhe lnk on Lhe
card was calld lnkbloL. 8urL ls very nlce and he Lasks slow llke 11bs klnman dose ln her class
where l go Lo lern reedlng for slow adulLs. Pe explaned me lL was a raw shok LesL. Pe sed pepul
see Lhlngs ln Lhe lnk. l sald show me where. Pe dlnL show me he [usL kepL saylng Lhlnk lmagen
Lheres someLhlng on Lhe card. l Lolld hlm l lmaggen a lnkbloL. Pe shaked hls head so LhaL wasnL
rlLe eaLher. Pe sald whaL does lL remlnd you of preLend lLs someLhlng. l closd my eyes for a long
Llme Lo preLend and Lhen l sald l preLend a boLLel of lnk spllld all over a wlLe card. And LhaLs
when Lhe polnL on hls pencel broke and Lhen we goL up and wenL ouL. l donL Lhlnk l passd Lhe
raw shok LesL.
progrls rlporL marLch 3
-ur SLrauss and prof nemur say lL donL maLLer abouL Lhe lnk on Lhe cards. l Lolld Lhem l dlnL splll
Lhe lnk on Lhem and l coudnL see anyLhlng ln Lhe lnk. 1hey sald maybe Lhey wlll sLlll use me. l
Lolld ur SLrauss LhaL Mlss klnnlan never gave me LesLs llke LhaL only rlLlng and reedlng. Pe sald
Mlss klnnlan Lolld hlm l was her besLlsL pupll ln Lhe 8eekman School for reLarLed adulLs and l
Lryed Lhe hardlsL becaus l reely wanLd Lo lern l wanLld lL more even Lhen pepul who are smarLer
even Lhen me. ur SLrauss askd me how come you wenL Lo Lhe 8eekman School all by yourself
Charlle. Pow dld you flnd ouL abouL lL. l sald l donL rememblr. rof nemur sald buL why dld you
wanL Lo lern Lo reed and spell ln Lhe frlsL place. l Lolld hlm because all my llfe l wanLld Lo be
smarL and noL dumb and my mom always Lolld me Lo Lry and lern [usL llke Mlss klnnlan Lells me
buL lLs very hard Lo be smarL and even when l lern someLhlng ln Mlss klnnlans class aL Lhe
school l fergeL aloL. ur SLrauss roLe some Lhlngs on a pelce of paper and prof nemur Lalkd Lo me
very sereus. Pe sald you know Charlle we are noL shure how Lhls experamlnL wlll werk on pepul
because we onley Lrled lL up Lo now on anlmlls. l sald LhaLs whaL Mlss klnnlan Lolld me buL l
donL even care lf lL herLs or anyLhlng because lm sLrong and l wlll werk hard. l wanL Lo geL smarL
lf Lhey wlll leL me. 1hey sald Lhey goL Lo geL permlssen from my famllle buL my uncle Perman
who use Lo Lake care of me ls ded and l donL remember 3 abouL my famllle. l dlnL see my
moLher or faLher or my llLLel slsLer norma for a long long long Llme. Mabye Lhelr ded Lo. ur.
SLrauss askd me where Lhey use Lo llve. l Lhlnk ln brooklln. Pe sed Lhey wlll see lf mabye Lhey
can flnd Lhem. l hope l donL have Lo rlLe Lo much of Lhese progrls rl-porLs because lL Lakes along
Llme and l geL Lo sleep very laLe and lm Llred aL werk ln Lhe mornlng. Clmpy hollered aL me
because l droppd a Lray full of rolles l was carrylng over Lo Lhe oven. 1hey goL derLy and he had
Lo wlpe Lhem off before he puL Lhem ln Lo bake. Clmpy hollers aL me all Lhe Llme when l do
someLhlng rong, buL he reely llkes me because hes my frend. 8oy lf l geL smarL wonL he be
serprlsed. progrls rlporL 4 mar 6-l had more crazy LesLs Loday ln case Lhey use me. 1haL same
place buL a dlffernL llLLel LesLlng room. 1he nlce lady who glve lL Lo me Lolld me Lhe name and l
askd her how do you spell lL so l can puL lL down rlLe ln my progls rlporL. 1PLMA1lC
AL8CL1Cn 1LS1. l donL know Lhe frlsL 2 werds buL l know whaL LesL means. ?ou goL Lo pass
lL or you geL bad marks. 1hls LesL lookd easy because l coud see Lhe plcLurs. Cnly Lhls Llme she
dlnL wanL me Lo Lell whaL l saw ln Lhe plcLurs. 1haL mlxd me up. l Lolld her yesLerday 8urL sald l
shoud Lell whaL l saw ln Lhe lnk. She sald LhaL donL make a dlfrence because Lhls LesL ls
someLhlng else. now you goL Lo make up sLorys abouL Lhe pepul ln Lhe plcLurs. l sald how can l
Lell sLorys abouL pepul l donL know. She sald make beleeve buL l Lolld her LhaLs lles. l never Lell
lles any more because when l was a kld l made lles and l always goL hlL. l goL a plcLur ln my
waleL of me and norma wlLh uncle Perman who goL me Lhe [ob Lo be [anlLer aL uormers bakery
before he dyed. l sald l coud make sLorys abouL Lhem because l llvd wlLh uncle Perman along
Llme buL Lhe lady dlnL wanL Lo hear abouL Lhem. She sald Lhls LesL and Lhe oLher one Lhe raw
shok was for geLLlng perslnallLy. l laffd. l Lolld her 4 how can you geL LhaL Lhlng from cards LhaL
sombody spllld lnk on and foLos of pepul you donL even no. She lookd angrey and Look Lhe
plcLurs away. l donL care. l gess l faled LhaL LesL Loo. 1hen l drawed some plcLurs for her buL l
donL drawer so good. LaLer Lhe oLher LesLor 8urL ln Lhe wlLe coaL came back hls name ls 8urL
Selden and he Look me Lo a dlferenL place on Lhe same 4Lh floor ln Lhe 8eekman unlverslLy LhaL
sald S?CPCLCC? LA8C8A1C8? on Lhe door. 8urL sald S?CPCLCC? means mlnds and
LA8C8A1C8? meens a place where Lhey make spearamlnLs. l LhoL he menL llke where Lhey
made Lhe choolng gum buL now l Lhlnk lLs puzzels and games because LhaLs whaL we dld. l
coudnL werk Lhe puzzels so good because lL was all broke and Lhe pelces coudnL flL ln Lhe holes.
Cne game was a paper wlLh llnes ln all derecLlons and loLs of boxs. Cn one slde lL sald S1A81
and on Lhe oLher end lL sald llnlSP. Pe Lolld me LhaL game was amazed and l shoud Lake Lhe
pencll and go from where lL sald S1A81 Lo where lL sald llnlSP wlLhowL crosslng over any of Lhe
llnes. l dlnL undersLand Lhe amazed and we used up a loL of papers. 1hen 8urL sald look lll show
you someLhlng leLs go Lo Lhe sperlmenLal lab mabye youll geL Lhe ldea. We wenL up Lo Lhe 3Lh
floor Lo anoLher room wlLh loLs of cages and anlmlls Lhey had monkys and some mouses. lL had
a funny smel llke old garbldge. And Lhere was oLher pepul ln wlLe coaLs playlng wlLh Lhe anlmlls
so l LhoL lL was llke a peL sLore buL Lhelr wasnL no cusLomers. 8urL Look a wlLe mouse ouL of Lhe
cage and showd hlm Lo me. 8urL sald LhaLs Algernon and he can do Lhls amazed very good. l
Lolld hlm you show me how he does LhaL. Well do you know he puL Algernon ln a box llke a blg
Label wlLh aloL of LwlsLs and Lerns llke all klnds of walls and a S1A81 and a llnlSP llke Lhe paper
had. Cnly Lhelr was a skreen over Lhe blg Label. And 8urL Look ouL hls clock and llfLed up a
sllddlng door and sald leLs go Algernon and Lhe mouse snlffd 2 or 3 Llmes and sLarLld Lo run.
llrsL he ran down one long row and Lhen when he saw he coudnL go no more he came back
where he sLarLld from and he [usL sLood Lhere a mlnlL wlggellng hls wlskers. 1hen he wenL off ln
Lhe oLher derecLlon and sLarLld Lo run agaln. lL was [usL llke he was dolng Lhe same Lhlng 8urL
wanLed me Lo do wlLh Lhe llnes on Lhe paper. l was lafflng because l LhoL lL was golng Lo be a
hard Lhlng for a mouse Lo do. 8uL Lhen Algernon kepL golng all Lhe way Lhrew LhaL Lhlng all Lhe
rlLe ways Llll he came ouL where lL sald llnlSP and he made a squeek. 8urL says LhaL means he
was happy because he dld Lhe Lhlng rlLe. 8oy l sald LhaLs a smarL mouse. 8urL sald woud you
llke Lo race agalnsL Algernon. l sald sure and he sald he had a dlffernL klnd of amaze made of
wood wlLh rows skraLched ln lL and an elecLrlk sLlck llke a pencll. And he coud flx up Algernons
amaze Lo be Lhe same llke LhaL one so we could boLh be dolng Lhe same klnd. Pe moved all Lhe
bords around on Algemons Label because Lhey come aparL and he could puL Lhem LogeLher ln
dlffernL ways. And Lhen he puL Lhe skreen back on Lop so Algernon woudnL [ump over any rows
Lo geL Lo Lhe llnlSP. 1hen he gave me Lhe elecLrlk sLlck and showd me how Lo puL lL ln beLween
Lhe rows and lm noL suppose Lo llfL lL off Lhe bord [usL follow Lhe llLLle skraLches unLll Lhe pencll
canL move any more or l geL a llLLle shock. Pe Look ouL hls clock and he was Lrylng Lo hlde lL. So l
Lryed noL Lo look aL hlm and LhaL made me very nervus. When he sald go l Lryed Lo go buL l dlnL
know where Lo go. l dldnL know Lhe way Lo Lake. 1hen l herd Algernon squeeklng from Lhe box
on Lhe Label and hls feeL skraLchlng llke he was runlng alredy. l sLarLld Lo go buL l wenL ln Lhe
rong way and goL sLuck and a llLLel shock ln my flngers so l wenL back Lo Lhe S1A81 buL everLlme
l wenL a dlffernL way l goL sLuck and a shock. lL dldnL herL or anyLhlng [usL made me [ump a llLLel
and 8urL sald lL was Lo show me l dld Lhe wrong Lhlng. l was haffway on Lhe bord when l herd
Algernon squeek llke he was happy agaln and LhaL means he won Lhe race. And Lhe oLher Len
Llmes we dld lL over Algernon won evry Llme because l coudnL flnd Lhe rlghL rows Lo geL Lo
where lL says llnlSP. l dlnL feel bad because l waLched Algernon and l lernd how Lo flnlsh Lhe
amaze even lf lL Lakes me along Llme. l dlnL know mlce were so smarL.
progrls rlporL 3 mar 6
1hey found my slsLer norma who llves wlLh my moLher ln 8rooklln and she gave permlssen for
Lhe operashun. So Lhelr golng Lo use me. lm so exlLed l can hardley rlLe lL down. 8uL Lhen rof
nemur and ur SLrauss had a argamenL abouL lL frlsL. l was slLLlng ln rof nemurs offlce when ur
SLrauss and 8urL Selden came ln. rof nemur was worryed abouL uslng me buL ur SLrauss Lolld
hlm l looked llke Lhe besL one Lhey LesLld so far. 8urL Lolld hlm Mlss klnnlan rekemmended me
Lhe besL from all Lhe people who she was Leachlng aL Lhe cenLer for reLarLed adulLs. Where l go.
ur SLrauss sald l had someLhlng LhaL was very good. Pe sald l had a good moLor-vaLlon. l never
even knowed l had LhaL. l felL good when he sald noL everbody wlLh an eye-C of 68 had LhaL
Lhlng llke l had lL. l donL know whaL lL ls or where l goL lL buL he sald Algernon had lL Loo.
Algernons moLor-vaLlon ls Lhe chees Lhey puL ln hls box. 8uL lL canL be only LhaL because l dlnL
have no chees Lhls week. rof nemur was worryd abouL my eye-C geLLlng Loo hlgh from mlne
LhaL was Loo low and l woud geL slck from lL. And ur SLrauss Lolld rof nemur somLhlng l dlnL
undersLand so wlle Lhey was Lalklng l roLe down some of Lhe words ln my noLebook for keeplng
my progrls rlporLs. Pe sald Parold LhaLs rof nemurs frlsL name l know Charlle ls noL whaL you
had ln mlnd as Lhe frlsL of your new breed of lnLelek** coudnL geL Lhe word *** superman. 8uL
mosL people of hls low wenL" are hosL** and uncoop** Lhey are usally dull and apaLheL** and
hard Lo reach. Charlle has a good naLcher and hes lnLrlsLed and eegerLo pleese. 1hen prof
nemur sald rememblr he wlll be Lhe flrsL human beelng ever Lo have hls lnLell[ence lncreesd by
sergery. ur SLrauss sald LhaLs exakly whaL l menL. Where wlll we flnd anoLher reLarLed adulL
wlLh Lhls Lremendus moLovaLlon Lo lern. Look how well he has lerned Lo reed and rlLe for hls
low menLel age. A Lremendous achlevemenL .7 l dlnL geL all Lhe werds and Lhey were Lalklng Lo
fasL buL lL sounded llke ur SLrauss and 8urL was on my slde and rof nemur wasnL. 8urL kepL
saylng Allce klnnlan feels he has an overwhelm" deslr Lo lern. Pe akLually beggd Lo be used. And
LhaLs Lrue because l wanLld Lo be smarL. ur SLrauss goL up and walkd around and sald l say we
use Charlle. And 8urL noded. rof nemur skraLchd hls head and rubbd hls nose wlLh hls Lhum
and sald mabye your rlLe. We wlll use Charlle. 8uL weve goL Lo make hlm undersLand LhaL a loL
of Lhlngs can go wrong wlLh Lhe experamlnL. When he sald LhaL l goL so happy and exlLed l
[umpd up and shaked hls hand for belng so good Lo me. l Lhlnk he goL skared when l dld LhaL.
Pe sald Charlle we werked on Lhls for a long Llme buL only on anlmlls llke Algernon. We are sure
Lhers no flslcal danger for you buL Lhere are oLher Lhlngs we canL Lell unLlll we Lry lL. l wanL you
Lo undersLand Lhls mlLe fale and Lhen noLhlng woud happen aL all. Cr lL mlLe even succeed
Lemperary and leeve you werse off Lhen you are now. uo you undersLand whaL LhaL meens. lf
LhaL happlns we wlll have Lo send you bak Lo Lhe Warren sLaLe home Lo llve. l sald l dlnL care
because l alnL afrald of noLhlng. lm very sLrong and l always do good and beslde l goL my luky
rablLs fooL and l never breakd a mhrlr ln my llfe. l droppd some dlshls once buL LhaL donL counL
for bad luk. 1hen ur SLrauss sald Charlle even lf Lhls fales your maklng a graLe conLrlbyushun Lo
slence. 1hls experlmlnL has been successful on loLs of anlmlls buL lLs never bln Lrlde on a humen
beelng. ?ou wlll be Lhe flrsL. l Lold hlm Lhanks doc you wonL be sorry for glvlng me my 2nd
chance llke Mlss klnnlan says. And l 'meen lL llke l Lolld Lhem. AfLer Lhe operashun lm gonna Lry
Lo be smarL. lm gonna Lry awful hard.
progrls rlporL 6Lh Mar 8
lm skared. LoLs of pepul who werk aL Lhe collldge and Lhe pepul aL Lhe medlcll school came Lo
wlsh me luk. 8urL 8 Lhe LesLer broL me some flowers he sald Lhey were from Lhe pepul aL Lhe
psych deparLmlnL. Pe wlshed me luk. l hope l have luk. l goL my rablLs fooL and my luky penny
and my horshoe. ur SLrauss sald donL be so supersLlshus Charlle. 1hls ls slence. l donL no whaL
slence ls buL Lhey all keep saylng lL so mabye lLs someLhlng LhaL helps you have good luk.
Anyway lm keeplng my rablLs fooL ln one hand and my luky penny ln Lhe oLher hand wlLh Lhe
hole ln lL. 1he penny l meen. l wlsh l coud Lake Lhe horshoe wlLh me Lo buL lLs hevy so lll [usL
leeve lL ln my [akeL. !oe Carp from Lhe bakery broL me a chokllaL cake from Mr uonner and Lhe
folks aL Lhe bakery and Lhey hope l geL beLLer soon. AL Lhe bakery Lhey. Lhlnk lm slck becaus
LhaLs whaL rof nemur sald l shoud Lell Lhem and noLhlng abouL an operashun for geLLlng
smarL. 1haLs a secrlL unLll afLer ln case lL donL werk or someLhlng goes wrong. 1hen Mlss
klnnlan came Lo see me and she brouL me some maglzenes Lo reed, and she lookd klnd of
nervus and skared. She flxd up Lhe flowres on my Label and puL evryLhlng nlce and neeL noL
messd up llke l made lL. And she flxd Lhe pllow under my hed. She llkes me aloL becaus l Lry very
hard Lo 1ern evryLhlng noL llke some of Lhe pepul aL Lhe adulL cenLer who donL reely care. She
wanLs me Lo geL smarL. l know. 1hen rof nemur sald l canL have any more vlslLers becaus l goL
Lo resL. l askd rof nemur lf l coud beeL Algernon ln Lhe race afLer Lhe operashun and be sayd
mabye. lf Lhe operashun werks good lll show LhaL mouse l can be as smarL as he ls even
smarLer. 1hen lll be abel Lo reed beLLer and spell Lhe werds good and know loLs of Lhlngs and be
llke oLher pepul. 8oy LhaL woud serprlse everyone. lf Lhe operashun werks and l geL smarL
mabye lll be abel Lo flnd my mom and dad and slsLer and show Lhem. 8oy woud Lhey 'be
serprlsed Lo see me smarL [usL llke Lhem and my slsLer. rof nemur says lf lL werks good and lLs
permlnenL Lhey wlll make oLher pepul llke me smarL also. Mabye pepul all over Lhe werld. And
he sald LhaL meens lm dolng somLhlng graLe for slence and lll be famus and my name wlll go
down ln Lhe books. l donL care so much abouL beelng famus. l [usL wanL Lo be smarL llke oLher
pepul so l can have loLs of frends who llke me .9 1hey dlnL glve me anyLhlng Lo eaL Loday. l donL
know whaL eaLlng goL Lo do wlLh geLlng smarL and lm. hungry. rof nemur Look away my
choklaLe cake. 1haL rof nemur ls a growch. ur. SLrauss says l can have lL back afLer Lhe
operashun. ?ou canL eaL before a operashun. noL even cheese.
8CC8LSS 8LC81 7 MA8CP 11
1he operashun dlnL herL. ur. SLrauss dld lL whlle l was sleeplng. l donL know how because l dlnL
see buL Lhere was bandlges on my eyes and my head for 3 days so- l couldnL make no
8CC8LSS 8LC81 Llll Loday. 1he sklnny nerse who wached me rlLlng says l spelld 8CC8LSS
rong and she Lolld me how Lo spell lL and 8LC81 Lo and MA8CP. l goL Lo rememblr LhaL. l have
a very bad memary for spellng. Anyway Lhey Look off Lhe bandlges from my eyes Loday so l can
make a 8CC8LSS 8LC81 now. 8uL Lhere ls sLlll some bandlgls on my head. l was skared when
Lhey came ln and Lolld me lL was Llme Lo go for Lhe operashun. 1hey mald me geL ouL of Lhe bed
and on anoLher bed LhaL has weels on lL and Lhey rolld me ouL of Lhe room and down Lhe hall Lo
Lhe door LhaL says sergery. 8oy was l serprlsed LhaL lL was a blg room wlLh green walls and loLs
of docLers slLLlng around up hlgh all around Lhe room wachlng Lhe operashun. l dlnL no lL was
golng Lo be llke a show. A man came up Lo Lhe Label all ln wlLe and wlLh a wlLe cloLh on hls face
llke ln 1v shows and rubber glovs and he sald rllax Charlle lLs me ur SLrauss. l sald hl doc lm
skared. Pe sald Lheres noLhlng Lo be skared abouL Charlle he sald youll [usL go Lo sleep. l sald
LhaLs whaL lm skared abouL. Pe paLLed my head and Lhen 2 oLher men warlng wlLe masks Loo
came and sLraped my arms and legs down so l coudnL move Lhem and LhaL mald me very
skared and my sLomack feeled LlLe llke l was gone Lo make all over buL l dlnL only weL a llLLel
and l was gone Lo cry buL Lhey puL a rubber Lhlng on my face for me Lo breeLh ln and lL smelld
funny. All Lhe Llme l herd ur SLrauss Lalklng ouL loud abouL Lhe operashun Lelllng evrybody whaL
he was 10 gonna do. 8uL l dlnL undersLand anyLhlng abouL lL and l was Lhlnklng mabye afLer Lhe
operashun lll be smarL and lll undersLand all Lhe Lhlngs hes Lalklng abouL. So l breeLhed deep
and Lhen l gess l was very Llred becase l wenL Lo sleep. When l waked up l was back ln my bed
and lL was very dark. l coudnL see noLhlng buL l herd some Lalklng. lL was Lhe nerse and 8urL and
l sald whaLs Lhe maLLer why donL you puL on Lhe llLes and when are Lhey gonna operaLe. And
Lhey laffed and 8urL sald Charlle lLs all over. And lLs dark because you goL bandl[ls over your
eyes. lLs a funny Lhlng. 1hey dld lL whlle l was sleeplng. 8urL comes ln Lo see me evry day Lo rlLe
down all Lhe Lhlngs llke my LemperLur and my blud preshur and Lhe oLher Lhlngs abouL me. Pe
says lLs on acounL of Lhe slenLlflc meLhld. 1hey goL Lo keep reckerds abouL whaL happlns so Lhey
can do lL agen when Lhey wanL Lo. noL Lo me buL Lo Lhe oLher pepul llke me who alnL smarL.
1hals why l goL Lo do Lhese pr-egle- progress reporLs. 8urL says lLs parL of Lhe esperlmlnL and
Lhey wlll make foLasLaLs of Lhe 44p- reporLs Lo sLudy Lhem so Lhey wlll know whaL ls golng on ln
my mlnd. l donL see how Lhey wlll know whaL ls golng on ln my mlnd by looklng aL Lhese
reporLs. l read Lhem over and over a loL of Llmes Lo see whaL l roLe and l donL no whaLs golng
on ln my mlnd so how are Lhey golng Lo. 8uL anyway LhaLs slence and l goL Lo Lry Lo be smarL
llke oLher pepul. 1hen when l am smarL Lhey wlll Lalk Lo me and l can slL wlLh Lhem and llsLen
llke !oe Carp and lrank and Clmpy do when Lhey Lalk and have a dlscushen abouL lmporLenL
Lhlngs. Whlle Lhelr werklng Lhey sLarL Lalklng abouL Lhlngs llke abouL god or abouL Lhe Lruble
wlLh all Lhe mony Lhe presedlnL ls spendlng or abouL Lhe rlpubllcans and demlcraLs. And Lhey
geL all exclLed llke Lhelr gonna have a flLe so Mr uonner goL Lo come ln and Lell Lhem Lo geL
back Lo baklng or Lheyll all geL canned unlon or no unlon. l wanL Lo Lalk abouL Lhlngs llke LhaL. lf
your smarL you can have loLs of flends Lo Lalk Lo and you never geL lonley by yourself all Lhe
Llme. rof nemur says lLs ok Lo Lell abouL all Lhe Lhlngs LhaL happln Lo me ln Lhe progress
reporLs buL he says l shoud 11 rlLe more abouL whaL l feel and whaL l Lhlnk and rememnr abouL
Lhe pasL. l Lolld hlm l donL know how Lo Lhlnk or rememblr and he sald [usL Lry. All Lhe Llme Lhe
bandlges were on my eyes l Lryed Lo Lhlnk and rememblr. buL noLhlng happlned. l donL know
whaL Lo Lhlnk or rememblr abouL. Maybe lf l ask hlm he wlll Lell me how l can Lhlnk now LhaL lm
suppose Lo geL smarL. WhaL do smarL pepul Lhlnk abouL or rememblr. lancy Lhlngs l beL. l wlsh l
new some fancy Lhlngs alredy. March 12 l donL have Lo rlLe 8CC8LSS 8LC81 on Lop evry day
[usL when l sLarL a new baLch afLer rof nemur Lakes Lhe old ones away. l [usL have Lo puL Lhe
daLe on Lop. 1haL saves Llme. lLs a good ldea. l can slL up ln bed and look ouL Lhe wlndow aL Lhe
gras and Lrees ouLslde. 1he sklnney nerses name ls Pllda and she ls very good Lo me. She brlngs
me Lhlngs Lo eaL and she flxes my bed and she says l was a very brave man Lo leL Lhem do Lhlngs
Lo my hed. She says she woud never leL Lhem do Lhlngs Lo her branes for all Lhe Lea ln chlna. l
Lolld her lL wasnL for Lea ln chlna. lL was Lo make me smarL. And she sald mabey Lhey goL no rlLe
Lo make me smarL because lf god wanLld me Lo be smarL he would have made me born LhaL
way. And whaL abouL Adem and Lev and Lhe sln wlLh Lhe Lree of nowlege and eaLlng Lhe appel
and Lhe fall. And mabey rof nemur and ur SLrauss was Lamplrlng wlLh Lhlngs Lhey goL no rlLe
Lo Lamplr wlLh. She's very sklnney and when she Lalks her face geLs all red. She says mabey l
beLLer prey Lo god Lo ask hlm Lo forglv whaL Lhey done Lo me. l dlnL eaL no appels or do noLhlng
slnful. And now lm skared. Mabey l shoudnL of leL Lhem oparaLe on my branes llke she sald lf lLs
agensL god. l donL wanL Lo make god angrey. March 13-1hey changed my nerse Loday. 1hls one
ls prlLLy. Per name ls Lucllle she showd me how Lo spell lL for my progress reporL and she goL
yellow halr and blew eyes. l askd her where was Pllda and she sald Pllda wasnL werklng ln LhaL
parL of Lhe hosplLll no more. Cnly ln Lhe maLlrnlLy ward by Lhe babys where lL donL maLLer lf she
Lalks Loo much. When l askd her abouL whaL was maLlrnlLy she sald lLs abouL havlng babys buL
when l askd her how Lhey have Lhem she goL red ln Lhe face [usL Lhe same llke Pllda and she
sald she goL Lo Lake sombodys Lemperchure. nobody ever Lells me abouL Lhe babys. Mabye lf
Lhls Lhlng werks and l geL smarL lll flnd ouL. Mlss klnnlan came Lo see me Loday and she sald
Charlle you look wonderful. l Lolld her l feel flne buL l donL feel smarL yeL. l LhoL LhaL when Lhe
operashun was over and Lhey Look Lhe bandl[ls off my eyes ld be smarL and no a loL of Lhlngs so
l coud read and Lalk abouL lmporLenL Lhlngs llke evryebody else. She sald LhaLs noL Lhe way lL
werks Charlle. lL comes slowley and you have Lo werk very hard Lo geL smarL. l dlnL no LhaL. lf l
goL Lo werk hard anyway whaL dld l have Lo have Lhe operashun for. She sald she wasnL sure
buL Lhe operashun was Lo make lL so LhaL when l dld werk hard Lo geL smarL lL woud sLlck wlLh
me and noL be llke lL was before when lL dlnL sLlck so good. Well l Lolld her LhaL made me klnd
of feel bad because l LhoL l was golng Lo be smarL rlLe away and l coud go back Lo show Lhe guys
aL Lhe bakery how smarL l am and Lalk wlLh Lhem abouL Lhlngs and mabye even geL Lo be an
asslsLlnL baker. 1hen l was gone Lo Lry and flnd my mom and dad. 1hey woud be serprlsed Lo
see how smarL l goL because my mom always wanLed me Loo be smarL Lo. Mabey Lhey woudnL
send me away no more lf Lhey see how smarL l am. l Lolld Mlss klnnlan l would Lry hard Lo be
smarL as hard as 1 can. She paLLld my hand and sald l no you wlll. l have fayLh ln you Charlle.
8CC8LSS 8LC81 8
March 13-lm ouL of Lhe hosplLll buL noL back aL werk yeL. noLhlng ls happlnlng. l had loLs of
LesLs and dlfferlnL klnds of races wlLh Algernon. l haLe LhaL mouse. Pe always beeLs me. rof
nemur says l goL Lo play Lhose games and l goL Lo Lake Lhose LesLs over and over agen. 1hose
amazes are sLoopld. And Lhose plcLurs are sLoopld Lo. l llke Lo drawer Lhe plcLurs of a man and
woman buL l wonL make up lles abouL pepul. And l canL do Lhe puzzels good. l geL headakes
from Lrylng Lo Lhlnk and rememblr so much. ur SLrauss promlsed he was golng Lo help me buL
he donL. Pe donL Lell me whaL Lo Lhlnk or when lll geL smarL. Pe [usL makes me lay down on a
couch and Lalk. Mlss klnnlan comes Lo see me aL Lhe collldge Loo. l Lolld her noLhlng was
happlnlng. When am l golng Lo geL smarL. She sald you goL Lo be pashenL Charlle Lhese Lhlngs
Lake Llme. lL wlll happln so slowley you wonL know lLs happenlng. She sald 8urL Lolld her l was
commlng along flne. l sLlll Lhlnk Lhose races and Lhose LesLs are sLoopld and l Lhlnk rlLlng Lhese
progress reporLs are sLoopld Lo. March 16-l aLe lunch wlLh 8urL aL Lhe collldge resLeranL. 1hey
goL all klnds of good food and l donL have Lo pay for lL nelLher. l llke Lo slL and wach Lhe collldge
boys and glrls. 1hey fool around somLlmes buL mosLly Lhey Lalk abouL all klnds of Lhlngs [usL llke
Lhe bakers do aL uonners bakery. 8urL says lLs abouL arL and polaLlcs and rlllgon. l donL know
whaL Lhose Lhlngs are abouL buL l know rlllgon ls god. Mom use Lo Lell me all abouL hlm and Lhe
Lhlngs he done Lo make Lhe werld. She sald l shoud always love god and prey Lo hlm. l donL
rememblr how Lo prey Lo hlm buL l Lhlnk mom use Lo make me prey Lo hlm a loL when l was a
kld LhaL he shoud make me geL beLLer and noL be slck. l donL rlmember how l was slck. l Lhlnk lL
was abouL me noL belng smarL. Anyway 8urL says lf Lhe experlmlnL werks lll be able Lo
undersLand all Lhose Lhlngs Lhe sLudlnLs are Lalklng abouL and l sald do you Lhlnk lll be smarL
llke Lhem and he laffed and sald Lhose klds arenL so smarL youll pass Lhem as lf Lhelr sLandlng
sLlll. Pe lnLerduced me Lo aloL of Lhe sLudlnLs and some of Lhem look aL me funny llke l donL
belong ln a collldge. l almosL forgoL and sLarLed Lo Lell Lhem l was golng Lo be very smarL soon
llke Lhem buL 8urL lnLlruppLed and he Lolld Lhem l was cleanlng Lhe psych deparLmenL lab. LaLer
be explaned Lo me Lhelr mussenL be any publlslLy. 1haL meens lLs a seecrlL. l donL reely
undersLand why l goL Lo keep lL a seeerlL. 8urL says lLs ln case Lhelrs a faleure rof nemur donL
wanL everybody Lo laff espeshully Lhe pepul from Lhe Welu berg foundashun who gave hlm Lhe
mony for Lhe pro[ekL. l sald l donL care lf pepul laff aL me. LoLs of pepul laff aL me and Lhelr my
frends and we have fun. 8urL puL hls arm on my sholder and sald lLs noL you nemurs worryd
abouL. Pe donL wanL pepul Lo laff aL hlm. l dlnL Lhlnk pepul would laff aL rof nemur because
hes a slenLlsL ln a collldge buL 8erL sald no slenLlsL ls a graLe man Lo hls colleegs and hls
gradulaLe sLudlnLs. 8urL ls a gradulaLe sLudlnL and he ls a ma[er ln psychology llke Lhe name on
Lhe door Lo Lhe lab. l dlnL know Lhey had ma[ers ln collldge. l LhoL lL was onley ln Lhe army.
Anyway l hope l geL smarL soon because l wanL Lo lern everyLhlng Lhere ls ln Lhe werld llke Lhe
collldge boys know. All abouL arL and pollLlks and god. March 17-When l waked up Lhls mornlng
rlLe away l LhoL l was gone Lo be smarL buL lm noL. Lvry mornlng l Lhlnk lm gone Lo be smarL buL
noLhlng happlns. Mabye Lhe experlmlnL dlnL werk. Maby l wonL geL smarL and lll have Lo go llve
aL Lhe Warren home. l haLe Lhe LesLs and l haLe Lhe amazeds and l haLe Algernon. l never new
before LhaL l was dumber Lhan a mouse. l donL feel llke rlLlng any more progress reporLs. l
forgeL Lhlngs and even when l rlLe Lhem ln my noLbook someLlmes l canL reed my own rlLlng
and lLs very hard. Mlss klnnlan says have pashenLs buL l feel slck and Llred. And l geL headakes
all Lhe Llme. l wanL Lo go back Lo werk ln Lhe bakery and noL rlLe pvegrls- progress reporLs any
more. March 20-lm golng back Lo werk aL Lhe bakery. ur SLrauss Lold rof nemur lL was beLLer l
shoud go back Lo werk buL l sLlll canL Lell anyone whaL Lhe operashun was for and l have Lo
come Lo Lhe lab for 2 hrs evry nlLe afLer werk for my LesLs and keep rlLlng Lhese dumb reporLs.
1hey are golng Lo pay me evry week llke for a parL Llme [ob because LhaL was parL of Lhe
arralngmenL when Lhey goL Lhe mony from Lhe Welberg foundashun. l sLlll donL know whaL LhaL
Welberg Lhlng ls. Mlss klnnlan explaned me buL l sLlll donL geL lL. So lf l dlnL geL smarL why are
Lhey paylng me Lo rlLe Lhese dumb Lhlngs. lf Lhelr gonna pay me lll do lL. 8uL lLs very hard Lo
rlLe. lm glad lm golng back Lo werk because l mlss my [ob aL Lhe bakery and all my frends and all
Lhe fun we have .23 ur. SLrauss says l shoud keep a noLbook ln my pocklL for Lhlngs l rememblr.
And l donL have Lo do Lhe progress reporLs every day [usL when l Lhlnk of somLhlng or somLhlng
speshul happlns. l Lold hlm noLhlng speshul ever happlns Lo me and lL donL look llke Lhls speshul
exper'LmlnL ls golng Lo happln nelLher. Pe says donL geL dlscourlged Charlle because lL Lakes a
long Llme and lL happlns slow and you canL noLlse lL rlLe away. Pe explaned how lL Look a long
Llme wlLh Algernon before he goL 3 Llmes smarLer Lhen he was before. 1haLs why Algernon
beaLs me all Lhe Llme ln LhaL amaze race because he had LhaL operashun Loo. Pes a speshul
mouse Lhe 1sL anlmll Lo sLay smarL so long afLer Lhe operashun. l dlnL know he was a speshul
mouse. 1haL makes lL dlffrlnL. l coud probaly do LhaL amazed fasLer Lhen a reglar mouse. Maybe
some day lll beaL Algernon. 8oy woud LhaL be somLhlng. ur SLrauss says LhaL so far Algernon
looks llke he mlLe be smarL permanlnL and he says LhaLs a good slne becaus we boLh had Lhe
same klnd of operashun. March 21 We had a loL of fun aL Lhe bakery Loday. !oe Carp sald hey
look where Charlle had hls operashun whaL dld Lhey do Charlle puL some bralns ln. l was golng
Lo Lell hlm abouL me geLLlng smarL buL l remembered rof nemur sald no. 1hen lrank 8ellly
sald whaL dld you do Charlle open a door Lhe hard way. 1haL made me laff. 1helr my frends and
Lhey really llke me. 1helr ls a loL of werk Lo caLch up. 1hey dlnL have anyone Lo clean ouL Lhe
place because LhaL was my [ob buL Lhey goL a new boy Lrnle Lo do Lhe dlllverles LhaL l always
done. Mr. uonner sald he declded noL Lo flre hlm for a whlle Lo glve me a chanse Lo resL up and
noL werk so hard. l Lold hlm l was alrlghL and l can make my dlllverles and clean up llke l always
done buL Mr. uonner says we wlll keep Lhe boy. l sald so whaL am l gonna do. And Mr. uonner
paLLed me on Lhe shoulder and says Charlle how old are you. l Lold hlm 32 years golng on 33 my
nexL brlLhday. And how long you been here he sald. l Lold hlm l dlnL know. Pe sald you came
here sevenLeen years ago. ?our uncle Perman god resL hls sole was my besL frend. Pe brouL
you ln here and he askd me Lo leL you werk here and 16 look afLer you as besL l eoud. And when
he dled 2 years laLer and your moLher had you comlLed Lo Lhe Warren home l goL Lhem Lo
releese you on ouLslde werk placmlnL. SevenLeen years lLs been Charlle and l wanL you Lo know
LhaL Lhe bakery blsness ls noL so good buL llke l always sald you goL a [ob here for Lhe resL of
your llfe. So donL worry abouL me brlnglng ln somebody Lo Lake your place. ?oull never have Lo
go back Lo LhaL Warren home. l alnL worryd only whaL does he need Lrnle for Lo dlllver and
werk around here when l was always dellvlrlng Lhe packlges good. Pe says Lhe boy needs Lhe
mony Charlle so lm golng Lo keep hlm on as an aprenLlse Lo lern hlm Lo be a baker. ?ou can be
hls aslsLenL and help hlm ouL on dlllverys when he needs lL. l never was a aslsLenL before. Lrnle
ls very smarL buL Lhe oLher pepul ln Lhe bakery donL llke hlm so much. 1helr all my good flends
and we have loLs of [okes and laffs here. Some Llmes somebody wlll say hey looklL lrank, or !oe
or even Clmpy. Pe really pulled a Charlle Cordon LhaL Llme. l donL know why Lhey say lL buL
Lhey always lafl and l laff Loo. 1hls mornlng Clmpy hes Lhe head baker and he has a bad fooL
and he llmps he used my name when he shouLed aL Lrnle because Lrnle lossL a blrLhday cake.
Pe sald Lrnle for godsake you Lrylng Lo be a Charlle Cordon. l donL know why he sald LhaL. l
never losL any packlges. l askd Mr uonner lf l coud lern Lo be an aprenLlse baker llke Lrnle. l Lold
hlm l coud lern lL lf he gave me a chanse. Mr uonner looked aL me for a long Llme funny
because l gess l donL Lalk so much mosL of Lhe Llme. And lrank herd me and he laffed and lafed
unLll Mr uonner Lold hlm Lo shuL up and go Lend Lo hls oven. 1hen Mr uonner sald Lo me Lhelrs
loLs of Llme for LhaL Charlle. A bakers werk ls very lmporLlnL and very compllkaLed and you
shoudnL worry abouL Lhlngs llke LhaL. l wlsh l coud Lell hlm and all Lhe oLher people abouL my
real operashun. l wlsh lL woud reely work alredy so l coud geL smarL llke evrybody else. March
24-rof nemur and ur SLrauss came Lo my room LonlghL Lo see why l donL come ln Lo Lhe lab
llke l 17 am suppose Lo. l Lold Lhem l donL wanL Lo race wlLh Algernon no more. rof nemur sald
l donL have Lo for a whlle buL l shoud come ln any way. Pe brouL me a preslnL only lL wasnL a
preslnL buL [usL for lend. Pe sald lLs a Leechlng mashlne LhaL werks llke 1v. lL Lalks and makes
plcLurs and l goL Lo Lern lL on [usL before l go Lo sleep. l sald your klddlng. Why shoud l Lern on a
1v before l go Lo sleep. 8uL rof nemur sald lf l wanL Lo geL smarL l goL Lo do whaL he says. So l
Lold hlm l dlnL Lhlnk l was goln Lo geL smarL anyway. 1hen ur. SLrauss came over and puL hls
hand on my sholder and sald Charlle you donL know lL yeL buL your geLLlng smarLer all Lhe Llme.
?ou wonL noLlse lL for a whlle llke you donL noLlse how Lhe hour hand on a clock moves. 1haLs
Lhe way lL ls wlLh Lhe changes ln you. 1hey are happlnlng so slow you canL Lell. 8uL we can
follow lL from Lhe LesLs and Lhe way you acL and Lalk and your progress reporLs. Pe sald Charlle
youve goL Lo have fayLh ln us and ln yourself. We canL be sure lL wlll be permanlnL buL we are
confldanL LhaL soon your golng Lo be a very lnLelll[enL young man. l sald okay and rof nemur
showed me how Lo werk Lhe 1v LhaL reely wasnL a 1v. l askd hlm whaL dld lL do. llrsL he lookd
sore agaln because l asked hlm Lo explane me and he sald l shoud [usL do whaL he Lold me. 8uL
ur SLrauss sald he shoud explane lL Lo me because l was beglnnlng Lo quesLlen auLhoreLy. l donL
no whaL LhaL meens buL rof nemur looked llke he was golng Lo blLe hls llp off. 1hen he
explaned me very slow LhaL Lhe mashlne dld loLs of Lhlngs Lo my mlnd. SomeLhlngs lL dld [usL
before l fall asleep llke Leach me Lhlngs when lm very sleepy and a llLLle whlle afLer l sLarL Lo fall
asleep l sLlll hear Lhe Lalk even lf l donL see Lhe plcLurs anymore. CLher Lhlngs ls aL nlLe lLs
suppose Lo make me have dreams and rememblr Lhlngs LhaL happened a long Llme ago when l
was a very llLLel kld. lLs scary. Ch yes l forgoL. l asked rof nemur when l can go back Lo Mlss
klnnlans class aL Lhe adulL cenLer and he sald soon Mlss klnnlan wlll come Lo Lhe collldge LesLlng
cenLer Lo Leach me speshul. l am glad abouL LhaL. l dlnL see her so much slnce Lhe operashun
buL she ls nlce. March 23-1haL crazy 1v kepL me up all nlLe. Pow can l sleep wlLh someLhlng
yelllng crazy Lhlngs all nlghL ln my ears. And Lhe nuLLy plcLurs. Wow. l donL know whaL lL says
when lm up so how am l golng Lo know when lm sleeplng. l asked 8urL abouL lL and he says lLs
ok. Pe says my branes are lernlng [usL before l goL Lo sleep and LhaL wlll help me when Mlss
klnnlan sLarLs my lessons aL Lhe LesLlng cenLer. 1he LesLlng cenLer lsnL a hosplLll for anlmlls llke l
LhougL before. lLs a laborLory for slence. l donL know whaL slence ls exepL lm helplng lL wlLh Lhls
experlmlnL. Anyway l donL know abouL LhaL 1v. l Lhlnk lLs crazy. lf you can geL smarL when your
golng Lo sleep why do pepul go Lo school. l donL Lhlnk LhaL Lhlng wlll werk. l use Lo waLch Lhe
laLe show and Lhe laLe laLe show on 1v all Lhe Llme before l wenL Lo sleep and lL never made me
smarL. Maybe only cerLln movles make you smarL. Maybe llke qulzz shows. March 26-Pow am l
gonna work ln Lhe dayLlme lf LhaL Lhlng keeps waklng me up aL nlLe. ln Lhe mlddel of Lhe nlLe l
woke up and l coudnL go back Lo sleep because lL kepL saylng rememblr.. rememblr...
rememblr.... So l Lhlnk l rememblrd someLhlng. l donL rememblr exackly buL lL was abouL Mlss
klnnlan and Lhe school where l lerned abouL readlng. And how l wenL Lhelr. A long Llme ago
once l asked !oe Carp how he lerned Lo read and lf l coud lern Lo read Lo. Pe laffed llke he
always done when l say someLhlng funny and he says Lo me Charlle why wasLe your Llme Lhey
canL puL any branes ln where Lhere alnL none. 8uL lanny 8lrden herd me and she askd her cusln
who ls a collldge sLudlnL aL 8eekman and she Lold me abouL Lhe adulL cenLer for reLarded pepul
aL Lhe 8eekman collldge. She roLe Lhe name down on a paper and lrank laffed and sald donL go
geLLlng so eddlcaLed LhaL you wonL Lalk Lo your old frends. l sald donL worry l wlll always keep
my old frends even lf l can read and rlLe. Pe was lafflng and !oe Carp was lafflng buL Clmpy
came ln and Lold Lhem Lo geL back Lo maklng rolls. 1hey are all good frends Lo me. AfLer work l
walked over slx blocks Lo Lhe school and l was scared. l was so happy l was golng Lo lern Lo read
LhaL l bougL a newspaper Lo Lake home wlLh me and read afLer l lerned. When l goL Lhelr lL was
a blg long hall wlLh loLs of pepul. l goL scared of saylng somLhlng wrong Lo sombody so l sLarLld
Lo go home. 8uL l donL know why l Lerned around and wenL lnslde agen. l waLed unLll mosL
everbody wenL away exepL some pepul golng over by a blg Llmeclock llke Lhe one we have aL
Lhe bakery and l asked Lhe lady lf l coud lern Lo read and rlLe because l wanLed Lo read all Lhe
Lhlngs ln Lhe newspaper and l showed lL Lo her. She was Mlss klnnlan buL l dlnL know lL Lhen.
She sald lf you come back Lomorow and re[lsLer l wlll sLarL Lo Leach you how Lo read. 8uL you
goL Lo undersLand lL wlll Lake a long Llme maybe years Lo lern Lo read. l Lold her l dlnL know lL
Look so long buL l wanLld Lo lern anyway because l made belleve a loL of Llmes. l meen l preLend
Lo pepul l know how Lo read buL lL alnL Lrue and l wanLld Lo lern. She shaked my hand and sald
glad Lo meeL you MlsLre Cordon. l wlll be your Leacher. My name ls Mlss Mnnlan. So LhaLs wear
l wenL Lo lern and LhaLs how l meL Mlss klnnlan. 1hlnklng and rememblrlng ls hard and now l
donL sleep so good any more. 1haL 1v ls Loo loud. March 27-now LhaL lm sLarLlng Lo have Lhose
dreams and rememblrlng rof nemur says l goL Lo go Lo Lherlpy seslons wlLh ur SLrauss. Pe says
Lherlpy seslons ls llke when you feel bad you Lalk Lo make lL beLLer. l Lolld hlm l donL feel bad
and l do plenLy of Lalklng all day so why do l have Lo go Lo Lherlpy buL he goL sore and says l goL
Lo go anyway. WhaL Lherlpy ls ls LhaL l goL Lo lay down on a couch and ur. SLrauss slLs ln a chalr
near me and l Lalk abouL anyLhlng LhaL comes lnLo my head. lor a long Llme l dlnL say noLhlng
because l coudnL Lhlnk of noLhlng Lo say. 1hen l Lold hlm abouL Lhe bakery and Lhe Lhlngs Lhey
do Lhere. 8uL lLs sllly for me Lo go Lo hls offlce and lay down on Lhe couch Lo Lalk because l rlLe
lL down ln Lhe progress reporLs anyway and he could read lL. So Loday l brouL Lhe progress
reporL wlLh me and l Lold hlm maybe he could [usL read lL and l could Lake a nap on Lhe couch. l
was very Llred because LhaL 1v kepL me up all nlLe buL he sald no lL donL work LhaL way. l goL Lo
Lalk. So l Lalked buL Lhen l fell asleep on Lhe couch anyway-rlLe ln Lhe mlddle. March 28-l goL a
headake. lLs noL from LhaL 1v Lhls Llme. ur SLrauss showed me how Lo keep Lhe 1v Lurned low
so now l can sleep. l donL hear a Lhlng. And l sLlll donL undersLand whaL lL says. A few Llmes l
play lL over ln Lhe mornlng Lo flnd ouL whaL l lerned before l fell asleep and whlle l was sleeplng
and l donL even know Lhe words. Maybe lLs anoLher langwldge or someLhlng. 8uL mosL Llmes lL
sounds amerlcan. 8uL lL Lalks Loo fasL. l askd ur SLrauss whaL good ls lL Lo geL smarL ln my sleep
lf l wanL Lo be smarL when lm awake. Pe says lLs Lhe same Lhlng and l have Lwo mlnds. 1heres
Lhe Su8CCnSClCuS and Lhe CCnSClCuS (LhaLs how you spell lL) and one donL Lell Lhe oLher
whaL lLs dolng. 1hey donL even Lalk Lo each oLher. 1haLs why l dream. And boy have l been
havlng crazy dreams. Wow. Lver slnce LhaL nlghL 1v. 1he laLe laLe laLe laLe laLe movle show. l
forgoL Lo ask ur SLrauss lf lL was only me or lf everybody has Lwo mlnds llke LhaL. (l [usL looked
up Lhe word ln Lhe dlcshunery ur SLrauss gave me. Su8CCnSClCuS. ad[. Cf Lhe naLure of
menLal operaLlons yeL noL presenL ln consclousness, as, subconsclous confllcL of deslres.)
1heres more buL l sLlll donL know whaL lL meens. 1hls lsnL a very good dlcshunery for dumb
people llke me. Anyway Lhe headake ls from Lhe parLy. !oe Carp and lrank 8ellly lnvlLed me Lo
go wlLh Lhem afLer work Lo Pallorans 8ar for some drlnks. l donL llke Lo drlnk wlskey buL Lhey
sald we wlll have loLs of ~ nw., l, h d a _good Llme. We played games wlLh me dolng a dance on
Lhe wp ~~ Lhe bar wlLh a lampshade on my head and everyone lafflng. 1hen !oe Carp sald l
shoud show Lhe glrls how l mop ouL Lhe LolleL ln Lhe bakery and he goL me a mop. l showed
Lhem and everyone laffed when l Lold Lhem LhaL Mr uonner sald l was Lhe besL [anlLer and
errand boy he ever had because l llke my [ob and do lL good and never come laLe or mlss a day
exepL for my operashun. l sald Mlss klnnlan always Lold me Charlle be proud of Lhe work you do
because you do your [ob good. Lverybody laffed and lrank sald LhaL Mlss klnnlan musL be some
cracked up plece lf she goes for Charlle and !oe sald hey Charlle are you maklng ouL wlLh her. l
sald l dlnL know whaL LhaL meens. 1hey gave me loLs of drlnks and !oe sald Charlle ls a card
when hes poLLed. l Lhlnk LhaL means Lhey llke me. We have some good Llmes buL l canL walL Lo
be smarL llke my besL frends !oe Carp and lrank 8ellly. l donL remember how Lhe parLy was
over buL Lhey asked me Lo go around Lhe corner Lo see lf lL was ralnlng and when l came back
Lhere was no one Lhelr. Maybe Lhey wenL Lo flnd me. l looked for Lhem all over Llll lL was laLe.
8uL l goL losL and l felL bad aL myself for geLLlng losL because l beL Algernon coud go up and
down Lhose sLreeLs a hundrld Llmes and noL geL losL llke l dld. 1hen l donL remember so good
buL Mrs llynn says a nlce poleecman broughL me back home. 1haL same nlLe l dreamed abouL
my moLher and faLher only l coudnL see her face lL was all wlLe and she was blurry. l was crylng
because we were ln a blg deparLmlnL sLore and l was lossL and l coudnL flnd Lhem and l ran up
and down Lhe rows around all Lhe blg cownLers ln Lhe sLore. 1hen a man came and Look me ln a
blg room wlLh benches and gave me a lolypop and Lolld me a blg boy llke me shoudnL cry
because my moLher and faLher woud come Lo flnd me. Anyway LhaLs Lhe dream and l goL a
headake and a blg lump on my head and black and blue marks all over. !oe Carp says mabye l
goL rolled or Lhe cop leL me have lL. l donL Lhlnk poleecmen do Lhlngs llke LhaL. 8uL anyway l
donL Lhlnk lll drlnk wlskey anymore. n March 29 l beeL Algernon. l dlnL even know l beeL hlm
unLll 8urL Selden Lold me. 1hen Lhe second Llme l losL because l goL so exlLed. 8uL afLer LhaL 1
beeL hlm 8 more Llmes. l musL be geLLlng smarL Lo beaL a smarL mouse llke Algernon. 8uL l donL
feel smarLer. l wanLed Lo race some more buL 8urL sald LhaLs enough for one day. Pe leL me
hold Algernon for a mlnlL. Algernon ls a nlce mouse. SofL llke coLLon. Pe bllnks and when he
opens hls eyes Lhelr black and plnk on Lhe egos .22 l asked can l feed hlm because l felL bad Lo
beaL hlm and l wanLed Lo be nlce and make flends. 8urL sald no Algernon ls a very speshul
mouse wlLh an operashun llke mlne. Pe was Lhe flrsL of all Lhe anlmals Lo sLay smarL so long and
he sald LhaL Algernon ls so smarL he has Lo solve a problem wlLh a lock LhaL changes every Llme
he goes ln Lo eaL so he has Lo lem someLhlng new Lo geL hls food. 1haL made me sad because lf
he coudnL lern he woudnL be able Lo eaL and he would be hungry. l donL Lhlnk lLs rlghL Lo make
you pass a LesL Lo eaL Pow woud 8urL llke Lo have Lo pass a LesL every Llme he wanLs Lo eaL. l
Lhlnk lll be frends wlLh Algernon. 1haL remlnds me. ur SLrauss says l shoud wrlLe down all my
dreams and Lhe Lhlngs l Lhlnk so when l come Lo hls offlce l can Lell Lhem. l Lolld hlm l donL
know how Lo Lhlnk yeL buL he says he means more Lhlngs llke whaL l wroLe abouL my mom and
dad and abouL when l sLarLed school aL Mlss klnnlans or anyLhlng LhaL happened before Lhe
operaLlon ls Lhlnklng and l wroLe Lhem ln my progress reporL. l dldnL know l was Lhlnklng and
rememberlng. Maybe LhaL means someLhlng ls happlnlng Lo me. l donL feel dlfferenL buL lm so
exlLed l canL sleep. ur SLrauss gave me some plnk pllls Lo make me sleep good. Pe says l goL Lo
geL loLs of sleep because LhaLs when mosL of Lhe changes happln ln. my brane. lL musL be Lrue
because uncle Perman use Lo sleep ln our house all Lhe Llme when he was ouL of werk on Lhe
old sofa ln Lhe parler. Pe was faL and lL was hard for hlm Lo geL a [ob because he use Lo palnL
pepuls houses and he goL very slow golng up and down Lhe ladder. When l once Lolld my mom l
wanLld Lo be a palnLer llke uncle Perman my slsLer norma sald yeah Charlles golng Lo be Lhe
arLlsL of Lhe famlly. And dad slappd her face and Lolld her noL Lo be so goddam nasLy Lo her
broLher. l donL no whaL a arLlsL ls buL lf norma goL slappd for saylng lL l gess lLs noL a nlce Lhlng.
l always feeled bad when norma goL slappd for belng meen Lo me. When l geL smarL lll go vlslL
her. March 30-1onlLe afLer werk Mlss klnnlan came Lo Lhe Leechlng room near Lhe labaLory. She
looked glad Lo see me buL nervus. She looks yunger Lhen l rememblred her .23 l Lolld her l was
Lrylng very hard Lo be smarL. She sald l have confldense ln you Charlle Lhe way you sLrugled so
much Lo reed and rlLe beLLer Lhen all Lhe oLhers. l know you can do lL. AL wersL you wlll have lL
all for a llLLle wlle and your dolng somLhlng for oLher reLarded pepul. We sLarLld Lo reed a very
hard book. l never red such a hard book before. lLs called 8oblnson Crusoe abouL a man who
geLs merooned on a desserL Pand. Pes smarL and flggers ouL all klnds of Lhlngs so he can have a
house and food and hes a good swlmmer. Cnly l feel sorry for hlm because hes all alone and he
has no frends. 8uL l Lhlnk Lhelr musL be somebody else on Lhe Pand because Lheres a plcLure of
hlm wlLh hls funny umbrela looklng aL feeLprlnLs. l hope he geLs a frend and noL be so lonely.
March 31-Mlss klnnlan Leeches me how Lo spel beLLer. She says look aL a werd and close your
eyes and say lL over and over agaln unLll you remember. l have loLs of Lruble wlLh Lhrough LhaL
you say 1P8LW and enough and Lough LhaL you donL say LnLw and 1LW. ?ou goL Lo say Snull
and 1ull. 1baLs how l use Lo rlLe lL before l sLarLed Lo geL smarL. lm mlxd up buL Mlss klnnlan
says donL worry spelllng ls noL suppose Lo make sence.
8CC8LSS 8LC81 9
Aprll 1-Lverbody ln Lhe bakery came Lo see me Loday where l sLarLed my new [ob worklng by
Lhe dough-mlxer. lL happlned llke Lhls. Cllver who works on Lhe mlxer qulL yesLerday. l used Lo
help hlm ouL before brlnglng Lhe bags of flour over for hlm Lo puL ln Lhe mlxer. Anyway l dlnL
know LhaL l knew how Lo work Lhe mlxer. lLs very hard and Cllver wenL Lo bakers school for one
year before he could learn how Lo be an asslsLlnL baker. 8uL !oe Carp hes my frlend he sald
Charlle why donL you Lake over Cllvers [ob. Lverybody on Lhe floor came around and Lhey were
4a* laughlng and lrank 8ellly sald yes Charlle you been here long. cnuff enough. Co ahead.
Clmpy alnL around and he wonL know you Lryed lL. l was scared because Clmpy ls Lhe head
baker and he Lold me never Lo go near Lhe mlxer because l would geL hurL. Lveryone sald do lL
exepL lannle 8lrden who sald sLop lL why donL you leave Lhe poor man alone. lrank 8ellly sald
shuL up lanny lLs Aprll fools day and lf Charlle works on Lhe mlxer he mlghL flx lL good so we wlll
all have Lhe day off. l sald l coudnL flx Lhe mashlne buL l could work lL because l been waLchlng
Cllver ever slnce l goL back. l worked Lhe dough-mlxer and everybody was surprlsed espeshully
lrank 8ellly. lanny 8lrden goL exlLed because she sald lL Look Cllver 2 years Lo learn how Lo mlx
Lhe dough rlghL and he wenL Lo bakers school. 8ernle 8aLe who helps on Lhe mashlne sald l dld
lL fasLer Lhen Cllver dld and beLLer. nobody laffed. When Clmpy came back and lanny Lold hlm
he goL sore aL me for worklng on Lhe mlxer. 8uL she sald waLch hlm and see how he does lL.
1hey were playlng hlm for an Aprll lool [oke and he foold Lhem lnsLead. Clmpy waLched and l
knew he was sore aL me because he donL llke when people donL do whaL he Lells Lhem [usL llke
rof nemur. 8uL he saw how l worked Lhe mlxer and he skraLched hls head and sald l see lL buL
l donL belleve lL. 1hen he called Mr uonner and Lold me Lo work lL agaln so Mr uonner could
see lL. l was scared he was golng Lo be angry and holler aL me so afLer l was flnlshed l sald can l
go back Lo my own [ob now. l goL Lo sweep ouL Lhe fronL of Lhe bakery behlnd Lhe counLer. Mr
uonner looked aL me funny for a long Llme. 1hen he sald Lhls musL be some klnd of Aprll fools
[oke you guys are playlng on me. WhaLs Lhe caLch. Clmpy sald LhaLs whaL l LhoughL lL was some
klnd of a gag. Pe llmped all around Lhe mashlne and he sald Lo Mr uonner l donL undersLand lL
elLher buL Charlle knows how Lo handle lL and l goL Lo admlL lL he does a beLLer [ob Lhen Cllver.
Lverybody was crowded around and Lalklng abouL lL and l goL scared because Lhey all looked aL
me funny and Lhey were exlLed. lrank sald l Lold you Lhere ls someLhlng peculler laLely abouL
Charlle. And !oe Carp says yeah l know whaL you mean. Mr uonner senL everybody back Lo
work and he Look me ouL Lo Lhe fronL of Lhe sLore wlLh hlm. Pe sald Charlle l donL know how
you done lL buL lL looks llke you flnally learned someLhlng. l wanL you Lo be carefull and do Lhe
besL you can do. ?ou goL yourself a new [ob wlLh a 3 doller ralse. l sald l donL wanL a new [ob
because l llke Lo clean up and sweep and dellver and do Lhlngs for my frlends buL Mr uonner
sald never mlnd your frlends l need you for Lhls [ob. l donL Lhlnk much of a man who donL wanL
Lo advance. l sald whaLs advance mean. Pe scraLched hls head and looked aL me over hls
glasses. never mlnd LhaL Charlle. lrom now on you work LhaL mlxer. 1haLs advance. So now
lnsLead of dellverlng packlges and washlng ouL Lhe LolleLs and dumplng Lhe garbage. lm Lhe
new mlxer. 1haLs advance. 1omorrow l wlll Lell Mlss klnnlan. l Lhlnk she wlll be happy buL l donL
know why lrank and !oe are mad aL me. l asked lanny and she sald never mlnd Lhose fools.
1hls ls Aprll lools day and Lhe [oke backflred and made Lhem Lhe fools lnsLead of you. l asked
!oe Lo Lell me whaL was Lhe [oke LhaL backflred and he sald go [ump ln Lhe lake. l guess Lhelr
mad aL me because l worked Lhe mashlne buL Lhey dldnL geL Lhe day off llke Lhey LhoughL. uoes
LhaL mean lm geLLlng smarLer. Aprll 3-llnlshed 8oblnson Crusoe. l wanL Lo flnd ouL more abouL
whaL happens Lo hlm buL Mlss klnnlan says LhaLs all Lhere ls. wPL. Aprll 4-Mlss klnnlan says lm
learnlng fasL. She read some of my progress reporLs and she looked aL me klnd of funny. She
says lm a flne person and lll show Lhem all. l asked her why. She sald never mlnd buL l shouldnL
feel bad lf l flnd ouL LhaL everybody lsnL nlce llke l Lhlnk. She sald for a person who Cod gave so
llLLle Lo you dld more Lhan a loL of people wlLh bralns Lhey never even used. l sald LhaL all my
frlends are smarL people and Lhelr good. 1hey llke me and Lhey never dld anyLhlng LhaL wasnL
nlce. 1hen she goL someLhlng ln her eye and she had Lo run ouL Lo Lhe ladys room. Whlle l was
slLLlng ln Lhe Leachlng room walLlng for her l was wonderlng abouL how Mlss klnnlan was a nlce
lady llke my moLher use Lo be. l Lhlnk l remember my moLher Lold me Lo be good and always be
frlendly Lo people. She sald buL always be careful because some people 26 donL undersLand
and Lhey mlghL Lhlnk you are Lrylng Lo make Lrouble. 1haL makes me remember when mom had
Lo go away and Lhey puL me Lo sLay ln Mrs Leroys house who llved nexL door. Mom wenL Lo Lhe
hosplLal. uad sald she wasnL slck or noLhlng buL she wenL Lo Lhe hosplLal Lo brlng me back a
baby slsLer or a broLher. (l sLlll donL know how Lhey do LhaL) l Lold Lhem l wanL a baby broLher
Lo play wlLh and l donL know why Lhey goL me a slsLer lnsLead buL she was nlce llke a doll. Cnly
she cryd all Lhe Llme. l never hurL her or noLhlng. 1hey puL her ln a crlb ln Lhelr room and once l
heard uad say donL worry Charlle wouldnL harm her. She was llke a bundle all plnk and
screamlng someLlmes LhaL l couldnL sleep. And when l wenL Lo sleep she woke me up ln Lhe
nlghLLlme. Cne Llme when Lhey were ln Lhe klLchen and l was ln my bed she was crylng. l goL up
Lo plck her up and hold her Lo geL quleL Lhe way mom does. 8uL Lhen Mom came ln yelllng and
Look her away. And she slapped me so hard l fell on Lhe bed. 1hen she sLarLld screamlng. uonL
you ever Louch her agaln. ?oull hurL her. Shes a baby. ?ou goL no buslness Louchlng her. l dlnL
know lL Lhen buL l guess l know lL now LhaL she LhoughL l was golng Lo hurL Lhe baby because l
was Loo dumb Lo know whaL l was dolng. now LhaL makes me feel bad because l would never of
hurL Lhe baby. When l go Lo ur SLraus offlce l goL Lo Lell hlm abouL Aprll 6-1oday, l learned, Lhe
comma, Lhls ls, a, comma (,) a perlod, wlLh, a Lall, Mlss klnnlan, says lLs, lmporLenL, because, lL
makes wrlLlng, beLLer, she sald, somebody, could lose, a loL, of money, lf a comma, lsnL ln, Lhe
rlghL, place, l goL, some money, LhaL l, saved from, my [ob, and whaL, Lhe foundaLlon, pays me,
buL noL, much and, l donL, see how, a comma, keeps, you from, loslng lL, 8uL, she says,
everybody, uses commas, so lll, use Lhem, Loo Aprll 7-l used Lhe comma wrong. lLs puncLuaLlon.
Mlss klnnlan Lold me Lo look up long words ln Lhe dlcLlonary Lo learn Lo spell Lhem. l sald whaLs
Lhe dlfference lf you 27 can read lL anyway. She sald lLs parL of your educaLlon so from now on
lll look up all Lhe words lm noL sure how Lo spell. lL Lakes a long Llme Lo wrlLe LhaL way buL l
Lhlnk lm rememberlng more and more. Anyway LhaLs how come l goL Lhe word puncLuaLlon
rlghL. lLs LhaL way ln Lhe dlcLlonary. Mlss klnnlan says a perlod ls puncLuaLlon Loo, and Lhere are
loLs of oLher marks Lo learn. l Lold her l LhoughL she meanL all Lhe perlods had Lo have Lalls and
be called commas. 8uL she sald no. She sald, ?ou, goL. Lo-mlx? Lhem! up: She showd? me" how,
Lo mlx! Lhem, up, and now! l can. mlx (up all? klnds of puncLuaLlon- ln, my. wrlLlng! 1here" are
loLs, of rules, Lo learn? buL. lm' geL'Llng Lhem ln my head: Cne Lhlng? l, llke: abouL, uear Mlss
klnnlan: (LhaLs~ Lhe way? lL goes, ln a buslness, leLLer (lf l ever go! lnLo buslness?) ls LhaL, she:
always, glves me' a reason" when-l ask. She"s a genlus! l wlsh? l cou'd be smarLllke-her,
uncLuaLlon, ls? fun! Aprll 8-WhaL a dope l am! l dldn'L even undersLand whaL she was Lalklng
abouL. l read Lhe grammar book lasL nlghL and lL explalns Lhe whole Lhlng. 1hen l saw lL was Lhe
same way as Mlss klnnlan was Lrylng Lo Lell me, buL l dldn'L geL lL. l goL up ln Lhe mlddle of Lhe
nlghL and Lhe whole Lhlng sLralghLened ouL ln my mlnd. Mlss klnnlan sald LhaL Lhe 1v worklng,
[usL before l fell asleep and durlng Lhe nlghL, helped ouL. She sald l reached a plaLeau. 1haL's
llke Lhe flaL Lop of a hlll. AfLer l flgured ouL how puncLuaLlon worked, l read over all my old
progress reporLs from Lhe beglnnlng. 8oy, dld l have crazy spelllng and puncLuaLlon! l Lold Mlss
klnnlan l oughL Lo go over Lhe pages and flx all Lhe mlsLakes, buL she sald, "no, Charlle,
rofessor nemur wanLs Lhem [usL as Lhey are. 1haL's why he leLs you keep Lhem afLer Lhey're
phoLosLaLed-Lo see your own progress. ?ou're comlng along fasL, Charlle." 1haL made me feel
good. AfLer Lhe lesson l wenL down and played wlLh Algernon. We don'L race any more. Aprll
10-l feel slck. noL llke for a docLor, buL lnslde my chesL lL feels empLy, llke geLLlng punched and
a hearLburn aL Lhe same Llme. l wasn'L golng Lo wrlLe abouL lL, buL l guess l goL Lo, because lL's
lmporLanL. 1oday was Lhe flrsL day l ever sLayed home from work on purpose. LasL nlghL !oe
Carp and lrank 8ellly lnvlLed me Lo a parLy. 1here were loLs of glrls and Clmpy was Lhere and
Lrnle Loo. l remembered how slck l goL lasL Llme l drank Loo much, so l Lold !oe l dldn'L wanL Lo
drlnk anyLhlng. Pe gave me a plaln coke lnsLead. lL LasLed funny, buL l LhoughL lL was [usL a bad
LasLe ln my mouLh. We had a loL of fun for a whlle. "uance wlLh Lllen," !oe sald. "She'll Leach
you Lhe sLeps." 1hen he wlnked aL her llke he had someLhlng ln hls eye. She sald, "Why don'L
you leave hlm alone?" Pe slapped me on Lhe back. "1hls ls Charlle Cordon, my buddy, my pal.
Pe's no ordlnary guy-he's been promoLed Lo worklng on Lhe dough-mlxlng machlne. All l dld
was ask you Lo dance wlLh hlm and glve hlm a good Llme. WhaL's wrong wlLh LhaL?" Pe pushed
me up close agalnsL her. So she danced wlLh me. l fell Lhree Llmes and l couldn'L undersLand
why because no one else was danclng besldes Lllen and me. And all Lhe Llme l was Lrlpplng
because somebody's fooL was always sLlcklng ouL. 1hey were all around ln a clrcle waLchlng and
laughlng aL Lhe way we were dolng Lhe sLeps. 1hey laughed harder every Llme l fell, and l was
laughlng Loo because lL was so funny. 8uL Lhe lasL Llme lL happened l dldn'L laugh. l plcked
myself up and !oe pushed me down agaln. 1hen l saw Lhe look on !oe's face and lL gave me a
funny feellng ln my sLomach. "Pe's a scream," one of Lhe glrls sald. Lverybody was laughlng.
"Ch, you were rlghL, lrank," choked Lllen. "Pe's a one man slde show." 1hen she sald, "Pere,
Charlle, have a frulL." She gave me an apple, buL when l blL lnLo lL, lL was fake. 1hen lrank
sLarLed laughlng and he sald, "l Lold ya he'd eaL lL. C'n you lmaglne anyone dumb enough Lo eaL
wax frulL?" !oe sald, "l aln'L laughed so much slnce we senL hlm around Lhe corner Lo see lf lL
was ralnlng LhaL nlghL we dlLched hlm aL Palloran's." 1hen l saw a plcLure LhaL l remembered ln
my mlnd when l was a kld and Lhe chlldren ln Lhe block leL me play wlLh Lhem, hlde-and-go-seek
and l was l1. AfLer l counLed up Lo Len over and over on my flngers l wenL Lo look for Lhe oLhers.
l kepL looklng unLll lL goL cold and dark and l had Lo go home. 8uL l never found Lhem and l
never knew why. WhaL lrank sald remlnded me. 1haL was Lhe same Lhlng LhaL happened aL
Palloran's. And LhaL was whaL !oe and Lhe resL of Lhem were dolng. Laughlng aL me. And Lhe
klds playlng hlde-and-go-seek were playlng Lrlcks on me and Lhey were laughlng aL me Loo. 1he
people aL Lhe parLy were a bunch of blurred faces all looklng down and laughlng aL me. "Look aL
hlm. Pls face ls red." "Pe's blushlng. Charlle's blushlng." "Pey, Lllen, whaL'd you do Lo Charlle? l
never saw hlm acL llke Lhls before." "8oy, Lllen sure goL hlm worked up." l dldn'L know whaL Lo
do or where Lo Lurn. Per rubblng up agalnsL me made me feel funny. Lveryone was laughlng aL
me and all of a sudden l felL naked. l wanLed Lo hlde myself so Lhey wouldn'L see. l ran ouL of
Lhe aparLmenL. lL was a large aparLmenL house wlLh loLs of halls and l couldn'L flnd my way Lo
Lhe sLalrcase. l forgoL all abouL Lhe elevaLor. 1hen, afLer, l found Lhe sLalrs and ran ouL lnLo Lhe
sLreeL and walked for a long Llme before l wenL Lo my room. l never knew before LhaL !oe and
lrank and Lhe oLhers llked Lo have me around [usL Lo make fun of me. now l know whaL Lhey
mean when Lhey say "Lo pull a Charlle Cordon." l'm ashamed. And anoLher Lhlng. l dreamed
abouL LhaL glrl Lllen danclng and rubblng up agalnsL me and when l woke up Lhe sheeLs were
weL and messy. Aprll 13-SLlll dldn'L go back Lo work aL Lhe bakery. l Lold Mrs. llynn, my
landlady, Lo call and Lell hf. uonner l'm 30 slck. Mrs. llynn looks aL me laLely llke she's scared of
me. l Lhlnk lL's a good Lhlng abouL flndlng ouL how everybody laughs aL me. l LhoughL abouL lL a
loL. lL's because l'm so dumb and l don'L even know when l'm dolng someLhlng dumb. eople
Lhlnk lL's funny when a dumb person can'L do Lhlngs Lhe same way Lhey can. Anyway, now l
know l'm geLLlng a llLLle smarLer every day. l know puncLuaLlon, and l can spell good. l llke Lo
look up all Lhe hard words ln Lhe dlcLlonary and l remember Lhem. And l Lry Lo wrlLe Lhese
progress reporLs very careful buL LhaL's hard Lo do. l am readlng a loL now, and Mlss klnnlan
says l read very fasL. And l even undersLand a loL of Lhe Lhlngs l'm readlng abouL, and Lhey sLay
ln my mlnd. 1here are Llmes when l can close my eyes and Lhlnk of a page and lL all comes back
llke a plcLure. 8uL oLher Lhlngs come lnLo my head Loo. SomeLlmes l close my eyes and l see a
clear plcLure. Llke Lhls mornlng [usL afLer l woke up, l was laylng ln bed wlLh my eyes open. lL
was llke a blg hole opened up ln Lhe walls of my mlnd and l can [usL walk Lhrough. l Lhlnk lLs far
back... a long Llme ago when l flrsL sLarLed worklng aL uonner's 8akery. l see Lhe sLreeL where
Lhe bakery ls. luzzy aL flrsL and Lhen lL geLs paLchy wlLh some Lhlngs so real Lhey are rlghL here
now ln fronL of me, and oLher Lhlngs sLay blurred, and l'm noL sure.... A llLLle old man wlLh a
baby carrlage made lnLo a pushcarL wlLh a charcoal burner, and Lhe smell of roasLlng chesLnuLs,
and snow on Lhe ground. A young fellow, sklnny wlLh wlde eyes and a scared look on hls face
looklng up aL Lhe sLore slgn. WhaL does lL say? 8lurred leLLers ln a way LhaL don'L make sense. l
know now LhaL Lhe slgn says uCnnL8'S 8AkL8?, buL looklng back ln my memory aL Lhe slgn l
can'L read Lhe words Lhrough hls eyes. none of Lhe slgns make sense. l Lhlnk LhaL fellow wlLh
Lhe scared look on hls face ls me. 8rlghL neon llghLs. ChrlsLmas Lrees and sldewalk peddlers.
eople bundled ln coaLs wlLh collars up and scarves around Lhelr necks. 8uL he has no gloves.
Pls hands are cold and he puLs down a heavy bundle of brown paper bags. Pe's sLopplng Lo
waLch Lhe llLLle mechanlcal Loys 31 LhaL Lhe peddler wlnds up-Lhe Lumbllng bear, Lhe dog
[umplng, Lhe seal splnnlng a ball on lLs nose. 1umbllng, [umplng, splnnlng. lf he had all Lhose
Loys for hlmself he would be Lhe happlesL person ln Lhe world. Pe wanLs Lo ask Lhe red-faced
peddler, wlLh hls flngers sLlcklng Lhrough Lhe brown coLLon gloves, lf he can hold Lhe Lumbllng
bear for a mlnuLe, buL he ls afrald. Pe plcks up Lhe bundle of paper bags and puLs lL on hls
shoulder. Pe ls sklnny buL he ls sLrong from many years of hard work. "Charlle! Charlle!... faL
head barley!" Chlldren clrcle around hlm laughlng and Leaslng hlm llke llLLle dogs snapplng aL
hls feeL. Charlle smlles aL Lhem. Pe would llke Lo puL down hls bundle and play games wlLh
Lhem, buL when he Lhlnks abouL lL Lhe skln on hls back LwlLches and he feels Lhe way Lhe older
boys Lhrow Lhlngs aL hlm. Comlng back Lo Lhe bakery he sees some boys sLandlng ln Lhe door of
a dark hallway. "Pey look, Lhere's Charlle!" "Pey, Charlle. WhaL you goL Lhere? WanL Lo shooL
some craps?" "C'mere. We won'L hurLya." 8uL Lhere ls someLhlng abouL Lhe doorway-Lhe dark
hall, Lhe laughlng, LhaL makes hls skln LwlLch agaln. Pe Lrles Lo know whaL lL ls buL all he can
remember ls Lhelr dlrL and plss all over hls cloLhes, and uncle Perman shouLlng when he came
home all covered wlLh fllLh, and how uncle Perman ran ouL wlLh a hammer ln hls hand Lo flnd
Lhe boys who dld LhaL Lo hlm. Charlle backs away from Lhe boys laughlng ln Lhe hallway, drops
Lhe bundle. lcks lL up agaln and runs Lhe resL of Lhe way Lo Lhe bakery. "WhaL Look you so
long, Charlle?" shouLs Clmpy from Lhe doorway Lo Lhe back of Lhe bakery. Charlle pushes
Lhrough Lhe swlnglng doors Lo Lhe back of Lhe bakery and seLs down Lhe bundle on one of Lhe
sklds. Pe leans agalnsL Lhe wall shovlng hls hands lnLo hls pockeLs. Pe wlshes he had hls
splnner. Pe llkes lL back here ln Lhe bakery where Lhe floors are whlLe wlLh flour-whlLer Lhan
Lhe sooLy walls and celllng. 1he Lhlck soles of hls own hlgh shoes are crusLed wlLh whlLe and
Lhere ls whlLe ln Lhe sLlLchlng and lace-eyes, 32 and under hls nalls and ln Lhe cracked chapped
skln of hls hands. Pe relaxes here--squaLLlng agalnsL Lhe wall leanlng back ln a way LhaL LllLs hls
baseball cap wlLh Lhe u forward over hls eyes. Pe llkes Lhe smell of flour, sweeL dough, bread
and cakes and rolls baklng. 1he oven ls crackllng and makes hlm sleepy. SweeL... warm... sleep.
Suddenly, falllng, LwlsLlng, head hlLLlng agalnsL Lhe wall. Someone has klcked hls legs ouL from
under hlm. 1haL's all l can remember. l can see lL all clearly, buL l don'L know why lL happened.
lL's llke when l used Lo go Lo Lhe movles. 1he flrsL Llme l never undersLood because Lhey wenL
Loo fasL buL afLer l saw Lhe plcLure Lhree or four Llmes l used Lo undersLand whaL Lhey were
saylng. l've goL Lo ask ur. SLrauss abouL lL. Aprll 14-ur. SLrauss says Lhe lmporLanL Lhlng ls Lo
keep recalllng memorles llke Lhe one l had yesLerday and Lo wrlLe Lhem down. 1hen when l
come lnLo hls offlce we can Lalk abouL Lhem. ur. SLrauss ls a psychlaLrlsL and a neurosurgeon. l
dldn'L know LhaL. l LhoughL he was [usL a plaln docLor. 8uL when l wenL Lo hls offlce Lhls
mornlng, he Lold me abouL how lmporLanL lL ls for me Lo learn abouL myself so LhaL l can
undersLand my problems. l sald l dldn'L have any problems. Pe laughed and Lhen he goL up
from hls chalr and wenL Lo Lhe wlndow. "1he more lnLelllgenL you become Lhe more problems
you'll have, Charlle. ?our lnLellecLual growLh ls golng Lo ouLsLrlp your emoLlonal growLh. And l
Lhlnk you'll flnd LhaL as you progress, Lhere wlll be many Lhlngs you'll wanL Lo Lalk Lo me abouL. l
[usL wanL you Lo remember LhaL Lhls ls Lhe place for you Lo come when you need help." l sLlll
don'L know whaL lL's all abouL, buL he sald even lf l don'L undersLand my dreams or memorles or
why l have Lhem, some Llme ln Lhe fuLure Lhey're all golng Lo connecL up, and l'll learn more
abouL myself. Pe sald Lhe lmporLanL Lhlng ls Lo flnd ouL whaL Lhose people ln my memorles are
saylng. lL's all abouL me when l was a boy and l've goL Lo remember whaL happened. l never
knew abouL Lhese Lhlngs before. lL's llke lf l geL lnLelllgenL enough l'll undersLand all Lhe words
ln my mlnd, and l'll know abouL Lhose boys sLandlng ln Lhe hallway, and abouL my uncle
Perman and my parenLs. 8uL whaL he means ls Lhen l'm golng Lo feel bad abouL lL all and l
mlghL geL slck ln my mlnd. So l've goL Lo come lnLo hls offlce Lwlce a week now Lo Lalk abouL Lhe
Lhlngs LhaL boLher me. We [usL slL Lhere, and l Lalk, and ur. SLrauss llsLens. lL's called Lherapy,
and LhaL means Lalklng abouL Lhlngs wlll make me feel beLLer. l Lold hlm one of Lhe Lhlngs LhaL
boLhers me ls abouL women. Llke danclng wlLh LhaL glrl Lllen goL me all exclLed. So we Lalked
abouL lL and l goL a funny feellng whlle l was Lalklng, cold and sweaLy, and a buzzlng lnslde my
bead and l LhoughL l was golng Lo Lhrow up. Maybe because l always LhoughL lL was dlrLy and
bad Lo Lalk abouL LhaL. 8uL ur. SLrauss sald whaL happened Lo me afLer Lhe parLy was a weL
dream, and lL's a naLural Lhlng LhaL happens Lo boys. So even lf l'm geLLlng lnLelllgenL and
learnlng a loL of new Lhlngs, he Lhlnks l'm sLlll a boy abouL women. lL's confuslng, buL l'm golng
Lo flnd ouL all abouL my llfe. Aprll lS-l'm readlng a loL Lhese days and almosL everyLhlng ls
sLaylng ln my mlnd. 8esldes hlsLory and geography and arlLhmeLlc, Mlss klnnlan says l should
sLarL learnlng forelgn languages. rof. nemur gave me some more Lapes Lo play whlle l sleep. l
sLlll don'L know how Lhe consclous and unconsclous mlnd works, buL ur. SLrauss says noL Lo
worry yeL. Pe made me promlse LhaL when l sLarL learnlng college sub[ecLs ln a couple of weeks
l won'L read any books on psychology-LhaL ls, unLll he glves me permlsslon. Pe says lL wlll
confuse me and make me Lhlnk abouL psychologlcal Lheorles lnsLead of abouL my own ldeas
and feellngs. 8uL lL's okay Lo read novels. 1hls week l read 1he CreaL CaLsby, An Amerlcan
1ragedy, and Look Pomeward, Angel. l never knew abouL men and women dolng Lhlngs llke
LhaL. Aprll 16-l feel a loL beLLer Loday, buL rm sLlll angry LhaL all Lhe Llme people were laughlng
and maklng fun of me. When l become lnLelllgenL Lhe way rof. nemur says, 34 l l l wlLh much
more Lhan Lwlce my l. C. of 70, Lhen maybe people wlll llke me and be my frlends. l'm noL sure
whaL l. C. ls anyway. rof. nemur sald lL was someLhlng LhaL measured how lnLelllgenL you
were-llke a scale ln Lhe drugsLore welghs pounds. 8uL ll ur. SLrauss had a blg argumenL wlLh hlm
and sald an l. C. dldn'L welgh lnLelllgence aL all. Pe sald an l. C. showed how much lnLelllgence
you could geL, llke Lhe numbers on Lhe ouLslde of a measurlng cup. ?ou sLlll had Lo flll Lhe cup
up wlLh sLuff. When l asked 8urL Seldon, who glves me my lnLelllgence LesLs and works wlLh
Algernon, he sald LhaL some people would say boLh of Lhem were wrong and accordlng Lo Lhe
Lhlngs he's been readlng up on, Lhe l. C. measures a loL of dlfferenL Lhlngs lncludlng some of Lhe
Lhlngs you learned already and lL really lsn'L a good measure of lnLelllgence aL all. So l sLlll don'L
know whaL l. C. ls, and everybody says lL's someLhlng dlfferenL. Mlne ls abouL a hundred now,
and lL's golng Lo be over a hundred and flfLy soon, buL Lhey'll sLlll have Lo flll me up wlLh Lhe
sLuff. l dldn'L wanL Lo say anyLhlng, buL l don'L see how lf Lhey don'L know whaL lL ls, or where lL
ls--how Lhey know how much of lL you've goL. rof nemur says l have Lo Lake a 8orschach 1esL
Lhe day afLer Lomorrow. l wonder whaL LhaL ls. Aprll 17-l had a nlghLmare lasL nlghL, and Lhls
mornlng, afLer l woke up, l free-assoclaLed Lhe way ur. SLrauss Lold me Lo do when l remember
my dreams. 1hlnk abouL Lhe dream and [usL leL my mlnd wander unLll oLher LhoughLs come up
ln my mlnd. l keep on dolng LhaL unLll my mlnd goes blank. ur. SLrauss says LhaL lL means l've
reached a polnL where my subconsclous ls Lrylng Lo block my consclous from rememberlng. lL's
a wall beLween Lhe presenL and Lhe pasL. SomeLlmes Lhe wall sLays up and someLlmes lL breaks
down and l can remember whaL's behlnd lL. Llke Lhls mornlng. 1he dream was abouL Mlss
klnnlan readlng my progress reporLs. ln Lhe dream l slL down Lo wrlLe buL l can'L wrlLe or read
any more. lL's all gone. l geL frlghLened so l ask Clmpy aL Lhe bakery Lo wrlLe for me. 8uL when
no 33 klnnlan reads Lhe reporL she geLs angry and Lears Lhe pages up because Lhey've goL dlrLy
words ln Lhem. When l geL home rof. nemur and ur. SLrauss are walLlng for me and Lhey glve
me a beaLlng for wrlLlng dlrLy Lhlngs ln Lhe progress reporL. When Lhey leave me l plck up Lhe
Lorn pages buL Lhey Lurn lnLo lace valenLlnes wlLh blood all over Lhem. lL was a horrlble dream
buL l goL ouL of bed and wroLe lL all down and Lhen l sLarLed Lo free assoclaLe. 8akery... baklng...
Lhe urn... someone klcklng me... fall down... bloody all over... wrlLlng... blg pencll on a red
valenLlne... a llLLle gold hearL... a lockeL... a chaln... all covered wlLh blood... and he's laughlng aL
me... 1he chaln ls from a lockeL... splnnlng around.. flashlng Lhe sunllghL lnLo my eyes. And l llke
Lo waLch lL spln... waLch Lhe chaln... all bunched up and LwlsLlng and splnnlng... and a llLLle glrl ls
waLchlng me. Per name ls Mlss kln-l mean ParrleL. "ParrleL... ParrleL... we all love ParrleL." And
Lhen Lhere's noLhlng. lL's blank agaln. Mlss klnnlan readlng my progress reporLs over my
shoulder. 1hen we're aL Lhe AdulL CenLer for Lhe 8eLarded, and she's readlng over my shoulder
as l wrlLe my oslshuns composlLlons. School changes lnLo . S .13 and l'm eleven years old and
Mlss klnnlan ls eleven years old Loo, buL now she's noL Mlss klnnlan. She's a llLLle glrl wlLh
dlmples and long curls and her name ls ParrleL. We all love ParrleL. lL's valenLlnes uay. l
remember... l remember whaL happened aL . S .13 and why Lhey had Lo change my school and
send me Lo . S .222. lL was because of ParrleL. l see Charlle-eleven years old. Pe has a llLLle
goldcolor lockeL he once found ln Lhe sLreeL. 1here's no chaln, buL he has lL on a sLrlng, and he
llkes Lo Lwlrl Lhe lockeL so LhaL lL bunches up Lhe sLrlng, and Lhen waLch lL unwlnd, splnnlng
around wlLh Lhe sun fllcklng lnLo hls eyes. SomeLlmes when Lhe klds play caLch Lhey leL hlm play
ln Lhe mlddle and he Lrles Lo geL Lhe ball before one of 36 Lhem caLches lL. Pe llkes Lo be ln Lhe
mlddle-even lf he never caLches Lhe ball-and once when Pymle 8oLh dropped Lhe ball by
mlsLake and he plcked lL up Lhey wouldn'L leL hlm Lhrow lL buL he had Lo go ln Lhe mlddle agaln.
When ParrleL passes by, Lhe boys sLop playlng and look aL her. All Lhe boys love ParrleL. When
she shakes her head her curls bounce up and down, and she has dlmples. Charlle doesn'L know
why Lhey make such a fuss abouL a glrl and why Lhey always wanL Lo Lalk Lo her (he'd raLher
play ball or klck-Lhe-can, or rlngo-levlo Lhan Lalk Lo a glrl) buL all Lhe boys are ln love wlLh
ParrleL so he ls ln love wlLh her Loo. She never Leases hlm llke Lhe oLher klds, and he does Lrlcks
for her. Pe walks on Lhe desks when Lhe Leacher lsn'L Lhere. Pe Lhrows erasers ouL Lhe wlndow,
scrlbbles all over Lhe blackboard and walls. And ParrleL always screeches and glggles, "Ch,
looklL Charlle. Aln'L he funny? Ch, aln'L he sllly?" lL's valenLlne's uay, and Lhe boys are Lalklng
abouL valenLlnes Lhey're golng Lo glve ParrleL, so Charlle says, "l'm gonna glve ParrleL a
valenLlme Loo." 1hey laugh and 8arry says, "Where you gonna geL a valenLlne?" "l'm gonna geL
her a preLLy one. ?ou'll see." 8uL he doesn'L have any money for a valenLlne, so he decldes Lo
glve ParrleL hls lockeL LhaL ls hearL-shaped llke Lhe valenLlnes ln Lhe sLore wlndows. 1haL nlghL
he Lakes Llssue paper from hls moLher's drawer, and lL Lakes a long Llme Lo wrap and Lle lL wlLh
a plece of red rlbbon. 1hen lle Lakes lL Lo Pymle 8oLh Lhe nexL day durlng lunch perlod ln school
and asks Pymle Lo wrlLe on Lhe paper for hlm. Pe Lells Pymle Lo wrlLe: "uear ParrleL, 1 Lhlnk
you are Lhe mosL preLLlesL glrl ln Lhe whole world .1 llke you very much and l love you .1 wanL
you Lo be my valenLlme. ?our frlend, Charlle Cordon." Pymle prlnLs very carefully ln large
leLLers on Lhe paper, laughlng all Lhe Llme, and he Lells Charlle, "8oy, Lhls wlll knock her eyes
ouL. WalL'll she sees Lhls." Charlle ls scared, buL he wanLs Lo glve ParrleL LhaL lockeL, so he
follows her home from school and walLs unLll she goes lnLo her house. 1hen he sneaks lnLo Lhe
hall and 37 hangs Lhe package on Lhe lnslde of Lhe doorknob. Pe rlngs Lhe bell Lwlce and runs
across Lhe sLreeL Lo hlde behlnd Lhe Lree. When ParrleL comes down she looks around Lo see
who rang Lhe bell. 1hen she sees Lhe package. She Lakes lL and goes upsLalrs. Charlle goes home
from school and he geLs a spanklng because he Look Lhe Llssue paper and rlbbon ouL of hls
moLher's drawer wlLhouL Lelllng her. 8uL he doesn'L care. 1omorrow ParrleL wlll wear Lhe lockeL
and Lell all Lhe boys he gave lL Lo her. 1hen Lhey'll see. 1he nexL day he runs all Lhe way Lo
school, buL lL's Loo early. ParrleL lsn'L Lhere yeL, and he's exclLed. 8uL when ParrleL comes ln she
doesn'L even look aL hlm. She lsn'L wearlng Lhe lockeL. And she looks sore. Pe does all klnds of
Lhlngs when Mrs. !anson lsn'L waLchlng: Pe makes funny faces. Pe laughs ouL loud. Pe sLands
up on hls seaL and wlggles hls fanny. Pe even Lhrows a plece of chalk aL Parold. 8uL ParrleL
doesn'L look aL hlm even once. Maybe she forgoL. Maybe she'll wear lL Lomorrow. She passes by
ln Lhe hallway, buL when he comes over Lo ask her she pushes pasL hlm wlLhouL saylng a word.
uown ln Lhe schoolyard her Lwo blg broLhers are walLlng for hlm. Cus pushes hlm. "?ou llLLle
basLard, dld you wrlLe Lhls dlrLy noLe Lo my slsLer?" Charlle says he dldn'L wrlLe any dlrLy noLes.
"l [usL gave her a valenLlme." Cscar who was on Lhe fooLball Leam before he graduaLed from
hlgh school grabs Charlle's shlrL and Lears off Lwo buLLons. "?ou keep away from my kld slsLer,
you degeneraLe. ?ou don'L belong ln Lhls school anyway." Pe pushes Charlle over Lo Cus who
caLches hlm by Lhe LhroaL. Charlle ls scared and sLarLs Lo cry. 1hen Lhey sLarL Lo hurL hlm. Cscar
punches hlm ln Lhe nose, and Cus knocks hlm on Lhe ground and klcks hlm ln Lhe slde and Lhen
boLh of Lhem klck hlm, one and Lhen Lhe oLher, and some of Lhe oLher klds ln Lhe yardCharlle's
frlends--come runnlng screamlng and clapplng hands: "llghLl llghLl 1hey're beaLlng up Charllel"
Pls cloLhes are Lorn and hls nose ls bleedlng and one of hls LeeLh ls broken, and afLer Cus and
Cscar go away he slLs on Lhe sldewalk and crles. 1he blood LasLes sour. 1he 38 oLher klds [usL
laugh and shouL: "Charlle goL a llcklng! Charlle goL a llcklng!" And Lhen Mr. Wagner, one of Lhe
careLakers from Lhe school, comes and chases Lhem away. Pe Lakes Charlle lnLo Lhe boys' room
and Lells hlm Lo wash off Lhe blood and dlrL from hls face and hands before he goes back
home.... l guess l was preLLy dumb because l belleved whaL people Lold me. l shouldn'L have
LrusLed Pymle or anyone. l never remembered any of Lhls before Loday, buL lL came back Lo me
afLer l LhoughL abouL Lhe dream. lL has someLhlng Lo do wlLh Lhe feellng abouL Mlss klnnlan
readlng my progress reporLs. Anyway, l'm glad now l don'L have Lo ask anyone Lo wrlLe Lhlngs
for me. now l can do lL for myself. 8uL l [usL reallzed someLhlng. ParrleL never gave me back my
lockeL. Aprll 18-1 found ouL whaL a 8orschach ls. lL's Lhe LesL wlLh Lhe lnkbloLs, Lhe one l Look
before Lhe operaLlon. As soon as l saw whaL lL was, l goL frlghLened. l knew 8urL was golng Lo
ask me Lo flnd Lhe plcLures, and l knew l wouldn'L be able Lo. l was Lhlnklng, lf only Lhere was
some way of knowlng whaL klnd of plcLures were hldden Lhere. Maybe Lhere weren'L any
plcLures aL all. Maybe lL was [usL a Lrlck Lo see lf l was dumb enough Lo look for someLhlng LhaL
wasn'L Lhere. !usL Lhlnklng abouL lL made me sore aL hlm. "All rlghL, Charlle," he sald, "you've
seen Lhese cards before, remember?" "Cf course, l remember." 1he way l sald lL, he knew l was
angry, and he looked up aL me surprlsed. "AnyLhlng wrong, Charlle?" "no, noLhlng's wrong.
1hose lnkbloLs upseL me." Pe smlled and shook hls head. "noLhlng Lo be upseL abouL. 1hls ls
[usL one of Lhe sLandard personallLy LesLs. now l wanL you Lo look aL Lhls card. WhaL mlghL Lhls
be? WhaL do you see on Lhls card? eople see all sorLs of Lhlngs ln Lhese lnkbloLs. 1ell me whaL
lL mlghL be for you-whaL lL makes you Lhlnk of." l was shocked. l sLared aL Lhe card and Lhen aL
hlm .39 1haL wasn'L whaL l had expecLed hlm Lo say aL all. "?ou mean Lhere are no plcLures
hldden ln Lhose lnkbloLs?" 8urL frowned and Look off hls glasses. "WhaL?" "lcLures! Pldden ln
Lhe lnkbloLs! LasL Llme you Lold me LhaL everyone could see Lhem and you wanLed me Lo flnd
Lhem Loo." "no, Charlle. l couldn'L have sald LhaL." "WhaL do you mean?" l shouLed aL hlm.
8elng so afrald of Lhe lnkbloLs had made me angry aL myself and aL 8urL Loo. "1haL's whaL you
sald Lo me. !usL because you're smarL enough Lo go Lo college doesn'L mean you have Lo make
fun of me. l'm slck and Llred of everybody laughlng aL me." l don'L recall ever belng so angry
before. l don'L Lhlnk lL was aL 8urL hlmself, buL suddenly everyLhlng exploded. l Lossed Lhe
8orschach cards on Lhe Lable and walked ouL. rofessor nemur was passlng by ln Lhe hall, and
when l rushed pasL hlm wlLhouL saylng hello he knew someLhlng was wrong. Pe and 8urL
caughL up wlLh me as l was abouL Lo go down ln Lhe elevaLor. "Charlle," sald nemur, grabblng
my arm. "WalL a mlnuLe. WhaL ls Lhls all abouL?" l shook free and nodded aL 8urL. "l'm slck and
Llred of people maklng fun of me. 1haL's all. Maybe before l dldn'L know any beLLer, buL now l
do, and l don'L llke lL." "nobody's maklng fun of you here, Charlle," sald nemur. "WhaL abouL
Lhe lnkbloLs? LasL Llme 8urL Lold me Lhere were plcLures ln Lhe lnk-LhaL everyone could see, and
l-" "Look, Charlle, would you llke Lo hear Lhe exacL words 8urL sald Lo you, and your answers as
well? We have a Lape-recordlng of LhaL LesLlng sesslon. We can replay lL and leL you hear
exacLly whaL was sald." l wenL back wlLh Lhem Lo Lhe psych offlce wlLh mlxed feellngs. l was
sure Lhey had made fun of me and Lrlcked me when l was Loo lgnoranL Lo know beLLer. My
anger was an exclLlng feellng, and l dldn'L glve lL up easlly. l was ready Lo flghL. As nemur wenL
Lo Lhe flles Lo geL Lhe Lape, 8urL explalned: "LasL Llme, l used almosL Lhe exacL words l used
Loday. lL's a requlremenL of Lhese LesLs LhaL Lhe procedure be Lhe same each Llme lL's
admlnlsLered." 40 "l'll belleve LhaL when l hear lL" A look passed beLween Lhem. l felL Lhe blood
rush Lo my face agaln. 1hey were laughlng aL me. 8uL Lhen l reallzed whaL l had [usL sald, and
hearlng myself l undersLood Lhe reason for Lhe look. 1hey weren'L laughlng. 1hey knew whaL
was happenlng Lo me. l had reached a new level, and anger and susplclon were my flrsL
reacLlons Lo Lhe world around me. 8urL's volce boomed over Lhe Lape recorder: "now l wanL
you Lo look aL Lhls card, Charlle. WhaL mlghL Lhls be? WhaL do you see on Lhls card? eople see
all klnds of Lhlngs ln Lhese lnkbloLs. 1ell me whaL lL makes you Lhlnk of..." 1he same words,
almosL Lhe same Lone of volce he had used mlnuLes ago ln Lhe lab. And Lhen l heard my
answers-chlldlsh, lmposslble Lhlngs. And l dropped llmply lnLo Lhe chalr beslde rofessor
nemur's desk. "Was LhaL really me?" l wenL back Lo Lhe lab wlLh 8urL, and we wenL on wlLh Lhe
8orschach. We wenL Lhrough Lhe cards slowly. 1hls Llme my responses were dlfferenL. l "saw"
Lhlngs ln Lhe lnkbloLs. A palr of baLs Lugglng aL each oLher. 1wo men fenclng wlLh swords. l
lmaglned all sorLs of Lhlngs. 8uL even so, l found myself noL LrusLlng 8urL compleLely any more. l
kepL Lurnlng Lhe cards around, checklng Lhe backs Lo see lf Lhere was anyLhlng Lhere l was
supposed Lo caLch. l peeked, whlle he was maklng hls noLes. 8uL lL was all ln code LhaL looked
llke Lhls: Wl + A udl-Ad orlg. Wl-A Sl + ob[ 1he LesL sLlll doesn'L make sense. lL seems Lo me
LhaL anyone could make up lles abouL Lhlngs he dldn'L really see. Pow could Lhey know l wasn'L
maklng fools of Lhem by saylng Lhlngs l dldn'L really lmaglne? Maybe l'll undersLand lL when ur.
SLrauss leLs me read up on psychology. lL's geLLlng harder for me Lo wrlLe down all my LhoughLs
and feellngs because l know LhaL people are readlng Lhem. Maybe lL would be beLLer lf l 41
could keep some of Lhese reporLs prlvaLe for a whlle. l'm golng Lo ask ur. SLrauss. Why should lL
suddenly sLarL Lo boLher me?
8CC8LSS 8LC81 10
Aprll 21-l flgured ouL a new way Lo seL up Lhe mlxlng machlnes ln Lhe bakery Lo speed up
producLlon. Mr. uonner says he wlll save labor cosLs and lncrease proflLs. Pe gave me a flfLy-
dollar bonus and a Len-dollar-a-week ralse. l wanLed Lo Lake !oe Carp and lrank 8ellly ouL Lo
lunch Lo celebraLe, buL !oe had Lo buy some Lhlngs for hls wlfe, and lrank was meeLlng hls
cousln for lunch. l guess lL wlll Lake Llme for Lhem Lo geL used Lo Lhe changes ln me. Lveryone
seems frlghLened of me. When l wenL over Lo Clmpy and Lapped hlm on Lhe shoulder Lo ask
hlm someLhlng, he [umped up and dropped hls cup of coffee all over hlmself. Pe sLares aL me
when he Lhlnks l'm noL looklng. nobody aL Lhe place Lalks Lo me any more, or klds around Lhe
way Lhey used Lo. lL makes Lhe [ob klnd of lonely. 1hlnklng abouL lL makes me remember Lhe
Llme l fell asleep sLandlng up and lrank klcked my legs ouL from under me. 1he warm sweeL
smell, Lhe whlLe walls, Lhe roar of Lhe oven when lrank opens Lhe door Lo shlfL Lhe loaves.
Suddenly falllng... LwlsLlng.. everyLhlng ouL from under me and my head cracklng agalnsL Lhe
wall. lL's me, and yeL lL's llke someone else lylng Lhere-anoLher Charlle. Pe's confused... rubblng
hls head . sLarlng up aL lrank, Lall and Lhln, and Lhen aL Clmpy nearby, masslve, halry, gray-
faced Clmpy wlLh bushy eye-brows LhaL almosL hlde hls blue eyes. "Leave Lhe kld alone," says
Clmp. "!esus, lrank, why do you always goLLa plck on hlm?" "lL don'L mean noLhlng," laughs
lrank. "lL don'L hurL hlm. Pe don'L know any beLLer. uo you, Charlle?" 42 Charlle rubs hls head
and crlnges. Pe doesn'L know whaL he's done Lo deserve Lhls punlshmenL, buL Lhere ls always
Lhe chance LhaL Lhere wlll be more. "8uL you know beLLer," says Clmpy, clumplng over on hls
orLhopedlc booL, "so whaL Lhe hell you always plcklng on hlm for?" 1he Lwo men slL down aL
Lhe long Lable, Lhe Lall lrank and Lhe heavy Clmp shaplng Lhe dough for Lhe rolls LhaL have Lo be
baked for Lhe evenlng orders. 1hey work ln sllence for a whlle, and Lhen lrank sLops and Llps hls
whlLe cap back. "Pey, Clmp, Lhlnk Charlle could learn Lo bake rolls?" Clmp leans an elbow on
Lhe workLable. "Why don'L we [usL leave hlm alone?" "no, l mean lL, Clmp-serlously. l beL he
could learn someLhlng slmple llke maklng rolls." 1he ldea seems Lo appeal Lo Clmpy who Lurns
Lo sLare aL Charlle. "Maybe you goL someLhlng Lhere. Pey, Charlle, come here a mlnuLe." As he
usually does when people are Lalklng abouL hlm, Charlle has been keeplng hls head down,
sLarlng aL hls shoelaces. Pe knows how Lo lace and Lle Lhem. Pe could make rolls. Pe could
learn Lo pound, roll, LwlsL and shape Lhe dough lnLo Lhe small round forms. lrank looks aL hlm
uncerLalnly. "Maybe we shouldn'L, Clmp. Maybe lL's wrong. lf a moron can'L learn maybe we
shouldn'L sLarL anyLhlng wlLh hlm." "?ou leave Lhls Lo me," says Clmpy who has now Laken over
lrank's ldea. "l Lhlnk maybe he can learn. now llsLen, Charlle. ?ou wanL Lo learn someLhlng?
?ou wanL me Lo Leach you how Lo make rolls llke me and lrank are dolng? Charlle sLares aL hlm,
Lhe smlle melLlng from hls face. Pe undersLands whaL Clmpy wanLs, and he feels cornered. Pe
wanLs Lo please Clmpy, buL Lhere ls someLhlng abouL Lhe words learn and Leach, someLhlng Lo
remember abouL belng punlshed severely, buL he doesn'L recall whaL lL ls-only a Lhln whlLe
hand upralsed, hlLLlng hlm Lo make hlm learn someLhlng he couldn'L undersLand. Charlle backs
away buL Clmpy grabs hls arm. "Pey, kld, Lake lL easy. We aln'L gonna hurL you. Look aL hlm
shaklng llke he's gonna fall aparL. Look, Charlle. l goL a nlce new shlny good-luck plece for you Lo
play wlLh." Pe holds ouL hls hand and reveals a brass chaln wlLh a shlny 43 brass dlsc LhaL says
S1A-88l1S ML1AL CLlSP. Pe holds Lhe chaln by one end and Lhe gleamlng gold dlsc roLaLes
slowly, caLchlng Lhe llghL of Lhe fluorescenL bulbs. 1he pendanL ls a brlghLness LhaL Charlle
remembers buL he doesn'L know why or whaL. Pe doesn'L reach for lL. Pe knows you geL
punlshed lf you reach ouL for oLher people's Lhlngs. lf someone puLs lL lnLo your hand LhaL ls all
rlghL. 8uL oLherwlse lL's wrong. When he sees LhaL Clmpy ls offerlng lL Lo hlm, he nods and
smlles agaln. "1haL he knows," laughs lrank. "Clve hlm someLhlng brlghL and shlny." lrank, who
has leL Clmpy Lake over Lhe experlmenL, leans forward exclLedly. "Maybe lf he wanLs LhaL plece
of [unk bad enough and you Lell hlm he'll geL lL lf he learns Lo shape Lhe dough lnLo rollsmaybe
lL'll work." As Lhe bakers seL Lo Lhe Lask of Leachlng Charlle, oLhers from Lhe shop gaLher
around. lrank clears an area beLween Lhem on Lhe Lable, and Clmpy pulls off a medlum slzed
plece of dough for Charlle Lo work wlLh. 1here ls Lalk of beLLlng on wheLher or noL Charlle can
learn Lo make rolls. "WaLch us carefully," says Clmpy, puLLlng Lhe pendanL beslde hlm on Lhe
Lable where Charlle can see lL. "WaLch and do everyLhlng we do. lf you learn how Lo make rolls,
you'll geL Lhls shlny good-luck plece." Charlle hunches over on hls sLool, lnLenLly waLchlng
Clmpy p? ck up Lhe knlfe and cuL off a slab of dough. Pe sLudles each movemenL as Clmpy rolls
ouL Lhe dough lnLo a long roll, breaks lL off and LwlsLs lL lnLo a clrcle, pauslng now and Lhen Lo
sprlnkle lL wlLh flour. "now waLch me," says lrank, and he repeaLs Clmpy's performance.
Charlle ls confused. 1here are dlfferences. Clmpy holds hls elbows ouL as he rolls Lhe dough,
llke a blrd's wlngs, buL lrank keeps hls arms close Lo hls sldes. Clmpy keeps hls Lhumbs LogeLher
wlLh Lhe resL of hls flngers as he kneads Lhe dough, buL lrank works wlLh Lhe flaL of hls palms,
keeplng Lhumbs aparL from hls oLher flngers and up ln Lhe alr. Worrylng abouL Lhese Lhlngs
makes lL lmposslble for Charlle Lo move when Clmpy says, "Co ahead, Lry lL." Charlle shakes hls
head. "Look, Charlle, l'm gonna do lL agaln slow. now you 44 waLch everyLhlng l do, and do
each parL along wlLh me. Ckay? 8uL Lry Lo remember everyLhlng so Lhen you'll be able Lo do Lhe
whole Lhlng alone. now come on-llke Lhls." Charlle frowns as he waLches Clmpy pull off a
secLlon of dough and roll lL lnLo a ball. Pe heslLaLes, buL Lhen he plcks up Lhe knlfe and sllces off
a plece of dough and seLs lL down ln Lhe cenLer of Lhe Lable. Slowly, keeplng hls elbows ouL
exacLly as Clmpy does, he rolls lL lnLo a ball. Pe looks from hls own hands Lo Clmpy's, and he ls
careful Lo keep hls flngers exacLly Lhe same way, Lhumbs LogeLher wlLh Lhe resL of hls flngers-
sllghLly cupped. Pe has Lo do lL rlghL, Lhe way Clmpy wanLs hlm Lo do lL. 1here are echoes lnslde
hlm LhaL say, do lL rlghL and Lhey wlll llke you. And he wanLs Clmpy and lrank Lo llke hlm. When
Clmpy has flnlshed worklng hls dough lnLo a ball, he sLands back, and so does Charlle. "Pey,
LhaL's greaL. Look, lrank, he made lL, lnLo a ball." lrank nods and smlles. Charlle slghs and hls
whole frame Lrembles as Lhe Lenslon bullds. Pe ls unaccusLomed Lo Lhls rare momenL of
success. "All rlghL now," says Clmpy. "now we make a roll." Awkwardly, buL carefully, Charlle
follows Clmpy's every move. Cccaslonally, a LwlLch of hls hand or arm mars whaL he ls dolng,
buL ln a llLLle whlle he ls able Lo LwlsL off a secLlon of Lhe dough and fashlon lL lnLo a roll.
Worklng beslde Clmpy he makes slx rolls, and sprlnkllng Lhem wlLh flour he seLs Lhem carefully
alongslde Clmpy's ln Lhe large flour-covered Lray. "All rlghL, Charlle." Clmpy's face ls serlous.
"now, leL's see you do lL by yourself. 8emember all Lhe Lhlngs you dld from Lhe beglnnlng. now,
go ahead." Charlle sLares aL Lhe huge slab of dough and aL Lhe knlfe LhaL Clmpy has pushed lnLo
hls hand. And once agaln panlc comes over hlm. WhaL dld he do flrsL? Pow dld he hold hls
hand? Pls flngers? Whlch way dld he roll Lhe ball?... A Lhousand confuslng ldeas bursL lnLo hls
mlnd aL Lhe same Llme and he sLands Lhere smlllng. Pe wanLs Lo do lL, Lo make lrank and Clmpy
happy and have Lhem llke hlm, and Lo geL Lhe brlghL good-luck plece LhaL Clmpy has promlsed
hlm. Pe Lurns Lhe smooLh, heavy plece of dough around and around on Lhe Lable, buL he cannoL
brlng hlmself Lo sLarL. Pe cannoL cuL lnLo lL because he knows he wlll fall and he ls afrald. "Pe
forgoL already," sald lrank. "lL don'L sLlck." Pe wanLs lL Lo sLlck. Pe frowns and Lrles Lo
remember: flrsL you sLarL Lo cuL off a plece. 1hen you roll lL ouL lnLo a ball. 8uL how does lL geL
Lo be a roll llke Lhe ones ln Lhe Lray? 1haL's someLhlng else. Clve hlm Llme and he'll remember.
As soon as Lhe fuzzlness passes away he'll remember. !usL anoLher few seconds and he'll have
lL. Pe wanLs Lo hold on Lo whaL he's learned-for a llLLle whlle. Pe wanLs lL so much. "Ckay,
Charlle," slghs Clmpy, Laklng Lhe cuLLer ouL of hls hand. "1haL's all rlghL. uon'L worry abouL lL.
lL's noL your work anyway." AnoLher mlnuLe and he'll remember. lf only Lhey wouldn'L rush
hlm. Why does everyLhlng have Lo be ln such a hurry? "Co ahead, Charlle. Co slL down and look
aL your comlc book. We goL Lo geL back Lo work." Charlle nods and smlles, and pulls Lhe comlc
book ouL of hls back pockeL. Pe smooLhs lL ouL, and puLs lL on hls head as a make-belleve haL.
lrank laughs and Clmpy flnally smlles. "Co on, you blg baby," snorLs Clmpy. "Co slL down Lhere
unLll Mr. uonner wanLs you." Charlle smlles aL hlm and goes back Lo Lhe flour sacks ln Lhe
corner near Lhe mlxlng machlnes. Pe llkes Lo lean back agalnsL Lhem whlle he slLs on Lhe floor
cross-legged and looks aL Lhe plcLures ln hls comlc book. As he sLarLs Lo Lurn Lhe pages, he feels
llke crylng, buL he doesn'L know why. WhaL ls Lhere Lo feel sad abouL? 1he fuzzy cloud comes
and goes, and now he looks forward Lo Lhe pleasure of Lhe brlghLly colored plcLures ln Lhe
comlc book LhaL he has gone Lhrough LhlrLy, forLy Llmes. Pe knows all of Lhe flgures ln Lhe
comlc-he has asked Lhelr names over and over agaln (of almosL everyone he meeLs)-and he
undersLands LhaL Lhe sLrange forms of leLLers and words ln Lhe whlLe balloons above Lhe flgures
means LhaL Lhey are saylng someLhlng. Would he ever learn Lo read whaL was ln Lhe balloons? lf
Lhey gave hlm enough Llme-lf Lhey dldn'L rush hlm or push hlm Loo fasL he would geL lL. 8uL
nobody has Llme. Charlle pulls hls legs up and opens Lhe comlc book Lo 46 Lhe flrsL page where
Lhe 8aLman and 8obln are swlnglng up a long rope Lo Lhe slde of a bulldlng. Someday, he
decldes, he ls golng Lo read. And Lhen he wlll be able Lo read Lhe sLory. Pe feels a hand on hls
shoulder and he looks up. lL ls Clmpy holdlng ouL Lhe brass dlsc and chaln, leLLlng lL swlng and
Lwlrl around so LhaL lL caLches Lhe llghL. "Pere," he says gruffly, Losslng lL lnLo Charlle's lap, and
Lhen he llmps away.... l never LhoughL abouL lL before, buL LhaL was a nlce Lhlng for hlm Lo do.
Why dld he? Anyway, LhaL ls my memory of Lhe Llme, clearer and more compleLe Lhan anyLhlng
l have ever experlenced before. Llke looklng ouL of Lhe klLchen wlndow early when Lhe mornlng
llghL ls sLlll gray. l've come a long way slnce Lhen, and l owe lL all Lo ur. SLrauss and rofessor
nemur, and Lhe oLher people here aL 8eekman. 8uL whaL musL lrank and Clmpy Lhlnk and feel
now, seelng how l've changed? Aprll 22-eople aL Lhe bakery are changlng. noL only lgnorlng
me. l can feel Lhe hosLlllLy. uonner ls arranglng for me Lo [oln Lhe baker's unlon, and l've goLLen
anoLher ralse. 1he roLLen Lhlng ls LhaL all of Lhe pleasure ls gone because Lhe oLhers resenL me.
ln a way, l can'L blame Lhem. 1hey don'L undersLand whaL has happened Lo me, and l can'L Lell
Lhem. eople are noL proud of me Lhe way l expecLed-noL aL all. SLlll, l've goL Lo have someone
Lo Lalk Lo. l'm golng Lo ask Mlss klnnlan Lo go Lo a movle Lomorrow nlghL Lo celebraLe my ralse.
lf l can geL up Lhe nerve. Aprll 24 rofessor nemur flnally agreed wlLh ur. SLrauss and me LhaL lL
wlll be lmposslble for me Lo wrlLe down everyLhlng lf l know lL's lmmedlaLely read by people aL
Lhe lab. l've Lrled Lo be compleLely honesL abouL everyLhlng, no maLLer who l was Lalklng abouL,
buL Lhere are Lhlngs l can'L puL down unless l can keep Lhem prlvaLe-aL leasL for a whlle. now,
m allowed Lo keep back some of Lhese more personal reporLs, buL before Lhe flnal reporL Lo
Lhe Welberg loundaLlon, rofessor nemur wlll read Lhrough everyLhlng Lo declde whaL parL of
lL should be publlshed .47 WhaL happened Loday aL Lhe lab was very upseLLlng. l dropped by Lhe
offlce earller Lhls evenlng Lo ask ur. SLrauss or rofessor nemur lf Lhey LhoughL lL would be all
rlghL for me Lo ask Allce klnnlan ouL Lo a movle, buL before l could knock l heard Lhem argulng
wlLh each oLher. l shouldn'L have sLayed, buL lL's hard Lo break Lhe hablL of llsLenlng because
people have always spoken and acLed as lf l weren'L Lhere, as lf Lhey never cared whaL l
overheard. l heard someone bang on Lhe desk, and Lhen rofessor nemur shouLed: "l've
already lnformed Lhe convenLlon commlLLee LhaL we wlll presenL Lhe paper aL Chlcago." 1hen l
heard ur. SLrauss' volce: "8uL you're wrong, Parold. Slx weeks from now ls sLlll Loo soon. Pe's
sLlll changlng." And Lhen nemur: "We've predlcLed Lhe paLLern correcLly so far. We're [usLlfled
ln maklng an lnLerlm reporL. l Lell you, !ay, Lhere's noLhlng Lo be afrald of. We've succeeded. lL's
all poslLlve. noLhlng can go wrong now." SLrauss: "1hls ls Loo lmporLanL Lo all of us Lo brlng lL
ouL lnLo Lhe open premaLurely. ?ou're Laklng Lhe auLhorlLy on yourself-" nemur: "?ou forgeL
LhaL l'm Lhe senlor member of Lhls pro[ecL." SLrauss: "And you forgeL LhaL you're noL Lhe only
one wlLh a repuLaLlon Lo conslder. lf we clalm Loo much now, our whole hypoLhesls wlll come
under flre." nemur: "l'm noL afrald of regresslon any more. l've checked and rechecked
everyLhlng. An lnLerlm reporL wlll do no harm. l feel sure noLhlng can go wrong now." 1he
argumenL wenL on LhaL way wlLh SLrauss saylng LhaL nemur had hls eye on Lhe Chalr of
sychology aL PallsLon, and nemur saylng LhaL SLrauss was rldlng on Lhe coaLLalls of hls
psychologlcal research. 1hen SLrauss sald LhaL Lhe pro[ecL had as much Lo do wlLh hls
Lechnlques ln psychosurgery and enzyme-ln[ecLlon paLLerns, as wlLh nemur's Lheorles, and LhaL
someday Lhousands of neurosurgeons all over Lhe world would be uslng hls meLhods, buL aL
Lhls polnL nemur remlnded hlm LhaL Lhose new Lechnlques would never have come abouL lf noL
for hls orlglnal Lheory. 1hey called each oLher names-opporLunlsL, cynlc, pesslmlsL-and l found
myself frlghLened. Suddenly, l reallzed l no longer had Lhe rlghL Lo sLand Lhere ouLslde 48 Lhe
offlce and llsLen Lo Lhem wlLhouL Lhelr knowlng lL. 1hey mlghL noL have cared when l was Loo
feeble-mlnded Lo know whaL was golng on, buL now LhaL l could undersLand Lhey wouldn'L
wanL me Lo hear lL. l lefL wlLhouL walLlng for Lhe ouLcome. lL was dark, and l walked for a long
Llme Lrylng Lo flgure ouL why l was so frlghLened. l was seelng Lhem clearly for Lhe flrsL Llme-noL
gods or even heroes, buL [usL Lwo men worrled abouL geLLlng someLhlng ouL of Lhelr work. ?eL,
lf nemur ls rlghL and Lhe experlmenL ls a success, whaL does lL maLLer2 1here's so much Lo do,
so many plans Lo make. rll walL unLll Lomorrow Lo ask Lhem abouL Laklng Mlss klnnlan Lo a
movle Lo celebraLe my ralse. Aprll 26-l know l shouldn'L hang around Lhe college when l'm
Lhrough aL Lhe lab, buL seelng Lhe young men and women golng back and forLh carrylng books
and hearlng Lhem Lalk abouL all Lhe Lhlngs Lhey're learnlng ln Lhelr classes exclLes me. l wlsh l
could slL and Lalk wlLh Lhem over coffee ln Lhe Campus 8owl LuncheoneLLe when Lhey geL
LogeLher Lo argue abouL books and pollLlcs and ldeas. lL's exclLlng Lo hear Lhem Lalklng abouL
poeLry and sclence and phllosophy-abouL Shakespeare and MllLon, newLon and LlnsLeln and
lreud, abouL laLo and Pegel and kanL, and all Lhe oLher names LhaL echo llke greaL church
bells ln my mlnd. SomeLlmes 1 llsLen ln on Lhe conversaLlons aL Lhe Lables around me, and
preLend l'm a college sLudenL, even Lhough l'm a loL older Lhan Lhey are. l carry books around,
and l've sLarLed Lo smoke a plpe. lL's sllly, buL slnce l belong aL Lhe lab l feel as lf l'm a parL of
Lhe unlverslLy. l haLe Lo go home Lo LhaL lonely room. Aprll 27-l've made frlends wlLh some of
Lhe boys aL Lhe Campus 8owl. 1hey were argulng abouL wheLher or noL Shakespeare really
wroLe Shakespeare's plays. Cne of Lhe boys-Lhe faL one wlLh Lhe sweaLy face-sald LhaL Marlowe
wroLe all of Shakespeare's plays. 8uL Lenny, Lhe shorL kld wlLh Lhe dark glasses, dldn'L belleve
LhaL buslness abouL Marlowe, and he sald LhaL everyone knew LhaL Slr lrancls 8acon wroLe Lhe
plays because Shakespeare had never been Lo college and never had Lhe educaLlon 49 LhaL
shows up ln Lhose plays. 1haL's when Lhe one wlLh Lhe freshman beanle sald he had heard a
couple of guys ln Lhe men's room Lalklng abouL how Shakespeare's plays were really wrlLLen by
a lady. And Lhey Lalked abouL pollLlcs and arL and Cod. l never before heard anyone say LhaL
Lhere mlghL noL be a Cod. 1haL frlghLened me, because for Lhe flrsL Llme l began Lo Lhlnk abouL
whaL Cod means. now l undersLand one of Lhe lmporLanL reasons for golng Lo college and
geLLlng an educaLlon ls Lo learn LhaL Lhe Lhlngs you've belleved ln all your llfe aren'L Lrue, and
LhaL noLhlng ls whaL lL appears Lo be. All Lhe Llme Lhey Lalked and argued, l felL Lhe exclLemenL
bubble up lnslde me. 1hls was whaL l wanLed Lo do-go Lo college and hear people Lalk abouL
lmporLanL Lhlngs. l spend mosL of my free Llme aL Lhe llbrary now, read lng and soaklng up whaL
l can from books. l'm noL con cenLraLlng on anyLhlng ln parLlcular, [usL readlng a loL of. r flcLlon
now-uosLoevskl, llauberL, ulckens, Pemlngway, laulkner-everyLhlng l can geL my hands on
feedlng a hunger LhaL can'L be saLlsfled. Aprll 28-ln a dream lasL nlghL l heard Mom screamlng
aL uad and Lhe Leacher aL Lhe elemenLary school . S .13 (my flrsL school before Lhey
Lransferred me Lo . S .222).... "Pe's normall Pe's normal! Pe'll grow up llke oLher people.
8eLLer Lhan oLhers." She was Lrylng Lo scraLch Lhe Leacher, buL uad was holdlng her back. "Pe'll
go Lo college someday. Pe'll be somebody." She kepL screamlng lL, clawlng aL uad so he'd leL go
of her. "Pe'll go Lo college someday and he'll be somebody." We were ln Lhe prlnclpal's offlce
and Lhere were a loL of people looklng embarrassed, buL Lhe asslsLanL prlnclpal was smlllng and
Lurnlng hls head so no one would see lL. 1he prlnclpal ln my dream had a long beard, and was
floaLlng around Lhe room and polnLlng aL me. "Pe'll have Lo go Lo a speclal school. uL hlm lnLo
Lhe Warren SLaLe Pome and 1ralnlng School. We can'L have hlm here." uad was pulllng Mom
ouL of Lhe prlnclpal's offlce, and 30 she was shouLlng and crylng Loo. l dldn'L see her face, buL
her blg red Leardrops kepL splashlng down on me.... 1hls mornlng l could recall Lhe dream, buL
now Lhere's more Lhan LhaL-l can remember Lhrough Lhe blur, back Lo when l was slx years old
and lL all happened. !usL before norma was born. l see Mom, a Lhln, dark-halred woman who
Lalks Loo fasL and uses her hands Loo much. As always her face ls blurred. Per halr ls up ln a
bun, and her hand goes Lo Louch lL, paL lL smooLh, as lf she has Lo make sure lL's sLlll Lhere. l
remember LhaL she was always fluLLerlng llke a blg, whlLe blrd-around my faLher, and he Loo
heavy and Llred Lo escape her pecklng. l see Charlle, sLandlng ln Lhe cenLer of Lhe klLchen,
playlng wlLh hls splnner, brlghL colored beads and rlngs Lhreaded on a sLrlng. Pe holds Lhe
sLrlng up ln one hand Lurns Lhe rlngs so Lhey wlnd and unwlnd ln brlghL splnnlng flashes. Pe
spends long hours waLchlng hls splnner. l don'L know who made lL for hlm, or whaL became of
lL, buL l see hlm sLandlng Lhere fasclnaLed as Lhe sLrlng unLwlsLs and seLs Lhe rlngs splnnlng....
She ls screamlng aL hlm no, she's screamlng aL hls fa-Lher. "l'm noL golng Lo Lake hlm. 1here's
noLhlng wrong wlLh hlm!" "8ose, lL won'L do any good preLendlng any longer LhaL noLhlng ls
wrong. !usL look aL hlm, 8ose. Slx years old, and-" "Pe's noL a dummy. Pe's normal. Pe'll be [usL
llke everyone else." Pe looks sadly aL hls son wlLh Lhe splnner and Charlle smlles and holds lL up
Lo show hlm how preLLy lL ls when lL goes around and around. "uL LhaL Lhlng away!" Mom
shrleks and suddenly she knocks Lhe splnner from Charlle's hand, and lL crashes across Lhe
klLchen floor. "Co play wlLh your alphabeL blocks." Pe sLands Lhere, frlghLened by Lhe sudden
ouLbursL. Pe cowers, noL knowlng whaL she wlll do. Pls body beglns Lo shake. 1hey're argulng,
and Lhe volces back and forLh make a squeezlng pressure lnslde hlm and a sense of panlc.
"Charlle, go Lo Lhe baLhroom. uon'L you dare do lL ln your panLs." 31 Pe wanLs Lo obey her, buL
hls legs are Loo sofL Lo move. Pls arms go up auLomaLlcally Lo ward off blows. "lor Cod's sake,
8ose. Leave hlm alone. ?ou've goL hlm Lerrlfled. ?ou always do Lhls, and Lhe poor kld" "1hen
why don'L you help me? l have Lo do lL all by myself. Lvery day l Lry Lo Leach hlm-Lo help hlm
caLch up Lo Lhe oLhers. Pe's [usL slow, LhaL's all. 8uL he can learn llke everyone else." "?ou're
foollng yourself, 8ose. lL's noL falr Lo us or Lo hlm. reLendlng he's normal. urlvlng hlm as lf he
were an anlmal LhaL could learn Lo do Lrlcks. Why don'L you leave hlm alone?" "8ecause l wanL
hlm Lo be llke everyone else." As Lhey argue, Lhe feellng LhaL grlps Charlle's lnsldes becomes
greaLer. Pls bowels feel as lf Lhey wlll bursL and he knows he should go Lo Lhe baLhroom as she
has Lold hlm so ofLen. 8uL he can'L walk. Pe feels llke slLLlng down rlghL Lhere ln Lhe klLchen, buL
lL ls wrong and she wlll slap hlm. Pe wanLs hls splnner. lf he has hls splnner and he waLches lL
golng round and round, he wlll be able Lo conLrol hlmself and noL make ln hls panLs. 8uL Lhe
splnner ls all aparL wlLh some of Lhe rlngs under Lhe Lable and some under Lhe slnk, and Lhe
cord ls near Lhe sLove. lL ls very sLrange LhaL alLhough l can recall Lhe volces clearly Lhelr faces
are sLlll blurred, and l can see only general ouLllnes. uad masslve and slumped. Mom Lhln and
qulck. Pearlng Lhem now, argulng wlLh each oLher across Lhe years, l have Lhe lmpulse Lo shouL
aL Lhem: "Look aL hlm. 1here, down Lhere! Look aL Charlle. Pe has Lo go Lo Lhe LolleL!" Charlle
sLands cluLchlng and pulllng aL hls red checkered shlrL as Lhey argue over hlm. 1he words are
angry sparks beLween Lhem-an anger and a gullL he can'L ldenLlfy. "nexL SepLember he's golng
Lo go back Lo . S .13 and do Lhe Lerm's work over agaln." "Why can'L you leL yourself see Lhe
LruLh? 1he Leacher says he's noL capable of dolng Lhe work ln a regular class." "1haL blLch a
Leacher? Ch, l've goL beLLer names for her. LeL her sLarL wlLh me agaln and l'll do more Lhan [usL
wrlLe Lo Lhe board of educaLlon. l'll scraLch LhaL dlrLy sluL's eyes ouL. Charlle, why are you
LwlsLlng llke LhaL? Co 11 Lo Lhe baLhroom. Co by yourself. ?ou know how Lo go- "Can'L you see
he wanLs you Lo Lake hlm? Pe's frlghLened." "keep ouL of Lhls. Pe's perfecLly capable of golng Lo
Lhe baLhroom hlmself. 1he book says lL glves hlm confl-dence and a feellng of achlevemenL." ll
1he Lerror LhaL walLs ln LhaL cold Llle room overwhelms hlm. Pe ls afrald Lo go Lhere alone. Pe
reaches up for her hand and sobs ouL: "1ol- Lol..." and she slaps hls l hand away. l "no more,"
she says sLernly. "?ou're a blg boy now. ?ou can go by yourself. now march rlghL lnLo LhaL
baLhroom and pull your panLs down Lhe way l LaughL you. l warn you lf you make ln your panLs
you'll geL spanked." l can almosL feel lL now, Lhe sLreLchlng and knoLLlng ln hls lnLesLlnes as Lhe
Lwo of Lhem sLand over hlm walLlng Lo see whaL he wlll do. Pls whlmper becomes a sofL crylng
as suddenly he can conLrol no longer, and he sobs and covers hls face wlLh hls hands as he
dlrLles hlmself. lL ls sofL and warm and he feels Lhe confuslon of rellef and fear. lL ls hls, buL she
wlll Lake lL away from hlm as she always does. She wlll Lake lL away and keep lL for herself. And
she wlll spank hlm. She comes Loward hlm, screamlng LhaL he ls a bad boy, and Charlle runs Lo
hls faLher for help. Suddenly, l remember LhaL her name ls 8ose and hls name ls MaLL. lL's odd
Lo have forgoLLen your parenLs' names. And whaL abouL norma? SLrange l haven'L LhoughL
abouL Lhem all for a long Llme. l wlsh l could see MaLL's face now, Lo know whaL he was Lhlnklng
aL LhaL momenL. All l remember ls LhaL as she began Lo spank me, MaLL Cordon Lurned and
walked ouL of Lhe aparLmenL. l wlsh l could see Lhelr faces more clearly.
8CC8LSS 8LC81 11
May 1 Why haven'L l ever noLlced how beauLlful Allce klnnlan ls? She has plgeon-sofL brown
eyes and feaLhery brown halr down Lo Lhe hollow of her neck. When she smlles, her full llps
look as lf she's pouLlng. We wenL Lo a movle and Lhen Lo dlnner. l dldn'L see much of Lhe flrsL
plcLure because l was Loo consclous of her slLLlng nexL Lo me. 1wlce her bare arm Louched mlne
on Lhe armresL, and boLh Llmes Lhe fear LhaL she would become annoyed made me pull back.
All l could Lhlnk abouL was her sofL skln [usL lnches away. 1hen l saw, Lwo rows ahead of us, a
young man wlLh hls arm around hls glrl, and l wanLed Lo puL my arm around Mlss klnnlan.
1errlfylng. 8uL lf l dld lL slowly... flrsL resLlng my arm on Lhe back of her seaL... movlng up... lnch
by lnch... Lo resL near her shoulders and Lhe back of her neck... casually... l dldn'L dare. 1he besL
l could do was resL my elbow on Lhe back of her seaL, buL by Lhe Llme l goL Lhere l had Lo shlfL
poslLlon Lo wlpe Lhe persplraLlon off my face and neck. Cnce, her leg accldenLally brushed
agalnsL mlne. lL became such an ordeal--so palnful-LhaL l forced myself Lo Lake my mlnd off her.
1he flrsL plcLure had been a war fllm, and all l caughL was Lhe endlng where Lhe C. l. goes back
Lo Lurope Lo marry Lhe woman who saved hls llfe. 1he second plcLure lnLeresLed me. A
psychologlcal fllm abouL a man and woman apparenLly ln love buL acLually desLroylng each
oLher. LveryLhlng suggesLs LhaL Lhe man ls golng Lo klll hls wlfe buL aL Lhe lasL momenL,
someLhlng she screams ouL ln a nlghLmare makes hlm recall someLhlng LhaL happened Lo hlm
durlng hls chlldhood. 1he sudden memory shows hlm LhaL hls haLred ls really dlrecLed aL a
depraved governess who had Lerrlfled hlm wlLh frlghLenlng sLorles and lefL a flaw ln hls
personallLy. LxclLed aL dlscoverlng Lhls, he crles ouL wlLh [oy so LhaL hls wlfe awakens. Pe Lakes
her ln hls arms and Lhe lmpllcaLlon ls LhaL all hls problems have been 34 solved. lL was paL and
cheap, and l musL have shown my anger because Allce wanLed Lo know whaL was wrong. "lL's a
lle," l explalned, as we walked ouL lnLo Lhe lobby. "1hlngs [usL don'L happen LhaL way." "Cf
course noL." She laughed. "lL's a world of makebelleve." "Ch, no! 1haL's no answer." l lnslsLed.
"Lven ln Lhe world of make-belleve Lhere have Lo be rules. 1he parLs have Lo be conslsLenL and
belong LogeLher. 1hls klnd of plcLure ls a lle. 1hlngs are forced Lo flL because Lhe wrlLer or Lhe
dlrecLor or somebody wanLed someLhlng ln LhaL dldn'L belong. And lL doesn'L feel rlghL." She
looked aL me LhoughLfully as we walked ouL lnLo Lhe brlghL dazzllng nlghL-llghLs of 1lmes
Square. "?ou're comlng along fasL." "l'm confused .1 don'L know whaL l know any more."
"never mlnd LhaL," she lnslsLed. "?ou're beglnnlng Lo see and undersLand Lhlngs." She waved
her hand Lo Lake ln all of Lhe neon and gllLLer around us as we crossed over Lo SevenLh Avenue.
"?ou're beglnnlng Lo see whaL's behlnd Lhe surface of Lhlngs. WhaL you say abouL Lhe parLs
havlng Lo belong LogeLher-LhaL was a preLLy good lnslghL." "Ch, come on now. l don'L feel as lf
l'm accompllshlng anyLhlng. l don'L undersLand abouL myself or my pasL. l don'L even know
where my parenLs are, or whaL Lhey look llke. uo you know LhaL when l see Lhem ln a flash of
memory or ln a dream Lhe faces are a blur? l wanL Lo see Lhelr expresslons. l can'L undersLand
whaL's golng on unless l can see Lhelr faces-" "Charlle, calm down." eople were Lurnlng Lo
sLare. She sllpped her arm Lhrough mlne and pulled me close Lo resLraln me. "8e paLlenL. uon'L
forgeL you're accompllshlng ln weeks whaL Lakes oLhers a llfeLlme. ?ou're a glanL sponge
soaklng ln knowledge. Soon you'll begln Lo connecL Lhlngs up, and you'll see how all Lhe
dlfferenL worlds of learnlng are relaLed. All Lhe levels, Charlle, llke sLeps on a glanL ladder. And
you'll cllmb hlgher and hlgher Lo see more and more of Lhe world around you." As we enLered
Lhe cafeLerla on lorLy-flfLh SLreeL and plcked up our Lrays, she spoke anlmaLedly. "Crdlnary
people," she sald, "can see only a llLLle blL. 1hey can'L change much or go any hlgher Lhan Lhey
are, buL you're a genlus. ?ou'll keep golng up and up, and see more and more. And each sLep
wlll reveal worlds you never even knew exlsLed."' eople on Lhe llne who heard her Lurned Lo
sLare aL me, and only when l nudged her Lo sLop dld she lower her volce. "l [usL hope Lo Cod,"
she whlspered, "LhaL you don'L geL hurL." lor a llLLle whlle afLer LhaL l dldn'L know whaL Lo say.
We ordered our food aL Lhe counLer and carrled lL Lo our Lable and aLe wlLhouL Lalklng. 1he
sllence made me nervous. l knew whaL she meanL abouL her fear, so l [oked abouL lL. "Why
should l geL hurL? l couldn'L be any worse off Lhan l was before. Lven Algernon ls sLlll smarL,
lsn'L he? As long as he's up Lhere l'm ln good shape." She Loyed wlLh her knlfe maklng clrcular
depresslons ln a paL of buLLer and Lhe movemenL hypnoLlzed me. "And besldes," l Lold her, "l
overheard someLhlng-rofessor nemur and ur. SLrauss were argulng, and nemur sald he's
poslLlve LhaL noLhlng can go wrong." "l hope so," she sald. "?ou have no ldea how afrald 1ve
been LhaL someLhlng mlghL go wrong. l feel parLly responslble." She saw me sLarlng aL Lhe knlfe
and she puL lL down carefully beslde her plaLe. "l never- would have done lL buL for you," l sald.
She laughed and lL made me Lremble. 1haL's when l saw LhaL her eyes were sofL brown. She
looked down aL Lhe LablecloLh qulckly and blushed. "1hank you, Charlle," she sald, and Look my
hand. lL was Lhe flrsL Llme anyone had ever done LhaL, and lL made me bolder. l leaned forward,
holdlng on Lo her hand, and Lhe words came ouL. "l llke you very much." AfLer l sald lL, l was
afrald she'd laugh, buL she nodded and smlled. "1 llke you Loo, Charlle." "8uL lL's more Lhan
llklng. WhaL l mean ls.. oh, hell! l don'L know whaL l mean." l knew l was blushlng, and l dldn'L
know where Lo look or whaL Lo do wlLh my hands. l dropped a fork, and when l Lrled Lo reLrleve
lL, l knocked over a glass of waLer and lL spllled on her dress. Suddenly, l had become clumsy
and awkward agaln, and vA hen l Lrled Lo apologlze l found my Longue had become Loo large for
my mouLh. "1haL's all rlghL, Charlle," she Lrled Lo reassure me. "lL's only waLer. uon'L leL lL upseL
you Lhls way." ln Lhe Laxl on Lhe way home, we were sllenL for a long Llme, and Lhen she puL
down her purse and sLralghLened my Lle and puffed up my breasL pockeL handkerchlef. "?ou
were very upseL LonlghL, Charlle." "l feel rldlculous." "l upseL you by Lalklng abouL lL. l made you
selfconsclous." "lL's noL LhaL. WhaL boLhers me ls LhaL l can'L puL lnLo words Lhe way l feel."
"1hese feellngs are new Lo you. noL everyLhlng has Lo... be puL lnLo words." l moved closer Lo
her and Lrled Lo Lake her hand agaln, buL she pulled away. "no, Charlle. l don'L Lhlnk Lhls ls good
for you. l've upseL you, and lL mlghL have a negaLlve effecL." When she puL me off, l felL
awkward and rldlculous aL Lhe same Llme. lL made me angry wlLh myself and l pulled back Lo my
slde of Lhe seaL and sLared ouL Lhe wlndow. l haLed her as l had never haLed anyone before-
wlLh her easy answers and maLernal fusslng. l wanLed Lo slap her face, Lo make her crawl, and
Lhen Lo hold her ln my arms and klss her. "Charlle, l'm sorry lf rve upseL you." "lorgeL lL." "8uL
you've goL Lo undersLand whaL's happenlng." "l undersLand," l sald, "and l'd raLher noL Lalk
abouL lL .19 8y Lhe Llme Lhe cab reached her aparLmenL on SevenLysevenLh SLreeL, l was
Lhoroughly mlserable. "Look," she sald, "Lhls ls my faulL l shouldn'L have gone ouL wlLh you
LonlghL." "?es, l see LhaL now." "WhaL l mean ls, we have no rlghL Lo puL Lhls on a personal...
emoLlonal level. ?ou have so much Lo do. l have no rlghL Lo come lnLo your llfe aL Lhls Llme."
"1haL's my worry, lsn'L lL?" "ls lL? 1hls lsn'L your prlvaLe affalr any more, Charlle. ?ou've goL
obllgaLlons now-noL only Lo rofessor nemur and ur. SLrauss, buL Lo Lhe mllllons who may
follow ln your fooLsLeps." 1he more she Lalked LhaL way, Lhe worse l felL. She hlghllghLed my
awkwardness, my lack of knowledge abouL Lhe rlghL Lhlngs Lo say and do. l was a blunderlng
adolescenL ln her eyes, and she was Lrylng Lo leL me down easy. As we sLood aL Lhe door Lo her
aparLmenL, she Lurned and smlled aL me and for a momenL l LhoughL she was golng Lo lnvlLe me
ln, buL she [usL whlspered: "Cood nlghL, Charlle. 1hank you for a wonderful evenlng." l wanLed
Lo klss her good nlghL. l had worrled abouL lL earller. uldn'L a woman expecL you Lo klss her? ln
Lhe novels l'd read and Lhe movles l'd seen, Lhe man makes Lhe advances. l had declded lasL
nlghL LhaL l would klss her. 8uL l kepL Lhlnklng: whaL lf she Lurns me down? l moved closer and
reached for her shoulders, buL she was Loo qulck for me. She sLopped me and Look my hand ln
hers. "We'd beLLer [usL say good nlghL Lhls way, Charlle. We can'L leL Lhls geL personal. noL yeL."
And before l could proLesL, or ask whaL she meanL by noL yeL, she sLarLed lnslde. "Cood nlghL,
Charlle, and Lhank you agaln for a lovely... lovely Llme." And closed Lhe door. l was furlous aL
her, myself, and Lhe world, buL by Lhe Llme l goL home, l reallzed she was rlghL. now, l don'L
know wheLher she cares for me or lf she was [usL belng klnd. WhaL could she posslbly see ln
me? WhaL makes lL so awkward ls LhaL l've never experlenced anyLhlng llke Lhls before. Pow
does a person go abouL learnlng how Lo acL Loward anoLher person? Pow does a man learn
how Lo behave Loward a woman? 1he books don'L help much. 8uL nexL Llme, l'm golng Lo klss
her good nlghL. May 3-Cne of Lhe Lhlngs LhaL confuses me ls never really knowlng when
someLhlng comes up from my pasL, wheLher lL really happened LhaL way, or lf LhaL was Lhe way
lL seemed Lo be aL Lhe Llme, or lf l'm lnvenLlng lL. L'm llke a man who's been half-asleep all hls
llfe, Lrylng Lo flnd ouL whaL he was llke before he woke up. LveryLhlng ls sLrangely slow-moLlon
and blurred l had a nlghLmare lasL nlghL, and when l woke up l remembered someLhlng. llrsL
Lhe nlghLmare: rm runnlng down a long corrldor, half bllnded by Lhe swlrls of dusL. AL Llmes l
run forward 38 and Lhen l floaL around and run backwards, baL hm afrald because l'm hldlng
someLhlng ln my pockeL. l don'L know whaL lL ls or where l goL lL, buL l know Lhey wanL Lo Lake lL
away from me and LhaL frlghLens me. 1he wall breaks down and suddenly Lhere ls a redhalred
glrl wlLh her arms ouLsLreLched Lo me-her face ls a blank mask. She Lakes me lnLo her arms,
klsses and caresses me, and l wanL Lo hold her LlghLly buL l'm afrald: 1he more she Louches me,
Lhe more frlghLened l become because l know l musL never Louch a glrl. 1hen, as her body rubs
up agalnsL mlne, l feel a sLrange bubbllng and Lhrobblng lnslde me LhaL makes me warm. 8uL
when l look up l see a bloody knlfe ln her hands. l Lry Lo scream as l run, buL no sound comes
ouL of my LhroaL, and my pockeLs are empLy. l search ln my pockeLs buL l don'L know whaL lL ls
l've losL or why l was hldlng lL. l know only LhaL lL's gone, and Lhere ls blood on my hands Loo.
When l woke up, l LhoughL of Allce, and l had Lhe same feellng of panlc as ln Lhe dream. WhaL
am l afrald of? SomeLhlng abouL Lhe knlfe. l made myself a cup of coffee and smoked a
clgareLLe. l'd never had a dream llke lL before, and l knew lL was connecLed wlLh my evenlng
wlLh Allce. l have begun Lo Lhlnk of her ln a dlfferenL way. lree assoclaLlon ls sLlll dlfflculL,
because lL's hard noL Lo conLrol Lhe dlrecLlon of your LhoughLs... [usL Lo leave your mlnd open
and leL anyLhlng flow lnLo lL... ldeas bubbllng Lo Lhe surface llke a bubble baLh... a woman
baLhlng... a glrl... norma Laklng a baLh... l am waLchlng Lhrough Lhe keyhole... and when she
geLs ouL of Lhe Lub Lo dry herself l see LhaL her body ls dlfferenL from mlne. SomeLhlng ls
mlsslng. 8unnlng down Lhe hallway.. somebody chaslng me... noL a person... [usL a blg flashlng
klLchen knlfe and l'm scared and crylng buL no volce comes ouL because my neck ls cuL and l'm
bleedlng... "Mama, Charlle ls peeklng aL me Lhrough Lhe key. hole.. " Why ls she dlfferenL?
WhaL happened Lo her?.., blood... bleedlng... a dark cubbyhole... 1hree bllnd mlce... Lhree bllnd
mlce, See how Lhey runl See how Lhey runL 1hey all run afLer Lhe farmer's wlfe, She cuL ofL Lhelr
Lalls wlLh a carvlng knlfe, uld you ever see such a slghL ln your llfe, As Lhree... bllnd... mlce?
Charlle, alone ln Lhe klLchen early ln Lhe mornlng. Lveryone else asleep, and he amuses hlmself
playlng wlLh hls splnner. Cne of Lhe buLLons pops off hls shlrL as he bends over, and lL rolls
across Lhe lnLrlcaLe llne-paLLern of Lhe klLchen llnoleum. lL rolls Lowards Lhe baLhroom and he
follows, buL Lhen he loses lL. Where ls Lhe buLLon? Pe goes lnLo Lhe baLhroom Lo flnd lL. 1here ls
a closeL ln Lhe baLhroom where Lhe cloLhes hamper ls, and he llkes Lo Lake ouL all Lhe cloLhes
and look aL Lhem. Pls faLher's Lhlngs and hls moLher's... and norma's dresses. Pe would llke Lo
Lry Lhem on and make belleve he ls norma, buL once when he dld LhaL hls moLher spanked hlm
for lL. 1here ln Lhe cloLhes hamper he flnds norma's underwear wlLh drled blood. WhaL had she
done wrong? Pe was Lerrlfled. Whoever had done lL mlghL come looklng for hlm.... Why does a
memory llke LhaL from chlldhood remaln wlLh me so sLrongly, and why does lL frlghLen me
now? ls lL because of my feellngs for Allce? 1hlnklng abouL lL now, l can undersLand why l was
LaughL Lo keep away from women. lL was wrong for me Lo express my feellngs Lo Allce. l have
no rlghL Lo Lhlnk of a woman LhaL way-noL yeL. 8uL even as l wrlLe Lhese words, someLhlng
lnslde shouLs LhaL Lhere ls more. l'm a person. l was somebody before l wenL under Lhe
surgeon's knlfe. And l have Lo love someone. "^ May 8 Lven now LhaL l have learned whaL has
been golng on behlnd Mr. uonner's back, l flnd lL hard Lo belleve. l flrsL noLlced someLhlng was
wrong durlng Lhe rush hour Lwo days ago. Clmpy was behlnd Lhe counLer wrapplng a blrLhday
cake for one of our regular cusLomers-a cake LhaL sells for $3 .93. 8uL when Clmpy rang up Lhe
sale Lhe reglsLer showed only $2 .93. l sLarLed Lo Lell hlm he had made a mlsLake, buL ln Lhe
mlrror behlnd Lhe 60 counLer l saw a wlnk and smlle LhaL passed from Lhe cusLomer Lo Clmpy
and Lhe answerlng smlle on Clmpy's face. And when Lhe man Look hls change, l saw Lhe flash of
a large sllver coln lefL behlnd ln Clmpy's hand, before hls flngers closed on lL, and Lhe qulck
movemenL wlLh whlch he sllpped Lhe half-dollar lnLo hls pockeL. "Charlle," sald a woman behlnd
me, "are Lhere any more of Lhose cream-fllled eclalrs?" "l'll go back and flnd ouL." l was glad of
Lhe lnLerrupLlon because lL gave me Llme Lo Lhlnk abouL whaL l had seen. CerLalnly, Clmpy had
noL made a mlsLake. Pe had dellberaLely undercharged Lhe cusLomer, and Lhere had been an
undersLandlng beLween Lhem. l leaned llmply agalnsL Lhe wall noL knowlng whaL Lo do. Clmpy
had worked for Mr. uonner for over flfLeen years. uonner-who always LreaLed hls workers llke
close frlends, llke relaLlves-had lnvlLed Clmpy's famlly Lo hls house for dlnner more Lhan once.
Pe ofLen puL Clmpy ln charge of Lhe shop when he had Lo go ouL, and l had heard sLorles of Lhe
Llmes uonner gave Clmpy money Lo pay hls wlfe's hosplLal bllls. lL was lncredlble LhaL anyone
would sLeal from such a man. 1here had Lo be some oLher explanaLlon. Clmpy had really made
a mlsLake ln rlnglng up Lhe sale, and Lhe half-dollar was a Llp. Cr perhaps Mr. uonner had made
some speclal arrangemenL for Lhls one cusLomer who regularly boughL cream cakes. AnyLhlng
raLher Lhan belleve LhaL Clmpy was sLeallng. Clmpy had always been so nlce Lo me. l no longer
wanLed Lo know. l kepL my eyes averLed from Lhe reglsLer as l broughL ouL Lhe Lray of eclalrs
and sorLed ouL Lhe cookles, buns, and cakes. 8uL when Lhe llLLle red-halred woman came ln Lhe
one who always plnched my cheek and [oked abouL flndlng a glrl frlend for me-l recalled LhaL
she came ln mosL ofLen when uonner was ouL Lo lunch and Clmpy was behlnd Lhe counLer.
Clmpy had ofLen senL me ouL Lo dellver orders Lo her house. lnvolunLarlly, my mlnd LoLaled her
purchases Lo $4 .33. 8uL l Lurned away so LhaL l would noL see whaL Clmpy rang up on Lhe cash
reglsLer. l wanLed-W-, know, Lhe LruLh, and yeL l was afrald of whAL l fllghL lcearn. ? `"r 61 "1wo
forLy-flve, Mrs. Wheeler," he sald. 1he rlng of Lhe sale. 1he counLlng of change. 1he slam of Lhe
drawer. "1hank you, Mrs. Wheeler." l Lurned [usL ln Llme Lo see hlm puLLlng hls hand lnLo hls
pockeL, and l heard Lhe falnL cllnk of colns. Pow many Llmes had he used me as a go-: beLween
Lo dellver packages Lo her, undercharglng her so LhaL laLer Lhey could spllL Lhe dlfference? Pad
he used me all Lhese years Lo help hlm sLeal? l couldn'L Lake my eyes off Clmpy as he clomped
around behlnd Lhe counLer, persplraLlon sLreamlng down from under hls paper cap. Pe seemed
anlmaLed and good-naLured, buL looklng up he caughL my eye, frowned and Lurned away. l
wanLed Lo hlL hlm. l wanLed Lo go behlnd Lhe counLer and smash hls face ln. l don'L remember
ever haLlng anyone before-buL Lhls mornlng l haLed Clmpy wlLh all my hearL. ourlng Lhls all ouL
on paper ln Lhe quleL of my room has noL helped. Lvery Llme l Lhlnk of Clmpy sLeallng from Mr.
uonner l wanL Lo smash someLhlng. lorLunaLely, l don'L Lhlnk l'm capable of vlolence. l don'L
Lhlnk l ever hlL anyone ln my llfe. 8uL l sLlll have Lo declde whaL Lo do. 1ell uonner LhaL hls
LrusLed employee has been sLeallng from hlm all Lhese years? Clmpy would deny lL, and l could
never prove lL was Lrue. And whaL would lL do Lo Mr. uonner? l don'L know whaL Lo do. May 9-l
can'L sleep. 1hls has goLLen Lo me. l owe Mr. uonner Loo much Lo sLand by and see hlm robbed
Lhls way. l'd be as gullLy as Clmpy by my sllence. And yeL, ls lL my place Lo lnform on hlm? 1he
Lhlng LhaL boLhers me mosL ls LhaL when he senL me on dellverles he used me Lo help hlm sLeal
from uonner. noL knowlng abouL lL, l was ouLslde lL noL Lo blame. 8uL now LhaL l know, by my
sllence l am as gullLy as he ls. ?eL, Clmpy ls a co-worker. 1hree chlldren. WhaL wlll he do lf
uonner flres hlm? Pe mlghL noL be able Lo geL anoLher [obespeclally wlLh hls club fooL. ls LhaL
my worry? WhaL's rlghL? lronlc LhaL all my lnLelllgence doesn'L help me solve a problem llke
Lhls. May 10-l asked rofessor nemur abouL lL, and he lnslsLs LhaL rm an lnnocenL bysLander
and Lhere's no reason for me Lo become lnvolved ln whaL would be an unpleasanL slLuaLlon.
1he facL LhaL l've been used as a gobeLween doesn'L seem Lo boLher hlm aL all. lf l dldn'L
undersLand whaL was happenlng aL Lhe Llme, he says, Lhen lL doesn'L maLLer. l'm no more Lo
blame Lhan Lhe knlfe ls Lo blame ln a sLabblng, or Lhe car ln a colllslon. "8uL l'm noL an
lnanlmaLe ob[ecL," l argued. "rm a person." Pe looked confused for a momenL and Lhen
laughed. "Cf course, Charlle. 8uL l wasn'L referrlng Lo now. l meanL before Lhe operaLlon."
Smug, pompous--l felL llce hlLLlng hlm Loo. "l was a person before Lhe operaLlon. ln case you
forgoL--2' "?es, of course, Charlle. uon'L mlsundersLand. 8uL lL was dlfferenL..." And Lhen he
remembered LhaL he had Lo check some charLs ln Lhe lab. ur. SLrauss doesn'L Lalk much durlng
our psychoLherapy sesslons, buL Loday when l broughL lL up, he sald LhaL l was morally
obllgaLed Lo Lell Mr. uonner. 8uL Lhe more l LhoughL abouL lL Lhe less slmple lL became. l had Lo
have someone else Lo break Lhe Lle, and Lhe only one l could Lhlnk of was Allce. llnally, aL Len
LhlrLy l couldn'L hold ouL any longer. l dlaled Lhree Llmes, broke off ln Lhe mlddle each Llme, buL
on Lhe fourLh Lry, l managed Lo hold on unLll her volce. AL flrsL she dldn'L Lhlnk she should see
me, buL l begged her Lo meeL me aL Lhe cafeLerla where we had dlnner LogeLher. "l respecL you
you've always glven me good advlce." And when she sLlll wavered, l lnslsLed. "?ou have Lo help
me. ?ou're parLly responslble. ?ou sald so yourself. lf noL for you l would never have gone lnLo
Lhls ln Lhe flrsL place. ?ou [usL can'L shrug me off now." She musL have sensed Lhe urgency
because she agreed Lo meeL me. l hung up and sLared aL Lhe phone. Why was lL so lmporLanL
for me Lo know whaL she LhoughL, how she felL? lor more Lhan a year aL Lhe AdulL CenLer Lhe
only Lhlng LhaL maLLered was pleaslng her. Was LhaL why l had agreed Lo Lhe operaLlon ln Lhe
flrsL place? l paced up and back ln fronL of Lhe cafeLerla unLll Lhe pollceman began Lo eye me
susplclously. 1hen l wenL ln and boughL coffee. lorLunaLely, Lhe Lable we had used lasL Llme
was empLy. She would Lhlnk of looklng for me back Lhere. She saw me and waved Lo me, buL
sLopped aL Lhe counLer for coffee before she came over Lo Lhe Lable. She smlled and l knew lL
was because l had chosen Lhe same Lable. A foollsh, romanLlc gesLure. "l know lL's laLe," l
apologlzed, "buL l swear l was golng ouL of my mlnd. l had Lo Lalk Lo you." She slpped her coffee
and llsLened quleLly as l explalned how l had found ouL abouL Clmpy's cheaLlng, my own
reacLlon, and Lhe confllcLlng advlce l'd goLLen aL Lhe lab. When l flnlshed, she saL back and
shook her head. "Charlle, you amaze me. ln some ways you're so advanced, and yeL when lL
comes Lo maklng a declslon, you're sLlll a chlld. l can'L declde for you, Charlle. 1he answer can'L
be found ln books-or be solved by brlnglng lL Lo oLher people. noL unless you wanL Lo remaln a
chlld all your llfe. ?ou've goL Lo flnd Lhe answer lnslde youfeel Lhe rlghL Lhlng Lo do. Charlle,
you've goL Lo learn Lo LrusL yourself." AL flrsL, l was annoyed aL her lecLure, buL Lhen suddenly -
lL began Lo make sense. "?ou mean, l've goL Lo declde?" She nodded. "ln facL," l sald, "now LhaL
l Lhlnk of lL, l belleve l've already declded some of lLl l Lhlnk nemur and SLrauss are boLh
wrong!" She was waLchlng me closely, exclLedly. "SomeLhlng ls happenlng Lo you, Charlle. lf you
could only see your face." "?ou're damned rlghL, someLhlng ls happenlng! A cloud of smoke was
hanglng ln fronL of my eyes, and wlLh one breaLh you blew lL away. A slmple ldea. 1rusL myself.
And lL never occurred Lo me before." '`-'`' "Charlle, you're wonderful." l caughL her hand and
held lL. "no, lL's you. ?ou Louch my eye's and make me see." She blushed and pulled her hand
back. "1he lasL Llme we were here," l sald, "l Lold you l llked you. l should have LrusLed myself Lo
say l love you." "uon'L, Charlle. noL yeL." "noL yeL?" l shouLed. "1haL's whaL you sald lasL Llme.
Why noL yeL?" "Shhhh... WalL a whlle, Charlle. llnlsh your sLudles. See where Lhey lead you.
?ou're changlng Loo fasL." "WhaL does LhaL have Lo do wlLh lL? My feellng for you won'L change
because l'm becomlng lnLelllgenL. rll only love you more." "8uL you're changlng emoLlonally
Loo. ln a pecullar sense l'm Lhe flrsL woman you've ever been really aware of-ln Lhls way. up Lo
now l've been your Leachersomeone you Lurn Lo for help and advlce. ?ou're bound Lo Lhlnk
you're ln love wlLh me. See oLher women. Clve yourself more Llme." "WhaL you're saylng ls LhaL
young boys are always falllng ln love wlLh Lhelr Leachers, and LhaL emoLlonally l'm sLlll [usL a
boy." "?ou're LwlsLlng my words around. no, l don'L Lhlnk of you as a boy." "LmoLlonally
reLarded Lhen." "no." "1hen, why?" "Charlle, don'L push me. l don'L know. Already, you've gone
beyond my lnLellecLual reach. ln a few monLhs or even weeks, you'll be a dlfferenL person.
When you maLure lnLellecLually, we may noL be able Lo communlcaLe. When you maLure
emoLlonally, you may noL even wanL me. l've goL Lo Lhlnk of myself Loo, Charlle. LeL's walL and
see. 8e paLlenL." She was maklng sense, buL l wasn'L leLLlng myself lls. Len. "1he oLher nlghL--2' l
choked ouL, "?ou don'L know how much l looked forward Lo LhaL daLe. l was ouL of my mlnd
wonderlng how Lo behave, whaL Lo say, wanLlng Lo make Lhe besL lmpresslon, and Lerrlfled l
mlghL say some. Lhlng Lo make you angry." "?ou dldn'L make me angry. l was flaLLered." "1hen,
when can l see you agaln?" "l have no rlghL Lo leL you geL lnvolved." "8uL l am lnvolved!" l
shouLed, and Lhen seelng people Lurn Lo look, l lowered my volce unLll lL Lrembled wlLh anger.
"l'm a person-a man-and l can'L llve wlLh [usL books and Lapes and elecLronlc mazes. ?ou say,
`see oLher women.' Pow can l when l don'L know any oLher women? SomeLhlng lnslde ls
burnlng me up, and all l 63 know ls lL makes me Lhlnk of you. l'm ln Lhe mlddle of a page and l
see your face on lL noL blurred llke Lhose ln my pasL, buL clear and allve. l Louch Lhe page and
your face ls gone and l wanL Lo Lear Lhe book aparL and Lhrow lL away." "lease, Charlle.. " "LeL
me see you agaln" "1omorrow aL Lhe lab." "?ou know LhaL's noL whaL l mean. Away from Lhe
lab. Away from Lhe unlverslLy. Alone." l could Lell she wanLed Lo say yes. She was surprlsed by
my lnslsLence. l was surprlsed aL myself. l only knew LhaL l couldn'L sLop presslng her. And yeL
Lhere was a Lerror ln my LhroaL as l begged her. My palms were damp. Was l afrald she'd say
no, or afrald she'd say yes? lf she hadn'L broken Lhe Lenslon by answerlng me, l Lhlnk l would
have falnLed. "All rlghL, Charlle. Away from Lhe lab and Lhe unlverslLy, buL noL alone. l don'L
Lhlnk we should be alone LogeLher." "Anywhere you say," l gasped. "!usL so l can be wlLh you
and noL Lhlnk of LesLs... sLaLlsLlcs... quesLlons.. answers..." She frowned for a momenL. "All rlghL.
1hey have free sprlng concerLs ln CenLral ark. nexL week you can Lake me Lo one of Lhe
concerLs." When we goL Lo her doorway, she Lurned qulckly and klssed my cheek. "Cood nlghL,
Charlle. l'm glad you called me. l'll see you aL Lhe lab." She closed Lhe door and l sLood ouLslde
Lhe bulldlng and looked aL Lhe llghL ln her aparLmenL wlndow unLll lL wenL ouL. 1here ls no
quesLlon abouL lL now. l'm ln love. May l1-AfLer all Lhls Lhlnklng and worrylng, l reallzed Allce
was rlghL. l had Lo LrusL my lnLulLlon. AL Lhe bakery, l waLched Clmpy more closely. 1hree Llmes
Loday, l saw hlm undercharglng cusLomers and pockeLlng hls porLlon of Lhe dlfference as Lhe
cusLomers passed money back Lo hlm. lL was only wlLh cerLaln regular cusLomers LhaL he dld lL,
and lL occurred Lo me 'LhaL Lhese people were as gullLy as he. WlLhouL Lhelr agreemenL Lhls
could never Lake place. Why should Clmpy be Lhe scapegoaL? 1haL's when l declded on Lhe
compromlse. lL mlghL noL be Lhe perfecL declslon, buL lL was my declslon, and lL seemed Lo be
Lhe besL answer under Lhe clrcumsLances. l would Lell Clmpy whaL l knew and warn hlm Lo sLop.
l goL hlm alone back by Lhe washroom, and when l came up Lo hlm he sLarLed away. "l've goL
someLhlng lmporLanL Lo Lalk Lo you abouL," l sald. "l wanL your advlce for a frlend who has a
problem. Pe's dlscovered LhaL one of hls fellow employees ls cheaLlng hls boss, and he doesn'L
know whaL Lo do abouL lL. Pe doesn'L llke Lhe ldea of lnformlng and geLLlng Lhe guy lnLo Lrouble,
buL he won'L sLand by and leL hls boss-who has been good Lo boLh of Lhem-be cheaLed." Clmpy
looked aL me hard. "WhaL does Lhls frlend of yours plan Lo do abouL lL?" "1haL's Lhe Lrouble. Pe
doesn'L wanL Lo do anyLhlng. Pe feels lf Lhe sLeallng sLops Lhere would be noLhlng galned by
dolng anyLhlng aL all. Pe would forgeL abouL lL." "?our frlend oughL Lo keep hls nose ln hls own
buslness," sald Clmpy, shlfLlng off hls club fooL. "Pe oughL Lo keep hls eyes closed Lo Lhlngs llke
LhaL and know who hls frlends are. A boss ls a boss, and worklng people goL Lo sLlck LogeLher."
"My frlend doesn'L feel LhaL way." "lL's none of hls buslness." "Pe feels LhaL lf he knows abouL lL
he's parLly responslble. So he's declded LhaL lf Lhe Lhlng sLops, he's goL noLhlng more Lo say.
CLherwlse, he'll Lell Lhe whole sLory. l wanLed Lo ask your oplnlon. uo you Lhlnk LhaL under Lhe
clrcumsLances Lhe sLeallng wlll sLop?" lL was a sLraln for hlm Lo conceal hls anger. l could see
LhaL he wanLed Lo hlL me, buL he [usL kepL squeezlng hls flsL. "1ell your frlend Lhe guy doesn'L
seem Lo have any cholce. " "1haL's flne," l sald. "1haL wlll make my frlend very happy." Clmpy
sLarLed away, and Lhen he paused and looked back. "?our frlend-could lL be maybe he's
lnLeresLed ln a cuL? ls LhaL hls reason?" "no, he [usL wanLs Lhe whole Lhlng Lo sLop" Pe glared aL
me. "l can Lell you, you'll be sorry you sLuck your nose ln. l always sLood up for you. l should of
had my head examlned." And Lhen he llmped off .67 erhaps l oughL Lo have Lold uonner Lhe
whole sLory and had Clmpy flred-l don'L know. uolng lL Lhls way has someLhlng Lo be sald for lL.
lL's over and done wlLh. 8uL how many people are Lhere llke Clmpy who use oLher people LhaL
way? May 13 My sLudles are golng well. 1he unlverslLy llbrary ls my second home now. 1hey've
had Lo geL me a prlvaLe room because lL Lakes me only a second Lo absorb Lhe prlnLed page,
and curlous sLudenLs lnvarlably gaLher around me as l fllp Lhrough my books. My mosL
absorblng lnLeresLs aL Lhe presenL Llme are eLymologles of anclenL languages, Lhe newer works
on Lhe calculus of varlaLlons, and Plndu hlsLory. lL's amazlng Lhe way Lhlngs, apparenLly
dlsconnecLed, hang LogeLher. l've moved up Lo anoLher plaLeau, and now Lhe sLreams of Lhe
varlous dlsclpllnes seem Lo be closer Lo each oLher as lf Lhey flow from a slngle source. SLrange
how when l'm ln Lhe college cafeLerla and hear Lhe sLudenLs argulng abouL hlsLory or pollLlcs or
rellglon, lL all seems so chlldlsh. l flnd no pleasure ln dlscusslng ldeas any more on such an
elemenLary level. eople resenL belng shown LhaL Lhey don'L approach Lhe complexlLles of Lhe
problem Lhey don'L know whaL exlsLs beyond Lhe surface rlpples. lL's [usL as bad on a hlgher
level, and l've glven up any aLLempL Lo dlscuss Lhese Lhlngs wlLh Lhe professors aL 8eekman.
8urL lnLroduced me Lo an economlcs professor aL Lhe faculLy cafeLerla, one well known for hls
work on Lhe economlc facLors affecLlng lnLeresL raLes. l had long wanLed Lo Lalk Lo an economlsL
abouL some of Lhe ldeas l had come across ln my readlng. 1he moral aspecLs of Lhe mlllLary
blockade as a weapon ln Llmes of peace had been boLherlng me. l asked hlm whaL he LhoughL
of Lhe suggesLlon by some senaLors LhaL we begln uslng such LacLlcs as "blackllsLlng" and
relnforcemenL of Lhe navlcerL conLrols LhaL had been used ln World Wars l and ll, agalnsL some
of Lhe smaller naLlons whlch now oppose us. Pe llsLened quleLly, sLarlng off lnLo space, and l
assumed he was collecLlng hls LhoughLs for an answer, buL a few mlnuLes laLer he cleared hls
LhroaL and shook hls head. 1haL, he explalned apologeLlcally, was ouLslde hls area of
speclallzaLlon. Pls lnLeresL was ln lnLeresL raLes, and he hadn'L glven mlllLary economlcs much
LhoughL. Pe suggesLed l see ur. Wessey, who once dld a paper on War 1rade AgreemenLs
durlng World War ll. Pe mlghL be able Lo help me. 8efore l could say anyLhlng else, he grabbed
my hand and shook lL. Pe had been glad Lo meeL me, buL Lhere were some noLes he had Lo
assemble for a lecLure. And Lhen he was gone. 1he same Lhlng happened when l Lrled Lo dlscuss
Chaucer wlLh an Amerlcan llLeraLure speclallsL, quesLloned an CrlenLallsL abouL Lhe 1robrland
lslanders, and Lrled Lo focus on Lhe problems of auLomaLlon-caused unemploymenL wlLh a
soclal psychologlsL who speclallzed ln publlc oplnlon polls on adolescenL behavlor. 1hey would
always flnd excuses Lo sllp away, afrald Lo reveal Lhe narrowness of Lhelr knowledge. Pow
dlfferenL Lhey seem Lo be now. And how foollsh l was ever Lo have LhoughL LhaL professors
were lnLellecLual glanLs. 1hey're people-and afrald Lhe resL of Lhe world wlll flnd ouL. And Allce
ls a person Loo-a woman, noL a goddess-and l'm Laklng her Lo Lhe concerL Lomorrow nlghL. May
17 AlmosL mornlng and l can'L fall asleep. l've goL Lo undersLand whaL happened Lo me lasL
nlghL aL Lhe concerL. 1he evenlng sLarLed ouL well enough. 1he Mall aL CenLral ark had fllled up
early, and Allce and l had Lo plck our way among Lhe couples sLreLched ouL on Lhe grass. llnally,
far back from Lhe paLh, we found an unused Lree where-ouL of Lhe range of lampllghL Lhe only
evldence of oLher couples was Lhe proLesLlng female laughLer and Lhe glow of llL clgareLLes.
"1hls wlll be flne," she sald. "no reason Lo be rlghL on Lop of Lhe orchesLra." "WhaL's LhaL
Lhey're playlng now?" l asked. "uebussy's La Mer. uo you llke lL?" l seLLled down beslde her. "l
don'L know much abouL Lhls klnd of muslc. l have Lo Lhlnk abouL lL." "uon'L Lhlnk abouL lL," she
whlspered. "leel lL. LeL lL sweep over you llke Lhe sea wlLhouL Lrylng Lo undersLand." She lay
back on Lhe grass and Lurned her face ln Lhe dlrecLlon of Lhe muslc. l had no way of knowlng
whaL she expecLed of me. 1hls was far from Lhe clear llnes of problem-solvlng and Lhe
sysLemaLlc acqulslLlon of knowledge. l kepL Lelllng myself LhaL Lhe sweaLlng palms, Lhe LlghLness
ln my chesL, Lhe deslre Lo puL my arms around her were merely blochemlcal reacLlons. l even
Lraced Lhe paLLern of sLlmulus-and-reacLlon LhaL caused my nervousness and exclLemenL. ?eL
everyLhlng was fuzzy and uncerLaln. Should l puL my arm around her or noL? Was she walLlng
for me Lo do lL? Would she geL angry? l could Lell l was sLlll behavlng llke an adolescenL and lL
angered me. "Pere," l choked, "why don'L you make yourself more comforLable? 8esL on my
shoulder." She leL me puL my arm around her, buL she dldn'L look aL me. She seemed Lo be Loo
absorbed ln Lhe muslc Lo reallze whaL l was dolng. uld she wanL me Lo hold her LhaL way, or
was she merely LoleraLlng lL? As l sllpped my arm down Lo her walsL, l felL her Lremble, buL sLlll
she kepL sLarlng ln Lhe dlrecLlon of Lhe orchesLra. She was preLendlng Lo be concenLraLlng on
Lhe muslc so LhaL she wouldn'L have Lo respond Lo me. She dldn'L wanL Lo know whaL was
happenlng. As long as she looked away, and llsLened, she could preLend LhaL my closeness, my
arms around her, were wlLhouL her knowledge or consenL. She wanLed me Lo make love Lo her
body whlle she kepL her mlnd on hlgher Lhlngs. l reached over roughly and Lurned her chln.
"Why don'L you look aL me? Are you preLendlng l don'L exlsL?" "no, Charlle," she whlspered.
"l'm preLendlng l don'L exlsL." When l Louched her shoulder she sLlffened and Lrembled, buL l
pulled her Loward me. 1hen lL happened. lL sLarLed as a hollow buzzlng ln my ears... an elecLrlc
saw... far away. 1hen Lhe cold: arms and legs prlckly, and flnger numblng. Suddenly, l had Lhe
feellng l was belng waLched. A sharp swlLch ln percepLlon. l saw, from some polnL ln Lhe
darkness behlnd a Lree, Lhe Lwo of us lylng ln each oLher's arms. l looked up Lo see a boy of
flfLeen or slxLeen, crouchlng nearby. "Peyl" l shouLed. As he sLood up, l saw hls Lrousers were
open and he was exposed. "WhaL's Lhe maLLer?" she gasped. l [um ed up, and he vanlshed lnLo
Lhe darkness. "uld you see Mm?" "no," she sald, smooLhlng her sklrL nervously. "l dldn'L see
anyone." "SLandlng rlghL here. WaLchlng us. Close enough Lo Louch you." "Charlle, where are
you golng?" "Pe couldn'L have goLLen very far." "Leave hlm alone, Charlle. lL doesn'L maLLer."
8uL lL maLLered Lo me. l ran lnLo Lhe darkness, sLumbllng over sLarLled couples, buL Lhere was
no way Lo Lell where he had gone. 1he more l LhoughL abouL hlm, Lhe worse became Lhe
queasy feellng LhaL comes before falnLlng. LosL and alone ln a greaL wllderness. And Lhen l
caughL hold of myself and found my way back Lo where Allce was slLLlng. "uld you flnd hlm?"
"no, buL he was Lhere. l saw hlm." She looked aL me sLrangely. "Are you all rlghL?" "l wlll be... ln
a mlnuLe... !usL LhaL damned buzzlng ln my ears." "Maybe we'd beLLer go" All Lhe way back Lo
her aparLmenL, lL was on my mlnd LhaL Lhe boy had been crouchlng Lhere ln Lhe darkness, and
for one second l had caughL a gllmpse of whaL he was seelng-Lhe Lwo of us lylng ln each oLher's
arms. "Would you llke Lo come ln? l could make some coffee." l wanLed Lo, buL someLhlng
warned me agalnsL lL. "8eLLer noL. l've goL a loL of work Lo do LonlghL." "Charlle, ls lL anyLhlng l
sald or dld?" "Cf course noL. !usL LhaL kld waLchlng us upseL me." She was sLandlng close Lo me,
walLlng for me Lo klss her. l puL my arm around her, buL lL happened agaln. lf l dldn'L geL away
qulckly, l would pass ouL "Charlle, you look slck." "uld you see hlm, Allce? 1he LruLh.. She shook
her head. "no. lL was Loo dark. 8uL rm sure--" "l've goL Lo go. l'll call you." And before she could
np me, l pulled away. l had Lo geL ouL of LhaL bulldlng re everyLhlng caved ln. 1hlnklng abouL lL
now, rm cerLaln lL was a halluclnaLlon. ur. SLrauss feels LhaL emoLlonally lm sLlll ln LhaL
adolescenL sLaLe where belng close Lo a woman, or Lhlnklng of sex, seLs off anxleLy, panlc, even
halluclnaLlons. Pe feels LhaL my rapld lnLellecLual developmenL has decelved me lnLo Lhlnklng l
could llve a normal emoLlonal llfe. 8uL 71 l've goL Lo accepL Lhe facL LhaL Lhe fears and blocks
Lrlggered ln Lhese sexual slLuaLlons reveal LhaL emoLlonally l'm sLlll an adolescenL sexually
reLarded. l guess he means l'm noL ready for a relaLlonshlp wlLh a woman llke Allce klnnlan. noL
yeL. May 20-l've been flred from my [ob aL Lhe bakery. l know lL was foollsh of me Lo hang on Lo
Lhe pasL, buL Lhere was someLhlng abouL Lhe place wlLh lLs whlLe brlck walls browned by oven
heaL... lL was home Lo me. WhaL dld l do Lo make Lhem haLe me so? l can'L blame uonner. Pe's
goL Lo Lhlnk of hls buslness, and Lhe oLher employees. And yeL, he's been closer Lo me Lhan a
faLher. Pe called me lnLo hls offlce, cleared Lhe sLaLemenLs and bllls off Lhe sollLary chalr beslde
hls roll-Lop desk, and wlLhouL looklng up aL me, he sald, "l've been meanlng Lo Lalk Lo you. now
ls as good a Llme as any." lL seems foollsh now, buL as l saL Lhere sLarlng aL hlm--shorL, chubby,
wlLh Lhe ragged llghL-brown mousLache comlcally drooplng over hls upper llp-lL was as lf boLh
of me, Lhe old Charlle and Lhe new, were slLLlng on LhaL chalr, frlghLened aL whaL Cld Mr.
uonner was golng Lo say. "Charlle, your uncle Perman was a good frlend of mlne. l kepL my
promlse Lo hlm Lo keep you on Lhe [ob, good Llmes and bad, so LhaL you dldn'L ever wanL for a
dollar ln your pockeL and a place Lo lay your head wlLhouL belng puL away ln LhaL home." "1he
bakery ls my home-" "And l LreaLed you llke my own son who gave up hls llfe for hls counLry.
And when Perman dled-how old were you? sevenLeen? more llke a slx-year-old boy-l swore Lo
myself... l sald, ArLhur uonner, as long as you goL a bakery and a buslness over your head,
you're golng Lo look afLer Charlle. Pe ls golng Lo have a place Lo work, a bed Lo sleep ln, and
bread ln hls mouLh. When Lhey commlLLed you Lo LhaL Warren place, l Lold Lhem how you
would work for me, and l would Lake care of you. ?ou dldn'L spend even one nlghL ln LhaL place.
l goL you a room and l looked afLer you. now, have l kepL LhaL solemn promlse?" l nodded, buL l
could see by Lhe way he was foldlng and unfoldlng hls bllls LhaL he was havlng Lrouble. And as
72 much as l dldn'L wanL Lo know-l knew. "l've Lrled my besL Lo do a good [ob. l've worked
hard...: ' "l know, Charlle. noLhlng's wrong wlLh your work. 8uL someLhlng happened Lo you,
and l don'L undersLand whaL lL means. noL only me. Lveryone has been Lalklng abouL lL. l've had
Lhem ln here a dozen Llmes ln Lhe lasL few weeks. 1hey're all upseL. Charlle, l goL Lo leL you go
.91 l Lrled Lo sLop hlm buL he shook hls head. "1here was a delegaLlon ln Lo see me lasL nlghL.
Charlle, l goL my buslness Lo hold LogeLher." Pe was sLarlng aL hls hands, Lurnlng Lhe paper over
and over as lf he hoped Lo flnd someLhlng on lL LhaL was noL Lhere before. "l'm sorry, Charlle."
"8uL where wlll l go?" Pe peered up aL me for Lhe flrsL Llme slnce we'd walked lnLo hls
cubbyhole offlce. "?ou know as well as l do LhaL you don'L need Lo work here any more." "Mr.
uonner, l've never worked anywhere else." "LeL's face lL. ?ou're noL Lhe Charlle who came ln
here sevenLeen years ago-noL even Lhe same Charlle of four monLhs ago. ?ou haven'L Lalked
abouL lL. lL's your own affalr. Maybe a mlracle of some klnd-who knows? 8uL you've changed
lnLo a very smarL young man. And operaLlng Lhe dough mlxer and dellverlng packages ls no
work for a smarL young man." Pe was rlghL, of course, buL someLhlng lnslde me wanLed Lo
make hlm change hls mlnd. "?ou've goL Lo leL me sLay, Mr. uonner. Clve me anoLher chance.
?ou sald yourself LhaL you promlsed uncle Perman l would have a [ob here for as long as l
needed lL. Well, l sLlll need lL, Mr. uonner." "?ou don'L, Charlle. lf you dld Lhen l'd Lell Lhem l
don'L care abouL Lhelr delegaLlons and Lhelr peLlLlons, and l'd sLlck up for you agalnsL all of
Lhem. 8uL as lL ls now, Lhey're all scared Lo deaLh of you. l goL Lo Lhlnk of my own famlly Loo."
"WhaL lf Lhey change Lhelr mlnds? LeL me Lry Lo convlnce Lhem." l was maklng lL harder for hlm
Lhan he expecLed. l knew l should sLop, buL l couldn'L conLrol myself. "l'll snake Lhem
undersLand," l pleaded. "All rlghL," he slghed flnally. "Co ahead, Lry. 8uL you're only golng Lo
hurL yourself." As l came ouL of hls offlce, lrank 8ellly and !oe Carp walked by me, and l knew
whaL he had sald was Lrue. Pavlng me around Lo look aL was Loo much for Lhem. l made Lhem
all uncomforLable. lrank had [usL plcked up a Lray of rolls and boLh he and !oe Lurned when l
called. "Look, Charlle, l'm busy. Maybe laLer-" "no," l lnslsLed. "now-rlghL now. 8oLh of you
have been avoldlng me. Why?" lrank, Lhe fasL Lalker, Lhe ladles' man, Lhe arranger, sLudled me
for a momenL and Lhen seL Lhe Lray down on Lhe Lable. "Why? l'll Lell you why. 8ecause all of a
sudden you're a blg shoL, a know-lL-all, a bralnl now you're a regular whlz kld, an egghead.
Always wlLh a bookalways wlLh all Lhe answers. Well, l'll Lell you someLhlng. ?ou Lhlnk you're
beLLer Lhan Lhe resL of us here? Ckay, go someplace else." "8uL whaL dld l do Lo you?" "WhaL
dld he do? Pear LhaL, !oe? l'll Lell you whaL you dld, MlsLer Cordon. ?ou come pushlng ln here
wlLh your ldeas and suggesLlons and make Lhe resL of us all look llke a bunch of dopes. 8uL l'll
Lell you someLhlng. 1o me you're sLlll a moron. Maybe l don'L undersLand some of Lhem blg
words or Lhe names of Lhe books, buL l'm as good as you are-beLLer even." "?eah." !oe nodded,
Lurnlng Lo emphaslze Lhe polnL Lo Clmpy who had [usL come up behlnd hlm. "l'm noL asklng you
Lo be my frlends," l sald, "or have anyLhlng Lo do wlLh me. !usL leL me keep my [ob. Mr. uonner
says lL's up Lo you." Clmpy glared aL me and Lhen shook hls head ln dlsgusL. "?ou goL a nerve,"
he shouLed. "?ou can go Lo hell!" 1hen he Lurned and llmped off heavlly. And so lL wenL. MosL
of Lhem felL Lhe way !oe and lrank and Clmpy dld. lL had been all rlghL as long as Lhey could
laugh aL me and appear clever aL my expense, buL now Lhey were feellng lnferlor Lo Lhe moron.
l began Lo see LhaL by my asLonlshlng growLh l had made Lhem shrlnk and emphaslzed Lhelr
lnadequacles. l had beLrayed Lhem, and Lhey haLed me for lL. lanny 8lrden was Lhe only one
who dldn'L Lhlnk l should be forced Lo leave, and desplLe Lhelr pressure and LhreaLs, she had
been Lhe only one noL Lo slgn Lhe peLlLlon. "Whlch don'L mean Lo say," she remarked, "LhaL l
don'L Lhlnk Lhere's someLhlng mlghLy sLrange abouL you, Charlle. 1he way you've changed! l
don'L know. ?ou used Lo be a good, dependable man--ordlnary, noL Loo brlghL maybe, buL
honesL-and who knows whaL you done Lo yourself Lo geL so smarL all of a sudden. Llke
everybody's been saylng-lL aln'L rlghL." "8uL whaL's wrong wlLh a person wanLlng Lo be more
lnLelllgenL, Lo acqulre knowledge, and undersLand hlmself and Lhe world?" "lf you'd read your
8lble, Charlle, you'd know LhaL lL's noL meanL for man Lo know more Lhan was glven Lo hlm Lo
know by Lhe Lord ln Lhe flrsL place. 1he frulL of LhaL Lree was forbldden Lo man. Charlle, lf you
done anyLhlng you wasn'L supposed Lo-you know, llke wlLh Lhe devll or someLhlng-maybe lL
aln'L Loo laLe Lo geL ouL of lL. Maybe you could go back Lo belng Lhe good slmple man you was
before." "1here's no golng back, lanny. 'l haven'L done anyLhlng wrong. l'm llke a man born
bllnd who has been glven a chance Lo see llghL. 1haL can'L be slnful. Soon Lhere'll be mllllons llke
me all over Lhe world. Sclence can do lL, lanny." She sLared down aL Lhe brlde and groom on
Lhe weddlng cake she was decoraLlng and l could see her llps barely move as she whlspered: "lL
was evll when Adam and Lve aLe from Lhe Lree of knowledge. lL was evll when Lhey saw Lhey
was naked, and learned abouL lusL and shame. And Lhey was drlven ouL of aradlse and Lhe
gaLes was closed Lo Lhem. lf noL for LhaL none of us would have Lo grow old and be slck and
dle." 1here was noLhlng more Lo say, Lo her or Lo Lhe resL of Lhem. none of Lhem would look
lnLo my eyes. l can sLlll feel Lhe hosLlllLy. 8efore, Lhey had laughed aL me, desplslng me for my
lgnorance and dullness, now, Lhey haLed me for my knowledge and undersLandlng. Why? WhaL
ln Cod's name dld Lhey wanL of me? 1hls lnLelllgence has drlven a wedge beLween me and all
Lhe people l knew and loved, drlven me ouL of Lhe bakery. now, l'm more alone Lhan ever
before. l wonder whaL would happen lf Lhey puL Algernon back ln Lhe blg cage wlLh some of Lhe
oLher mlce. Would Lhey Lurn agalnsL hlm? May 2S-So Lhls ls how a person can come Lo desplse
hlmself-knowlng he's dolng Lhe wrong Lhlng and noL belng able Lo sLop. AgalnsL my wlll l found
myself drawn 73 Lo Allce's aparLmenL. She was surprlsed buL she leL me ln. "?ou're soaked. 1he
waLer ls sLreamlng down your face." "lL's ralnlng. Cood for Lhe flowers." "Come on ln. LeL me
geL you a Lowel. ?ou'll caLch pneumonla." "?ou're Lhe only one l can Lalk Lo," l sald "LeL me
sLay." "l've goL a poL of fresh coffee on Lhe sLove. Co ahead and dry yourself and Lhen we can
Lalk." l looked around whlle she wenL Lo geL Lhe coffee. lL was Lhe flrsL Llme l had ever been
lnslde her aparLmenL. l felL a sense of pleasure, buL Lhere was someLhlng dlsLurblng abouL Lhe
room. LveryLhlng was neaL. 1he porcelaln flgurlnes were ln a sLralghL llne on Lhe wlndow-ledge,
all faclng Lhe same way. And Lhe Lhrow-plllows on Lhe sofa hadn'L been Lhrown aL all, buL were
regularly spaced on Lhe clear plasLlc covers LhaL proLecLed Lhe upholsLery. 1wo of Lhe end
Lables had magazlnes, neaLly sLacked so LhaL Lhe LlLles were clearly vlslble. Cn one Lable: 1he
8eporLer, 1he SaLurday 8evlew, 1he new ?orker, on Lhe oLher: Mademolselle, Pouse 8eauLlful,
and 8eader's ulgesL. Cn Lhe far wall, across from Lhe sofa, hung an ornaLely framed
reproducLlon of lcasso's "MoLher and Chlld," and dlrecLly opposlLe, above Lhe sofa, was a
palnLlng of a dashlng 8enalssance courLler, masked, sword ln hand, proLecLlng a frlghLened,
plnk-cheeked malden. 1aken all LogeLher, lL was wrong. As lf Allce couldn'L make up her mlnd
who she was and whlch world she wanLed Lo llve ln. "?ou haven'L been Lo Lhe lab for a few
days," she called from Lhe klLchen. "rofessor nemur ls worrled abouL you." "l couldn'L face
Lhem," l sald. "l know Lhere's no reason for me Lo be ashamed, buL lL's an empLy feellng noL
golng ln Lo work every day-noL seelng Lhe shop, Lhe ovens, Lhe people. lL's Loo much. LasL nlghL
and Lhe nlghL before, l had nlghLmares of drownlng." She seL Lhe Lray ln Lhe cenLer of Lhe coffee
Lable-Lhe napklns folded lnLo Lrlangles, and Lhe cookles lald ouL ln a clrcular dlsplay paLLern.
"?ou musLn'L Lake lL so hard, Charlle. lL has noLhlng Lo do wlLh you." "lL doesn'L help Lo Lell
myself LhaL. 1hose people--for all Lhese years-were my famlly. lL was llke belng Lhrown ouL of
my own home." "1haL's [usL lL," she sald. "1hls has become a symbollc repeLlLlon of experlences
you had as a chlld. 8elng re[ecLed by your parenLs... belng senL away..." "Ch, ChrlsL! never mlnd
glvlng lL a nlce neaL label. WhaL maLLers ls LhaL before l goL lnvolved ln Lhls experlmenL l had
frlends, people who cared for me. now l'm afrald-" "?ou've sLlll goL frlends." "lL's noL Lhe
same." "lear ls a normal reacLlon." "lL's more Lhan LhaL. l've been afrald before. Afrald of belng
sLrapped for noL glvlng ln Lo norma, afrald of passlng Powells SLreeL where Lhe gang used Lo
Lease me and push Lhe around. And l was afrald of Lhe schoolLeacher, Mrs. Llbby, who Lled my
hands so l wouldn'L fldgeL wlLh Lhlngs on my desk. 8uL Lhose Lhlngs were realsomeLhlng l was
[usLlfled ln belng afrald of. 1hls Lerror aL belng klcked ouL of Lhe bakery ls vague, a fear l don'L
undersLand." "CeL hold of yourself." "?ou don'L feel Lhe panlc." "8uL, Charlle, lL's Lo be
expecLed. ?ou're a new swlmmer forced off a dlvlng rafL and Lerrlfled of loslng Lhe solld wood
under your feeL. Mr. uonner was good Lo you, and you were shelLered all Lhese years. 8elng
drlven ouL of Lhe bakery Lhls way ls an even greaLer shock Lhan you expecLed." "knowlng lL
lnLellecLually doesn'L help. l can'L slL alone ln my room any more. l wander lnLo Lhe sLreeLs aL all
hours of Lhe day or nlghL, noL knowlng whaL l'm looklng for... walklng unLll l'm losL... flndlng
myself ouLslde Lhe bakery. LasL nlghL l walked all Lhe way from WashlngLon Square Lo CenLral
ark, and l slepL ln Lhe park. WhaL Lhe hell am l searchlng for?" 1he more l Lalked, Lhe more
upseL she became. "WhaL can l do Lo help you, Charlle?" "l don'L know. l'm llke an anlmal who's
been locked ouL of hls nlce, safe cage." She saL beslde me on Lhe couch. "1hey're pushlng you
Loo fasL. ?ou're confused. ?ou wanL Lo be an adulL, buL Lhere's sLlll a llLLle boy lnslde you. Alone
and frlghLened." She puL my head on her shoulder, Lrylng Lo comforL me, 77 and as she sLroked
my halr l knew LhaL she needed me Lhe way l needed her. "Charlle," she whlspered afLer a
whlle, "whaLever you wanL... don'L be afrald of me.. " l wanLed Lo Lell her l was walLlng for Lhe
panlc. Cnce--durlng a bakery dellvery--Charlle had nearly falnLed when a mlddle-aged woman,
[usL ouL of Lhe baLh, amused herself by openlng her baLhrobe and exposlng herself. Pad he ever
seen a woman wlLhouL cloLhes on? uld he know how Lo make love? Pls Lerror-hls whlnlng-musL
have frlghLened her because she cluLched her robe LogeLher and gave hlm a quarLer Lo forgeL
whaL had happened. She was only LesLlng hlm, she warned, Lo see lf he was a good boy. Pe
Lrled Lo be good, he Lold her, and noL look aL women, because hls moLher used Lo beaL hlm
whenever LhaL happened ln hls panLs.... now he had Lhe clear plcLure of Charlle's moLher,
screamlng aL hlm, holdlng a leaLher belL ln her hand, and hls faLher Lrylng Lo hold her back.
"Lnough, 8ose! ?ou'll klll hlm! Leave hlm alone!" Pls moLher sLralnlng forward Lo lash aL hlm,
[usL ouL of reach now so LhaL Lhe belL swlshes pasL hls shoulder as he wrlLhes and LwlsLs away
from lL on Lhe floor. "Look aL hlm!" 8ose screams. "Pe can'L learn Lo read and wrlLe, buL he
knows enough Lo look aL a glrl LhaL way. l'll beaL LhaL fllLh ouL of hls mlnd." "Pe can'L help lL lf he
geLs an erecLlon. lL's normal. Pe dldn'L do anyLhlng." "Pe's goL no buslness Lo Lhlnk LhaL way
abouL glrls. A frlend of hls slsLer's comes Lo Lhe house and he sLarLs Lhlnklng llke LhaL! l'll Leach
hlm so he never forgeLs. uo you hear? lf you ever Louch a glrl, l'll puL you away ln a cage, llke an
anlmal, for Lhe resL of your llfe. uo you hear me?..." l sLlll hear her. 8uL perhaps l had been
released. Maybe Lhe fear and nausea was no longer a sea Lo drown ln. buL only a pool of waLer
reflecLlng Lhe pasL alongslde Lhe now. Was l free? lf l could reach Allce ln Llme-wlLhouL Lhlnklng
abouL lL, before lL overwhelmed me-maybe Lhe panlc wouldn'L happen. lf only l could make my
mlnd a blank. l man-78 aged Lo choke ouL: "?ou... you do lL! Pold mel" And before l knew whaL
she was dolng, she was klsslng me, holdlng me closer Lhan anyone had ever held me before.
8uL aL Lhe momenL l should have come closesL of all, lL sLarLed: Lhe buzzlng, Lhe chlll, and Lhe
nausea. l Lurned away from her. She Lrled Lo sooLhe me, Lo Lell me lL dldn'L maLLer, LhaL Lhere
was no reason Lo blame myself. 8uL ashamed, and no longer able Lo conLrol my angulsh, l
began Lo sob. 1here ln her arms l crled myself Lo sleep, and l dreamed of Lhe courLler and Lhe
plnk-cheeked malden. 8uL ln my dream lL was Lhe malden who held Lhe sword.
8CC8LSS 8LC81 12
!une S nemur ls upseL because l haven'L Lurned ln any progress reporLs ln almosL Lwo weeks
(and he's [usLlfled because Lhe Welberg loundaLlon has begun paylng me a salary ouL of Lhe
granL so LhaL l won'L have Lo look for a [ob). 1he lnLernaLlonal sychologlcal ConvenLlon aL
Chlcago ls only a week away. Pe wanLs hls prellmlnary reporL Lo be as full as posslble, slnce
Algernon and l are Lhe prlme exhlblLs for hls presenLaLlon. Cur relaLlonshlp ls becomlng
lncreaslngly sLralned. l resenL nemur's consLanL references Lo me as a laboraLory speclmen. Pe
makes me feel LhaL before Lhe experlmenL l was noL really a human belng. l Lold SLrauss LhaL l
was Loo lnvolved ln Lhlnklng, readlng, and dlgglng lnLo myself, Lrylng Lo undersLand who and
whaL l am, and LhaL wrlLlng was such a slow process lL made me lmpaLlenL Lo geL my ldeas
down. l followed hls suggesLlon LhaL l learn Lo Lype, and now LhaL l can Lype nearly sevenLy-flve
words a mlnuLe, lL's easler Lo geL lL all down on paper. SLrauss agaln broughL up my need Lo
speak and wrlLe slmply and dlrecLly so LhaL people wlll undersLand me. Pe remlnds me LhaL
language ls someLlmes a barrler lnsLead of a paLhway. lronlc Lo flnd myself on Lhe oLher slde of
Lhe lnLellecLual fence. l see lce occaslonally, buL we don'L dlscuss whaL happened Cur
relaLlonshlp remalns plaLonlc. 8uL for 79 Lhree nlghLs afLer l lefL Lhe bakery Lhere were Lhe
nlghLmares. Pard Lo belleve lL was Lwo weeks ago. l am pursued down Lhe empLy sLreeLs aL
nlghL by ghosLly flgures. 1hough l always run Lo Lhe bakery, Lhe door ls locked, and Lhe people
lnslde never Lurn Lo look aL me. 1hrough Lhe wlndow, Lhe brlde and groom on Lhe weddlng cake
polnL aL me and laugh-Lhe alr becomes charged wlLh laughLer unLll l can'L sLand lL-and Lhe Lwo
cuplds wave Lhelr flamlng arrows. l scream. l pound on Lhe door, buL Lhere ls no sound. l see
Charlle sLarlng back aL me from lnslde. ls lL only a reflecLlon? 1hlngs cluLch aL my legs and drag
me away from Lhe bakery down lnLo Lhe shadows of Lhe alleyway, and [usL as Lhey begln Lo
ooze all over me l wake up. CLher Llmes Lhe wlndow of Lhe bakery opens lnLo Lhe pasL and
looklng Lhrough lL l see oLher Lhlngs and oLher people. lL's asLonlshlng how my power of recall ls
developlng. l cannoL conLrol lL compleLely yeL, buL someLlmes when l'm busy readlng or
worklng on a problem, l geL a feellng of lnLense clarlLy. l know lL's some klnd of subconsclous
warnlng slgnal, and now lnsLead of walLlng for Lhe memory Lo come Lo me, l close my eyes and
reach ouL for lL. LvenLually, l'll be able Lo brlng Lhls recall compleLely under conLrol, Lo explore
noL only Lhe sum of my pasL experlences, buL also all of Lhe unLapped faculLles of Lhe mlnd.
Lven now, as l Lhlnk abouL lL, l feel Lhe sharp sLlllness. l see Lhe bakery wlndow... reach ouL and
Louch lL... cold and vlbraLlng, and Lhen Lhe glass becomes warm... hoLLer... flngers burnlng. 1he
wlndow reflecLlng my lmage becomes brlghL, and as Lhe glass Lurns lnLo a mlrror, l see llLLle
Charlle Cordon-fourLeen or flfLeenlooklng ouL aL me Lhrough Lhe wlndow of hls house, and lL's
doubly sLrange Lo reallze how dlfferenL he was.... Pe has been walLlng for hls slsLer Lo come
from school, and when he sees her Lurn Lhe corner onLo Marks SLreeL, he waves and calls her
name and runs ouL onLo Lhe porch Lo meeL her. norma waves a paper. "l goL an A ln my hlsLory
LesL. l knew all Lhe answers. Mrs. 8affln sald lL was Lhe besL paper ln Lhe whole class." She ls a
preLLy glrl wlLh llghL brown halr carefully 80 bralded and coed abouL her head ln a crown, and
as she looks up aL her blg broLher Lhe smlle Lurns Lo a frown and she sklps away, leavlng hlm
behlnd as she darLs up Lhe sLeps lnLo Lhe house. Smlllng, he follows her. Pls moLher and faLher
are ln Lhe klLchen, and Charlle, bursLlng wlLh Lhe exclLemenL of norma's good news, blurLs lL
ouL before she has a chance. "She goL an A! She goL an A!" "no!" shrleks norma. "noL you. ?ou
don'L Lell. lL's my mark, and l'm golng Lo Lell." "now walL a mlnuLe, young lady." MaLL puLs hls
newspaper down and addresses her sLernly. "1haL's no way Lo Lalk Lo your broLher." "Pe had no
rlghL Lo Lell!" "never mlnd." MaLL glares aL her over hls warnlng flnger. "Pe meanL no harm by
lL, and you musn'L shouL aL hlm LhaL way." She Lurns Lo her moLher for supporL. "l goL an A-Lhe
besL mark ln class. now l can have a dog? ?ou promlsed. ?ou sald lf l goL a good mark ln my
LesL. And l goL an A. A brown dog wlLh whlLe spoLs. And l'm golng Lo call hlm napoleon because
LhaL was Lhe quesLlon l answered besL on Lhe LesL. napoleon losL Lhe baLLle of WaLerloo." 8ose
nods. "Co ouL on Lhe porah and play wlLh Charlle. Pe's been walLlng over an hour for you Lo
come home from school." "l don'L wanL Lo play wlLh hlm." "Co ouL on Lhe porch," says MaLL.
norma looks aL her faLher and Lhen aL Charlle. "l don'L have Lo. MoLher sald l don'L have Lo play
wlLh hlm lf l don'L wanL Lo." "now, young lady"-MaLL rlses ouL of hls chalr and comes Loward
her-"you [usL apologlze Lo your broLher." "l don'L have Lo," she screeches, rushlng behlnd her
moLher's chalr. "Pe's llke a baby. Pe can'L play Monopoly or checkers or anyLhlng... he geLs
everyLhlng all mlxed up. l won'L play wlLh hlm any more." "1hen go Lo your room!" "Can l have a
dog now, Mama?" MaLL hlLs Lhe Lable wlLh hls flsL. "1here'll be no dog ln Lhls house as long as
you Lake Lhls aLLlLude, young lady." "l promlsed her a dog lf she dld well ln school-" "A brown
one wlLh whlLe spoLs!" adds norma. MaLL polnLs Lo Charlle sLandlng near Lhe wall. "uld you
forgeL you Lold your son he couldn'L have one because we dldn'L have Lhe room, and no one Lo
Lake care of lL. 8emember? When he asked for a dog? Are you golng back on whaL you sald Lo
hlm?" "8uL l can Lake care of my own dog," lnslsLs norma. "l'll feed hlm, and wash hlm, and
Lake hlm ouL..." Charlle, who has been sLandlng near Lhe Lable, playlng wlLh hls large red buLLon
aL Lhe end of a sLrlng, suddenly speaks ouL. "l'll help her Lake care of Lhe dog! l'll help her feed lL
and brush lL and l won'L leL Lhe oLher dogs blLe lL!" 8uL before elLher MaLL or 8ose can answer,
norma shrleks: "nol lL's golng Lo be my dog. Cnly my dog!" MaLL nods. "?ou see?" 8ose slLs
beslde her and sLrokes her bralds Lo calm her. "8uL we have Lo share Lhlngs, dear. Charlle can
help you Lake care of lL." "nol Cnly mlne!... l'm Lhe one who goL Lhe A ln hlsLory noL hlml Pe
never geLs good marks llke me. Why should he help wlLh Lhe dog? And Lhen Lhe dog wlll llke
hlm more Lhan me, and lL'll be hls dog lnsLead of mlne. nol lf l can'L have lL for myself l don'L
wanL lL." "1haL seLLles lL," says MaLL plcklng up hls newspaper and seLLllng down ln hls chalr
agaln. "no dog." Suddenly, norma [umps off Lhe couch and grabs Lhe hlsLory LesL she had
broughL home so eagerly [usL a few mlnuLes earller. She Lears lL and Lhrows Lhe pleces lnLo
Charlle's sLarLled face. "l haLe youl l haLe you!" "norms, sLop LhaL aL oncel" 8ose grabs her buL
she LwlsLs away. "And l haLe school! l haLe lLl rll sLop sLudylng, and l'll be a dummy llke hlm. l'll
forgeL everyLhlng l learned and Lhen l'll be [usL llke hlm." She runs ouL of Lhe room, shrleklng:
"lL's happenlng Lo me already. l'm forgeLLlng everyLhlng... l'm forgeLLlng... l don'L remember
anyLhlng l learned any morel" 8ose, Lerrlfled, runs afLer her. MaLL slLs Lhere sLarlng aL Lhe
newspaper ln hls lap. Charlle, frlghLened by Lhe hysLerla and Lhe screamlng, shrlnks lnLo a chalr
whlmperlng sofLly. WhaL has he done wrong? And feellng Lhe weLness ln hls Lrousers and Lhe
Lrlckllng down hls leg' he slLs Lhere 82 walLlng for Lhe slap he knows wlll come when hls moLher
reLurns. 1he scene fades, buL from LhaL Llme norma spenL all her free momenLs wlLh her
frlends, or playlng alone ln her mom. She kepL Lhe door Lo her room closed, and l was forbldden
Lo enLer wlLhouL her permlsslon. l recall once overhearlng norma and one of her glrl frlends
playlng ln her room, and norma shouLlng: "Pe ls noL my real broLher! Pe's [usL a boy we Look ln
because we felL sorry for hlm. My mamma Lold me, and she sald l can Lell everyone now LhaL
he's noL really my broLher aL all." l wlsh Lhls memory were a phoLograph so LhaL l could Lear lL
up and Lhrow lL back lnLo her face. l wanL Lo call back across Lhe years and Lell her l never
meanL Lo sLop her from geLLlng her dog. She could have had lL all Lo herself, and l wouldn'L have
fed lL, or brushed lL, or played wlLh lL and l would never have made lL llke me more Lhan lL llked
her. l only wanLed her Lo play games wlLh me Lhe way we used Lo. l never meanL Lo do anyLhlng
LhaL would hurL her aL all. !une 6-My flrsL real quarrel wlLh Allce Loday. My faulL. l wanLed Lo
see her. CfLen, afLer a dlsLurblng memory or dream, Lalklng Lo her-[usL belng wlLh her-makes
me feel beLLer. 8uL lL was a mlsLake Lo go down Lo Lhe CenLer Lo plck her up. l had noL been
back Lo Lhe CenLer for 8eLarded AdulLs slnce Lhe operaLlon, and Lhe LhoughL of seelng Lhe place
was exclLlng. lL's on 1wenLy-Lhlrd SLreeL, easL of llfLh Avenue, ln an old schoolhouse LhaL has
been used by Lhe 8eekman unlverslLy Cllnlc for Lhe lasL flve years as a cenLer for experlmenLal
educaLlon-speclal classes for Lhe handlcapped. 1he slgn ouLslde on Lhe doorway, framed by Lhe
old splked gaLeway, ls [usL a gleamlng brass plaLe LhaL says C. 8. A. 8eekman LxLenslon. Per
class ended aL elghL, buL l wanLed Lo see Lhe mom where-noL so long ago-l had sLruggled over
slmple readlng and wrlLlng and learned Lo counL change of a dollar. l wenL lnslde, sllpped up Lo
Lhe door, and, keeplng ouL 83 of slghL, l looked Lhrough Lhe wlndow. Allce was aL her desk, and
ln a chalr beslde her was a Lhln-faced woman l dldn'L recognlze. She was frownlng LhaL open
frown of unconcealed puzzlemenL, and l wondered whaL Allce was Lrylng Lo explaln. near Lhe
blackboard was Mlke uornl ln hls wheelchalr, and Lhere ln hls usual flrsL-row flrsL-seaL was
LesLer 8raun, who, Allce sald, was Lhe smarLesL ln Lhe group. LesLer had learned easlly whaL l
had sLruggled over, buL he came when he felL llke lL, or he sLayed away Lo earn money waxlng
floors. l guess lf he had cared aL all-lf lL had been lmporLanL Lo hlm as lL was Lo me-Lhey would
have used hlm for Lhls experlmenL. 1here were new faces, Loo, people l dldn'L know. llnally, l
goL up Lhe nerve Lo go ln. "lL's Charllel" sald Mlke, whlrllng hls wheelchalr around. l waved Lo
hlm. 8ernlce, Lhe preLLy blonde wlLh empLy eyes, looked up and smlled dully. "Where ya been,
Charlle? 1haL's a nlce sulL." 1he oLhers who remembered me waved Lo me and l waved back.
Suddenly, l could see by Allce's expresslon LhaL she was annoyed. "lL's almosL elghL o'clock," she
announced. "1lme Lo puL Lhlngs away." Lach person had an asslgned Lask, Lhe puLLlng away of
chalk, erasers, papers, books, penclls, noLe paper, palnLs, and demonsLraLlon maLerlal. Lach one
knew hls [ob and Look prlde ln dolng lL well. 1hey all sLarLed on Lhelr Lasks excepL 8ernlce. She
was sLarlng aL me. "Why aln'L Charlle been comlng Lo school?" asked 8ernlce. "WhaL's Lhe
maLLer, Charlle? Are you comlng back?" 1he oLhers looked up aL me. l looked Lo Allce, walLlng
for her Lo answer for me, and Lhere was a long sllence. WhaL could l Lell Lhem LhaL would noL
hurL Lhem? "1hls ls [usL a vlslL," l sald. Cne of Lhe glrls sLarLed Lo glggle-lranclne, whom Allce
was always worrled abouL. She had glven blrLh Lo Lhree chlldren by Lhe Llme she was elghLeen,
before her parenLs arranged for a hysLerecLomy. She wasn'L preL 84 Ly-noL nearly as aLLracLlve
as 8ernlce-buL she had been an easy mark for dozens of men who boughL her someLhlng preLLy,
or pald her way Lo Lhe movles. She llved aL a boardlng house approved for ouLslde work
Lralnees by Lhe Warren SLaLe Pome, and was permlLLed ouL ln Lhe evenlngs Lo come Lo Lhe
CenLer. 1wlce she hadn'L shown up-plcked up by men on Lhe way Lo school--and now she was
allowed ouL only wlLh an escorL. "Pe Lalks llke a blg shoL now," she glggled. "All rlghL," sald
Allce, breaklng ln sharply. "Class dlsmlssed. l'll see you all Lomorrow nlghL aL slx." When Lhey
were gone, l could see by Lhe way she was slammlng her own Lhlngs lnLo her closeL, LhaL she
was angry. "l'm sorry," l sald. "l was golng Lo walL for you downsLalrs, and Lhen l goL curlous
abouL Lhe old classroom. My alma maLer. l [usL wanLed Lo look Lhrough Lhe wlndow. And before
l knew whaL l was dolng l came ln. WhaL's boLherlng you?" "noLhlng-noLhlng's boLherlng me."
"Come on. ?our anger ls all ouL of proporLlon Lo whaL's happened. SomeLhlng's on your mlnd."
She slammed down a book she was holdlng. "All rlghL. ?ou wanL Lo know? ?ou're dlfferenL.
?ou've changed. And l'm noL Lalklng abouL your l. C. lL's your aLLlLude Loward people-you're noL
Lhe same klnd of human belng-" "Ch, come on now! uon'L--2' "uon'L lnLerrupL me!" 1he real
anger ln her volce pushed me back. "l mean lL. 1here was someLhlng ln you before. l don'L
know... a warmLh, an openness, a klndness LhaL made everyone llke you and llke Lo have you
around. now, wlLh all your lnLelllgence and knowledge, Lhere are dlfferences LhaL-" l couldn'L
leL myself llsLen. "WhaL dld you expecL? uld you Lhlnk l'd remaln a doclle pup, wagglng my Lall
and llcklng Lhe fooL LhaL klcks me? Sure, all Lhls has changed me and Lhe way l Lhlnk abouL
myself. l no longer have Lo Lake Lhe klnd of crap LhaL people have been handlng me all my llfe."
"eople have noL been bad Lo you." "WhaL do you know abouL lL? LlsLen, Lhe besL of Lhem have
been smug and paLronlzlng-uslng me Lo make Lhemselves superlor and secure ln Lhelr own
llmlLaLlons. Anyone can feel lnLelllgenL beslde a moron." AfLer l sald lL, l knew she was golng Lo
Lake lL Lhe wrong way. "?ou puL me ln LhaL caLegory Loo, l suppose." "uon'L be absurd. ?ou
know damned well l-" "Cf course, ln a sense, l guess you're rlghL. nexL Lo you l am raLher dull-
wlLLed. nowadays every Llme we see each oLher, afLer l leave you l go home wlLh Lhe mlserable
feellng LhaL l'm slow and dense abouL everyLhlng. l revlew Lhlngs l've sald, and come up wlLh all
Lhe brlghL and wlLLy Lhlngs l should have sald, and l feel llke klcklng myself because l dldn'L
menLlon Lhem when we were LogeLher." "1haL's a common experlence." "l flnd myself wanLlng
Lo lmpress you ln a way l never LhoughL abouL dolng before, buL belng wlLh you has
undermlned my self-confldence. l quesLlon my moLlves now, abouL everyLhlng l do." l Lrled Lo
geL her off Lhe sub[ecL, buL she kepL comlng back Lo lL. "Look, l dldn'L come here Lo argue wlLh
you," l flnally sald. "Wlll you leL me Lake you home? l need someone Lo Lalk Lo." "So do l. 8uL
Lhese days l can'L Lalk Lo you. All l can do ls ll'sLerr and nod my head and preLend l undersLand
all abouL culLural varlanLs, and neo-8oulean maLhemaLlcs, and posL-symbollc loglc, and l feel
more and more sLupld, and when you leave Lhe aparLmenL, l have Lo sLare ln Lhe mlrror and
scream aL myself: `no, you're noL growlng duller every day! ?ou're noL loslng your lnLelllgencel
?ou're noL geLLlng senlle and dull-wlLLed. lL's Charlle explodlng forward so qulckly LhaL lL makes
lL appear as lf you're sllpplng backwards.' l say LhaL Lo myself, Charlle, buL whenever we meeL
and you Lell me someLhlng and look aL me ln LhaL lmpaLlenL way, l know you're laughlng. "And
when you explaln Lhlngs Lo me, and l can'L remember Lhem, you Lhlnk lL's because l'm noL
lnLeresLed and don'L wanL Lo Lake Lhe Lrouble. 8uL you don'L know how l LorLure myself when
you're gone. ?ou don'L know Lhe books l've sLruggled over, Lhe lecLures l've saL ln on aL
8eekman, and yeL whenever l Lalk abouL someLhlng, l see how lmpaLlenL you are, as lf lL were
all chlldlsh. l wanLed you Lo be lnLelllgenL. l wanLed Lo help you and share wlLh you-and now
you've shuL me ouL of your llfe." As l llsLened Lo whaL she was saylng, Lhe enormlLy of lL dawned
on me. l had been so absorbed ln myself and whaL was happenlng Lo me LhaL l never LhoughL
abouL whaL was happenlng Lo her. She was crylng sllenLly as we lefL Lhe school, and l found
myself wlLhouL words. All durlng Lhe rlde on Lhe bus l LhoughL Lo myself how upslde-down Lhe
slLuaLlon had become. She was Lerrlfled of me. 1he lce had broken beLween us and Lhe gap was
wldenlng as Lhe currenL of my mlnd carrled me swlfLly lnLo Lhe open sea. She was rlghL ln
refuslng Lo LorLure herself by belng wlLh me. We no longer had anyLhlng ln common. Slmple
conversaLlon had become sLralned. And all Lhere was beLween us now was Lhe embarrassed
sllence and unsaLlsfled longlng ln a darkened room. "?ou're very serlous," she sald, breaklng ouL
of her own mood and looklng up aL me. "AbouL us." "lL shouldn'L make you so serlous. l don'L
wanL Lo upseL you. ?ou're golng Lhrough a greaL Lrlal." She was Lrylng Lo smlle. "8uL you dld.
Cnly l don'L know whaL Lo do abouL lL." Cn Lhe way from Lhe bus sLop Lo her aparLmenL, she
sald, "l'm noL golng Lo Lhe convenLlon wlLh you. l called rofessor nemur Lhls mornlng and Lold
hlm. 1here wlll be a loL for you Lo do Lhere. lnLeresLlng people-Lhe exclLemenL of Lhe spoLllghL
for a whlle. l don'L wanL Lo be ln Lhe way-" "Allce-" "-and no maLLer whaL you say abouL lL now, l
know LhaL's how l'm golng Lo feel, so lf you don'L mlnd, l'll hang on Lo my spllnLerlng ego-Lhank
you." "8uL you're maklng more of Lhls Lhan lL ls. l'm sure lf you'll [usL-" "?ou know? ?ou're
sure?" She Lurned and glared aL me on Lhe fronL sLeps of her aparLmenL bulldlng. "Ch, how
lnsufferable you've become. Pow do you know whaL l feel? ?ou Lake llberLles wlLh oLher
people's mlnds. ?ou can'L Lell how l feel or whaL l feel or why l feel." She sLarLed lnslde and Lhen
she 1Coked back aL me, her volce shaky: "l'll be here when you geL back. l'm [usL 87 upseL,
LhaL's all, and l wanL boLh of us Lo have a chance Lo Lhlnk Lhls ouL whlle we're a good dlsLance
aparL." lor Lhe flrsL Llme ln many weeks she dldn'L ask me lnslde. l sLared aL Lhe closed door
wlLh Lhe anger mounLlng lnslde me. l wanLed Lo creaLe a scene, Lo bang on Lhe door, Lo break lL
down. l wanLed my anger Lo consume Lhe bulldlng. 8uL as l walked away l felL a klnd of
slmmerlng, Lhen coollng, and flnally a rellef. l walked so fasL l was drlfLlng along Lhe sLreeLs, and
Lhe feellng LhaL hlL my cheek was a cool breeze ouL of Lhe summer nlghL. Suddenly free .1
reallze now LhaL my feellng for Allce had been movlng backward agalnsL Lhe currenL of my
learnlng, from worshlp. Lo love, Lo fondness, Lo a feellng of graLlLude and responslblllLy. My
confused feellng for her had been holdlng me back, and l had clung Lo her ouL of my fear of
belng forced ouL on my own, and cuL adrlfL. 8uL wlLh Lhe freedom came a sadness. l wanLed Lo
be ln love wlLh her. l wanLed Lo overcome my emoLlonal and sexual fears, Lo marry, have
chlldren, seLLle down. now lL's lmposslble. l am [usL as far away from Allce wlLh an l. C. of 183
as l was when l had an l. C. of 70. And Lhls Llme we boLh know lL. !une 8 WhaL drlves me ouL of
Lhe aparLmenL Lo prowl Lhrough Lhe clLy? l wander Lhrough Lhe sLreeLs alone-noL Lhe relaxlng
sLroll of a summer nlghL, buL Lhe Lense hurry Lo geL-where? uown alleyways, looklng lnLo
doorways, peerlng lnLo half-shuLLered wlndows, wanLlng someone Lo Lalk Lo and yeL afrald Lo
meeL anyone. up one sLreeL, and down anoLher, Lhrough Lhe endless labyrlnLh, hurllng myself
agalnsL Lhe neon cage of Lhe clLy. Searchlng... for whaL? l meL a woman ln CenLral ark. She was
slLLlng on a bench near Lhe lake, wlLh a coaL cluLched around her desplLe Lhe beaL. She smlled
and moLloned for me Lo slL beslde her. We looked aL Lhe brlghL skyllne on CenLral ark SouLh,
Lhe honeycomb of llghLed cells agalnsL Lhe blackness, and l wlshed l could absorb Lhem all. ?es,
l Lold her, l was from new ?ork. no, l had never been Lo newporL news, vlrglnla. 1haL's where
she was from, and where she had marrled Lhls sallor who was aL sea now, and she hadn'L seen
hlm ln Lwo and a half years .88 She LwlsLed and knoLLed a handkerchlef, uslng lL from Llme Lo
Llme Lo wlpe Lhe beaded sweaL from her forehead. Lven ln Lhe dlm llghL reflecLed from Lhe
lake, l could see LhaL she wore a greaL deal of make-up, buL she looked aLLracLlve wlLh her
sLralghL dark halr loose Lo her shoulders-excepL LhaL her face was puffy and swollen as lf she
had [usL goLLen up from sleep. She wanLed Lo Lalk abouL herself, and l wanLed Lo llsLen. Per
faLher had glven her a good home, an educaLlon, everyLhlng a wealLhy shlpbullder could glve
hls only daughLer-buL noL forglveness. Pe would never forglve her elopemenL wlLh Lhe sallor.
She Look my hand as she spoke, and resLed her head on my shoulder. "1he nlghL Cary and l
were marrled," she whlspered, "l was a Lerrlfled vlrgln. And he [usL wenL crazy. llrsL, he had Lo
slap me and beaL me. And Lhen he Look me wlLh no love-maklng. 1haL was Lhe lasL Llme we
were ever LogeLher. l never leL hlm Louch me agaln." She could probably Lell by Lhe Lrembllng of
my hand LhaL l was sLarLled. lL was Loo vlolenL and lnLlmaLe for me. leellng my hand sLlr, she
grlpped lL LlghLer as lf she had Lo flnlsh her sLory before she could leL me go. lL was lmporLanL Lo
her, and l saL quleLly as one slLs before a blrd LhaL feeds from your palm. "noL LhaL l don'L llke
men," she assured me wlLh wlde-eyed openness. "l've been wlLh oLher men. noL hlm, buL loLs
of oLhers. MosL men are genLle and Lender wlLh a woman. 1hey make love slowly, wlLh caresses
and klsses flrsL." She looked aL me meanlngfully, and leL her open palm brush back and forLh
agalnsL mlne. lL was whaL l had heard abouL, read abouL, dreamed abouL. l dldn'L know her
name, and she dldn'L ask mlne. She [usL wanLed me Lo Lake her someplace where we could be
alone. l wondered whaL Allce would Lhlnk. l caressed her awkwardly and klssed her sLlll more
heslLanLly so LhaL she looked up aL me. "WhaL's Lhe maLLer?" she whlspered. "WhaL are you
Lhlnklng?" "AbouL you." "uo you have a place we can go?" Lach sLep forward was cauLlon. AL
whaL polnL would Lhe ground glve way and plunge me lnLo anxleLy? SomeLhlng kepL me movlng
ahead Lo LesL my fooLlng. "lf you don'L have a place, Lhe Manslon PoLel on llfLy-Lhlrd doesn'L
cosL Loo much. And Lhey don'L boLher you abouL luggage lf you pay ln advance." "l have a room-
" She looked aL me wlLh new respecL. "Well, LhaL's flne." SLlll noLhlng. And LhaL ln lLself was
curlous. Pow far could l go wlLhouL belng overwhelmed by sympLoms of panlc? When we were
alone ln Lhe room? When she undressed? When l saw her body? When we were lylng LogeLher?
Suddenly, lL was lmporLanL Lo know lf l could be llke oLher men, lf l could ever ask a woman Lo
share a llfe wlLh me. Pavlng lnLelllgence and knowledge wasn'L enough. l wanLed Lhls, Loo. 1he
sense of release and looseness was sLrong now wlLh Lhe feellng LhaL lL was posslble. 1he
exclLemenL LhaL came over me when l klssed her agaln communlcaLed lLself, and l was sure l
could be normal wlLh her. She was dlfferenL from Allce. She was Lhe klnd of woman who had
been around. 1hen her volce changed, uncerLaln. "8efore we go.. !usL one Lhlng..." She sLood
up and Look a sLep Loward me ln Lhe spray of lampllghL, openlng her coaL, and l could see Lhe
shape of her body as l had noL lmaglned lL all Lhe Llme we were slLLlng nexL Lo each oLher ln Lhe
shadows. "Cnly Lhe flfLh monLh," she sald. "lL doesn'L make any dlfference. ?ou don'L mlnd, do
you?" SLandlng Lhere wlLh her coaL open, she was superlmposed as a double exposure on Lhe
plcLure of Lhe mlddle-aged woman [usL ouL of Lhe baLhLub, holdlng open her baLhrobe for
Charlle Lo see. And l walLed, as a blasphemer walLs for llghLnlng. l looked away. lL was Lhe lasL
Lhlng l had expecLed, buL Lhe coaL wrapped LlghLly around her on such a hoL nlghL should have
warned me LhaL someLhlng was wrong. "lL's noL my husband's," she assured me. "l wasn'L lylng
Lo you abouL whaL l sald before. l haven'L seen hlm for years. lL was a salesman l meL abouL
elghL monLhs ago. l was llvlng wlLh hlm. l'm noL golng Lo see hlm any more, buL l'm golng Lo
keep Lhe baby. We've [usL goL Lo be careful-noL rough or anyLhlng llke LhaL. 8uL oLherwlse you
don'L have Lo worry." Per volce ran down when she saw my anger. "1haL's fllLhy!" l shouLed.
"?ou oughL Lo be ashamed of yourself." 90 She drew away, wrapplng her coaL qulckly around
her Lo proLecL whaL lay wlLhln. As she made LhaL proLecLlve gesLure, l saw Lhe second double
lmage: my moLher, heavy wlLh my slsLer, ln Lhe days when she was holdlng me less, warmlng
me less wlLh her volce and Louch, proLecLlng me less agalnsL anyone who dared Lo say l was
subnormal. l Lhlnk l grabbed her shoulder-l'm noL sure, buL Lhen she was screamlng, and l was
sharply back Lo reallLy wlLh Lhe sense of danger. l wanLed Lo Lell her l had meanL no harm-1
would never hurL her or anyone. "lease, don'L screaml" 8uL she was screamlng, and l heard
Lhe runnlng fooLsLeps on Lhe darkened paLh. 1hls was someLhlng no one would undersLand. l
ran lnLo Lhe darkness, Lo flnd an exlL from Lhe park, zlg-Lagglng across one paLh and down
anoLher. l dldn'L know Lhe park, and suddenly l crashed lnLo someLhlng LhaL Lhrew me
backwards. A wlre-mesh fence--a dead end. 1hen l saw Lhe swlngs and slldes and reallzed lL was
a chlldren's playground locked up for Lhe nlghL. l followed Lhe fence, and kepL golng, half-
runnlng, sLumbllng over LwlsLed rooLs. AL Lhe lake LhaL curved around near Lhe playground, l
doubled back, found anoLher paLh, wenL over Lhe small fooLbrldge and Lhen around and under
lL. no exlL. "WhaL ls lL? WhaL happened, lady?" "A manlac?" "?ou all rlghL?" "Whlch way dld he
go?" l had clrcled back Lo where l had sLarLed from. l sllpped behlnd Lhe huge ouLcropplng of a
rock and a screen of bramble and dropped flaL on my sLomach. "CeL a cop. 1here's never a cop
when you need one." "WhaL happened?" "A degeneraLe Lrled Lo rape her." "Pey, some guy
down Lhere ls chaslng hlm. 1here he goesl" "Come on] CeL Lhe basLard before he geLs ouLLa Lhe
parkl" "Careful. Pe's goL a knlfe and a gun... " lL was obvlous LhaL Lhe shouLlng had flushed ouL
Lhe nlghL crawlers because Lhe cry of "Lhere he goes!" was echoed from behlnd me, and looklng
ouL from behlnd Lhe 91 rock l could see a lone runner belng chased down Lhe lampllL paLh lnLo
Lhe darkness. Seconds laLer, anoLher one passed ln fronL of Lhe rock and dlsappeared lnLo Lhe
shadows. l plcLured myself belng caughL by Lhls eager mob and beaLen and Lorn by Lhem. l
deserved lL. l almosL wanLed lL. l sLood up, brushed Lhe leaves and dlrL from my cloLhlng and
walked slowly down Lhe paLh ln Lhe dlrecLlon from whlch l had come. l expecLed every second
Lo be grabbed from behlnd and pulled down lnLo Lhe dlrL and darkness, buL soon l saw Lhe
brlghL llghLs of llfLy-nlnLh SLreeL and llfLh Avenue, and l came ouL of Lhe park. 1hlnklng abouL lL
now, ln Lhe securlLy of my room, l am shaken wlLh Lhe rawness LhaL Louched me. 8ememberlng
how my moLher looked before she gave blrLh Lo my slsLer ls frlghLenlng. 8uL even more
frlghLenlng ls Lhe feellng LhaL l wanLed Lhem Lo caLch me and beaL me. Why dld l wanL Lo be
punlshed? Shadows ouL of Lhe pasL cluLch aL my legs and drag me down. l open my mouLh Lo
scream, buL l am volceless. My hands are Lrembllng, l feel cold, and Lhere ls a dlsLanL hummlng
ln my ears.
8CC8LSS 8LC81 13
!une 10-We're on a SLraLo-[eL abouL Lo Lake off for Chlcago. l owe Lhls progress reporL Lo 8urL
who had Lhe brlghL ldea LhaL l could dlcLaLe Lhls on a LranslsLor Lape recorder and have a publlc
sLenographer ln Chlcago Lype lL up. nemur llkes Lhe ldea. ln facL, he wanLs me Lo use Lhe
recorder up Lo Lhe lasL mlnuLe. Pe feels lL wlll add Lo Lhe reporL lf Lhey play Lhe mosL recenL
Lape aL Lhe end of Lhe sesslon. So here l am, slLLlng off by myself ln our prlvaLe secLlon of a [eL
on Lhe way Lo Chlcago, Lrylng Lo geL used Lo Lhlnklng aloud, and Lo Lhe sound of my own volce. l
suppose Lhe LyplsL can geL rld of all Lhe uhm's, er's and ah's, and make lL all seem naLural on
paper (l can'L help Lhe paralysls LhaL comes over me when l Lhlnk hundreds of people are golng
Lo llsLen Lo Lhe words l'm saylng now). My mlnd ls a blank. AL Lhls polnL my feellngs are more
lmporLanL Lhan anyLhlng else. 1he ldea of golng up ln Lhe slr Lerrlfles me. As far as l can Lell, ln
Lhe days before Lhe operaLlon, l never really undersLood whaL planes were. l never connecLed
Lhe movles and 1v close-ups of planes wlLh Lhe Lhlngs LhaL l saw zoomlng overhead now LhaL
we're abouL Lo Lake off l can Lhlnk only of whaL mlghL happen lf we crash. A cold feellng, and
Lhe LhoughL LhaL l don'L wanL Lo dle. 8rlngs Lo mlnd Lhose dlscusslons abouL Cod. l've LhoughL
abouL deaLh ofLen ln recenL weeks, buL noL really abouL Cod. My moLher Look me Lo church
occaslonally--buL l don'L recall ever connecLlng LhaL up wlLh Lhe LhoughL of Cod. She menLloned
Plm qulLe ofLen, and l had Lo pray Lo Plm aL nlghL, buL l never LhoughL much abouL lL. l
remember Plm as a dlsLanL uncle wlLh a long beard on a Lhrone (llke SanLa Claus ln Lhe
deparLmenL sLore on hls blg chalr, who plcks you up on hls knee and asks you lf you've been
good, and whaL would you llke hlm Lo glve you?). She was afrald of Plm, buL asked favors
anyway. My faLher never menLloned Plm-lL was as lf Cod was one of 8ose's relaLlves he'd
raLher noL geL lnvolved wlLh. s s "We're ready Lo Lake off, slr. May l help you fasLen your seaL
belL?" "uo l have Lo? l don'L llke Lo be sLrapped down." "unLll we're alrborne." "l'd raLher noL,
unless lL's necessary. l've goL Lhls fear of belng sLrapped ln. lL'll probably make me slck." "lL's
regulaLlons, slr. Pere, leL me help you." "no! l'll do lL myself." "no... LhaL one goes Lhrough
here." "WalL, uh.... Ckay." 8ldlculous. 1here's noLhlng Lo be afrald of. SeaL belL lsn'L Loo LlghL-
doesn'L hurL. Why should puLLlng on Lhe damned seaL belL be so Lerrlfylng? 1haL, and Lhe
vlbraLlons of Lhe plane Laklng off. AnxleLy all ouL of proporLlon Lo Lhe slLuaLlon... so lL musL be
someLhlng... whaL?... flylng up lnLo and Lhrough dark clouds... fasLen your seaL belLs... sLrapped
down... sLralnlng forward... odor of sweaLy leaLher... vlbraLlons and a roarlng sound ln my ears.
1hrough Lhe wlndow-ln Lhe clouds-l see Charlle. Age ls dlfflculL Lo Lell, abouL flve years old.
8efore norma... "Are you Lwo ready yeL?" Pls faLher comes Lo Lhe doorway, heavy, especlally ln
Lhe sagglng fleshlness of hls face and neck. Pe has a Llred look. "l sald, are you ready?" "!usL a
mlnuLe," answers 8ose. "l'm geLLlng my haL on. See lf hls shlrL ls buLLoned, and Lle hls
shoelaces." "Come on, leL's geL Lhls Lhlng over wlLh." "Where?" asks Charlle. "Where... Charlle...
go?" Pls faLher looks aL hlm and frowns. MaLL Cordon never knows how Lo reacL Lo hls son's
quesLlons. 8ose appears ln Lhe doorway of her bedroom, ad[usLlng Lhe half-vell of her haL. She
ls a blrdllke woman, and her arms-up Lo her head, elbows ouL-look llke wlngs. "We're golng Lo
Lhe docLor who ls golng Lo help you geL smarL." 1he vell makes lL look as lf she were peerlng
down aL hlm Lhrough a wlre screen. Pe ls always frlghLened when Lhey dress up Lo go ouL Lhls
way, because he knows he wlll have Lo meeL oLher people and hls moLher wlll become upseL
and angry. Pe wanLs Lo run, buL Lhere ls no place for hlm Lo go. "Why do you have Lo Lell hlm
LhaL?" sald MaLL. "8ecause lL's Lhe LruLh. ur. Cuarlno can help hlm." MaLL paces Lhe floor llke a
man who has glven up hope buL wlll make one lasL aLLempL Lo reason. "Pow do you know?
WhaL do you know abouL Lhls man? lf Lhere was anyLhlng LhaL could be done, Lhe docLors
would have Lold us long ago." "uon'L say LhaL," she screeches. "uon'L Lell me Lhere's noLhlng
Lhey can do." She grabs Charlle and presses hls head agalnsL her bosom. "Pe's golng Lo be
normal, whaLever we have Lo do, whaLever lL cosLs." "lL's noL someLhlng money can buy." 94
"lL's Charlle l'm Lalklng abouL. ?our son... your only chlld." She rocks hlm from slde Lo slde, near
hysLerla now. "l won'L llsLen Lo LhaL Lalk. 1hey don'L know, so Lhey say noLhlng can be done. ur.
Cuarlno explalned lL all Lo me. 1hey won'L sponsor hls lnvenLlon, he says, because lL wlll prove
Lhey're wrong. Llke lL was wlLh Lhose oLher sclenLlsLs, asLeur and !ennlngs, and Lhe resL of
Lhem. Pe Lold me all abouL your flne medlcal docLors afrald of progress." 1alklng back Lo MaLL
Lhls way, she becomes relaxed and sure of herself agaln. When she leLs go of Charlle, he goes Lo
Lhe corner and sLands agalnsL Lhe wall frlghLened and shlverlng. "Look," she says, "you goL hlm
upseL agaln." "Me?" "?ou always sLarL Lhese Lhlngs ln fronL of hlm" "Ch, ChrlsLl Come on, leL's
geL Lhls damned Lhlng over wlLh." All Lhe way Lo ur. Cuarlno's offlce Lhey avold speaklng Lo
each oLher. Sllence on Lhe bus, and sllence walklng Lhree blocks from Lhe bus Lo Lhe downLown
offlce bulldlng. AfLer abouL flfLeen mlnuLes, ur. Cuarlno comes ouL Lo Lhe walLlng room Lo greeL
Lhem. Pe ls faL and baldlng, and he looks as lf would pop Lhrough hls whlLe lab [ackeL. Charlle ls
fasclnaLed by Lhe Lhlck whlLe eyebrows and whlLe mousLache LhaL LwlLch from Llme Lo Llme.
SomeLlmes Lhe mousLache LwlLches flrsL, followed by Lhe ralslng of boLh eyebrows, buL
someLlmes Lhe brows go up flrsL and Lhe mousLache LwlLch follows. 1he large whlLe room lnLo
whlch Cuarlno ushers Lhem smells recenLly palnLed, and lL ls almosL bare--Lwo desks on one
slde of Lhe room, and on Lhe oLher, a huge machlne wlLh rows of dlals and four long arms llke
denLlsL's drllls. nearby ls a black leaLher examlnaLlon Lable wlLh Lhlck, webbed, resLralnlng
sLraps. "Well, well, well," says Cuarlno, ralslng hls eyebrows, "so Lhls ls Charlle." Pe grlps Lhe
boy's shoulders flrmly. "We're golng Lo be frlends." "Can you really do anyLhlng for hlm, ur.
Cuarlno?" says MaLL. "Pave you ever LreaLed Lhls klnd of Lbung before? We don'L have much
money." 1he eyebrows come down llke shuLLers as Cuarlno frowns. "Mr. Cordon, have l sald
anyLhlng yeL abouL 93 whaL l could do? uon'L l have Lo examlne hlm flrsL? Maybe someLhlng
can be done, maybe noL. llrsL Lhere wlll have Lo be physlcal and menLal LesLs Lo deLermlne Lhe
causes of Lhe paLhology. 1here wlll be enough Llme laLer Lo Lalk of prognosls. AcLually, l'm very
busy Lhese days. l only agreed Lo look lnLo Lhls case because l'm dolng a speclal sLudy of Lhls
Lype of neural reLardaLlon. Cf course, lf you have qualms, Lhen perhaps... " Pls volce Lralls off
sadly, and he Lurns away, buL 8ose Cordon [abs aL MaLL wlLh her elbow. "My husband doesn'L
mean LhaL aL all, ur. Cuarlno. Pe Lalks Loo much." She glares aL MaLL agaln Lo warn hlm Lo
apologlze. MaLL slghs. "lf Lhere ls any way you can help Charlle, we'll do anyLhlng you ask.
1hlngs are slow Lhese days. l sell barbershop supplles, buL whaLever l have l'll be glad Lo-" "!usL
one Lhlng l musL lnslsL on," says Cuarlno, purslng hls llps as lf maklng a declslon. "Cnce we sLarL,
Lhe LreaLmenL musL conLlnue all Lhe way. ln cases of Lhls Lype, Lhe resulLs ofLen come suddenly
afLer long monLhs wlLhouL any slgn of lmprovemenL. noL LhaL l am promlslng you success, mlnd
you. noLhlng ls guaranLeed. 8uL you musL glve Lhe LreaLmenL a chance, oLherwlse you're beLLer
off noL sLarLlng aL all." Pe frowns aL Lhem Lo leL hls warnlng slnk ln, and hls brows are whlLe
shades from under whlch hls brlghL blue eyes sLare. "now, lf you'll [usL sLep ouLslde and leL me
examlne Lhe boy." MaLL heslLaLes Lo leave Charlle alone wlLh hlm, buL Cuarlno nods. "1hls ls Lhe
besL way," he says, usherlng Lhem boLh ouLslde Lo Lhe walLlng room. "1he resulLs are always
more slgnlflcanL lf Lhe paLlenL and l are alone when Lhe psychosubsLanLlaLlon LesLs are
performed. LxLernal dlsLracLlons have a deleLerlous effecL on Lhe ramlfled scores." 8ose smlles
aL her husband LrlumphanLly, and MaLL follows her meekly ouLslde. Alone wlLh Charlle, ur.
Cuarlno paLs hlm on Lhe head. Pe has a klndly smlle. "Ckay, kld. Cn Lhe Lable." When Charlle
doesn'L respond, he llfLs hlm genLly onLo Lhe leaLher-padded Lable and sLraps hlm down
securely 96 wlLh heavy webbed sLraps. 1he Lable smells of deeply lngralned sweaL, and leaLher.
"Maaaa!" "She's ouLslde. uon'L worry, Charlle. 1hls won'L hurL a blL." "WanL Ma!" Charlle ls
confused aL belng resLralned Lhls way. Pe has no sense of whaL ls belng done Lo hlm, buL Lhere
have been oLher docLors who were noL so genLle afLer hls parenLs lefL Lhe room. Cuarlno Lrles
Lo calm hlm. "1ake lL easy, kld. noLhlng Lo be scared of. ?ou see Lhls blg machlne here? know
whaL l'm golng Lo do wlLh lL?" Charlle crlnges, and Lhen he recalls hls moLher's words. "Make
me smarL." "1haL's rlghL. AL leasL you know whaL you're here for. now, [usL close your eyes and
relax whlle l Lurn on Lhese swlLches. lL'll make a loud nolse, llke an alrplane, buL lL won'L hurL
you. And we'll see lf we can make you a llLLle blL smarLer Lhan you are now." Cuarlno snaps on
Lhe swlLch LhaL seLs Lhe huge machlne hummlng, red and blue llghLs bllnklng on and off. Charlle
ls Lerrlfled. Pe crlnges and shlvers, sLralnlng agalnsL Lhe sLraps LhaL hold hlm fasL Lo Lhe Lable.
Pe sLarLs Lo scream, buL Cuarlno qulckly pushes a wad of cloLh lnLo hls mouLh. "now, now,
Charlle. none of LhaL. ?ou be a good llLLle boy. l Lold you lL won'L hurL." Pe Lrles Lo scream
agaln, buL all LhaL comes ouL ls a muffled choklng LhaL makes hlm wanL Lo Lhrow up. Pe feels
Lhe weLness and Lhe sLlcklness around hls legs, and Lhe odor Lells hlm LhaL hls moLher wlll
punlsh hlm wlLh Lhe spanklng and Lhe corner for maklng ln hls panLs. Pe could noL conLrol lL.
Whenever he feels Lrapped and panlc seLs ln, he loses conLrol and dlrLles hlmself. Choklng...
slck... nausea... and everyLhlng goes black... 1here ls no way of knowlng how much Llme passes,
buL when Charlle opens hls eyes, Lhe cloLh ls ouL of hls mouLh, and Lhe sLraps have been
removed. ur. Cuarlno preLends he does noL smell Lhe odor. "now LhaL dldn'L hurL you a blL, dld
lL?" "n-no ." "Well, Lhen whaL are you Lrembllng llke LhaL for? All l dld was use LhaL machlne Lo
make you smarLer. Pow does lL feel Lo be smarLer now Lhan you were before?" lorgeLLlng hls
Lerror, Charlle sLares wlde-eyed aL Lhe machlne. "uld l geL smarL?" "Cf course you dld. uh,
sLand back over Lhere. Pow does lL feel?" "leels weL. l made." "?es, well-uh-you won'L do LhaL
nexL Llme, wlll you? ?ou won'L be scared any more, now LhaL you know lL doesn'L hurL. now l
wanL you Lo Lell your mom how smarL you feel, and she'll brlng you here Lwlce a week for shorL-
wave encephalo-recondlLlonlng, and you'll geL smarLer, and smarLer, and smarLer." Charlle
smlles. "l can walk backwards." "?ou can? LeL's see," says Cuarlno closlng hls folder ln mock
exclLemenL. "LeL me see." Slowly, and wlLh greaL efforL, Charlle Lakes several sLeps backward,
sLumbllng agalnsL Lhe examlnaLlon Lable as he goes. Cuarlno smlles and nods. "now LhaL's whaL
l call someLhlng. Ch, you walL. ?ou're golng Lo be Lhe smarLesL boy on your block before we're
Lhrough wlLh you." Charlle ffushes wlLh pleasure aL Lhls pralse and aLLenLlon. lL ls noL ofLen LhaL
people smlle aL hlm and Lell hlm he has done someLhlng well. Lven Lhe Lerror of Lhe machlne,
and of belng sLrapped down Lo Lhe Lable, beglns Lo fade. "Cn Lhe whole block?" 1he LhoughL
fllls hlm as lf he cannoL Lake enough alr lnLo hls lungs no maLLer how he Lrles. "Lven smarLer
Lhan Pymle?" Cuarlno smlles agaln and nods. "SmarLer Lhan Pymle." Charlle looks aL Lhe
machlne wlLh new wonder and respecL. 1he machlne wlll make hlm smarLer Lhan Pymle who
llves Lwo doors away and knows how Lo read and wrlLe and ls ln Lhe 8oy ScouLs. "ls LhaL your
machlne?" "noL yeL. lL belongs Lo Lhe bank. 8uL soon lL'll be mlne, and Lhen l'll be able Lo make
loLs of boys llke you smarL." Pe paLs Charlle's head and says, "?ou're a loL nlcer Lhan some of
Lhe normal klds whose moLhers brlng Lhem here hoplng l can make genluses ouL of Lhem by
ralslng Lhelr LC. s. "uo Lhey be [ean-asses lf you ralse Lhelr eyes?" Pe puL hls hands Lo hls face
Lo see lf Lhe machlne had done anyLhlng Lo ralse hls eyes. "?ou gonna make me a [ean-ass?"
Cuarlno's laugh ls frlendly as he squeezes Charlle's shoulder. "no, Charlle. noLhlng for you Lo
worry abouL. Cnly nasLy llLLle donkeys become [ean-asses. ?ou'll sLay [usL Lhe way you are-a
nlce kld." And Lhen, Lhlnklng beLLer of lL he adds: "Cf course, a llLLle smarLer Lhan you are now."
Pe unlocks Lhe door and leads Charlle ouL Lo hls parenLs. "Pere he ls, folks. none Lhe worse for
Lhe experlence. A good boy. l Lhlnk we're golng Lo be good frlends, eh, Charlle?" Charlle nods.
Pe wanLs ur. Cuarlno Lo llke hlm, buL he ls Lerrlfled when he sees Lhe expresslon on hls
moLher's face. "Charllel WhaL dld you do?" "!usL an accldenL, Mrs. Cordon. Pe was frlghLened
Lhe flrsL Llme. 8uL don'L blame hlm or punlsh hlm. l wouldn'L wanL hlm Lo connecL punlshmenL
wlLh comlng here." 8uL 8ose Cordon ls slck wlLh embarrassmenL. "lL's dlsgusLlng. l don'L know
whaL Lo do, ur. Cuarlno. Lven aL home he forgeLs-and someLlmes when we have people ln Lhe
house. l'm so ashamed when he does LhaL." 1he look of dlsgusL on hls moLher's face seLs hlm
Lrembllng. lor a shorL whlle he had forgoLLen how bad he ls, how he makes hls parenLs suffer.
Pe doesn'L know how, buL lL frlghLens hlm when she says he makes her suffer, and when she
crles and screams aL hlm, he Lurns hls face Lo Lhe wall and moans sofLly Lo hlmself. "now don'L
upseL hlm, Mrs. Cordon, and don'L worry. 8rlng hlm Lo me on 1uesday and 1hursday each week
aL Lhe same Llme." "8uL wlll Lhls really do any good?" asks MaLL. "1en dollars ls a loL of-" "MaLL!"
she cluLches aL hls sleeve. "ls LhaL anyLhlng Lo Lalk abouL aL a Llme llke Lhls? ?our own flesh and
blood, and maybe ur. Cuarlno can make hlm llke oLher chlldren, wlLh Lhe Lord's help, and you
Lalk abouL money!" MaLL Cordon sLarLs Lo defend hlmself, buL Lhen, Lhlnklng beLLer of lL, he
pulls ouL hls walleL. "lease... " slghs Cuarlno, as lf embarrassed aL Lhe slghL of money. "My
asslsLanL aL Lhe fronL desk wlll Lake care of all Lhe flnanclal arrangemenLs. 1hank you." Pe half
bows Lo 8ose, shakes MaLL's hand and paLs Charlle on Lhe back. "nlce boy. very nlce." 1hen,
smlllng agaln, he dlsappears behlnd Lhe door Lo Lhe lnner offlce. 1hey argue all Lhe way home,
MaLL complalnlng LhaL barber supply sales have fallen off, and LhaL Lhelr savlngs are dwlndllng,
8ose screechlng back LhaL maklng Charlle normal ls more lmporLanL Lhan anyLhlng else.
lrlghLened by Lhelr quarrellng, Charlle whlmpers. 1he sound of anger ln Lhelr volces ls palnful Lo
hlm. As soon as Lhey enLer Lhe aparLmenL, he pulls away and runs Lo Lhe corner of Lhe klLchen,
behlnd Lhe door and sLands wlLh hls forehead pressed agalnsL Lhe Llle wall, Lrembllng and
moanlng. 1hey pay no aLLenLlon Lo hlm. 1hey have forgoLLen LhaL he has Lo be cleaned and
changed. "l'm noL hysLerlcal. l'm [usL slck of you complalnlng every Llme l Lry Lo do someLhlng
for your son. ?ou don'L care. ?ou [usL don'L care." "1haL's noL Lrue! 8uL l reallze Lhere's noLhlng
we can do. When you've goL a chlld llke hlm lL's a cross, and you bear lL, and love lL. Well, l can
bear hlm, buL l can'L sLand your foollsh ways. ?ou've spenL almosL all our savlngs on quacks and
phonles-money l could have used Lo seL me up ln a nlce buslness of my own. ?es. uon'L look aL
me LhaL way. lor all Lhe money you've Lhrown down Lhe sewer Lo do someLhlng LhaL can'L be
done, l could have had a barbershop of my own lnsLead of eaLlng my hearL ouL selllng for Len
hours a day. My own place wlLh people worklng for mel" "SLop shouLlng. Look aL hlm, he's
frlghLened." "1he hell wlLh you. now l know who's Lhe dope around here. Me! lor puLLlng up
wlLh you." Pe sLorms ouL, slammlng Lhe door behlnd hlm. s "Sorry Lo lnLerrupL you, slr, buL
we're golng Lo be landlng ln a few mlnuLes. ?ou'll have Lo fasLen your seaL belL agaln... Ch, you
have lL on, slr. ?ou've had lL on all Lhe way from new ?ork. Close Lo Lwo hours.. " "l forgoL all
abouL lL. l'll [usL leave lL on unLll we land. lL doesn'L seem Lo boLher me any more." now l can
see where l goL Lhe unusual moLlvaLlon for becomlng smarL LhaL so amazed everyone aL flrsL. lL
was 100 someLhlng 8ose Cordon llved wlLh day and nlghL. Per fear, her gullL, her shame LhaL
Charlle was a moron. Per dream LhaL someLhlng could be done. 1he urgenL quesLlon always:
whose faulL was lL, hers or MaLL's? Cnly afLer norma proved Lo her LhaL she was capable of
havlng normal chlldren, and LhaL l was a freak, dld she sLop Lrylng Lo make me over. 8uL l guess
l never sLopped wanLlng Lo be Lhe smarL boy she wanLed me Lo be, so LhaL she would love me.
A funny Lhlng abouL Cuarlno. l should resenL hlm for whaL he dld Lo me, and for Laklng
advanLage of 8ose and MaLL, buL somehow l can'L. AfLer LhaL flrsL day, he was always pleasanL
Lo me. 1here was always Lhe paL on Lhe shoulder, Lhe smlle, Lhe encouraglng word LhaL came
my way so rarely. Pe LreaLed me-even Lhen-as a human belng. lL may sound llke lngraLlLude,
buL LhaL ls one of Lhe Lhlngs LhaL l resenL here-Lhe aLLlLude LhaL l am a gulnea plg. nemur's
consLanL references Lo havlng made me whaL 1 am, or LhaL someday Lhere wlll be oLhers llke
me who wlll become real human belngs. Pow can l make hlm undersLand LhaL he dld noL creaLe
me? Pe makes Lhe same mlsLake as Lhe oLhers when Lhey look aL a feeble-mlnded person and
laugh because Lhey don'L undersLand Lhere are human feellngs lnvolved. Pe doesn'L reallze LhaL
l was a person before l came here. l am learnlng Lo conLrol my resenLmenL, noL Lo be so
lmpaLlenL, Lo walL for Lhlngs. l guess l'm growlng up. Lach day l learn more and more abouL
myself, and Lhe memorles LhaL began as rlpples now wash over me ln hlgh-breaklng waves....
!une 11 1he confuslon began from Lhe momenL we arrlved aL Lhe Chalmers PoLel ln Chlcago
and dlscovered LhaL by error our rooms would noL be vacanL unLll Lhe nexL nlghL and unLll Lhen
we would have Lo sLay aL Lhe nearby lndependence PoLel. nemur was furlous. Pe Look lL as a
personal affronL and quarrelled wlLh everyone ln Lhe llne of hoLel command from Lhe bellhop Lo
Lhe manager. We walLed ln Lhe lobby as each hoLel offlclal wenL off ln search of hls superlor Lo
see whaL could be done. ln Lhe mldsL of all Lhe confuslon-luggage drlfLlng ln and plllng up all
around Lhe lobby, bellboys husLllng back and forLh wlLh Lhelr llLLle baggage carLs, members who
hadn'L seen each oLher ln a year, recognlzlng and greeLlng each oLher-we sLood Lhere feellng
lncreaslngly embarrassed as nemur Lrled Lo collar offlclals connecLed wlLh Lhe lnLernaLlonal
sychologlcal AssoclaLlon. llnally, when lL became apparenL LhaL noLhlng could be done abouL
lL, he accepLed Lhe facL LhaL we would have Lo spend our flrsL nlghL ln Chlcago aL Lhe
lndependence. As lL Lurned ouL, mosL of Lhe younger psychologlsLs were sLaylng aL Lhe
lndependence, and LhaL was where Lhe blg flrsL-nlghL parLles were. Pere, people had heard
abouL Lhe experlmenL, and mosL of Lhem knew who l was. Wherever we wenL, someone came
up and asked my oplnlons on everyLhlng from Lhe effecLs of Lhe new Lax Lo Lhe laLesL
archaeologlcal dlscoverles ln llnland. lL was challenglng, and my sLorehouse of general
knowledge made lL easy for me Lo Lalk abouL almosL anyLhlng. 8uL afLer a whlle l could see LhaL
nemur was annoyed aL all Lhe aLLenLlon l was geLLlng. When an aLLracLlve young cllnlclan from
lalmouLh College asked me lf l could explaln some of Lhe causes of my own reLardaLlon, l Lold
her LhaL rofessor nemur was Lhe marL Lo answer LhaL. lL was Lhe chance he had been walLlng
for Lo show hls auLhorlLy, and for Lhe flrsL Llme slnce we'd known each oLher he puL hls hand on
my shoulder. "We don'L know exacLly whaL causes Lhe Lype of phenylkeLonurla LhaL Charlle was
sufferlng from as a chlld-some unusual blochemlcal or geneLlc slLuaLlon, posslbly lonlzlng
radlaLlon or naLural radlaLlon or even a vlrus aLLack on Lhe feLus-whaLever lL was resulLed ln a
defecLlve gene whlch produces a, shall we say, `maverlck enzyme' LhaL creaLes defecLlve
blochemlcal reacLlons. And, of course, newly produced amlno aclds compeLe wlLh Lhe normal
enzymes causlng braln damage." 1he glrl frowned. She had noL expecLed a lecLure, buL nemur
had selzed Lhe floor and he wenL on ln Lhe same veln. "l call lL compeLlLlve lnhlblLlon of
enzymes. LeL me glve you an example of how lL works. 1hlnk of Lhe enzyme produced by Lhe
defecLlve gene as a wrong key whlch flLs lnLo Lhe chemlcal lock of Lhe cenLral nervous sysLem-
buL won'L Lurn. 8ecause lL's Lhere, Lhe Lrue key-Lhe rlghL enzyme-can'L even enLer Lhe lock. lL's
blocked. 8esulL? lrreverslble desLrucLlon of proLelns ln Lhe braln Llssue." "8uL lf lL ls
lrreverslble," lnLruded one of Lhe oLher psychologlsLs who had [olned Lhe llLLle audlence, "how
ls- lL posslble LhaL Mr. Cordon here ls no longer reLarded?" "Ah!" crowed nemur, "l sald Lhe
desLrucLlon Lo Lhe Llssue was lrreverslble, noL Lhe process lLself. Many researchers have been
able Lo reverse Lhe process Lhrough ln[ecLlons of chemlcals whlch comblne wlLh Lhe defecLlve
enzymes, changlng Lhe molecular shape of Lhe lnLerferlng key, as lL were. 1hls ls cenLral Lo our
own Lechnlque as well. 8uL flrsL, we remove Lhe damaged porLlons of Lhe braln and permlL Lhe
lmplanLed braln Llssue whlch has been chemlcally revlLallzed Lo produce braln proLelns aL a
supernormal raLe-" "!usL a mlnuLe, rofessor nemur," l sald, lnLerrupLlng hlm aL Lhe helghL of
hls peroraLlon. "WhaL abouL 8aha[a maLl's work ln LhaL fleld?" Pe looked aL me blankly. "Who?"
"8aha[amaLl. Pls arLlcle aLLacks 1anlda's Lheory of enzyme fuslon-Lhe concepL of changlng Lhe
chemlcal sLrucLure of Lhe enzyme blocklng Lhe sLep ln Lhe meLabollc paLhway." Pe frowned.
"Where was LhaL arLlcle LranslaLed?" "lL hasn'L been LranslaLed yeL. l read lL ln Lhe Plndu [ournal
of sychopaLhology [usL a few days ago." Pe looked aL hls audlence and Lrled Lo shrug lL off.
"Well, l don'L Lhlnk we have anyLhlng Lo worry abouL. Cur resulLs speak for Lhemselves" "8uL
1amda hlmself flrsL propounded Lhe Lheory of blocklng Lhe maverlck enzyme Lhrough
comblnaLlon, and now he polnLs ouL LhaL" "Ch, come now, Charlle. !usL because a man ls Lhe
flrsL Lo come forLh wlLh a Lheory doesn'L make hlm Lhe flnal word on lLs experlmenLal
developmenL. l Lhlnk everyone here wlll agree LhaL Lhe research done ln Lhe unlLed SLaLes and
8rlLaln far ouLshlnes Lhe work done ln lndla and !apan. We sLlll have Lhe besL laboraLorles and
Lhe besL equlpmenL ln Lhe world" "8uL LhaL doesn'L answer 8aha[amaLl's polnL LhaL---?' "1hls ls
noL Lhe Llme or place Lo go lnLo LhaL. l'm cerLaln all of Lhese polnLs wlll be adequaLely dealL wlLh
ln 103 Lomorrow's sesslon." Pe Lurned Lo Lalk Lo someone abouL an old college frlend, cuLLlng
me off compleLely, and l sLood Lhere dumbfounded. l managed Lo geL SLrauss off Lo one slde,
and l sLarLed quesLlonlng hlm. "All rlghL, now. ?ou've been Lelllng me l'm Loo senslLlve Lo hlm.
WhaL dld l say LhaL upseL hlm LhaL way?" "?ou're maklng hlm feel lnferlor and he can'L Lake lL."
"l'm serlous, for Cod's sake. 1ell me Lhe LruLh." "Charlle, you've goL Lo sLop Lhlnklng LhaL
everyone ls laughlng aL you. nemur couldn'L dlscuss Lhose arLlcles because he hasn'L read Lhem.
Pe can'L read Lhose Languages. " "noL read Plndl and !apanese? Ch, come on now." "Charlle,
noL everyone has your glfL for languages." "8uL Lhen how can he refuLe 8aha[amaLl's aLLack on
Lhls meLhod, and 1anlda's challenge Lo Lhe valldlLy of Lhls klnd of conLrol? Pe musL know abouL
Lhose-" "no...," sald SLrauss LhoughLfully. "1hose papers musL be recenL. 1here hasn'L been
Llme Lo geL LranslaLlons made." "?ou mean you haven'L read Lhem elLher?" Pe shrugged. "l'm
an even worse llngulsL Lhan he ls. 8uL l'm cerLaln before Lhe flnal reporLs are Lurned ln, all Lhe
[ournals wlll be combed for addlLlonal daLa." l dldn'L know whaL Lo say. 1o hear hlm admlL LhaL
boLh of Lhem were lgnoranL of whole areas ln Lhelr own flelds was Lerrlfylng. "WhaL languages
do you know?" l asked hlm. "lrench, Cerman, Spanlsh, lLallan, and enough Swedlsh Lo geL
along." "no 8usslan, Chlnese, orLuguese?" Pe remlnded me LhaL as a pracLlclng psychlaLrlsL
and neurosurgeon he had very llLLle Llme for languages. And Lhe only anclenL languages LhaL he
could read were LaLln and Creek. noLhlng of Lhe anclenL CrlenLal Longues. l could see he
wanLed Lo end Lhe dlscusslon aL LhaL polnL, buL somehow l couldn'L leL go. l had Lo flnd ouL [usL
how much he knew. l found ouL. hyslcs: noLhlng beyond Lhe quanLum Lheory of flelds.
Ceology: noLhlng abouL geomorphology or sLraLlgraphy or even peLrology. noLhlng abouL Lhe
mlcro- or macroeconomlc Lheory. LlLLle ln maLhemaLlcs beyond Lhe elemenLary level of calculus
of varlaLlons, and noLhlng aL all abouL 8anach algebra or 8lemannlan manlfolds. lL was Lhe flrsL
lnkllng of Lhe revelaLlons LhaL were ln sLore for me Lhls weekend l couldn'L sLay aL Lhe parLy. l
sllpped away Lo walk and Lhlnk Lhls ouL. lrauds-boLh of Lhem. 1hey had preLended Lo be
genluses. 8uL Lhey were [usL ordlnary men worklng bllndly, preLendlng Lo be able Lo brlng llghL
lnLo Lhe darkness. Why ls lL LhaL everyone lles? no one l know ls whaL he appears Lo be. As l
Lurned Lhe corner l caughL a gllmpse of 8urL comlng afLer me. "WhaL's Lhe maLLer?" l sald as he
caughL up Lo me. "Are you followlng me?" Pe shrugged and laughed uncomforLably. "LxhlblL A,
sLar of Lhe show. Can'L have you run down by one of Lhese moLorlzed Chlcago cowboys or
mugged and rolled on SLaLe SLreeL." "l don'L llke belng kepL ln cusLody." Pe avolded my gaze as
he walked beslde me, hls hands deep ln hls pockeLs. "1ake lL easy, Charlle. 1he old man ls on
edge. 1hls convenLlon means a loL Lo hlm. Pls repuLaLlon ls aL sLake." "l dldn'L know you were
so close Lo hlm," l LaunLed, recalllng all Lhe Llmes 8urL had complalned abouL Lhe professor's
narrowness and pushlng. "l'm noL close Lo hlm." Pe looked aL me deflanLly. "8uL he's puL hls
whole llfe lnLo Lhls. Pe's no lreud or !ung or avlov or WaLson, buL he's dolng someLhlng
lmporLanL and l respecL hls dedlcaLlon-maybe even more cause he's [usL an ordlnary man Lrylng
Lo do a greaL man's work, whlle Lhe greaL men are all busy maklng bombs." "l'd llke Lo hear you
call hlm ordlnary Lo hls face." "lL doesn'L maLLer whaL he Lhlnks of hlmself. Sure he's egoLlsLlc,
so whaL? lL Lakes LhaL klnd of ego Lo make a man aLLempL a Lhlng llke Lhls. l've seen enough of
men llke hlm Lo know LhaL mlxed ln wlLh LhaL pompousness and self-asserLlon ls a goddamned
good measure of uncerLalnLy and fear." "And phonlness and shallowness," l added. "l see 103
Lhem now as Lhey really are, phonles. l suspecLed lL of nemur. Pe always seemed frlghLened of
someLhlng. 8uL SLrauss surprlsed me." 8urL paused and leL ouL a long sLream of breaLh. We
Lurned lnLo a luncheoneLLe for coffee, and l dldn'L see hls face, buL Lhe sound revealed hls
exasperaLlon. "?ou Lhlnk l'm wrong?" "!usL LhaL you've come a long way klnd of fasL," he sald.
"?ou've goL a superb mlnd now, lnLelllgence LhaL can'L really be calculaLed, more knowledge
absorbed by now Lhan mosL people plck up ln a long llfeLlme. 8uL you're lopslded. ?ou know
Lhlngs. ?ou see Lhlngs. 8uL you haven'L developed undersLandlng, or-l have Lo use Lhe word-
Lolerance. ?ou call Lhem phonles, buL vhen dld elLher of Lhem ever clalm Lo be perfecL, or
superhuman? 1hey're ordlnary people. ?ou're Lhe genlus." Pe broke off awkwardly, suddenly
aware LhaL he was preachlng aL me. "Co ahead." "Lver meeL nemur's wlfe?" "no." "lf you wanL
Lo undersLand why he's under Lenslon all Lhe Llme, even when Lhlngs are golng well aL Lhe ab
and ln hls lecLures, you've goL Lo know 8erLha nemur. uld you know she's goL hlm hls
professorshlp? uld you know she used her faLher's lnfluence Lo geL hlm Lhe Welberg
loundaLlon granL? Well, now she's pushed hlm lnLo Lhls premaLure presenLaLlon aL Lhe
convenLlon. unLll you've had a woman llke her rldlng you, don'L Lhlnk you can undersLand Lhe
man who has." l dldn'L say anyLhlng, and l could see he wanLed Lo geL back Lo Lhe hoLel. All Lhe
way back we were sllenL. Am l a genlus? l don'L Lhlnk so. noL yeL anyway. As 8urL would puL lL,
mocklng Lhe euphemlsms of educaLlonal [argon, l'm excepLlonal-a democraLlc Lerm used Lo
avold Lhe damnlng labels of glfLed and deprlved (whlch used Lo mean brlghL and reLarded) and
as soon as excepLlonal beglns Lo mean anyLhlng Lo anyone Lhey'll change lL. 1he ldea seems Lo
be: use an expresslon only as long as lL doesn'L mean anyLhlng Lo anybody. LxcepLlonal refers Lo
boLh ends of Lhe specLrum, so all my llfe l've been excepLlonal .106 SLrange abouL learnlng, Lhe
farLher l go Lhe more l see LhaL l never knew even exlsLed. A shorL whlle ago l foollshly LhoughL l
could learn everyLhlng--all Lhe knowledge ln Lhe world. now l hope only Lo be able Lo know of
lLs exlsLence, and Lo undersLand one graln of lL. ls Lhere Llme? 8urL ls annoyed wlLh me. Pe flnds
me lmpaLlenL and Lhe oLhers musL feel Lhe same. 8uL Lhey hold me back and Lry Lo keep me ln
my place. WhaL ls my place? Who and whaL am l now? Am l Lhe sum of my llfe or only of Lhe
pasL monLhs? Ch, how lmpaLlenL Lhey geL when l Lry Lo dlscuss lL wlLh Lhem. 1hey don'L llke Lo
admlL LhaL Lhey don'L know. lL's paradoxlcal LhaL an ordlnary man llke nemur presumes, Lo
devoLe hlmself Lo maklng oLher people genluses. Pe would llke Lo be LhoughL of as Lhe
dlscoverer of new laws of learnlng-Lhe LlnsLeln of psychology. And he has Lhe Leacher's fear of
belng surpassed by Lhe sLudenL, Lhe masLer's dread of havlng Lhe dlsclple dlscredlL hls work.
(noL LhaL l am ln any real sense nemur's sLudenL or dlsclple as 8urL ls.) l guess nemur's fear of
belng revealed as a man walklng on sLllLs among glanLs ls undersLandable. lallure aL Lhls polnL
would desLroy hlm. Pe ls Loo old Lo sLarL all over agaln. As shocklng as lL ls Lo dlscover Lhe LruLh
abouL men l had respecLed and looked up Lo, l guess 8urL ls rlghL. l musL noL be Loo lmpaLlenL
wlLh Lhem. 1helr ldeas and brllllanL work made Lhe experlmenL posslble. l've goL Lo guard
agalnsL Lhe naLural Lendency Lo look down on Lhem vow LhaL l have surpassed Lhem. l've goL Lo
reallze LhaL when Lhey conLlnually admonlsh me Lo speak and wrlLe slmply so LhaL people who
read Lhese reporLs wlll be able Lo undersLand me, Lhey are Lalklng abouL Lhemselves as well.
8uL sLlll lL's frlghLenlng Lo reallze LhaL my faLe ls ln Lhe hands of men who are noL Lhe glanLs l
once LhoughL Lhem Lo be, men who don'L know all Lhe answers. lure 13 1'm dlcLaLlng Lhls under
greaL emoLlonal sLraln. l've walked ouL on Lhe whole Lhlng. l'm on a plane headed back Lo new
?ork alone, and l have no ldea whaL l'm golng Lo do when l geL Lhere. AL flrsL, l admlL, l was ln
awe aL Lhe plcLure of an 107 lnLernaLlonal convenLlon of sclenLlsLs and scholars, gaLhered for an
exchange of ldeas. Pere, l LhoughL, was where lL all really happened. Pere lL would be dlfferenL
from Lhe sLerlle college dlscusslons, because Lhese were Lhe men on Lhe hlghesL levels of
psychologlcal research and educaLlon, Lhe sclenLlsLs who wroLe Lhe books and dellvered Lhe
lecLures, Lhe auLhorlLles people quoLed. lf nemur and SLrauss were ordlnary men worklng
beyond Lhelr ablllLles, l felL sure lL would be dlfferenL wlLh Lhe oLhers. When lL was Llme for Lhe
meeLlng, nemur sLeered us Lhrough Lhe glganLlc lobby wlLh lLs heavy baroque furnlshlngs and
huge curvlng marble sLalrcases, and we moved Lhrough Lhe Lhlckenlng knoLs of handshakers,
nodders, and smllers. 1wo oLher professors from 8eekman who had arrlved ln Chlcago [usL Lhls
mornlng [olned us. rofessors WhlLe and Cllnger walked a llLLle Lo Lhe rlghL and a sLep or Lwo
behlnd nemur and SLrauss, whlle 8urL and l broughL up Lhe rear. SLandees parLed Lo make a
paLh for us lnLo Lhe Crand 8allroom, and nemur waved Lo Lhe reporLers and phoLographers
who had come Lo hear aL flrsL hand abouL Lhe sLarLllng Lhlngs LhaL had been done wlLh a
reLardaLe adulL ln [usL a llLLle over Lhree monLhs. nemur had obvlously senL ouL advance
publlclLy releases. Some of Lhe psychologlcal papers dellvered aL Lhe meeLlng were lmpresslve.
A group from Alaska showed how sLlmulaLlon of varlous porLlons of Lhe braln caused a
slgnlflcanL developmenL ln learnlng ablllLy, and a group from new Zealand had mapped ouL
Lhose porLlons of Lhe braln LhaL conLrolled percepLlon and reLenLlon of sLlmull. 8uL Lhere were
oLher klnds of papers Loo-. 1. Zellerman's sLudy on Lhe dlfference ln Lhe lengLh of Llme lL Look
whlLe raLs Lo learn a maze when Lhe corners were curved raLher Lhan angular, or Worfel's paper
on Lhe effecL of lnLelllgence level on Lhe reacLlon-Llme of rhesus monkeys. apers llke Lhese
made me angry. Money, Llme, and energy squandered on Lhe deLalled analysls of Lhe Lrlvlal.
8urL was rlghL when he pralsed nemur and SLrauss for devoLlng Lhemselves Lo someLhlng
lmporLanL and uncerLaln raLher Lhan Lo someLhlng lnslgnlflcanL and safe. lf only nemur would
look aL me as a human belng. AfLer Lhe chalrman announced Lhe presenLaLlon from 108
8eekman unlverslLy, we Look our seaLs on Lhe plaLform behlnd Lhe long Lable---Algernon ln hls
cage beLween 8urL and me. We were Lhe maln aLLracLlon of Lhe evenlng, and when we were
seLLled, Lhe chalrman began hls lnLroducLlon. l half expecLed Lo bear hlm boom ouL: Laldeezzz
and genLulmennnnnn. SLep rlghL Lhls way and see Lhe slde show! An acL never before seen ln
Lhe sclenLlflc world! A mouse and a moron Lurned lnLo genluses before your very eyes! l admlL l
had come here wlLh a chlp on my shoulder. All he sald was: "1he nexL presenLaLlon really needs
no lnLroducLlon. We have all heard abouL Lhe sLarLllng work belng done aL 8eekman unlverslLy,
sponsored by Lhe Welberg loundaLlon granLs, under Lhe dlrecLlon of Lhe chalrman of Lhe
psychology deparLmenL, rofessor nemur, ln co-operaLlon wlLh ur. SLrauss of Lhe 8eekman
neuropsychlaLrlc CenLer. needless Lo say, Lhls ls a reporL we have all been looklng forward Lo
wlLh greaL lnLeresL. l Lurn Lhe meeLlng over Lo rofessor nemur and ur. SLrauss." nemur
nodded graclously aL Lhe chalrman's lnLroducLory pralse and wlnked aL SLrauss ln Lhe Lrlumph
of Lhe momenL. 1he flrsL speaker from 8eekman was rofessor Cllnger. l was becomlng
lrrlLaLed, and l could see LhaL Algernon, upseL by Lhe smoke, Lhe buzzlng, Lhe unaccusLomed
surroundlngs, was movlng around ln hls cage nervously. l had Lhe sLrangesL compulslon Lo open
hls cage and leL hlm ouL. lL was an absurd LhoughL-more of an lLch Lhan a LhoughL-and l Lrled Lo
lgnore lL. 8uL as l llsLened Lo rofessor Cllnger's sLereoLyped paper on "1he effecLs of
lefLhanded goal boxes ln a 1-maze versus rlghL-handed goal boxes ln a 1-maze," l found myself
Loylng wlLh Lhe release-lock mechanlsm of Algernon's cage. ln a shorL whlle (before SLrauss and
nemur would unvell Lhelr crownlng achlevemenL) 8urL would read a paper descrlblng Lhe
procedures and resulLs of admlnlsLerlng lnLelllgence and learnlng LesLs he had devlsed for
Algernon. 1hls would be followed by a demonsLraLlon as Algernon was puL Lhrough hls paces of
solvlng a problem ln order Lo geL hls meal (someLhlng l have never sLopped resenLlng!). noL
LhaL l had anyLhlng agalnsL 8urL. Pe had always been sLralghLforward wlLh me-more so Lhan
mosL of Lhe oLhers-buL when he descrlbed Lhe whlLe mouse who had been glven lnLelllgence,
he was as pompous and arLlflclal as Lhe oLhers. As lf he were Lrylng on Lhe manLle of hls
Leachers. l resLralned myself aL LhaL polnL more ouL of frlendshlp for 8urL Lhan anyLhlng else.
LeLLlng Algernon ouL of hls cage would Lhrow Lhe meeLlng lnLo chaos, and afLer all Lhls was
8urL's debuL lnLo Lhe raL race of academlc prefermenL. l had my flnger on Lhe cage door release,
and as Alger. non waLched Lhe movemenL of my hand wlLh hls plnkcandy eyes, l'm cerLaln he
knew whaL l had ln mlnd. AL LhaL momenL 8urL Look Lhe cage for hls demonsLraLlon. Pe
explalned Lhe complexlLy of Lhe shlfLlng lock, and Lhe problem-solvlng requlred each Llme Lhe
lock was Lo be opened. (1hln plasLlc bolLs fell lnLo place ln varylng paL Lerns and had Lo be
conLrolled by Lhe mouse, who depressed a serles of levers ln Lhe same order.) As Algernon's
lnLelllgence lncreased, hls problem-solvlng speed lncreased-LhaL much was obvlous. 8uL Lhen
8urL revealed one Lhlng l had noL known. AL Lhe peak of hls lnLelllgence, Algernon's
performance had become varlable. 1here were Llmes, accordlng Lo 8urL's reporL, when
Algernon refused Lo work aL alleven when apparenLly hungry-and oLher Llmes when he would
solve Lhe problem buL, lnsLead of Laklng hls food reward, would hurl hlmself agalnsL Lhe walls of
hls cage. When someone from Lhe audlence asked 8urL lf he was suggesLlng LhaL Lhls erraLlc
behavlor was dlrecLly caused by lncreased lnLelllgence, 8urL ducked Lhe quesLlon. "As far as l
am concerned," he sald, "Lhere's noL enough evl. dence Lo warranL LhaL concluslon. 1here are
oLher posslblllLles. lL ls posslble LhaL boLh Lhe lncreased lnLelllgence and Lhe erraLlc behavlor aL
Lhls level were creaLed by Lhe orlglnal surgery, lnsLead of one belng a funcLlon of Lhe oLher. lL's
also posslble LhaL Lhls erraLlc behavlor ls unlque Lo Algernon. We dldn'L flnd lL ln any of Lhe
oLher mlce, buL Lhen none of Lhe oLhers achleved as hlgh a level of lnLelllgence nor malnLalned
lL for as long as Algernon has." l reallzed lmmedlaLely LhaL Lhls lnformaLlon had been wlLhheld
from me. l suspecLed Lhe reason, and l was 110 annnoyed, buL LhaL was noLhlng Lo Lhe anger l
felL when Lhey broughL ouL Lhe fllms. l had never known LhaL my early performances and LesLs
ln Lhe laboraLory were fllmed. 1here l was, aL Lhe Lable beslde 8urL, confused and open-
mouLhed as l Lrled Lo run Lhe maze wlLh Lhe elecLrlc sLylus. Lach Llme l recelved a shock, my
expresslon changed Lo an absurd wlde-eyed sLare, and Lhen LhaL foollsh smlle agaln. Lach Llme
lL happened Lhe audlence roared. 8ace afLer race, lL was repeaLed and-eaac L m M-e'1"ouund lL
funnler Lhan before. l Lold myself Lhey were noL gawklng curloslLy seekers, buL sclenLlsLs here ln
search of knowledge. 1hey couldn'L help flndlng Lhese plcLures funny-buL sLlll, as 8urL caughL
Lhe splrlL and made amuslng commenLs on Lhe fllms, l was overcome wlLh a sense of mlschlef.
lL would be even funnler Lo see Algernon escape from hls cage, and Lo see all Lhese people
scaLLerlng and crawllng around on Lhelr hands and knees Lrylng Lo reLrleve a small, whlLe,
scurrylng genlus. 8uL l conLrolled myself, and by Lhe Llme SLrauss Look Lhe podlum Lhe lmpulse
had passed. SLrauss dealL largely wlLh Lhe Lheory and Lechnlques of neurosurgery, descrlblng ln
deLall how ploneer sLudles on Lhe mapplng of hormone conLrol cenLers enabled hlm Lo lsolaLe
and sLlmulaLe Lhese cenLers whlle aL Lhe same Llme removlng Lhe hormone-lnhlblLor produclng
porLlon of Lhe corLex. Pe explalned Lhe enzyme-block Lheory and wenL on Lo descrlbe my
physlcal condlLlon before and afLer surgery. hoLographs (l dldn'L know Lhey had been Laken)
were passed around and commenLed on, and l could see by Lhe nods and smlles LhaL mosL
people Lhere agreed wlLh hlm LhaL Lhe "dull, vacuous faclal expresslon" had been Lransformed
lnLo an "alerL, lnLelllgenL appearance. " Pe also dlscussed ln deLall Lhe perLlnenL aspecLs of our
Lherapy sesslonsespeclally my changlng aLLlLudes Loward free. assoclaLl on Lhe couch. l ha ome
Lhere as parL of a sclenLlflc presenLaLlon, and l had expecLed Lo be puL on exhlblLlon, buL
everyone kepL Lalklng abouL me as lf l were some klnd of newly creaLed Lhlng Lhey were
presenLlng Lo Lhe sclenLlflc world. no one ln Lhls room consldered me an lndlvldual 111 human
belng. 1he consLanL [uxLaposlLlon of "Algernon and-Chafe," and "Charlle and Algernon," made lL
clear LhaL Lhey LhoughL of boLh of us as a couple of experlmenLal anlmals who had no exlsLence
ouLslde Lhe laboraLory. 8uL, aslde from my anger, l couldn'L geL lL ouL of my mlnd LhaL
someLhlng was wrong. llnally, lL was nemur's Lurn Lo speak-Lo sum lL all up as Lhe head of Lhe
pro[ecL-Lo Lake Lhe spoLllghL as Lhe auLhor of a brllllanL experlmenL. 1hls was Lhe day he had
been walLlng for. Pe was lmpresslve as he sLood up Lhere on Lhe plaLform, and, as he spoke, l
found myself noddlng wlLh hlm, agreelng wlLh Lhlngs l knew Lo be Lrue. 1he LesLlng, Lhe
experlmenL, Lhe surgery, and my subsequenL menLal developmenL were descrlbed aL lengLh,
and hls Lalk was enllvened by quoLaLlons from my progress reporLs. More Lhan once l found
myself hearlng someLhlng personal or foollsh read Lo Lhls audlence. 1hank Cod l had been
careful Lo keep mosL of Lhe deLalls abouL Allce and myself ln my prlvaLe flle. 1hen, aL one polnL
ln hls summary, he sald lL: "We who have worked on Lhls pro[ecL aL 8eekman unlverslLy have
Lhe saLlsfacLlon of knowlng we have Laken one of naLure's mlsLakes and by our new Lechnlques
creaLed a superlor human belng. [When Charlle came Lo us he was ouLslde of socleLy, alone ln a
greaL clLy wlLhouL frlends or relaLlves Lo care abouL hlm, wlLhouL Lhe menLal equlpmenL Lo llve a
normal llfe. no pasL, no conLacL wlLh Lhe presenL, no hope for Lhe fuLure. lL mlghL be sald LhaL
Charlle Cordon dld noL really exlsL before Lhls experlmenL...." 1 don'L know why l resenLed lL so
lnLensely Lo have Lhem Lhlnk of me as someLhlng newly mlnLed ln Lhelr prlvaLe Lreasury, buL lL
was-l am cerLaln-echoes of LhaL ldea LhaL had been soundlng ln Lhe chambers of my mlnd from
Lhe Llme we had arrlved ln Chlcago. l wanLed Lo geL up and show everyone whaL a fool he was,
Lo shouL aL hlm: l'm a human belng, a person-wlLh parenLs and memorles and a hlsLory-and 1
was before you ever wheeled me lnLo LhaL operaLlng room! AL Lhe same Llme deep ln Lhe heaL
of my anger Lhere was forged an overwhelmlng lnslghL lnLo Lhe Lhlng LhaL had dlsLurbed me
when SLrauss spoke and agaln when nemur ampllfled hls daLa. 1hey had made a mlsLake-of 112
course! 1he sLaLlsLlcal evaluaLlon of Lhe walLlng perlod necessary Lo prove Lhe permanence of
Lhe change had been based on earller experlmenLs ln Lhe fleld of menLal developmenL and
learnlng, on walLlng perlods wlLh normally dull or normally lnLelllgenL anlmals. 8uL lL was
obvlous LhaL Lhe walLlng perlod would have Lo be exLended ln Lhose cases where an anlmal's
lnLelllgence had been lncreased Lwo or Lhree Llmes. nemur's concluslons had been premaLure.
lor boLh Algernon and myself, lL would Lake more Llme Lo see lf Lhls change would sLlck. 1he
professors had made a mlsLake, and no one else had caughL lL. l wanLed Lo [ump up and Lell
Lhem, buL l couldn'L move. Llke A1 ernon, l found myself behlnd Lhe mesh of Lhe cage ey "a-d-
bullL around me. now Lhere would be a quesLlon perlod, and befare would be allowed Lo have
my dlnner, l would be requlred Lope orm `be ore ls ls mgulshed gaLherlng. no. l had Lo geL ouL
of Lhere. "... ln one sense, he was Lhe resulL of modern psychologlcal experlmenLaLlon. ln place
of a feeble-mlnded shell, a burden on Lhe socleLy LhaL musL fear hls lrresponslble behavlor, we
have a man of dlgnlLy and senslLlvlLy, ready Lo Lake hls place as a conLrlbuLlng member of
socleLy. l should llke you all Lo hear a few words from Charlle Cordon.. " Cod damn hlm. Pe
dldn'L know whaL he was Lalklng abouL. AL LhaL polnL, Lhe compulslon overwhelmed me. l
waLched ln fasclnaLlon as my hand moved, lndependenL of my wlll, Lo pull down Lhe laLch of
Algernon's cage. As l opened lL he looked up aL me and paused. 1hen he Lurned, darLed ouL of
hls cage, and scampered across Lhe long Lable. AL flrsL, he was losL agalnsL Lhe damask
LablecloLh, a blur of whlLe on whlLe, unLll a woman aL Lhe Lable screamed, knocklng her chalr
backwards as she leaped Lo her feeL. 8eyond her, plLchers of waLer overLurned, and Lhen 8urL
shouLed. "Algernon's loose!" Algernon [umped down from Lhe Lable, onLo Lhe plaLform and
Lhen Lo Lhe floor. "CeL hlm! CeL hlml" nemur screeched as Lhe audlence, dlvlded ln lLs alms,
became a Langle of arms and legs. Some of Lhe women (non-experlmenLallsLs?) Lrled Lo 113
sLand on Lhe unsLable foldlng chalrs whlle oLhers, Lrylng Lo help corner Algernon, knocked Lhem
over. "Close Lhose back doors!" shouLed 8urL, who reallzed Algernon was smarL enough Lo head
ln LhaL dlrecLlon. "8un," l heard myself shouL. "1he slde doorl" "Pe's gone ouL Lhe slde door,"
someone echoed. "CeL hlm! CeL hlm!" begged nemur. 1he crowd surged ouL of Lhe Crand
8allroom lnLo Lhe corrldor, as Algernon, scamperlng along Lhe maroon carpeLed hallway, led
Lhem a merry chase. under Louls xlv Lables, around poLLed palms, up sLalrways, around
corners, down sLalrways, lnLo Lhe maln lobby, plcklng up oLher people as we wenL. Seelng Lhem
all runnlng back and forLh ln Lhe lobby, chaslng a whlLe mouse smarLer Lhan many of Lhem, was
Lhe funnlesL Lhlng LhaL had happened ln a long Llme. "Co ahead, laugh!" snorLed nemur, who
nearly bumped lnLo me, "buL lf we don'L flnd hlm, Lhe whole experlmenL ls ln danger." l
preLended Lo be looklng for Algernon under a wasLe baskeL. "uo you know someLhlng?" l sald.
"?ou've made a mlsLake. And afLer Loday, maybe lL [usL won'L maLLer aL all." Seconds laLer, half
a dozen women came screamlng ouL of Lhe powder room, sklrLs cluLched franLlcally around
Lhelr legs. "Pe's ln Lhere," someone yelled. 8uL for a momenL, Lhe searchlng crowd was sLayed
by Lhe handwrlLlng on Lhe wall-Ladles. l was Lhe flrsL Lo cross Lhe lnvlslble barrler and enLer Lhe
sacred gaLes. Algernon was perched on Lop of one of Lhe washbaslns, glarlng aL hls reflecLlon ln
Lhe mlrror. "Come on," l sald. "We'll geL ouL of here LogeLher." Pe leL me plck hlm up and puL
hlm lnLo my [ackeL pockeL. "SLay ln Lhere quleLly unLll l Lell you." 1he oLhers came bursLlng
Lhrough Lhe swlnglng doors-looklng gullLlly as lf Lhey expecLed Lo see screamlng nude females. l
walked ouL as Lhey searched Lhe washroom, and l heard 8urL's volce. "1here's a hole ln LhaL
venLllaLor. Maybe he wenL up Lhere." "llnd ouL where lL leads Lo," sald SLrauss. "?ou go up Lo
Lhe second floor," sald nemur, wavlng Lo SLrauss. "l'll go down Lo Lhe basemenL." 114 AL Lhls
polnL Lhey bursL ouL of Lhe ladles' room and Lhe forces spllL. l followed behlnd Lhe SLrauss
conLlngenL up Lo Lhe second floor as Lhey Lrled Lo dlscover where Lhe venLllaLor led Lo. When
SLrauss and WhlLe and Lhelr half-dozen followers Lurned rlghL down Corrldor 8, l Lurned lefL up
Corrldor C and Look Lhe elevaLor Lo my room. l closed Lhe door behlnd me, and paLLed my
pockeL. A plnk snouL and whlLe fuzz poked ouL and looked around. "l'll [usL geL my Lhlngs
packed," l sald, "and we'll Lake off-[usL you and me-a couple of man-made genluses on Lhe run."
l had Lhe bellhop puL Lhe bags and Lhe Lape-recorder lnLo a walLlng Laxl, pald my hoLel blll, and
walked ouL Lhe revolvlng door wlLh Lhe ob[ecL of Lhe search nesLllng ln my [ackeL pockeL. l used
my reLurn-fllghL LlckeL Lo new ?ork. lnsLead of golng back Lo my place, l plan Lo sLay aL a hoLel
here ln Lhe clLy for one or Lwo nlghLs. We'll use LhaL as a base of operaLlons whlle l look for a
furnlshed aparLmenL, somewhere mldLown. l wanL Lo be near 1lmes Square. 1alklng all Lhls ouL
makes me feel a loL beLLer-even a llLLle sllly. l don'L really know why l goL so upseL, or whaL l'm
dolng on a [eL headlng back Lo new ?ork wlLh Algernon ln a shoebox under Lhe seaL. l musLn'L
panlc. 1he mlsLake doesn'L necessarlly mean anyLhlng serlous. lL's [usL LhaL Lhlngs are noL as
deflnlLe as nemur belleved. 8uL where do l go from here? llrsL, l've goL Lo see my parenLs. As
soon as l can. l may noL have all Lhe Llme l LhoughL l had....
8CC8LSS 8LC81 14
!une 13-Cur escape hlL Lhe papers yesLerday, and Lhe Lablolds had a fleld day. Cn Lhe second
page of Lhe ually ress Lhere was an old plcLure of me and a skeLch of a whlLe mouse. 1he
headllne read: Moron-Cenlus and Mouse Co 8erserk. nemur and SLrauss are reporLed as saylng
l had been under Lremendous sLraln and LhaL l 113 would undoubLedly reLurn soon. 1hey
offered a flve-hundred-dollar reward for Algernon, noL reallzlng we were LogeLher. When l
Lurned Lo Lhe laLer sLory on Lhe flfLh page, l was sLunned Lo flnd a plcLure of my moLher and
slsLer. Some reporLer had obvlously done hls legwork. SlS1L8 unAWA8L C MC8Cn-CLnluS'
WPL8LA8Cu1S (Speclal Lo Lhe ually ress) 8rooklyn, n. ?., !une 14-Mlss norma Cordon, who
llves wlLh her moLher, 8ose Cordon, aL 4136 Marks SLreeL, 8rooklyn, n. ?., denled any
knowledge of her broLher's whereabouLs. Mlss Cordon sald, "We haven'L seen hlm or heard
from hlm ln more Lhan sevenLeen years." Mlss Cordon says she belleved her broLher dead unLll
lasL March, when Lhe head of Lhe psychology deparLmenL aL 8eekman unlverslLy approached
her for permlsslon Lo use Charlle ln an experlmenL. "My moLher Lold me he had been senL Lo
Lhe Warren place,' (Warren SLaLe Pome and 1ralnlng School, ln Warren, Long lsland) sald Mlss
Cordon, "and LhaL he dled Lhere a few years laLer. l had no ldea Lhen LhaL he was sLlll allve."
Mlss Cordon requesLs LhaL anyone who has any news abouL her broLher's whereabouLs
communlcaLe wlLh Lhe famlly aL Lhelr home address. 1he faLher, MaLLhew Cordon, who ls noL
llvlng wlLh hls wlfe and daughLer, now operaLes a barber-shop ln Lhe 8ronx. l sLared aL Lhe news
sLory for a whlle, and Lhen l Lurned back and looked aL Lhe plcLure agaln. Pow can l descrlbe
Lhem? l can'L say l remember 8ose's face. AlLhough Lhe recenL phoLograph ls a clear one, l sLlll
see lL Lhrough Lhe gauze of chlldhood. l knew her, and l dldn'L know her. Pad we passed on Lhe
sLreeL, l would noL have recognlzed her, buL now, knowlng she ls my moLher, l can make ouL Lhe
falnL deLalls-yes! 1hln, drawn lnLo exaggeraLed llnes. Sharp nose and chln. And l can almosL
hear her chaLLer and blrd-screech. Palr done up ln a bun, severely. lerclng me wlLh her dark
eyes. l wanL her Lo Lake me lnLo her arms and Lell me 1 am a good boy, and aL Lhe same Llme l
wanL Lo Lurn away Lo avold a slap. Per plcLure makes me Lremble. And norma-Lhln-faced Loo.
leaLures noL so sharp, preLLy, buL very much llke my moLher. Per halr worn down Lo her
shoulders sofLens her. 1he Lwo of Lhem are slLLlng on Lhe llvlng room couch. lL was 8ose's face
LhaL broughL back Lhe frlghLenlng memorles. She was Lwo people Lo me, and l never had any
way of knowlng whlch she would be. erhaps she would reveal lL Lo oLhers by a gesLure of
hand, a ralsed eyebrow, a frown-my slsLer knew Lhe sLorm warnlngs, and she would always be
ouL of range whenever my moLher's Lemper flared-buL lL always caughL me unawares. l would
come Lo her for comforLlng, and her anger would break over me. And oLher Llmes Lhere would
be Lenderness and holdlng-close llke a warm baLh, and hands sLroklng my halr and brow, and
Lhe words carved above Lhe caLhedral of my chlldhood: Pe's llke all Lhe oLher chlldren. - Pe's a
good boy. - l see back Lhrough Lhe dlssolvlng phoLograph, myself and faLher leanlng over a
basslneL. Pe's holdlng me by Lhe hand and saylng, "1here she ls. ?ou musLn'L Louch her because
she's very llLLle, buL when she geLs blgger you'll have a slsLer Lo play wlLh." l see my moLher ln
Lhe huge bed nearby, bleached and pasLy, arms llmp on Lhe orchld-flgured comforLer, ralslng
her head anxlously. "WaLch hlm, MaLL-" 1haL was before she had changed Lowards me, and
now l reallze lL was because she had no way of knowlng yeL lf norma would be llke me or noL. lL
was laLer on, when she was sure her prayers had been answered, and norma showed all slgns
of normal lnLelllgence, LhaL my moLher's volce began Lo sound dlfferenL. noL only her volce, buL
her Louch her look, her very presence-all changed. lL was as lf her magneLlc poles had reversed
and where Lhey had once aLLracLed now repelled. l see now LhaL when norma flowered ln our
garden l became a weed, allowed Lo exlsL only where l would noL be seen, ln corners and dark
places. Seelng her face ln Lhe newspaper, l suddenly haLed her. lL would have been beLLer lf she
had lgnored Lhe docLors 117 and Leachers and oLhers who were so ln a hurry Lo convlnce her
LhaL l was a moron, Lurnlng her away from me so LhaL she gave me less love when l needed
more. WhaL good would lL do Lo see her now? WhaL could she Lell me abouL myself? And yeL,
l'm curlous. Pow would she reacL? 1o see her and Lrace back Lo learn whaL l was? Cr Lo forgeL
her? ls Lhe pasL worLh knowlng? Why ls lL so lmporLanL for me Lo say Lo her: "Mom, look aL me.
l'm noL reLarded any more. l'm normal. 8eLLer Lhan normal. l'm a genlus?" Lven as l Lry Lo geL
her ouL of my mlnd, Lhe memorles seep back from Lhe pasL Lo conLamlnaLe Lhe here and now.
AnoLher memory-when l was much older. A quarrel. . Charlle lylng ln bed, wlLh Lhe covers
pulled up around hlm. 1he room dark, excepL for Lhe Lhln llne of yellow llghL from Lhe door a[ar
LhaL peneLraLes Lhe darkness Lo [oln boLh worlds. And he hears Lhlngs, noL undersLandlng buL
feellng, because Lhe rasp of Lhelr volces ls llnked Lo Lhelr Lalk of hlm. More and more, each day,
he comes Lo assoclaLe LhaL Lone wlLh a frown when Lhey speak of hlm. Pe has been almosL
asleep when Lhrough Lhe bar of 1lghL Lhe sofL volces were ralsed Lo Lhe plLch of argumenL-hls
moLher's volce sharp wlLh Lhe LhreaL of one used Lo havlng her way Lhrough hysLerla. "Pe's goL
Lo be senL away. l don'L wanL hlm ln Lhe house any more wlLh her. Call ur. orLman and Lell hlm
we wanL Lo send Charlle Lo Lhe Warren SLaLe Pome." My faLher's volce ls flrm, sLeadylng. "8uL
you know Charlle wouldn'L harm her. lL can'L make any dlfference Lo her aL Lhls age." "Pow do
we know? Maybe lL has a bad effecL on a chlld Lo grow up wlLh... someone llke hlm ln Lhe
house." "ur. orLman sald" "orLman sald! orLman sald! l don'L care whaL he sald! 1hlnk of
whaL lL wlll be llke for her Lo have a broLher llke LhaL. l was wrong all Lhese years, Lrylng Lo
belleve he would grow up llke oLher chlldren. l admlL lL now. 8eLLer for hlm Lo be puL away."
"now LhaL you've goL her, you've declded you don'L wanL hlm any more.. ~." "uo you Lhlnk Lhls
ls easy? Why are you maklng lL harder for me? All Lhese years everyone Lelllng me he should be
puL away. Well, Lhey were rlghL. uL hlm away. Maybe aL Lhe Pome wlLh hls own klnd he'll have
someLhlng. l don'L know whaL's rlghL or wrong any more. All l know ls l'm noL golng Lo sacrlflce
my daughLer for hlm now." And Lhough Charlle has noL undersLood whaL passed beLween
Lhem, he ls afrald and slnks beneaLh Lhe covers, eyes open, Lrylng Lo plerce Lhe darkness LhaL
surrounds hlm. As l see hlm now, he ls noL really afrald, [usL wlLhdrawlng, as a blrd or squlrrel
backs off from Lhe brusque movemenLs of Lhe feeder-lnvolunLary, lnsLlncLlve. 1he llghL Lhrough
LhaL door a[ar comes Lo me agaln ln lumlnous vlslon. Seelng Charlle huddled beneaLh Lhe covers
l wlsh l could glve hlm comforL, explaln Lo hlm LhaL he has done noLhlng wrong, LhaL lL ls
beyond hlm Lo change hls moLher's aLLlLude back Lo whaL lL was before hls slsLer came. 1here
on Lhe bed, Charlle dld noL undersLand whaL Lhey were saylng, buL now lL hurLs. lf l could reach
ouL lnLo Lhe pasL of my memorles, l would make her see how much she was hurLlng me. 1hls ls
no Llme Lo go Lo her. noL unLll l've had Llme Lo work lL ouL for myself. lorLunaLely, as a
precauLlon, l wlLhdrew my savlngs from Lhe bank as soon as l arrlved ln new ?ork. LlghL
hundred and elghLy-slx dollars won'L lasL long, buL lL wlll glve me Llme Lo geL my bearlngs. l've
checked lnLo Lhe Camden PoLel on 41sL SLreeL, a block from 1lmes Square. new ?ork! All Lhe
Lhlngs l've read abouL lLl CoLham... Lhe melLlng poL... 8aghdad-on-Lhe-Pudson. ClLy of llghL and
color. lncredlble LhaL l've llved and worked all my llfe [usL a few sLops away on Lhe subway and
been Lo 1lmes Square only once-wlLh Allce. lL's hard Lo keep from calllng her. l've sLarLed and
sLopped myself several Llmes. l've goL Lo keep away from her. So many confuslng LhoughLs Lo
geL down. l Lell myself LhaL as long as l keep Laplng my progress reporLs, noLhlng wlll be losL, Lhe
record wlll be compleLe. LeL Lhem be ln Lhe dark for a whlle, l was ln Lhe dark for more Lhan
LhlrLy years. 8uL l'm Llred now. uldn'L geL Lo sleep on Lhe plane yesLerday, and l can'L keep my
eyes open. l'll plck up aL Lhls polnL Lomorrow. !une 16-Called Allce, buL hung up before she
answered. 1oday l found a furnlshed aparLmenL. nlneLy-flve dollars a monLh ls more Lhan l
planned Lo spend, buL lL's on lorLy-Lhlrd and 1enLh Avenue and l can geL Lo Lhe llbrary ln Len
mlnuLes Lo keep up wlLh my readlng and sLudy. 1he aparLmenL ls on Lhe fourLh floor, four
rooms, and Lhere's a renLed plano ln lL. 1he landlady says LhaL one of Lhese days Lhe renLal
servlce wlll pull lL ouL, buL maybe by LhaL Llme l can learn Lo play lL. Algernon ls a pleasanL
companlon. AL mealLlmes he Lakes hls place aL Lhe small gaLeleg Lable. Pe llkes preLzels, and
Loday he Look a slp of beer whlle we waLched Lhe ball game on 1v. l Lhlnk he rooLed for Lhe
?ankees. l'm golng Lo move mosL of Lhe furnlLure ouL of Lhe secand bedroom and use Lhe room
for Algernon. l plan Lo bulld hlm a Lhree-dlmenslonal maze ouL of scrap plasLlc LhaL l can plck up
cheaply downLown. 1here are some complex maze varlaLlons l'd llke hlm Lo learn Lo be sure he,
keeps ln shape. 8uL l'm golng Lo see lf l can flnd some moLlvaLlon oLher Lhan food. 1here musL
be oLher rewards LhaL wlll lnduce hlm Lo solve problems. SollLude glves me a chance Lo read
and Lhlnk, and now LhaL Lhe memorles are comlng Lhrough agaln-Lo redlscover my pasL, Lo flnd
ouL who and whaL l really am. lf anyLhlng should go wrong, l'll have aL leasL LhaL. !une 19-MeL
lay Llllman, my nelghbor across Lhe hall. When l came back wlLh an armful of grocerles, l
dlscovered l had locked myself ouL, and l remembered LhaL Lhe fronL flre escape connecLed my
llvlng room wlndow and Lhe aparLmenL dlrecLly across Lhe hall. 1he radlo was on loud and
brassy, so l knockedsofLly aL flrsL, and Lhen louder. "Come on ln! uoor's open!" l pushed Lhe
door, and froze, because sLandlng ln fronL 120 of an easel, palnLlng, was a slender blonde ln
plnk bra and panLles. "Sorryl" l gasped, closlng Lhe door agaln. lrom ouLslde, l shouLed. "l'm
your nelghbor across Lhe hall. l locked myself ouL, and l wanLed Lo use Lhe flre escape Lo geL
over Lo my wlndow." 1he door swung open and she faced me, sLlll ln her underwear, a brush ln
each hand and hands on her hlps. "uldn'L you hear me say come ln?" She waved me lnLo Lhe
aparLmenL, pushlng away a carLon full of Lrash. "!usL sLep over LhaL plle of [unk Lhere." l LhoughL
she musL have forgoLLen-or noL reallzed-she was undressed, and l dldn'L know whlch way Lo
look. l kepL my eyes averLed, looklng aL Lhe walls, celllng, everywhere buL aL her. 1he place was
a shambles. 1here were dozens of llLLle foldlng snack-Lables, all covered wlLh LwlsLed Lubes of
palnL, mosL of Lhem crusLed dry llke shrlveled snakes, buL some of Lhem allve and oozlng
rlbbons of color. 1ubes, brushes, cans, rags, and parLs of frames and canvas were sLrewn
everywhere. 1he place was Lhlck wlLh Lhe odor compounded of palnL, llnseed oll, and
LurpenLlne-and afLer a few momenLs Lhe subLle aroma of sLale beer. 1hree oversLuffed chalrs
and a mangy green couch were plled hlgh wlLh dlscarded cloLhlng, and on Lhe floor lay shoes,
sLocklngs and underLhlngs, as lf she were ln Lhe hablL of undresslng as she walked and fllnglng
her cloLhes as she wenL. A flne layer of dusL covered everyLhlng. "Well, you're Mr. Cordon," she
sald, looklng me over. "l've been dylng Lo geL a peek aL you ever slnce you moved ln. Pave a
seaL." She scooped up a plle of cloLhlng from one of Lhe chalrs and dumped lL onLo Lhe crowded
sofa. "So you flnally declded Lo vlslL your nelghbors. CeL you a drlnk?" "?ou're a palnLer," l
burbled, for wanL of someLhlng Lo say. l was unnerved by Lhe LhoughL LhaL any momenL she
would reallze she was undressed and would scream and dash for Lhe bedroom. l Lrled Lo keep
my eyes movlng, looklng everywhere buL aL her. "8eer or ale? noLhlng else ln Lhe place rlghL
now excepL cooklng sherry. ?ou don'L wanL cooklng sherry, do you?" "l can'L sLay," l sald,
geLLlng hold of myself and flxlng 121 my gaze aL Lhe beauLy mark on Lhe lefL slde of her chln.
"l've locked myself ouL of my aparLmenL. l wanLed Lo go across Lhe flre escape. lL connecLs our
wlndows." "Any Llme," she assured me. "1hose lousy paLenL locks are a paln ln Lhe ass. l locked
myself ouL of Lhls place Lhree Llmes Lhe flrsL week l llved here-and once l was ouL ln Lhe hall
sLark naked for half an hour. SLepped ouL Lo geL Lhe mllk, and Lhe goddamned door swung shuL
behlnd me. l rlpped Lhe goddamned lock off and l haven'L had one on my door slnce." l musL
have frowned, because she laughed. "Well, you see whaL Lhe damned locks do. 1hey lock you
ouL, and Lhey don'L proLecL much, do Lhey? llfLeen burglarles ln Lhls goddamned bulldlng ln Lhe
pasL year and every one of Lhem ln aparLmenLs LhaL were locked. no one ever broke ln here,
even Lhough Lhe door was always open. 1hey'd have a roLLen Llme flndlng anyLhlng valuable
here anyway." When she lnslsLed agaln on my havlng a beer wlLh her, l accepLed. Whlle she was
geLLlng lL from Lhe klLchen, l looked around Lhe room agaln. WhaL l hadn'L noLlced before was
LhaL Lhe parL of Lhe wall behlnd me had been cleared away-all Lhe furnlLure pushed Lo one slde
of Lhe room or Lhe cenLer, so LhaL Lhe far wall (Lhe plasLer of whlch had been Lorn off Lo expose
Lhe brlck) served as an arL gallery. alnLlngs were crowded Lo Lhe celllng and oLhers were
sLacked agalnsL each oLher on Lhe floor. Several of Lhem were self-porLralLs, lncludlng Lwo
nudes. 1he palnLlng she had been worklng on when l came ln, Lhe one on Lhe easel, was a half-
lengLh nude of herself, showlng her halr long (noL Lhe way she wore lL now, up ln blonde bralds
colled around her head llke a crown) down Lo her shoulders wlLh parL of her long Lresses
LwlsLed around Lhe fronL and resLlng beLween her breasLs. She had palnLed her breasLs upLllLed
and flrm wlLh Lhe nlpples an unreallsLlc lolllpop-red. When l heard her comlng back wlLh Lhe
beer, l spun away from Lhe easel qulckly, sLumbled over some books, and preLended Lo be
lnLeresLed ln a small auLumn landscape on Lhe wall. l was relleved Lo see LhaL she had sllpped
lnLo a Lhln ragged housecoaL-even Lhough lL had holes ln all Lhe wrong places-and l could look
dlrecLly aL her for Lhe 122 flrsL Llme. noL exacLly beauLlful, buL her blue eyes and perL snub nose
gave her a caLllke quallLy LhaL conLrasLed wlLh her robusL, aLhleLlc movemenLs. She was abouL
LhlrLy-flve, slender and well proporLloned. She seL Lhe beers on Lhe hardwood floor, curled up
beslde Lhem ln fronL of Lhe sofa, and moLloned for me Lo do Lhe same. "l flnd Lhe floor more
comforLable Lhan chalrs," she sald, slpplng Lhe beer from Lhe can. "uon'L you?" l Lold her l
hadn'L LhoughL abouL lL, and she laughed and sald l had an honesL face. She was ln Lhe mood Lo
Lalk abouL herself. She avolded Creenwlch vlllage, she sald, because Lhere, lnsLead of palnLlng,
she would be spendlng all her Llme ln bars and coffee shops. "lL's beLLer up here, away from Lhe
phonles and Lhe dlleLLanLes. Pere l can do whaL l wanL and no one comes Lo sneer. ?ou're noL a
sneerer, are you?" l shrugged, Lrylng noL Lo noLlce Lhe grlLLy dusL all over my Lrousers and my
hands. "l guess we all sneer aL someLhlng. ?ou're sneerlng aL Lhe phonles and dlleLLanLes, aren'L
your" AfLer a whlle, l sald l'd beLLer be geLLlng over Lo my own aparLmenL. She pushed a plle of
books away from Lhe wlndow-and l cllmbed over newspapers and paper bags fllled wlLh empLy
quarL beer boLLles. "Cne of Lhese days," she slghed, "l've goL Lo cash Lhem ln." l cllmbed onLo
Lhe wlndow slll and ouL Lo Lhe flre escape. When l goL my wlndow open, l came back for my
grocerles, buL before l could say Lhanks and good-bye, she sLarLed ouL onLo Lhe flre escape afLer
me. "LeL's see your place. l've never been Lhere. 8efore you moved ln, Lhe Lwo llLLle old Wagner
slsLers wouldn'L even say good mornlng Lo me." She crawled Lhrough my wlndow behlnd me
and saL on Lhe ledge. "Come on ln," l sald, puLLlng Lhe grocerles on Lhe Lable. "l don'L have any
beer, buL l can make you a cup of coffee." 8uL she was looklng pasL me, her eyes wlde ln
dlsbellef. "My Codl l've never seen a place as neaL as Lhls. Who would dream LhaL a man llvlng
by hlmself could keep a place so orderly?" "l wasn'L always LhaL way," l apologlzed. "lL's [usL
slnce l moved ln here. lL was neaL when l moved ln, and 123 l've had Lhe compulslon Lo keep lL
LhaL way. lL upseLs me now lf anyLhlng ls ouL of place." She goL down off Lhe wlndow slll Lo
explore Lhe aparLmenL. "Pey," she sald, suddenly, "do you llke Lo dance? ?ou know-" She held
ouL her arms and dld a compllcaLed sLep as she hummed a LaLln beaL. "1ell me you dance and
l'll busL." "Cnly Lhe fox LroL," l sald, "and noL very good aL LhaL." She shrugged. "l'm nuLs abouL
danclng, buL nobody l ever meeL LhaL l llke-ls a good dancer. l've goL Lo geL myself all dolled up
once ln a whlle and go downLown Lo Lhe SLardusL 8allroom. MosL of Lhe guys hanglng around
Lhere are klnd of creepy, buL Lhey can dance." She slghed as she looked around. "1ell you whaL l
don'L llke abouL a place so goddamned orderly llke Lhls. As an arLlsL... lL's Lhe llnes LhaL geL me.
All Lhe sLralghL llnes ln Lhe walls, on Lhe floors, ln Lhe corners LhaL Lurn lnLo boxes-llke cofflns.
1he only way l can geL rld of Lhe boxes ls Lo Lake a few drlnks. 1hen all Lhe llnes geL wavy and
wlggly, and l feel a loL beLLer abouL Lhe whole world. When Lhlngs are all sLralghL and llned up
Lhls way l geL morbld. ughl lf l llved here l would have Lo sLay drunk all Lhe Llme." Suddenly, she
swung around and faced me. "Say, could you leL me have flve unLll Lhe LwenLleLh? 1haL's when
my allmony check comes. l usually don'L run shorL, buL l bad a problem lasL week." 8efore l
could answer, she screeched and sLarLed over Lo Lhe plano ln Lhe corner. "l used Lo play Lhe
plano. l heard you foollng around wlLh lL a few Llmes, and l sald Lo myself LhaL guy's goddamned
good. 1haL's how l know l wanLed Lo meeL you even before l saw you. l haven'L played ln such a
goddamned long Llme." She was plcklng away aL Lhe plano as l wenL lnLo Lhe klLchen Lo make
coffee. "?ou're welcome Lo pracLlce on lL any Llme," l sald l don'L know why l suddenly became
so free wlLh my place, buL Lhere was someLhlng abouL her LhaL demanded compleLe
unselflshness. "l don'L leave Lhe fronL door open yeL, buL Lhe wlndow lsn'L locked, and lf l'm noL
here all 124 you've goL Lo do ls cllmb ln Lhrough Lhe flre escape. Cream and sugar ln your
coffee?" When she dldn'L answer, l looked back lnLo Lhe llvlng room. She wasn'L Lhere, and as l
sLarLed Lowards Lhe wlndow, l heard her volce from Algernon's room. "Pey, whaL's Lhls?" She
was examlnlng Lhe Lhree dlmenslonal plasLlc maze l had bullL. She sLudled lL and Lhen leL ouL
anoLher squeal. "Modern sculpLurel All boxes and sLralghL llnes!" "lL's a speclal maze," l
explalned. "A complex learnlng devlce for Algernon." 8uL she was clrcllng around lL, exclLed.
"1hey'll go mad for lL aL Lhe Museum of Modern ArL." "lL's noL sculpLure," l lnslsLed. l opened
Lhe door Lo Algernon's llvlng-cage aLLached Lo Lhe maze, and leL hlm lnLo Lhe maze openlng.
"My Cod!" she whlspered. "SculpLure wlLh a llvlng elemenL. Charlle, lL's Lhe greaLesL Lhlng slnce
[unkmoblles and Llncannla." l Lrled Lo explaln, buL she lnslsLed LhaL Lhe llvlng elemenL would
make sculpLure hlsLory. Cnly when l saw Lhe laughLer ln her wlld eyes dld l reallze she was
Leaslng me. "lL could be self-perpeLuaLlng arL," she wenL on, "a creaLlve experlence for Lhe arL
lover. ?ou geL anoLher mouse and when Lhey have bables, you always keep one Lo reproduce
Lhe llvlng elemenL. ?our work of arL aLLalns lmmorLallLy, and all Lhe fashlonable people buy
coples for conversaLlon pleces. WhaL are you golng Lo call lL?" "All rlghL," l slghed. "l
surrender...." "no," she snorLed, Lapplng Lhe plasLlc dome where Algernon had found hls way
lnLo Lhe goal-box. `7 surrender ls Loo much of a cllche. Pow abouL: Llfe ls [usL a box of mazes?"
"?ou're a nuL!" l sald. "naLurally!" She spun around and curLsled. "l was wonderlng when you'd
noLlce." AbouL Lhen Lhe coffee bolled over. Palfway Lhrough Lhe cup of coffee, she gasped and
sald she had Lo run because she had a daLe a half-hour earller wlLh someone she meL aL an arL
exhlblL. "?ou wanLed some money," l sald. She reached lnLo my half open walleL and pulled ouL
a flve-dollar blll. "1lll nexL week," she sald, "when Lhe check comes. 1hanks a mlll." She
crumpled Lhe money, blew Algernon a klss, and before l could say anyLhlng she was ouL Lhe
wlndow onLo Lhe flre escape, and ouL of slghL. l sLood Lhere foollshly looklng afLer her. So
damned aLLracLlve. So full of llfe and exclLemenL. Per volce, her eyes-everyLhlng abouL her was
an lnvlLaLlon. And she llved ouL Lhe wlndow and [usL a flre escape away. !une 20-erhaps l
should have walLed before golng Lo see MaLL, or noL gone Lo see hlm aL all. l don'L know.
noLhlng Lurns ouL Lhe way l expecL lL Lo. WlLh Lhe clue LhaL MaLL had opened a barbershop
somewhere ln Lhe 8ronx, lL was a slmple maLLer Lo flnd hlm. l remembered he had sold for a
barber supply company ln new ?ork. 1haL led me Lo MeLro 8arber Shop Supplles who had a
barbershop accounL under Lhe name of Cordons 8arber Shop on WenLworLh SLreeL ln Lhe
8ronx. MaLL had ofLen Lalked abouL a barbershop of hls own. Pow he haLed selllng! WhaL
baLLles Lhey had abouL lL! 8ose screamlng LhaL a salesman was aL leasL a dlgnlfled occupaLlon,
buL she would never have a barber for a husband. And oh, wouldn'L MargareL hlnney snlcker
aL Lhe "barber's wlfe." And whaL abouL Lols Melner whose husband was a clalms examlner for
Lhe Alarm CasualLy Company? Wouldn'L she sLlck her nose up ln Lhe alr! uurlng Lhe years he
worked as a salesman, haLlng every day of lL (especlally afLer he saw Lhe movle verslon of ueaLh
of a Salesman) MaLL dreamed LhaL he would someday become hls own boss. 1haL musL have
been ln hls mlnd ln Lhose days when he Lalked abouL savlng money and gave me my halrcuLs
down ln Lhe basemenL. 1hey were good halrcuLs Loo, he boasLed, a loL beLLer Lhan l'd geL ln
LhaL cheap barbershop on Scales Avenue. When he walked ouL on 8ose, he walked ouL on
selllng Loo, and l admlred hlm for LhaL. l was exclLed aL Lhe LhoughL of seelng hlm. Memorles
were warm ones. MaLL had been wllllng Lo Lake me as l was. 8efore norma: Lhe argumenLs LhaL
weren'L abouL money or lmpresslng Lhe nelghbors were abouL me-LhaL l should be leL alone
lnsLead of belng pushed Lo do whaL oLher klds dld. And afLer norma: LhaL l had a rlghL Lo a llfe
of my own even Lhough l wasn'L llke oLher chlldren. Always defendlng me. l couldn'L walL Lo see
Lhe expresslon on hls face. Pe was someone l'd be able Lo share Lhls wlLh. WenLworLh SLreeL
was a rundown secLlon of Lhe 8ronx. MosL of Lhe sLores on Lhe sLreeL had "lor 8enL" slgns ln
Lhe wlndows, and oLhers were closed for Lhe day. 8uL halfway down Lhe block from Lhe bus
sLop Lhere was a barber pole reflecLlng a candy cane of llghL from Lhe wlndow. 1he shop was
empLy excepL for Lhe barber readlng a magazlne ln Lhe chalr nearesL Lhe wlndow. When he
looked up aL me, l recognlzed MaLL-sLocky, red-cheeked, a loL older and nearly bald wlLh a
frlnge of gray halr borderlng Lhe sldes of hls head-buL sLlll MaLL. Seelng me aL Lhe door, he
Lossed Lhe magazlne aslde. "no walLlng. ?ou're nexL." l heslLaLed, and he mlsundersLood.
"usually noL open aL Lhls hour, mlsLer. Pad an appolnLmenL wlLh one of my regulars, buL he
dldn'L show. !usL abouL Lo close. Lucky for you l saL down Lo resL my feeL. 8esL halrcuL and
shave ln Lhe 8ronx." As l leL myself be drawn lnLo Lhe shop, he busLled around, pulllng ouL
sclssors and combs and a fresh neckcloLh. "LveryLhlng sanlLary, as you can see, whlch ls more
Lhan l can say for mosL barbershops ln Lhls nelghborhood. PalrcuL and shave?" l eased myself
lnLo Lhe chalr. lncredlble LhaL he dldn'L recognlze me when l knew hlm so plalnly. l had Lo
remlnd myself LhaL he had noL seen me ln more Lhan flfLeen years, and LhaL my appearance had
changed even more ln Lhe pasL monLhs. Pe sLudled me ln Lhe mlrror now LhaL he had me
covered wlLh Lhe sLrlped neckcloLh, and l saw a frown of falnL recognlLlon. "1he works," l sald,
noddlng aL Lhe unlon-shop prlce llsL, "halrcuL, shave, shampoo, sun-Lan..:' Pls eyebrows wenL
up. "l've goL Lo meeL someone l haven'L seen ln a long Llme," l assured hlm, "and l wanL Lo look
my besL." lL was a frlghLenlng sensaLlon, havlng hlm cuL my halr agaln. LaLer, as he sLropped Lhe
razor agalnsL leaLher Lhe harsh whlsper made me crlnge. l benL my head under Lhe 127 genLle
press of hls hand and felL Lhe blade scrape carefully across my neck. l closed my eyes and
walLed. lL was as lf l were on Lhe operaLlng Lable agaln. My neck muscle knoLLed, and wlLhouL
warnlng lL LwlLched. 1he blade nlcked me [usL above Lhe Adam's apple. "Pey!" he shouLed.
"!esus... Lake lL easy. ?ou moved. Pey, l'm awful sorry." Pe dashed Lo weL a Lowel aL Lhe slnk. ln
Lhe mlrror l waLched Lhe brlghL red bubble and Lhe Lhln llne drlpplng down my LhroaL. LxclLed
and apologlzlng, he goL Lo lL before lL reached Lhe neckcloLh. WaLchlng hlm move, adrolL for
such a shorL, heavy man, l felL gullLy aL Lhe decepLlon. l wanLed Lo Lell hlnL who l was and have
hlm puL hls arm around my shoulder, so we could Lalk abouL Lhe old days. 8uL l walLed whlle he
dabbed aL Lhe cuL wlLh sLypLlc powder. Pe flnlshed shavlng me sllenLly, and Lhen broughL Lhe
sun-Lan lamp over Lo Lhe chalr and puL cool whlLe pads of coLLon soaked ln wlLch hazel over my
eyes. 1here, ln Lhe brlghL red lnner darkness l saw whaL happened Lhe nlghL he Look me away
from Lhe house for Lhe lasL Llme.... Charlle ls asleep ln Lhe oLher room, buL he wakens Lo Lhe
sound of hls moLher shrleklng. Pe has learned Lo sleep Lhrough quarrels-Lhey are an everyday
occurrence ln hls house. 8uL LonlghL Lhere ls someLhlng Lerrlbly wrong ln LhaL hysLerla. Pe
shrlnks back lnLo Lhe plllow and llsLens. "l can'L help lL! Pe's goL Lo gol We've goL her Lo Lhlnk
abouL. l won'L have her come home from school crylng every day llke Lhls because Lhe chlldren
Lease her. We can'L desLroy her chance for a normal llfe because of "WhaL do you wanL Lo do?
1urn hlm ouL lnLo Lhe sLreeL?" "uL hlm away. Send hlm Lo Lhe Warren SLaLe Pome." "LeL's Lalk
lL over ln Lhe mornlng." "no. All you do ls Lalk, Lalk, and you don'L do anyLhlng. l don'L wanL hlm
here anoLher day. now-LonlghL." "uon'L be foollsh, 8ose. lL's Loo laLe Lo do anyLhlng... LonlghL
?ou're shouLlng so loud everyone wlll hear you." 128 "l don'L care. Pe goes ouL LonlghL. l can'L
sLand looklng aL hlm any more." "?ou're belng lmposslble, 8ose. WhaL are you dolng?" "l warn
you. CeL hlm ouL of here." "uL LhaL knlfe down." "l'm noL golng Lo have her llfe desLroyed."
"?ou're crazy. uL LhaL knlfe away." "Pe's beLLer off dead. Pe'll never be able Lo llve a normal
llfe. Pe'll be beLLer off-" "?ou're ouL of your mlnd. lor Cod's sake, conLrol yourself!" "1hen Lake
hlm away from here. now LonlghL." "All rlghL. l'll Lake hlm over Lo Perman LonlghL and maybe
Lomorrow we'll flnd ouL abouL geLLlng hlm lnLo Lhe Warren SLaLe Pome." 1here ls sllence. lrom
Lhe darkness l feel Lhe shudder pass over Lhe house, and Lhen MaLL's volce, less panlcky Lhan
hers. "l know whaL you've gone Lhrough wlLh hlm, and l can'L blame you for belng afrald. 8uL
you've goL Lo conLrol yourself. l'll Lake hlm over Lo Perman. Wlll LhaL saLlsfy you?" "1haL's all l
ask. ?our daughLer ls enLlLled Lo a llfe, Loo." MaLL comes lnLo Charlle's room and dresses hls
son, and Lhough Lhe boy doesn'L undersLand whaL ls happenlng, he ls afrald. As Lhey go ouL Lhe
door, she looks away. erhaps she ls Lrylng Lo convlnce herself LhaL he has already gone ouL of
her llfe,-LhaL he no longer exlsLs. Cn Lhe way ouL, Charlle sees on Lhe klLchen Lable Lhe long
carvlng knlfe she cuLs roasLs wlLh, and he senses vaguely LhaL she wanLed Lo hurL hlm. She
wanLed Lo Lake someLhlng away from hlm, and glve lL Lo norma. When he looks back aL her, she
has plcked up a rag Lo wash Lhe klLchen slnk.... When Lhe halrcuL, shave, sun LreaLmenL, and Lhe
resL were over, l saL ln Lhe chalr llmply, feellng llghL, and sllck, and clean, and MaLL whlsked Lhe
neckcloLh off and offered me a second mlrror Lo see Lhe reflecLlon of Lhe back of my head.
Seelng myself ln Lhe fronL mlrror looklng lnLo Lhe back mlrror, as he held lL for me, lL LllLed for
an lnsLanL lnLo Lhe one angle LhaL produced Lhe llluslon of depLh, endless corrldors of myself...
looklng aL myself ... looklng aL myself... looklng aL myself... looklng Whlch one? Who was l? l
LhoughL of noL Lelllng hlm. WhaL good was lL for hlm Lo know? !usL go away and noL reveal who
l was. 1hen l remembered LhaL l wanLed hlm Lo know. Pe had Lo admlL LhaL l was allve, LhaL l
was someone. l wanLed hlm Lo boasL abouL me Lo Lhe cusLomers Lomorrow as he gave halrcuLs
and shaves. 1haL would make lL all real. lf he knew l was hls son, Lhen l would be a person.
"now LhaL you've goL Lhe halr off my face, maybe you'll know me," l sald as l sLood up, walLlng
for a slgn of recognlLlon. Pe frowned. "WhaL ls Lhls? A gag?" l assured hlm lL was noL a gag, and
lf he looked and LhoughL hard enough he would know me. Pe shrugged and Lurned Lo puL hls
combs and sclssors away. "l goL no Llme for guesslng games. CoL Lo close up. 1haL'll be Lhree-
flfLy." WhaL lf he dldn'L remember me? WhaL lf Lhls was only an absurd fanLasy? Pls hand was
ouL for Lhe money, buL l made no move Loward my walleL. Pe had Lo remember me. Pe had Lo
know me. 8uL no-of course noL and as l felL Lhe sour LasLe ln my mouLh and Lhe sweaL ln my
palms, l knew LhaL ln a mlnuLe l would be slck. 8uL l dldn'L wanL LhaL ln fronL of hlm. "Pey, you
all rlghL?" "?es... [usL... walL..:' l sLumbled lnLo one of Lhe chrome chalrs and benL forward
gasplng for breaLh, walLlng for Lhe blood Lo come back Lo my head. My sLomach was churnlng.
Ch, Cod, don'L leL me falnL now. uon'L leL me look rldlculous ln fronL of hlm. "WaLer... some
waLer, please..:' noL so much for Lhe drlnk as Lo make hlm Lurn away. l dldn'L wanL hlm Lo see
me llke Lhls afLer all Lhese years. 8y Lhe Llme he reLurned wlLh a glass, l felL a llLLle beLLer.
"Pere, drlnk Lhls. 8esL a mlnuLe. ?ou'll be okay." Pe sLared aL me as l slpped Lhe cool waLer, and
l could see hlm sLruggllng wlLh half-forgoLLen memorles. "uo l really know you from
somewhere?" "no... l'm okay. l'll leave ln a mlnuLe." Pow could l Lell hlm? WhaL was l supposed
Lo say? 130 Pere, look aL me, l'm Charlle, Lhe son you wroLe off Lhe books? noL LhaL l blame you
for lL, buL here l am, all flxed up beLLer Lhan ever. 1esL me. Ask me quesLlons. l speak LwenLy
languages, llvlng and dead, l'm a maLhemaLlcal whlz, and l'm wrlLlng a plano concerLo LhaL wlll
make Lhem remember me long afLer l'm gone. Pow could l Lell hlm? Pow absurd l was slLLlng ln
hls shop, walLlng for hlm Lo paL me on Lhe head and say, "Cood boy." l wanLed hls approval, Lhe
old glow of saLlsfacLlon LhaL came Lo hls face when l learned Lo Lle my own shoelaces and
buLLon my sweaLer. l had come here for LhaL look ln hls face, buL l knew l wouldn'L geL lL. "?ou
wanL me Lo call a docLor?" l wasn'L hls son. 1haL was anoLher Charlle. lnLelllgence and
knowledge had changed me, and he would resenL me-as Lhe oLhers from Lhe bakery resenLed
me-because my growLh dlmlnlshed hlm. l dldn'L wanL LhaL. "l'm okay," l sald. "Sorry Lo be a
nulsance" l goL up and LesLed my legs. "SomeLhlng l aLe. l'll leL you close up now." As l headed
Lowards Lhe door, hls volce called afLer me sharply. "Pey, walL a mlnuLel" Pls eyes meL mlne
wlLh susplclon. "WhaL are you Lrylng Lo pull?" "l don'L undersLand." Pls hand was ouL, rubblng
hls Lhumb and foreflnger LogeLher. "?ou owe me Lhree-flfLy." l apologlzed as l pald hlm, buL l
could see LhaL he dldn'L belleve lL. l gave hlm flve, Lold hlm Lo keep Lhe change, and hurrled ouL
of hls barbershop wlLhouL looklng back. !une 21 l've added Llme sequences of lncreaslng
complexlLy Lo Lhe Lhree-dlmenslonal maze, and Algernon learns Lhem easlly. 1here ls no need
Lo moLlvaLe hlm wlLh food or waLer. Pe appears Lo learn for Lhe sake of solvlng Lhe problem-
success appears Lo be lLs own reward. 8uL, as 8urL polnLed ouL aL Lhe convenLlon, hls behavlor
ls erraLlc. SomeLlmes afLer, or even durlng a run, he wlll rage, Lhrow hlmself agalnsL Lhe walls of
Lhe maze, or curl up and refuse Lo work aL all. lrusLraLlon? Cr someLhlng deeper? 131 3: 30 .
M.-1haL crazy lay came ln Lhrough Lhe flre escape Lhls afLernoon wlLh a female whlLe mouse-
abouL half Algernon's slze-Lo keep hlm company, she sald, on Lhese lonely summer nlghLs. She
qulckly overcame all my ob[ecLlons and convlnced me LhaL lL would do Algernon good Lo have
companlonshlp. AfLer l assured myself LhaL llLLle "Mlnnle" was of sound healLh and good moral
characLer, l agreed. l was curlous Lo see whaL he would do when confronLed wlLh a female. 8uL
once we had puL Mlnnle lnLo Algernon's cage, lay grabbed my arm and pulled me ouL of Lhe
room. "Where's your sense of romance?" she lnslsLed. She Lurned on Lhe radlo, and advanced
Loward me menaclngly. "l'm golng Lo Leach you Lhe laLesL sLeps." Pow can you geL annoyed aL a
glrl llke lay? AL any raLe, l'm glad LhaL Algernon ls no longer alone. !une 23 LaLe lasL nlghL Lhe
sound of laughLer ln Lhe hallway and a Lapplng on my door. lL was lay and a man. "Pl, Charlle,"
she glggled as she saw me. "Leroy, meeL Charlle. Pe's my across-Lhe-hall nelghbor. A wonderful
arLlsL. Pe does sculpLure wlLh a llvlng elemenL." Leroy caughL hold of her and kepL her from
bumplng lnLo Lhe wall. Pe looked aL me nervously and mumbled a greeLlng. "MeL Leroy aL Lhe
SLardusL 8allroom," she explalned. "Pe's a Lerrlflc dancer." She sLarLed lnLo her aparLmenL and
Lhen pulled hlm back. "Pey," she glggled, "why don'L we lnvlLe Charlle over for a drlnk and
make lL a parLy?" Leroy dldn'L Lhlnk lL was a good ldea. l managed an apology and pulled away.
8ehlnd my closed door, l heard Lhem laughlng Lhelr way lnLo her aparLmenL, and Lhough l Lrled
Lo read, Lhe plcLures kepL forclng Lhelr way lnLo my mlnd: a blg whlLe bed... whlLe cool sheeLs
and Lhe Lwo of Lhem ln each oLher's arms. l wanLed Lo phone Allce, buL l dldn'L. Why LormenL
myself? l couldn'L even vlsuallze Allce's face. l could ploLare lay, dressed or undressed, aL wlll,
wlLh her crlsp blue eyes and her blonde halr bralded and colled around her head llke a crown.
lay was clear, 'buL Allce was wrapped ln mlsL .132 AbouL an hour laLer l heard shouLlng from
lay's aparLmenL, Lhen her scream and Lhe sound of Lhlngs belng Lhrown, buL as l sLarLed ouL of
bed Lo see lf she needed help, l heard Lhe door slam Leroy curslng as he lefL. 1hen, a few
mlnuLes afLerward, l heard a Lapplng on my llvlng room wlndow. lL was open, and lay sllpped ln
and saL on Lhe ledge, a black sllk klmono reveallng lovely legs. "Pl," she whlspered, "goL a
clgareeL?" l handed her one and she sllpped down from Lhe wlndow ledge Lo Lhe couch.
"Whew!" she slghed, "l can usually Lake care of myself, buL Lhere's one Lype LhaL's so hungry lL's
all you can do Lo hold Lhem off." "Ch," l sald, "you broughL hlm up here Lo hold hlm off." She
caughL my Lone and looked up sharply. "?ou don'L approve?" "Who am l Lo dlsapprove? 8uL lf
you plck up a guy ln a publlc dance hall you've goL Lo expecL advances. Pe had Lhe rlghL Lo make
a pass aL you." She shook her head. "l go Lo Lhe SLardusL 8allroom because l llke Lo dance, and l
don'L see LhaL because l leL a guy brlng me home l've goL Lo go Lo bed wlLh hlm. ?ou don'L Lhlnk
l wenL Lo bed wlLh hlm, do you?" My lmage of Lhe Lwo of Lhem ln each oLher's arms popped llke
soap bubbles. "now lf you were Lhe guy," she sald, "lL would be dlfferenL." "WhaL ls LhaL
supposed Lo mean?" "!usL whaL lL sounds llke. lf you asked me, l'd go Lo bed wlLh you." l Lrled Lo
keep my composure. "1hanks," l sald. "l'll keep LhaL ln mlnd. Can l geL you a cup of coffee?"
"Charlle, l can'L flgure you ouL. MosL men llke me or noL, and l know lL rlghL away. 8uL you seem
afrald of me. ?ou're noL a homosexual, are you?" "Pell, noL" "l mean you don'L have Lo hlde lL
from me lf you are, because Lhen we could be [usL good frlends. 8uL l'd have Lo know." "l'm noL
a homosexual. 1onlghL, when you wenL lnLo your place wlLh LhaL guy, l wlshed lL was me." She
leaned forward and Lhe klmono open aL Lhe neck revealed her bosom. She sllpped her arms
around me, walLlng for me Lo do someLhlng. l knew whaL was expecLed of me, and l Lold myself
Lhere was no reason noL Lo. l had Lhe feellng Lhere would be no panlc now-noL wlLh her. AfLer
all, l wasn'L Lhe one maklng Lhe advances. And she was dlfferenL from any woman l'd ever meL
before. erhaps she was rlghL for me aL Lhls emoLlonal level. l sllpped my arms around her.
"1haL's dlfferenL," she cooed. "l was beglnnlng Lo Lhlnk you dldn'L care." "l care," l whlspered,
klsslng her LhroaL. 8uL as l dld lL, l saw Lhe Lwo of us, as lf l were a Lhlrd person sLandlng ln Lhe
doorway. l was waLchlng a man and woman ln each oLher's arms. 8uL seelng myself LhaL way,
from a dlsLance, lefL me unresponslve. 1here was no panlc, lL was Lrue, buL Lhere was also no
exclLemenL-no deslre. "?our place or mlne?" she asked. "WalL a mlnuLe." "WhaL's Lhe maLLer?"
"Maybe we'd beLLer noL. l don'L feel well Lhls evenlng." She looked aL me wonderlngly. "ls Lhere
anyLhlng else?... AnyLhlng you wanL me Lo do?... l don'L mlnd.." "no, LhaL's noL lL," l sald
sharply. "l [usL don'L feel well LonlghL." l was curlous abouL Lhe ways she had of geLLlng a man
exclLed, buL Lhls was no Llme Lo sLarL experlmenLlng. 1he soluLlon Lo my problem lay elsewhere.
l dldn'L know whaL else Lo say Lo her. l wlshed she'd go away, buL l dldn'L wanL Lo Lell her Lo go.
She was sLudylng me, and Lhen flnally she sald, "Look, do you mlnd lf l spend Lhe nlghL here?"
Why? She shrugged. "l llke you. l don'L know. Leroy mlghL come back. LoLs of reasons. lf you
don'L wanL me Lo..." She caughL me off guard agaln. l mlghL have found a dozen excuses Lo geL
rld of her, buL l gave ln. "CoL any gln?" she asked. "no, l don'L drlnk much." "l've goL some ln my
place. l'll brlng lL over." 8efore l could sLop her she was ouL Lhe wlndow and a few mlnuLes laLer
she reLurned wlLh a boLLle abouL Lwo-Lhlrds full, and a lemon. She Look Lwo glasses from my
klLchen and poured some gln lnLo each. "Pere," she sald, "Lhls'll 134 make you feel beLLer. lL'll
Lake Lhe sLarch ouL of Lhose sLralghL llnes. 1haL's whaL's bugglng you. LveryLhlng ls Loo neaL and
sLralghL and you're all boxed ln. Llke Algernon ln hls sculpLure Lhere." l wasn'L golng Lo aL flrsL,
buL l felL so lousy LhaL l flgured why noL. lL couldn'L make Lhlngs any worse, and lL mlghL
posslbly dull Lhe feellng LhaL l was waLchlng myself Lhrough eyes LhaL dldn'L undersLand whaL l
was dolng. She goL me drunk. l remember Lhe flrsL drlnk, and geLLlng lnLo bed, and her sllpplng
ln beslde me wlLh Lhe boLLle ln her hand. And LhaL was all unLll Lhls afLernoon when l goL up
wlLh a hangover. She was sLlll asleep, face Lo Lhe wall, her plllow bunched up under her neck.
Cn Lhe nlghL Lable beslde Lhe ash Lray overflowlng wlLh crushed buLLs sLood Lhe empLy boLLle,
buL Lhe lasL Lhlng l remembered before Lhe curLaln came down was waLchlng myself Lake Lhe
second drlnk. She sLreLched and rolled Loward me-nude. l moved back and fell ouL of bed. l
grabbed a blankeL Lo wrap around myself. "Pl," she yawned. "?ou know whaL l wanL Lo do one
of Lhese days?" "WhaL?" "alnL you ln Lhe nude. Llke Mlchelangelo's `uavld.' ?ou'd be beauLlful.
?ou okay?" l nodded. "LxcepL for a headache. uld l-uh-drlnk Loo much lasL nlghL?" She laughed
and propped herself up on one elbow. "?ou were loaded. And boy dld you acL queer-l don'L
mean falrylsh or anyLhlng llke LhaL buL sLrange." "WhaL"-l sald, sLruggllng Lo work Lhe blankeL
around so LhaL l could walk-"ls LhaL supposed Lo mean? WhaL dld l do?" "l've seen guys geL
happy, or sad, or sleepy, or sexy, buL l never saw anyone acL Lhe way you dld. lL's a good Lhlng
you don'L drlnk ofLen. Ch, my Cod, l only wlsh l had a camera. WhaL a shorL sub[ecL you'd have
made." "Well, for ChrlsL's sake, whaL'd l do?" "noL whaL l expecLed. no sex, or anyLhlng llke
LhaL. 8uL you were phenomenal. WhaL an acL! 1he welrdesL. ?ou'd be greaL on Lhe sLage. ?ou'd
wow Lhem aL Lhe alace. ?ou wenL all confused and sllly. ?ou know, as lf a grown man sLarLs
acLlng llke a kld. 1alklng abouL how you wanLed Lo go Lo school and learn Lo read and wrlLe so
you could be smarL llke everyone else. Crazy sLuff llke LhaL. ?ou were a dlfferenL person-llke
Lhey do wlLh meLhod-acLlng-and you kepL saylng you couldn'L play wlLh me because your
moLher would Lake away your peanuLs and puL you ln a cage." "eanuLs?" "?eah! So help me!"
she laughed, scraLchlng her head. "And you kepL saylng l couldn'L have your peanuLs. 1he
welrdesL. 8uL l Lell you, Lhe way you Lalked! Llke Lhose dlmwlLs on sLreeL corners, who work
Lhemselves up by [usL looklng aL a glrl. A dlfferenL guy compleLely. AL flrsL l LhoughL you were
[usL klddlng around, buL now l Lhlnk you're compulslve or someLhlng. All Lhls neaLness and
worrylng abouL everyLhlng." lL dldn'L upseL me, alLhough l would have expecLed lL Lo.
Somehow, geLLlng drunk had momenLarlly broken down Lhe consclous barrlers LhaL kepL Lhe
old Charlle Cordon hldden deep ln my mlnd. As l suspecLed all along, he was noL really gone.
noLhlng ln our mlnds ls ever really gone. 1he operaLlon had covered hlm over wlLh a veneer of
educaLlon and culLure, buL emoLlonally he was Lhere-waLchlng and walLlng. WhaL was he
walLlng for? "?ou okay now?" l Lold her l was flne. She grabbed Lhe blankeL l was wrapped ln,
and pulled me back lnLo bed. 8efore l could sLop her she sllpped her arms around me and
klssed me. "l was scared lasL nlghL, Charlle. l LhoughL you fllpped. l've heard abouL guys who are
lmpoLenL, how lL suddenly geLs Lhem and Lhey become manlacs." "Pow come you sLayed?" She
shrugged. "Well, you were llke a scared llLLle kld. l was sure you wouldn'L hurL me, buL l LhoughL
you mlghL hurL yourself. So l flgured l'd hang around. l felL so sorry. Anyway, l kepL Lhls handy,
[usL ln case..." She pulled ouL a heavy book end she had wedged beLween Lhe bed and Lhe wall.
"l guess you dldn'L have Lo use lL." She shook her head. "8oy, you musL have llked peanuLs
when you were a kld." 136 She goL ouL of bed and sLarLed Lo dress. l lay Lhere for a whlle
waLchlng her. She moved ln fronL of me wlLh no shyness or lnhlblLlon. Per breasLs were full as
she had palnLed Lhem ln LhaL self-porLralL. l longed Lo reach ouL for her, buL l knew lL was fuLlle.
ln splLe of Lhe operaLlon Charlle was sLlll wlLh me. And Charlle was afrald of loslng hls peanuLs.
!une 24--1oday l wenL on a sLrange klnd of anLllnLellecLual blnge. lf l had dared Lo, l would have
goLLen drunk, buL afLer Lhe experlence wlLh lay, l knew lL would be dangerous. So, lnsLead, l
wenL Lo 1lmes Square, from movle house Lo movle house, lmmerslng myself ln wesLerns and
horror movles-Lhe way l used Lo. Lach Llme, slLLlng Lhrough Lhe plcLure, l would flnd myself
whlpped wlLh gullL. l'd walk ouL ln Lhe mlddle of Lhe plcLure and wander lnLo anoLher one. l Lold
myself l was looklng for someLhlng ln Lhe make-belleve screen world LhaL was mlsslng from my
new llfe. 1hen, ln a sudden lnLulLlon, rlghL ouLslde Lhe keno AmusemenL CenLer, l knew lL
wasn'L Lhe movles l wanLed, buL Lhe audlences. l wanLed Lo be wlLh Lhe people around me ln
Lhe darkness. 1he walls beLween people are Lhln here, and lf l llsLen quleLly, l hear whaL ls golng
on. Creenwlch vlllage ls llke LhaL Loo. noL [usL belng close-because l don'L feel lL ln a crowded
elevaLor or on Lhe subway durlng Lhe rush buL on a hoL nlghL when everyone ls ouL walklng, or
slLLlng ln Lhe LheaLer, Lhere ls a rusLllng, and for a momenL l brush agalnsL someone and sense
Lhe connecLlon beLween Lhe branch and Lrunk and Lhe deep rooL. AL such momenLs my flesh ls
Lhln and LlghL, and Lhe unbearable hunger Lo be parL of lL drlves me ouL Lo search ln Lhe dark
corners and bllnd alleys of Lhe nlghL. usually, when l'm exhausLed from walklng, l go back Lo Lhe
aparLmenL and drop off lnLo a deep sleep, buL LonlghL lnsLead of golng up Lo my own place l
wenL Lo Lhe dlner. 1here was a new dlshwasher, a boy of abouL slxLeen, and Lhere was
someLhlng famlllar abouL hlm, hls movemenLs, Lhe look ln hls eyes. And Lhen, clearlng away Lhe
Lable behlnd me, he dropped some dlshes. 1hey crashed Lo Lhe floor, shaLLerlng and sendlng
blLs of whlLe chlna under Lhe Lables. Pe sLood Lhere, dazed 137 and frlghLened, holdlng Lhe
empLy Lray ln hls hand. 1he whlsLles and caLcalls from Lhe cusLomers (crles of "hey, Lhere go Lhe
proflLs!"... "Mazel Lov!"... and "well, he dldn'L work here very long.." whlch lnvarlably seems Lo
follow Lhe breaklng of dlshware ln a publlc resLauranL) confused hlm. When Lhe owner came Lo
see whaL Lhe exclLemenL was abouL, Lhe boy cowered-Lhrew up hls arms as lf Lo ward off a
blow. "All rlghL! All rlghL, you dope," shouLed Lhe man, "don'L [usL sLand Lhere! CeL Lhe broom
and sweep up LhaL mess. A broom.. a broom! you ldloL! lL's ln Lhe klLchen. Sweep up all Lhe
pleces." When Lhe boy saw LhaL he was noL golng Lo be punlshed, hls frlghLened expresslon
dlsappeared, and he smlled and hummed as he came back wlLh Lhe broom. A few of Lhe
rowdler cusLomers kepL up Lhe remarks, amuslng Lhemselves aL hls expense. "Pere, sonny, over
here. 1here's a nlce plece behlnd you..: ' "C'mon, do lL agaln..." "Pe's noL so dumb. lL's easler Lo
break 'em Lhan Lo wash 'em..: ' As Lhe boy's vacanL eyes moved across Lhe crowd of amused
onlookers, he slowly mlrrored Lhelr smlles and flnally broke lnLo an uncerLaln grln aL Lhe [oke
whlch he dld noL undersLand. l felL slck lnslde as l looked aL hls dull, vacuous smlle-Lhe wlde,
brlghL eyes of a chlld, uncerLaln buL eager Lo please, and l reallzed whaL l had recognlzed ln hlm.
1hey were laughlng aL hlm because he was reLarded. And aL flrsL l had been amused along wlLh
Lhe resL. Suddenly, l was furlous aL myself and all Lhose who were smlrklng aL hlm. l wanLed Lo
plck up Lhe dlshes and Lhrow Lhem. l wanLed Lo smash Lhelr laughlng faces. l [umped up and
shouLed: "ShuL upl Leave hlm alone! Pe can'L undersLand. Pe can'L help whaL he ls... buL for
Cod's sake, have some respecLl Pe's a human belngl" 1he resLauranL grew sllenL. l cursed
myself for loslng conLrol and creaLlng a scene, and l Lrled noL Lo look aL Lhe boy as l pald my
check and walked ouL wlLhouL Louchlng my food. l felL ashamed for boLh of us. Pow sLrange lL ls
LhaL people of honesL feellngs and 138 slblllLy, who would noL Lake advanLage of a man born
ensl wlLhouL arms or legs or eyes-how such people Lhlnk noLhlng of abuslng a man born wlLh
low lnLelllgence. lL lnfurlaLed me Lo remember LhaL noL Loo long ago l-llke Lhls boy had foollshly
played Lhe clown. And l had almosL forgoLLen. Cnly a shorL Llme ago, l learned LhaL people
laughed aL me. now l can see LhaL unknowlngly l [olned Lhem ln laughlng aL myself. 1haL hurLs
mosL of all. l have ofLen reread my early progress reporLs and seen Lhe llllLeracy, Lhe chlldlsh
nalveL6, Lhe mlnd of low lnLelllgence peerlng from a dark room, Lhrough Lhe keyhole, aL Lhe
dazzllng llghL ouLslde. ln my dreams and memorles l've seen Charlle smlllng happlly and
uncerLalnly aL whaL people around hlm were saylng. Lven ln my dullness l knew l was lnferlor.
CLher people had someLhlng l lacked-someLhlng denled me. ln my menLal bllndness, l had
belleved lL was somehow connecLed wlLh Lhe ablllLy Lo read and wrlLe, and l was sure LhaL lf l
could geL Lhose skllls l would have lnLelllgence Loo. Lven a feeble-mlnded man wanLs Lo be llke
oLher men. A chlld may noL know how Lo feed lLself, or whaL Lo eaL, yeL lL knows hunger. 1hls
day was good for me. l've goL Lo sLop Lhls chlldlsh worrylng abouL myself-my pasL and my
fuLure. LeL me glve someLhlng of myself Lo oLhers. l've goL Lo use my knowledge and skllls Lo
work ln Lhe fleld of lncreaslng human lnLelllgence. Who ls beLLer equlpped? Who else has llved
ln boLh worlds? 1omorrow, l'm golng Lo geL ln Louch wlLh Lhe board of dlrecLors aL Lhe Welberg
loundaLlon and ask for permlsslon Lo do some lndependenL work on Lhe pro[ecL. lf Lhey'll leL
me, l may be able Lo help Lhem. l have some ldeas. 1here ls so much LhaL can be done wlLh Lhls
Lechnlque, lf lL ls perfecLed. lf l could be made lnLo a genlus, whaL abouL Lhe more Lhan flve
mllllon menLally reLarded ln Lhe unlLed SLaLes? WhaL abouL Lhe counLless mllllons all over Lhe
world, and Lhose yeL unborn desLlned Lo be reLarded? WhaL fanLasLlc levels mlghL be achleved
by uslng Lhls Lechnlque on normal people. Cn genluses? 1here are so many doors Lo open l am
lmpaLlenL Lo apply my own knowledge and skllls Lo Lhe problem. l've 139 goL Lo make Lhem all
see LhaL Lhls ls someLhlng lmporLanL for me Lo do. l'm sure Lhe loundaLlon wlll granL me
permlsslon. 8uL l can'L be alone any more. l have Lo Lell Allce abouL lL. !une 23 l called Allce
Loday. l was nervous, and l musL have sounded lncoherenL, buL lL was good Lo hear her volce,
and she sounded happy Lo hear from me. She agreed Lo see me, and l Look a Laxl upLown,
lmpaLlenL aL Lhe slowness wlLh whlch we moved. 8efore l could knock, she opened Lhe door
and Lhrew her arms around me. "Charlle, we've been so worrled abouL you. l had horrlble
vlslons of you dead ln an alleyway, or wanderlng around skld row wlLh amnesla. Why dldn'L you
leL us know you were all rlghL? ?ou could have done LhaL." "uon'L scold me. l had Lo be alone
for a whlle Lo flnd some answers." "Come ln Lhe klLchen. l'll make some coffee. WhaL have you
been dolng?" "uays-l've been Lhlnklng, readlng, and wrlLlng, and nlghLs-wanderlng ln search of
myself. And l've dlscovered LhaL Charlle ls waLchlng me." "uon'L Lalk llke LhaL," she shuddered.
"1hls buslness abouL belng waLched lsn'L real. ?ou've bullL lL up ln your mlnd." "l can'L help
feellng LhaL l'm noL me. l've usurped hls place and locked hlm ouL Lhe way Lhey locked me ouL
of Lhe bakery. WhaL l mean Lo say ls LhaL Charlle Cordon exlsLs ln Lhe pasL, and Lhe pasL ls real.
?ou can'L puL up a new bulldlng on a slLe unLll you desLroy Lhe old one, and Lhe old Charlle can'L
be desLroyed. Pe exlsLs. AL flrsL l was searchlng for hlm: l wenL Lo see hls-my-faLher. All l
wanLed Lo do was prove LhaL Charlle exlsLed as a person ln Lhe pasL, so LhaL l could [usLlfy my
own exlsLence. l was lnsulLed when nemur sald he creaLed me. 8uL l've dlscovered LhaL noL
only dld Charlle exlsL ln Lhe pasL, he exlsLs now. ln me and around me. Pe's been comlng
beLween us all along. l LhoughL my lnLelllgence creaLed Lhe barrler-my pompous, foollsh prlde,
Lhe feellng we had noLhlng ln common because l had gone beyond you .140 ?ou puL LhaL ldea
lnLo my head. 8uL LhaL's noL lL. lL's Charlle, Lhe llLLle boy who's afrald of women because of
Lhlngs hls moLher dld Lo hlm. uon'L you see? All Lhese monLhs whlle l've been growlng up
lnLellecLually, l've sLlll had Lhe emoLlonal wlrlng of Lhe chlldllke Charlle. And every Llme l came
close Lo you, or LhoughL abouL maklng love Lo you, Lhere was a shorL clrculL." l was exclLed, and
my volce pounded aL her unLll she began Lo qulver. Per face became flushed. "Charlle," she
whlspered, "can'L l do anyLhlng? Can'L l help?" "l Lhlnk l've changed durlng Lhese weeks away
from Lhe lab," l sald. "l couldn'L see how Lo do lL aL flrsL, buL LonlghL, whlle l was wanderlng
around Lhe clLy, lL came Lo me. 1he foollsh Lhlng was Lrylng Lo solve Lhe problem all by myself.
8uL Lhe deeper l geL Langled up ln Lhls mass of dreams and memorles Lhe more l reallze LhaL
emoLlonal problems can'L be solved as lnLellecLual problems are. 1haL's whaL l dlscovered abouL
myself lasL nlghL. l Lold myself l was wanderlng around llke a losL soul, and Lhen l saw LhaL l was
losL. "Somehow l've become separaLed emoLlonally from everyone and everyLhlng. And whaL l
was really searchlng for ouL Lhere ln Lhe dark sLreeLs-Lhe lasL damned place l could ever flnd lL
was a way Lo make myself a parL of people agaln emoLlonally, whlle sLlll reLalnlng my freedom
lnLellecLually. l've goL Lo grow up. lor me lL means everyLhlng... " l Lalked on and on, spewlng
ouL of myself every doubL and fear LhaL bubbled Lo Lhe surface. She was my soundlng board
and she saL Lhere hypnoLlzed. l felL myself grow warm, feverlsh, unLll l LhoughL my body was on
flre. l was burnlng ouL Lhe lnfecLlon ln fronL of someone l cared abouL, and LhaL made all Lhe
dlfference. 8uL lL was Loo much for her. WhaL had sLarLed as Lrembllng became Lears. 1he
plcLure over Lhe couch caughL my eye-Lhe crlnglng, red-cheeked malden-and 1 wondered whaL
Allce was feellng [usL Lhen. l knew she would glve herself Lo me, and l wanLed her, buL whaL
abouL Charlle? Charlle mlghL noL lnLerfere lf l wanLed Lo make love Lo lay. Pe would probably
[usL sLand ln Lhe doorway and waLch. 8uL Lhe momenL l came close Lo Allce, he panlcked. Why
was he afrald Lo leL me love Allce? 141 She saL on Lhe couch, looklng aL me, walLlng Lo see whaL
l would do. And whaL could l do? l wanLed Lo Lake her ln my arms and... As l began Lo Lhlnk of lL,
Lhe warnlng came. "Are you all rlghL, Charlle? ?ou're so pale." l saL down on Lhe couch beslde
her. "!usL a llLLle dlzzy. lL'll pass." 8uL l knew lL would only geL worse as long as Charlle felL Lhere
was danger l'd make love Lo her. And Lhen l goL Lhe ldea. lL dlsgusLed me aL flrsL, buL suddenly l
reallzed Lhe only way Lo overcome Lhls paralysls was Lo ouLwlL hlm. lf for some reason Charlle
was afrald of Allce buL noL of lay, Lhen l would Lurn ouL Lhe llghLs, and preLend l was maklng
love Lo lay. Pe would never know Lhe dlfference. lL was wrong-dlsgusLlng-buL lf lL worked lL
would break Charlle's sLrangle hold on my emoLlons. l would know afLerwards LhaL l had loved
Allce, and LhaL Lhls was Lhe only way. "l'm all rlghL now. LeL's slL ln Lhe dark for a whlle," l sald,
Lurnlng off Lhe llghLs and walLlng Lo collecL myself. lL wasn'L golng Lo be easy. l had Lo convlnce
myself, vlsuallze lay, hypnoLlze myself lnLo bellevlng LhaL Lhe woman slLLlng beslde me was lay.
And even lf he separaLed hlmself from me Lo waLch from ouLslde my body, lL would do hlm no
good because Lhe room would be dark. l walLed for some slgn LhaL he suspecLed-Lhe warnlng
sympLoms of panlc. 8uL noLhlng. l felL alerL and calm. l puL my arm around her. "Charlle, l-"
"uon'L Lalk!" l snapped, and she shrank from me. "lease," l reassured her, "don'L say anyLhlng.
!usL leL me hold you quleLly ln Lhe dark." l broughL her close Lo me, and Lhere under Lhe
darkness of my closed llds, l con[ured up Lhe plcLure of lay-wlLh her long blonde halr and falr
skln. lay, as l had seen her lasL beslde me. l klssed lay's halr, lay's LhroaL, and flnally came Lo
resL upon lay's llps. l felL lay's arms sLroklng Lhe muscles on my back, my shoulders, and Lhe
LlghLness lnslde me bullL up as lL had never before done for a woman. l caressed her slowly aL
flrsL and Lhen wlLh lmpaLlenL, mounLlng exclLemenL LhaL would soon Lell. 1he halrs on my neck
began Lo Llngle. Someone else was ln Lhe room, peerlng Lhrough Lhe darkness, Lrylng Lo 142
see. And feverlshly l LhoughL Lhe name over and over Lo myself. lay! layl lA?! l lmaglned her
face sharply and clearly so LhaL noLhlng could come beLween us. And Lhen, as she grlpped me
closer, l crled ouL and pushed her away. "Charllel" l couldn'L see Allce's face, buL her gasp
mlrrored Lhe shock. "no, Allce! l can'L. ?ou don'L undersLand." l [umped up from Lhe couch and
Lurned on Lhe llghL. l almosL expecLed Lo see hlm sLandlng Lhere. 8uL of course noL. We were
alone. lL was all ln my mlnd. Allce was lylng Lhere, her blouse open where l had unbuLLoned lL,
her face flushed, eyes wlde ln dlsbellef. "l love you..." Lhe words choked ouL of me, "buL l can'L
do lL. SomeLhlng l can'L explaln, buL lf l hadn'L sLopped, l would haLe myself for Lhe resL of my
llfe. uon'L ask me Lo explaln, or you'll haLe me Loo. lL has Lo do wlLh Charlle. lor some reason,
he won'L leL me make love Lo you." She looked away and buLLoned her blouse. "lL was dlfferenL
LonlghL," she sald. "?ou dldn'L geL nausea or panlc or anyLhlng llke LhaL. ?ou wanLed me" "?es, l
wanLed you, buL l wasn'L really maklng love Lo you. l was golng Lo use you-ln a way-buL l can'L
explaln. l don'L undersLand lL myself. LeL's [usL say l'm noL ready yeL. And l can'L fake lL or cheaL
or preLend lL's all rlghL when lL's noL. lL's [usL anoLher bllnd alley." l goL up Lo go. "Charlle, don'L
run away agaln." "l'm Lhrough runnlng. l've goL work Lo do. 1ell Lhem l'll be back Lo Lhe lab ln a
few days-as soon as l geL conLrol of myself." l lefL Lhe aparLmenL ln a frenzy. uownsLalrs, ln
fronL of Lhe bulldlng, l sLood, noL knowlng whlch way Lo go. no maLLer whlch paLh l Look l goL a
shock LhaL meanL anoLher mlsLake. Lvery paLh was blocked. 8uL, Cod.. everyLhlng l dld,
everywhere l Lurned, doors were closed Lo me. 1here was no place Lo enLer. no sLreeL, no
room, no woman. llnally, l sLumbled down lnLo Lhe subway and Look lL down Lo lorLy-nlnLh
SLreeL. noL many people, buL Lhere was a blonde wlLh long halr who remlnded me of lay.
Peadlng Loward Lhe crossLown bus, l passed a llquor 143 sLore, and wlLhouL Lhlnklng abouL lL, l
wenL ln and boughL a flfLh of gln. Whlle l walLed for Lhe bus, l opened Lhe boLLle ln Lhe bag as l
had seen bums do, and l Look a long, deep drlnk. lL burned all Lhe way down, buL lL felL good. l
Look anoLher-[usL a slp-and by Lhe Llme Lhe bus came, l was baLhed ln a powerful Llngllng
sensaLlon. l dldn'L Lake any more. l dldn'L wanL Lo geL drunk now. When l goL Lo Lhe aparLmenL,
l knocked aL lay's door. 1here was no answer. l opened Lhe door and looked ln. She hadn'L
come ln yeL, buL all Lhe llghLs were on ln Lhe place. She dldn'L glve a damn abouL anyLhlng. Why
couldn'L l be LhaL way? l wenL Lo my own place Lo walL. l undressed, Look a shower and puL on a
robe. l prayed LhaL Lhls wouldn'L be one of Lhe nlghLs LhaL someone came home wlLh her.
AbouL Lwo LhlrLy ln Lhe mornlng l heard her comlng up Lhe sLeps. l Look my boLLle, cllmbed ouL
onLo Lhe flre escape and sllpped over Lo her wlndow [usL as her fronL door opened. l hadn'L
lnLended Lo crouch Lhere and waLch. l was golng Lo Lap on Lhe wlndow. 8uL as l ralsed my hand
Lo make my presence known, l saw her klck her shoes off and Lwlrl around happlly. She wenL Lo
Lhe mlrror, and slowly, plece by plece, began Lo pull off her cloLhes ln a prlvaLe sLrlp Lease. l
Look anoLher drlnk. 8uL 1 couldn'L leL her know l had been waLchlng her. l wenL Lhrough my
own aparLmenL wlLhouL Lurnlng on Lhe llghLs. AL flrsL l LhoughL of lnvlLlng her over Lo my place,
buL everyLhlng was Loo neaL and orderly-Loo many sLralghL llnes Lo erase-and l knew lL wouldn'L
work here. So l wenL ouL lnLo Lhe hallway. l knocked aL her door, sofLly aL flrsL and Lhen louder.
"uoor's open!" she shouLed. She was ln her underwear, lylng on Lhe floor, arms ouLsLreLched
and legs up agalnsL Lhe couch. She LllLed her head back and looked aL me upslde down.
"Charlle, darllng! Why are you sLandlng on your head?" "never mlnd," l sald, pulllng Lhe boLLle
ouL of Lhe paper bag. "1he llnes and boxes are Loo sLralghL, and l LhoughL you'd [oln me ln
eraslng some of Lhem." "8esL sLuff ln Lhe world for LhaL," she sald. "lf you concenLraLe on Lhe
warm spoL LhaL sLarLs ln Lhe plL of your sLomach, all Lhe llnes begln Lo melL." "1haL's whaL's
happenlng." 144 "Wonderful!" She [umped Lo her feeL. "Me Loo. l danced wlLh Loo many
squares LonlghL. LeL's melL 'em all down." She plcked up a glass and l fllled lL for her. As she
drank, l sllpped my arm around her and Loyed wlLh Lhe skln of her bare back. "Pey, Lhere, boy!
Whoa! WhaL's up?" "Me. l was walLlng for you Lo come home." She backed away. "Ch, walL a
mlnuLe, Charlle boy. We've been Lhrough all Lhls before. ?ou know lL doesn'L do any good. l
mean, you know l Lhlnk a loL of you, and l'd drag you lnLo bed ln a mlnuLe lf l LhoughL Lhere was
a chance. 8uL l don'L wanL Lo geL all worked up for noLhlng. lL's noL falr, Charlle." "lL'll be
dlfferenL LonlghL. l swear lL." 8efore she could proLesL, l had her ln my arms, klsslng her,
caresslng her, overwhelmlng her wlLh all Lhe bullL-up exclLemenL LhaL was ready Lo Lear me
aparL. l Lrled Lo unhook her brasslere, buL l pulled Loo hard and Lhe hook Lore ouL. "lor Cod's
sake, Charlle, my bra-" "uon'L worry abouL your bra... " l choked, helplng her Lo Lake lL off. "l'll
buy you a new one. l'm golng Lo make up for Lhe oLher Llmes. l'm golng Lo make love Lo you all
nlghL long." She pulled away from me. "Charlle, l've never heard you Lalk llke LhaL. And sLop
looklng aL me as lf you wanL Lo swallow me whole." She swepL up a blouse from one of Lhe
chalrs, and held lL ln fronL of her. "now you're maklng me feel undressed." "l wanL Lo make love
Lo you. 1onlghL l can do lL. l know lL... l feel lL. uon'L Lurn me away, lay." "Pere," she whlspered,
"have anoLher drlnk." l Look one and poured anoLher for her, and whlle she drank lL, l covered
her shoulder and neck wlLh lasses. She began Lo breaLhe heavlly as my exclLemenL
communlcaLed lLself Lo her. "Cod, Charlle, lf you geL me sLarLed and dlsappolnL me agaln l don'L
know whaL l'll do. l'm human Loo, you know." l pulled her down beslde me on Lhe couch, on Lop
of Lhe plle of her cloLhlng and underLhlngs. "noL here on Lhe couch, Charlle," she sald,
sLruggllng Lo her feeL. "LeL's go Lo bed." "Pere," l lnslsLed, pulllng Lhe blouse away from her .143
She looked down aL me, seL her glass on Lhe floor, and sLepped ouL of her underwear. She
sLood Lhere ln fronL of me, nude. "l'll Lurn ouL Lhe llghLs," she whlspered. "no," l sald, pulllng
her down onLo Lhe couch agaln. "l wanL Lo look aL you." She klssed me deeply and held me
LlghLly ln her arms. "!usL don'L dlsappolnL me Lhls Llme, Charlle. ?ou'd beLLer noL." Per body
moved slowly, reachlng for me, and l knew LhaL Lhls Llme noLhlng would lnLerfere. l knew whaL
Lo do and how Lo do lL. She gasped and slghed and called my name. lor one momenL l had Lhe
cold feellng he was waLchlng. Cver Lhe arm of Lhe couch, l caughL a gllmpse of hls face sLarlng
back aL me Lhrough Lhe dark beyond Lhe wlndow-where [usL a few mlnuLes earller. l had been
crouchlng. A swlLch ln percepLlon, and l was ouL on Lhe flre escape agaln, waLchlng a man and a
woman lnslde, maklng love on Lhe couch. 1hen, wlLh a vlolenL efforL of Lhe wlll, l was back on
Lhe couch wlLh her, aware of her body and my own urgency and poLency, and l saw Lhe face
agalnsL Lhe wlndow, hungrlly waLchlng. And l LhoughL Lo myself, go ahead, you poor basLard-
waLch. l don'L glve a damn any more. And hls eyes wenL wlde as he waLched. !une 29 8efore l
go back Lo Lhe lab l'm golng Lo flnlsh Lhe pro[ecLs l've sLarLed slnce l lefL Lhe convenLlon. l
phoned LandsdofL aL Lhe new lnsLlLuLe for Advanced SLudy, abouL Lhe posslblllLy of uLlllzlng Lhe
palrproducLlon nuclear phoLoeffecL for exploraLory work ln blophyslcs. AL flrsL he LhoughL l was
a crackpoL, buL afLer l polnLed ouL Lhe flaws ln hls arLlcle ln Lhe new lnsLlLuLe !ournal he kepL
me on Lhe phone for nearly an hour. Pe wanLs me Lo come Lo Lhe lnsLlLuLe Lo dlscuss my ldeas
wlLh hls group. l mlghL Lake hlm up on lL afLer l've flnlshed my work aL Lhe lab-lf Lhere ls Llme.
1haL's Lhe problem, of course. l don'L know how much Llme l have. A monLh? A year? 1he resL
of my llfe? 1haL depends on whaL l flnd ouL abouL Lhe psychophyslcal slde-effecLs of Lhe
experlmenL. !une 30 l've sLopped wanderlng Lhe sLreeLs now LhaL l have lay. l've glven her a
key Lo my place. She klds me abouL my locklng Lhe door, and l kld her abouL Lhe mess her place
ls ln. She's warned me noL Lo Lry Lo change her. Per husband dlvorced her flve years ago
because she couldn'L be boLhered abouL plcklng Lhlngs up and Laklng care of her home. 1haL's
Lhe way she ls abouL mosL Lhlngs LhaL seem unlmporLanL Lo her. She [usL can'L or won'L boLher.
1he oLher day l dlscovered a sLack of parklng LlckeLs ln a corner behlnd a chalr-Lhere musL have
been forLy or flfLy of Lhem. When she came ln wlLh Lhe beer, l asked her why she was collecLlng
Lhem. "1hose!" she laughed. "As soon as my ex-husband sends me my goddamned check, l've
goL Lo pay some of Lhem. ?ou have no ldea how bad l feel abouL Lhose LlckeLs. l keep Lhem
behlnd LhaL chalr because oLherwlse l geL an aLLack of gullL feellngs every Llme l see Lhem. 8uL
whaL ls a glrl supposed Lo do? Lverywhere l go Lhey've goL slgns all over Lhe place-don'L park
here! don'L park Lhere!-l [usL can'L be boLhered sLopplng Lo read a slgn every Llme l wanL Lo geL
ouL of Lhe car." So l've promlsed l won'L Lry Lo change her. She's exclLlng Lo be wlLh. A greaL
sense of humor. 8uL mosL of all she's a free and lndependenL splrlL. 1he only Lhlng LhaL may
become wearlng afLer a whlle ls her craze for danclng. We've been ouL every nlghL Lhls week
unLll Lwo or Lhree ln Lhe mornlng. l don'L have LhaL much energy lefL. lL's noL love-buL she's
lmporLanL Lo me. l flnd myself llsLenlng for her fooLsLeps down Lhe hallway whenever she's
been ouL. Charlle has sLopped waLchlng us. !uly S-l dedlcaLed my flrsL plano concerLo Lo lay.
She was exclLed by Lhe ldea of havlng someLhlng dedlcaLed Lo her, buL l don'L Lhlnk she really
llked lL. !usL goes Lo show LhaL you can'L have everyLhlng you wanL ln one woman. Cne more
argumenL for polygamy. 1he lmporLanL Lhlng ls LhaL lay ls brlghL and goodhearLed. l learned
Loday why she ran ouL of money so early Lhls monLh. 1he week before she meL me, she had
befrlended a glrl she'd meL aL Lhe SLardusL 8allroom. When Lhe glrl Lold lay she had no famlly ln
Lhe clLy, was broke, and had no place Lo sleep, lay lnvlLed her Lo move ln. 1wo days laLer Lhe
glrl found Lhe Lwo hundred and LhlrLy-Lwo dollars LhaL lay kepL ln her dresser drawer, and
dlsappeared wlLh Lhe money. lay hadn'L reporLed lL Lo Lhe pollce-and as lL Lurned ouL, she
dldn'L even know Lhe glrl's lasL name. "WhaL good would lL do Lo noLlfy Lhe pollce?" she wanLed
Lo know. "l mean Lhls poor blLch musL have needed Lhe money preLLy badly Lo do lL. l'm noL
golng Lo ruln her llfe over a few hundred bucks. l'm noL rlch or anyLhlng, buL l'm noL golng afLer
her skln lf you know whaL l mean." l knew whaL she meanL. l have never meL anyone as open
and LrusLlng as lay ls. She's whaL l need mosL of all rlghL now. l've been sLarved for slmple
human conLacL. !uly 8-noL much Llme for work-beLween Lhe nlghLly club-hopplng and Lhe
mornlng hangovers. lL was only wlLh asplrln and someLhlng lay concocLed for me LhaL l was
able Lo flnlsh my llngulsLlc analysls of urdu verb forms and send Lhe paper Lo Lhe lnLernaLlonal
LlngulsLlcs 8ulleLln. lL wlll send Lhe llngulsLs back Lo lndla wlLh Lhelr Lape recorders, because lL
undermlnes Lhe crlLlcal supersLrucLure of Lhelr meLhodology. l can'L help buL admlre Lhe
sLrucLural llngulsLs who have carved ouL for Lhemselves a llngulsLlc dlsclpllne based on Lhe
deLerloraLlon of wrlLLen communlcaLlon. AnoLher case of men devoLlng Lhelr llves Lo sLudylng
more and more abouL less and less-fllllng volumes and llbrarles wlLh Lhe subLle llngulsLlc
analysls of Lhe grunL. noLhlng wrong wlLh LhaL, buL lL should noL be used as an excuse Lo
desLroy Lhe sLablllLy of language. Allce called Loday Lo flnd ouL when l am comlng back Lo work
aL Lhe lab. l Lold her l wanLed Lo flnlsh Lhe pro[ecLs l had sLarLed, and LhaL l was hoplng Lo geL
permlsslon from Lhe Welberg loundaLlon for my own speclal sLudy. She's rlghL Lhough-l've goL
Lo Lake Llme lnLo conslderaLlon. lay sLlll wanLs Lo go ouL danclng all Lhe Llme. LasL nlghL sLarLed
ouL wlLh us drlnklng and danclng aL Lhe WhlLe Porse Club, and from Lhere Lo 8enny's Pldeaway,
and Lhen on Lo Lhe lnk Sllpper... and afLer LhaL l don'L remember many of Lhe places, buL we
danced unLll l was ready Lo drop. My Lolerance for llquor musL have lncreased because l was
preLLy far gone before Charlle made hls appearance. l can only recall hlm dolng a sllly Lap dance
on Lhe sLage of Lhe Allakazam Club. Pe goL a greaL hand before Lhe manager Lhrew us ouL, and
lay sald everyone LhoughL l was a wonderful comedlan and everyone llked my moron acL. WhaL
Lhe hell happened Lhen? l know l sLralned my back. l LhoughL lL was from all Lhe danclng, buL
lay says l fell off Lhe goddamned couch. Algernon's behavlor ls becomlng erraLlc agaln. Mlnnle
seems Lo be afrald of hlm. !uly 9-A Lerrlble Lhlng happened Loday. Algernon blL lay. l had
warned her agalnsL playlng wlLh hlm, buL she always llked Lo feed hlm. usually when she came
lnLo hls room, he'd perk up and run Lo her. 1oday lL was dlfferenL. Pe was aL Lhe far slde, curled
up lnLo a whlLe puff. When she puL her hand ln Lhrough Lhe Lop Lrap door, he crlnged and
forced hlmself back lnLo Lhe corner. She Lrled Lo coax hlm, by openlng Lhe barrler Lo Lhe maze,
and before l could Lell her Lo leave hlm alone, she made Lhe mlsLake of Lrylng Lo plck hlm up. Pe
blL her Lhumb. 1hen he glared aL boLh of us and scurrled back lnLo Lhe maze. We found Mlnnle
aL Lhe oLher end ln Lhe reward box. She was bleedlng from a gash ln her chesL, buL she was
allve. As l reached ln Lo Lake her ouL Algernon came lnLo Lhe reward box and snapped aL me. Pls
LeeLh caughL my sleeve and he hung on unLll l shook hlm loose. Pe calmed down afLer LhaL. l
observed hlm for more Lhan an hour afLerward. Pe seems llsLless and confused, and Lhough he
sLlll learns new problems wlLhouL exLernal rewards, hls performance ls pecullar. lnsLead of Lhe
careful, deLermlned movemenLs down Lhe maze corrldors, hls acLlons are rushed and ouL of
conLrol. 1lme and agaln he Lurns lnLo a corner Loo qulckly and crashes lnLo a barrler. 1here ls a
sLrange sense of urgency ln hls behavlor. l heslLaLe Lo make a snap [udgmenL. lL could be many
Lhlngs. 8uL now l've goL Lo geL hlm back Lo Lhe lab. WheLher or noL l hear from Lhe loundaLlon
abouL my speclal granL, l'm golng Lo call nemur ln Lhe mornlng .149 r 8CC8LSS 8LC81 13 !uly
12 nemur, SLrauss, 8urL, and a few of Lhe oLhers on Lhe pro[ecL were walLlng for me ln Lhe
psych offlce. 1hey Lrled Lo make me feel welcome buL l could see how anxlous 8urL was Lo Lake
Algernon, and l Lurned hlm over. no one sald anyLhlng, buL l knew LhaL nemur would noL soon
forglve me for golng over hls head and geLLlng ln Louch wlLh Lhe loundaLlon. 8uL lL had been
necessary. 8efore l reLurned Lo 8eekman, l had Lo be assured Lhey would permlL me Lo begln an
lndependenL sLudy of Lhe pro[ecL. 1oo much Llme would be wasLed lf l had Lo accounL Lo nemur
for everyLhlng l dld. Pe had been lnformed of Lhe loundaLlon's declslon, and my recepLlon was
a cold and formal one. Pe held ouL hls hand, buL Lhere was no smlle on hls face. "Charlle," be
sald, "we're all glad you're back and golng Lo work wlLh us. !ayson called and Lold me Lhe
loundaLlon was puLLlng you Lo work on Lhe pro[ecL. 1hls sLaff and Lhe lab are aL your dlsposal.
1he compuLer cenLer has assured us LhaL your work wlll have prlorlLy-and of course lf l can help
ln anyway.. " Pe was dolng hls uLmosL Lo be cordlal, buL l could see by hls face LhaL he was
skepLlcal. AfLer all, whaL experlence dld l have wlLh experlmenLal psychology? WhaL dld l know
abouL Lhe Lechnlques LhaL he had spenL so many years developlng? Well, as l say, he appeared
cordlal, and wllllng Lo suspend [udgmenL. 1here lsn'L much else he can do now. lf l don'L come
up wlLh an explanaLlon for Algernon's behavlor, all of hls work goes down Lhe draln, buL lf l
solve Lhe problem l brlng ln Lhe whole crew wlLh me. l wenL lnLo Lhe lab where 8urL was
waLchlng Algernon ln one of Lhe mulLlple problem boxes. Pe slghed and shook hls head. "Pe's
forgoLLen a loL. MosL of hls complex responses seem Lo have been wlped ouL. Pe's solvlng
problems on a much more prlmlLlve level Lhan l would have expecLed." 130 "ln whaL way?" l
asked. "Well, ln Lhe pasL he was able Lo flgure ouL slmple paLLerns-ln LhaL bllnd-door run, for
example: every oLher door, every Lhlrd door, red doors only, or Lhe green doors only=buL now
he's been Lhrough LhaL run Lhree Llmes and he's sLlll uslng Lrlal and error." "Could lL be because
he was away from Lhe lab for so long?" "Could be. We'll leL hlm geL used Lo Lhlngs agaln and see
how he works ouL Lomorrow." l had been ln Lhe lab many Llmes before Lhls, buL now l was here
Lo learn everyLhlng lL had Lo offer. l had Lo absorb procedures ln a few days LhaL Lhe oLhers had
Laken years Lo learn. 8urL and. l spenL four hours golng Lhrough Lhe lab secLlon by secLlon, as l
Lrled Lo famlllarlze myself wlLh Lhe LoLal plcLure. When we were all Lhrough l noLlced one door
we had noL looked lnLo. "WhaL's ln Lhere?" "1he freeze and Lhe lnclneraLor." Pe pushed open
Lhe heavy door and Lurned on Lhe llghL. "We freeze our speclmens before we dlspose of Lhem
ln Lhe lnclneraLor. lL helps cuL down Lhe odors lf we conLrol decomposlLlon." Pe Lurned Lo
leave, buL l sLood Lhere for a momenL. "noL Algernon," l sald. "Look... lf and... when... l mean l
don'L wanL hlm dumped ln Lhere. Clve hlm Lo me. l'll Lake care of hlm myself." Pe dldn'L laugh.
Pe [usL nodded. nemur had Lold hlm LhaL from now on l could have anyLhlng l wanLed. 1lme
was Lhe barrler. lf l was golng Lo flnd ouL Lhe answers for myself l had Lo geL Lo work
lmmedlaLely. l goL llsLs of books from 8urL, and noLes from SLrauss and nemur. 1hen, on Lhe
way ouL, l goL a sLrange noLlon. "1ell me," l asked nemur, "l [usL goL a look aL your lnclneraLor
for dlsposlng of experlmenLal anlmals. WhaL plans have been made for me?" My quesLlon
sLunned hlm. "WhaL do you mean?" "l'm sure LhaL from Lhe beglnnlng you planned for all
exlgencles. So whaL happens Lo me?" When he was sllenL l lnslsLed: "l have a rlghL Lo know
everyLhlng LhaL perLalns Lo Lhe experlmenL, and LhaL lncludes my fuLure." "no reason why you
shouldn'L know." Pe paused and llL an already llL clgareLLe. "?ou undersLand, of course, LhaL
from Lhe beglnnlng we had Lhe hlghesL hopes of permanence, and we sLlll do... we deflnlLely
do-" "l'm sure of LhaL," l sald. "Cf course, Laklng you on ln Lhls experlmenL was a serlous
responslblllLy. l don'L know how much you remember or how much you've pleced LogeLher
abouL Lhlngs ln Lhe beglnnlng of Lhe pro[ecL, buL we Lrled Lo make lL clear Lo you LhaL Lhere was
a sLrong chance lL mlghL be only Lemporary" "l had. LhaL wrlLLen down ln my progress reporLs,
aL Lhe Llme," l agreed, "Lhough l dldn'L undersLand aL Lhe Llme whaL you meanL by lL. 8uL LhaL's
beslde Lhe polnL because l'm aware of lL now." "Well, we declded Lo rlsk lL wlLh you," he wenL
on, "because we felL Lhere was very llLLle chance of dolng you any serlous harm, and we were
sure Lhere was a greaL chance of dolng you some good." "?ou don'L have Lo [usLlfy LhaL." "8uL
you reallze we had Lo geL permlsslon from someone ln your lmmedlaLe famlly. ?ou were
lncompeLenL Lo agree Lo Lhls yourself." "l know all abouL LhaL. ?ou're Lalklng abouL my slsLer,
norma. l read abouL lL ln Lhe papers. lrom whaL l remember of her, l lmaglne she'd have glven
you approval for my execuLlon." Pe ralsed hls eyebrows, buL leL lL pass. "Well, as we Lold her, ln
Lhe evenL LhaL Lhe experlmenL falled, we couldn'L send you back Lo Lhe bakery or Lo LhaL room
where you came from." "Why noL?" "lor one Lhlng, you mlghL noL be Lhe same. Surgery and
ln[ecLlons of hormones mlghL have had effecLs noL lmmedlaLely evldenL. Lxperlences slnce Lhe
operaLlon mlghL have lefL Lhelr mark on you. l mean, posslbly emoLlonal dlsLurbances Lo
compllcaLe Lhe reLardaLlon, you couldn'L posslbly be Lhe same klnd of person-" "1haL's greaL. As
lf one cross weren'L enough Lo bear." "And for anoLher Lhlng Lhere's no way of knowlng lf you
would go back Lo Lhe same menLal level. 1here mlghL be regresslon Lo an even more prlmlLlve
level of funcLlonlng." was leLLlng me have Lhe worsL of lL geLLlng Lhe 132 welghL off hls mlnd. "l
mlghL as well know everyLhlng," l sald, "whlle l'm sLlll ln a poslLlon Lo have some say abouL lL.
WhaL plans have you made for me?" Pe shrugged. "1he loundaLlon has arranged Lo send you
Lo Lhe Warren SLaLe Pome and 1ralnlng School." "WhaL Lhe hell!" "arL of Lhe agreemenL wlLh
your slsLer was LhaL all Lhe home's fees would be assumed by Lhe loundaLlon, and you would
recelve a regular monLhly lncome Lo be used for your personal needs for Lhe resL of your llfe."
"8uL why Lhere? l was always able Lo manage on my own on Lhe ouLslde, even when Lhey
commlLLed me Lhere, afLer uncle Perman dled. uonner was able Lo geL me ouL rlghL away, Lo
work and llve on Lhe ouLslde. Why do l have Lo go back?" "lf you can Lake care of yourself on
Lhe ouLslde, you won'L have Lo sLay ln Warren. 1he less severe cases are permlLLed Lo llve off
Lhe grounds. 8uL we had Lo make provlslon for you [usL ln case." Pe was rlghL. 1here was
noLhlng for me Lo complaln abouL. 1hey had LhoughL of everyLhlng. Warren was Lhe loglcal
place-Lhe deep freeze where l could be puL away for Lhe resL of my days. "AL leasL lL's noL Lhe
lnclneraLor," l sald. "WhaL?" "never mlnd. A prlvaLe [oke." 1hen l LhoughL of someLhlng. "1ell
me, ls lL posslble Lo vlslL Warren, l mean go Lhrough Lhe place and look lL over as a vlslLor?"
"?es, l Lhlnk Lhey have people comlng down all Lhe Llme-regular Lours Lhrough Lhe home as a
klnd of publlc relaLlons Lhlng. 8uL why?" "8ecause l wanL Lo see. l've goL Lo know whaL's golng
Lo happen whlle l'm sLlll enough ln conLrol Lo be able Lo do someLhlng abouL lL. See lf you can
arrange lL as soon as posslble." l could see he was upseL abouL Lhe ldea of my vlslLlng Warren.
As lf l were orderlng my coffln Lo slL ln before l dled. 8uL Lhen, l can'L blame hlm because he
doesn'L reallze LhaL flndlng ouL who l really am-Lhe meanlng of my LoLal exlsLence lnvolves
knowlng Lhe posslblllLles of my fuLure as well as my pasL, where l'm golng as well as where l've
been. AlLhough we know Lhe end of Lhe maze holds deaLh (and lL ls someLhlng l have noL
always known--noL 133 long ago Lhe adolescenL ln me LhoughL deaLh could happen only Lo
oLher people), l see now LhaL Lhe paLh l choose Lhrough LhaL maze makes me whaL l am. l am
noL only a Lhlng, buL also a way of belng-one of many ways-and knowlng Lhe paLhs l have
followed and Lhe ones lefL Lo Lake wlll help me undersLand whaL l am becomln 1haL evenlng
and for Lhe nexL few days l lmmersed myself ln psychology LexLs: cllnlcal, personallLy,
psychomeLrlcs, learnlng, experlmenLal psychology, anlmal psychology, physlologlcal psychology,
behavlorlsL, gesLalL, analyLlcal, funcLlonal, dynamlc, organlsmlc, and all Lhe resL of Lhe anclenL
and modern facLlons, schools, and sysLems of LhoughL. 1he depresslng Lhlng ls LhaL so many of
Lhe ldeas on whlch our psychologlsLs base Lhelr bellefs abouL human lnLelllgence, memory, and
learnlng are all wlshful Lhlnklng. lay wanLs Lo come down and vlslL Lhe lab, buL l've Lold her noL
Lo. All l need now ls for Allce and lay Lo run lnLo each oLher. l've enough Lo worry abouL
wlLhouL LhaL.
8CC8LSS 8LC81 16
!uly 14 lL was a bad day Lo go ouL Lo Warren-gray and drlzzly-and LhaL may accounL for Lhe
depresslon LhaL grlps me when l Lhlnk abouL lL. Cr perhaps l'm klddlng myself and lL was Lhe
ldea of posslbly belng senL Lhere LhaL boLhered me. l borrowed 8urL's car. Allce wanLed Lo come
along, buL l had Lo see lL alone. l dldn'L Lell lay l was golng. lL was an hour-and-a-half drlve ouL
Lo Lhe farmland communlLy of Warren, Long lsland, and l had no Lrouble flndlng Lhe place: a
sprawllng gray esLaLe revealed Lo Lhe world only by an enLrance of Lwo concreLe plllars flanklng
a narrow slde-road and a well-pollshed brass plaLe wlLh Lhe name Warren SLaLe Pome and
1ralnlng School. 1he roadslde slgn sald 13 nsrx, so l drove slowly pasL Lhe blocks of bulldlngs
looklng for Lhe admlnlsLraLlve offlces. A LracLor came across Lhe meadow 134 and ln addlLlon Lo
Lhe man aL Lhe wheel Lhere were Lwo oLhers hanglng on Lhe rear. l sLuck ouL my head and
called: "Can you Lell me where Mr. Wlnslow's offlce ls?" 1he drlver sLopped Lhe LracLor and
polnLed Lo Lhe lefL and ahead. "Maln PosplLal. 1urn lefL and bear Lo your rlghL." l couldn'L help
noLlclng Lhe sLarlng young man rldlng aL Lhe rear of Lhe LracLor, hanglng on Lo a handrall. Pe
was unshaven, and Lhere was Lhe Lrace of an empLy smlle. Pe had on a sallor's haL wlLh Lhe
brlm pulled down chlldlshly Lo shleld hls eyes, alLhough Lhere was no sun ouL. l caughL hls
glance for a momenL-hls eyes wlde, lnqulrlng-buL l had Lo look away. When Lhe LracLor sLarLed
forward agaln, l could see ln Lhe rear vlew mlrror LhaL he was looklng afLer me, curlously. lL
upseL me... because he remlnded me of Charlle. l was sLarLled Lo flnd Lhe head psychologlsL so
young, a Lall, lean man wlLh a Llred look on hls face. 8uL hls sLeady blue eyes suggesLed a
sLrengLh behlnd Lhe youLhful expresslon. Pe drove me around Lhe grounds ln hls own car, and
polnLed ouL Lhe recreaLlon hall, hosplLal, school, admlnlsLraLlve offlces, and Lhe Lwo-sLory brlck
bulldlngs he called coLLages where Lhe paLlenLs llved. "l dldn'L noLlce a fence around Warren," l
sald. "no, only a gaLe aL Lhe enLrance and hedges Lo keep ouL curloslLy seekers." "8uL how do
you keep... Lhem... from wanderlng off... from leavlng Lhe grounds?" Pe shrugged and smlled.
"We can'L, really. Some of Lhem do wander off, buL mosL of Lhem reLurn." "uon'L you go afLer
Lhem?" Pe looked aL me as lf Lrylng Lo guess whaL was behlnd my quesLlon. "no. lf Lhey geL lnLo
Lrouble, we soon know abouL lL from Lhe people ln Lown-or Lhe pollce brlng Lhem back." "And lf
noL?" "lf we don'L hear abouL Lhem, or from Lhem, we assume Lhey've made some saLlsfacLory
ad[usLmenL on Lhe ouLslde. ?ou've goL Lo undersLand, Mr. Cordon, Lhls lsn'L a prlson. We are
requlred by Lhe sLaLe Lo make all reasonable efforLs Lo geL our paLlenLs back, buL we're noL
equlpped Lo closely supervlse four Lhousand people aL all 133 Llmes. 1he ones who manage Lo
leave are all hlgh-moron Lypes-noL LhaL we're geLLlng many of Lhose any more. now we geL
more of Lhe braln-damaged cases who requlre consLanL cusLodlal care-buL Lhe hlgh-morons can
move around more freely, and afLer a week or so on Lhe ouLslde mosL of Lhem come back when
Lhey flnd Lhere's noLhlng for Lhem ouL Lhere. 1he world doesn'L wanL Lhem and Lhey soon know
lL." We goL ouL of Lhe car and walked over Lo one of Lhe coLLages. lnslde, Lhe walls were whlLe
Llle, and Lhe bulldlng had a dlslnfecLanL smell Lo lL. 1he flrsL-floor lobby opened up Lo a
recreaLlon room fllled wlLh some sevenLy-flve boys slLLlng around walLlng for Lhe lunch bell Lo
be sounded. WhaL caughL my eye lmmedlaLely was one of Lhe blgger boys on a chalr ln Lhe
corner, cradllng one of Lhe oLher boys-fourLeen or flfLeen years oldcuddllng hlm ln hls arms.
1hey all Lurned Lo look as we enLered, and some of Lhe bolder ones came over and sLared aL
me. "uon'L mlnd Lhem," he sald, seelng my expresslon. "1hey won'L hurL you" 1he woman ln
charge of Lhe floor, a large-boned, handsome woman, wlLh rolled up shlrL sleeves and a denlm
apron over her sLarched whlLe sklrL, came up Lo us. AL her belL was a rlng of keys LhaL [angled as
she moved, and only when she Lurned dld l see LhaL Lhe lefL slde of her face was covered by a
large, wlne-colored blrLhmark. "uldn'L expecL any company Loday, 8ay," she sald. "?ou usually
brlng your vlslLors on 1hursdays." `1hls ls Mr. Cordon, 1helma, from 8eekman unlverslLy. Pe
[usL wanLs Lo look around and geL an ldea of Lhe work we're dolng here. l knew lL wouldn'L
make any dlfference wlLh you, 1helma. Any day ls all rlghL wlLh you." "?eah," she laughed
sLrongly, "buL Wednesday we Lurn Lhe maLLresses. lL smells a loL beLLer here on 1hursday." l
noLlced LhaL she kepL Lo my lefL so LhaL Lhe bloLch on her face was hldden. She Look me Lhrough
Lhe dormlLory, Lhe laundry, Lhe supply rooms, and Lhe dlnlng hall-now seL and walLlng for Lhe
food Lo be dellvered from Lhe cenLral commlssary. She smlled as she Lalked, and her expresslon
and Lhe halr plled ln a bun hlgh on her head made her 136 look llke a LauLrec dancer buL she
never looked sLralghL aL me. l wondered whaL lL would be llke llvlng here wlLh her Lo waLch over
me. "1hey're preLLy good here ln Lhls bulldlng," she sald. "8uL you know whaL lL ls. 1hree
hundred boys--sevenLyflve on a floor-and only flve of us Lo look afLer Lhem. lL's noL easy Lo keep
Lhem under conLrol. 8uL lL's a loL beLLer Lhan Lhe unLldy coLLages. 1he sLaff Lhere doesn'L lasL
very long. WlLh bables you don'L mlnd so much, buL when Lhey geL Lo be adulLs and sLlll can'L
care for Lhemselves, lL can be a nasLy moss" "?ou seem Lo be a very nlce person," l sald. "1he
boys are forLunaLe Lo have you as Lhelr house-supervlsor." She laughed hearLlly sLlll looklng
sLralghL ahead, and showed her whlLe LeeLh. "no beLLer or worse Lhan Lhe resL. l'm very fond of
my boys. lL's noL easy work, buL lL's rewardlng when you Lhlnk how much Lhey need you." 1he
smlle lefL her for a momenL. "normal klds grow up Loo soon, sLop needlng you... go off on Lhelr
own... forgeL who loved Lhem and Look care of Lhem. 8uL Lhese chlldren need all you can glve-
all of Lhelr llves." She laughed agaln, embarrassed aL her serlousness. "lL's hard work here, buL
worLh lL." 8ack downsLalrs, where Wlnslow was walLlng for us, Lhe dlnner bell sounded, and Lhe
boys flled lnLo Lhe dlnlng room. l noLlced LhaL Lhe blg boy who had held Lhe smaller one ln hls
lap was now leadlng hlm Lo Lhe Lable by Lhe hand. "CulLe a Lhlng," l sald, noddlng ln LhaL
dlrecLlon. Wlnslow nodded Loo. "!erry's Lhe blg one, and LhaL's uusLy. We see LhaL sorL of Lhlng
ofLen here. When Lhere's no one else who has Llme for Lhem, someLlmes Lhey know enough Lo
seek human conLacL and affecLlon from each oLher." As we passed one of Lhe oLher coLLages on
our way Lo Lhe school, l heard a shrlek followed by a walllng, plcked up and echoed by Lwo or
Lhree oLher volces. 1here were bars on Lhe wlndows. Wlnslow looked uncomforLable for Lhe
flrsL Llme LhaL mornlng. "Speclal securlLy coLLage," he explalned. "LmoLlonally dlsLurbed
reLardaLes. When Lhere's a chance Lhey'll barm Lhemselves or oLhers, we puL Lhem ln CoLLage k.
Locked up aL all Llmes." `LmoLlonally dlsLurbed paLlenLs here? uon'L Lhey belong ln psychlaLrlc
hosplLals?" "Ch, sure," he sald, "buL lL's a dlfflculL Lhlng Lo conLrol. Some, Lhe borderllne
emoLlonally dlsLurbed, don'L break down unLll afLer Lhey've been here for a whlle. CLhers were
commlLLed by Lhe courLs, and we had no cholce buL Lo admlL Lhem even Lhough Lhere's really
no room for Lhem. 1he real problem ls LhaL Lhere's no room for anyone anywhere. uo you know
how long our own walLlng llsL ls? lourLeen hundred. And we may have room for LwenLy-flve or
LhlrLy of Lhem by Lhe end of Lhe year." "Where are Lhose fourLeen hundred now?" "Pome. Cn
Lhe ouLslde, walLlng for an openlng here or ln some oLher lnsLlLuLlon. ?ou see, our space
problem ls noL llke Lhe usual hosplLal overcrowdlng. Cur paLlenLs usually come here Lo sLay for
Lhe resL of Lhelr llves." As we arrlved aL Lhe new school bulldlng, a one-sLory glass-and-concreLe
sLrucLure wlLh large plcLure wlndows, l Lrled Lo lmaglne whaL lL would be llke walklng Lhrough
Lhese corrldors as a paLlenL. l vlsuallzed myself ln Lhe mlddle of a llne of men and boys walLlng
Lo enLer a classroom. erhaps l'd be one of Lhose pushlng anoLher boy ln a wheelchalr, or
guldlng someone else by Lhe hand, or cuddllng a smaller boy ln my arms. ln one of Lhe
woodworklng classrooms, where a group of older boys were maklng benches under a Leacher's
supervlslon, Lhey clusLered around us, eyelng me curlously. 1he Leacher puL down Lhe saw and
came Lowards us. "1hls ls Mr. Cordon from 8eekman unlverslLy," sald Wlnslow. "WanLs Lo look
over some of our paLlenLs. Pe's Lhlnklng of buylng Lhe place." 1he Leacher laughed and waved
aL hls puplls. "Well, lf he b-buys lL, he's g-goL Lo L-Lake us wlLh lL. And he's g-goL Lo geL us some
more w-wood Lo w-work wlLh." As he showed me around Lhe shop, l noLlced how sLrangely
quleL Lhe boys were. 1hey wenL on wlLh Lhelr work of sandlng or varnlshlng Lhe newly flnlshed
benches, buL Lhey dldn'L Lalk. "1hese are my s-sllenL b-boys, you know," he sald, as lf he sensed
my unspoken quesLlon. "u-deaf m-muLes." "We have a hundred and slx of Lhem here,"
explalned Wlnslow, "as a speclal sLudy sponsored by Lhe federal governmenL." 138 WhaL an
lncredlble Lhlng! Pow much less Lhey had Lhan oLher human belngs. MenLally reLarded, deaf,
muLe-and sLlll eagerly sandlng benches. Cne of Lhe boys who had been LlghLenlng a block of
wood ln a vlse, sLopped whaL he was dolng, Lapped Wlnslow on Lhe arm, and polnLed Lo Lhe
corner where a number of flnlshed ob[ecLs were drylng on dlsplay shelves. 1he boy polnLed Lo a
lamp base on Lhe second shelf, and Lhen Lo hlmself. lL was a poor [ob, unsLeady, Lhe paLches of
wood-flller showlng Lhrough, and Lhe varnlsh heavy and uneven. Wlnslow and Lhe Leacher
pralsed lL enLhuslasLlcally, and Lhe boy smlled proudly and looked aL me, walLlng for my pralse
Loo. "?es," l nodded, mouLhlng Lhe words exaggeraLedly, "very good... very nlce." l sald lL
because he needed lL, buL l felL hollow. 1he boy smlled aL me, and when we Lurned Lo leave he
came over and Louched my arm as a way of saylng good-bye. lL choked me up, and l had a greaL
deal of dlfflculLy conLrolllng my emoLlons unLll we were ouL ln Lhe corrldor agaln. 1he prlnclpal
of Lhe school was a shorL, plump, moLherly lady who saL me down ln fronL of a neaLly leLLered
charL, showlng Lhe varlous Lypes of paLlenLs, Lhe number of faculLy asslgned Lo each caLegory,
and Lhe sub[ecLs Lhey sLudled. "Cf course," she explalned, "we don'L geL many of Lhe upper l. C.
's any more. 1hey're Laken care of-Lhe slxLy and sevenLy l. C.'s-more and more ln Lhe clLy
schools ln speclal classes, or else Lhere are communlLy faclllLles for carlng for Lhem. MosL of Lhe
ones we geL are able Lo llve ouL, ln fosLer homes, boardlng houses, and do slmple work on Lhe
farms or ln a menlal capaclLy ln facLorles or laundrles-" "Cr bakerles," l suggesLed. She frowned.
"?es, l guess Lhey mlghL be able Lo do LhaL. now, we also classlfy our chlldren (l call Lhem all
chlldren, no maLLer whaL Lhelr ages are, Lhey're all chlldren here), we classlfy Lhem as Lldy or
unLldy. lL makes Lhe admlnlsLraLlon of Lhelr coLLages a loL easler lf Lhey can be kepL wlLh Lhelr
own levels. Some of Lhe unLldles axe severely braln-damaged cases, kepL ln crlbs, and Lhey wlll
be cared for LhaL way for Lhe resL of Lhelr llves..." 139 "Cr unLll sclence flnds a way Lo help
Lhem." "Ch," she smlled, explalnlng Lo me carefully, "l'm afrald Lhese are beyond help." "no
one ls beyond help." She peered aL me, uncerLalnly now. "?es, yes, of course, you're rlghL. We
musL have hope." l made her nervous. l smlled Lo myself aL Lhe LhoughL of how lL would be lf
Lhey broughL me back here as one of her chlldren. Would l be Lldy or noL? 8ack aL Wlnslows
offlce, we had coffee as he Lalked abouL hls work. "lL's a good place," he sald. "We have no
psychlaLrlsLs on our sLaff-only an ouLslde consulLlng man who comes ln once every Lwo weeks.
8uL lL's [usL as well. Lvery one of Lhe psych sLaff ls dedlcaLed Lo hls work. l could have hlred a
psychlaLrlsL, buL aL Lhe prlce l'd have Lo pay l'm able Lo hlre Lwo psychologlsLs-men who aren'L
afrald Lo glve away a parL of Lhemselves Lo Lhese people." "WhaL do you mean by `a parL of
Lhemselves'?" Pe sLudled me for a momenL, and Lhen Lhrough Lhe Llredness flashed an anger.
"1here are a loL of people who wlll glve money or maLerlals, buL very few who wlll glve Llme
and affecLlon. 1haL's whaL l mean." Pls volce grew harsh, and he polnLed Lo an empLy baby
boLLle on Lhe bookshelf across Lhe room. "?ou see LhaL boLLle?" l Lold hlm l had wondered
abouL lL when we came lnLo hls offlce. "Well, how many people do you know who are prepared
Lo Lake a grown man lnLo hls arms and leL hlm nurse wlLh Lhe boLLle? And Lake Lhe chance of
havlng Lhe paLlenL urlnaLe or defecaLe all over hlm? ?ou look surprlsed. ?ou can'L undersLand lL,
can you, from way up Lhere ln your research lvory Lower? WhaL do you know abouL belng shuL
ouL from every human experlence as our paLlenLs have been?" l couldn'L resLraln a smlle, and
he apparenLly mlsundersLood, because he sLood up and ended Lhe conversaLlon abrupLly. lf l
come back here Lo sLay, and he flnds ouL Lhe whole sLory, l'm sure he'll undersLand. Pe's Lhe
klnd of man who would. As l drove ouL of Warren, l dldn'L know whaL Lo Lhlnk. 1he feellng of
cold grayness was everywhere around me-a sense of reslgnaLlon. 1here had been no Lalk of
rehablllLaLlon, of cure, of someday sendlng Lhese people ouL lnLo Lhe world agaln. no one had
spoken of hope. 1he feellng was of llvlng deaLh-or worse, of never havlng been fully allve and
knowlng. Souls wlLhered from Lhe beglnnlng, and doomed Lo sLare lnLo Lhe Llme and space of
every day. l wondered abouL Lhe house-moLher wlLh her redbloLched face, and Lhe sLuLLerlng
shop Leacher, and Lhe moLherly prlnclpal, and youLhful Llred-looklng psychologlsL, and wlshed l
knew how Lhey had found Lhelr way here Lo work and dedlcaLe Lhemselves Lo Lhese sllenL
mlnds. Llke Lhe boy who held Lhe younger one ln hls arms, each had found a fulflllmenL ln glvlng
away a parL of hlmself Lo Lhose who had less. And whaL abouL Lhe Lhlngs l wasn'L shown? l may
soon be comlng Lo Warren, Lo spend Lhe resL of my llfe wlLh Lhe oLhers... walLlng. !uly lS-l've
been puLLlng off a vlslL Lo my moLher. l wanL Lo see her and l don'L. noL unLll l'm sure whaL ls
golng Lo happen Lo me. LeL's see flrsL how Lhe work goes and whaL l dlscover. Algernon refuses
Lo run Lhe maze any more, general moLlvaLlon has decreased. l sLopped off agaln Loday Lo see
hlm, and Lhls Llme SLrauss was Lhere Loo. 8oLh he and nemur looked dlsLurbed as Lhey waLched
8urL force-feed hlm. SLrange Lo see Lhe llLLle puff of whlLe clamped down on Lhe workLable and
8urL forclng Lhe food down hls LhroaL wlLh an eye-dropper. lf lL keeps up Lhls way, Lhey'll have
Lo sLarL feedlng hlm by ln[ecLlon. WaLchlng Algernon squlrm under Lhose Llny bands Lhls
afLernoon, l felL Lhem around my own arms and legs. l sLarLed Lo gag and choke, and l had Lo
geL ouL of Lhe lab for fresh alr. l've goL Lo sLop ldenLlfylng wlLh hlm. l wenL down Lo Murray's
8ar and had a few drlnks. And Lhen l called lay and we made Lhe rounds. lay ls annoyed LhaL
l've sLopped Laklng her ouL danclng, and she goL angry and walked ouL on me lasL nlghL. She has
no ldea of my work and no lnLeresL ln lL, and when l do Lry Lo Lalk Lo her abouL lL she makes no
aLLempL Lo hlde her boredom. She [usL can'L be boLhered, and l can'L blame 161 her. She's
lnLeresLed ln only Lhree Lhlngs LhaL l can see: danclng, palnLlng, and sex. And Lhe only Lhlng we
really have ln common ls sex. lL's foollsh of me Lo Lry Lo lnLeresL her ln my work. So she goes
danclng wlLhouL me. She Lold me LhaL Lhe oLher nlghL she dreamed she had come lnLo Lhe
aparLmenL and seL flre Lo all my books and noLes, and LhaL we wenL off danclng around Lhe
flames. l've goL Lo waLch ouL. She's becomlng possesslve. l [usL reallzed LonlghL LhaL my own
place ls sLarLlng Lo resemble her aparLmenL-a mess. l've goL Lo cuL down on Lhe drlnklng. !uly
16-Allce meL lay lasL nlghL. l'd been concerned abouL whaL would happen lf Lhey came face Lo
face. Allce came Lo see me afLer she found ouL abouL Algernon from 8urL. She knows whaL lL
may mean, and she sLlll feels responslble for havlng encouraged me ln Lhe flrsL place. We had
coffee and we Lalked laLe. l knew LhaL lay had gone ouL danclng aL Lhe SLardusL 8allroom, so l
dldn'L expecL her home so early. 8uL aL abouL one forLy-flve ln Lhe mornlng we were sLarLled by
lay's sudden appearance on Lhe flreescape. She Lapped, pushed open Lhe half-open wlndow
and came walLzlng lnLo Lhe room wlLh a boLLle ln her hand. "Crashlng Lhe parLy," she sald.
"8roughL my own refreshmenLs." l had Lold her abouL Allce worklng on Lhe pro[ecL aL Lhe
unlverslLy, and l had menLloned lay Lo Allce earller-so Lhey weren'L surprlsed Lo meeL. 8uL afLer
a few seconds of slzlng each oLher up, Lhey sLarLed Lalklng abouL arL and me, and for all Lhey
cared l could have been anywhere else ln Lhe world. 1hey llked each oLher. "l'll geL Lhe coffee," l
sald, and wandered ouL Lo Lhe klLchen Lo leave Lhem alone. When l came back, lay had Laken
off her shoes and was slLLlng on Lhe floor, slpplng gln ouL of Lhe boLLle. She was explalnlng Lo
Allce LhaL as far as she was concerned Lhere was noLhlng more valuable Lo Lhe human body
Lhan sunbaLhlng, and LhaL nudlsL colonles were Lhe answer Lo Lhe world's moral problems. Allce
was laughlng hysLerlcally aL lay's suggesLlon LhaL we all [oln a nudlsL colony, and she leaned
over and accepLed a drlnk LhaL lay poured for her. We saL and Lalked unLll dawn, and l lnslsLed
on seelng Allce home. When she proLesLed LhaL lL wasn'L necessary, lay lnslsLed LhaL she would
be a fool Lo go ouL alone ln Lhe clLy aL Lhls hour. So l wenL down and halled a cab. "1here's
someLhlng abouL her," sald Allce on Lhe way home. "l don'L know whaL lL ls. Per frankness, her
open LrusL, her unselflshness..:' l agreed. "And she loves you," sald Allce. "no. She loves
everyone," l lnslsLed. "l'm [usL Lhe nelghbor across Lhe hall." "Aren'L you ln love wlLh her?" l
shook my head. "?ou're Lhe only woman l've ever loved." "LeL's noL Lalk abouL LhaL" "1hen
you've cuL me off from an lmporLanL source of conversaLlon." "Cnly one Lhlng l'm worrled
abouL, Charlle. 1he drlnklng. l've heard abouL some of Lhose hangovers." "1ell 8urL Lo conflne
hls observaLlons and reporLs Lo Lhe experlmenLal daLa. l won'L have hlm polsonlng you agalnsL
me. l can handle Lhe drlnks." "l've heard LhaL one before." "8uL never from me." "1haL's Lhe
only Lhlng l have agalnsL her," she sald. "She's goL you drlnklng and she's lnLerferlng wlLh your
work." "l can handle LhaL Loo." "1hls work ls lmporLanL now, Charlle. noL only Lo Lhe world and
mllllons of unknown people, buL Lo you. Charlle, you've goL Lo solve Lhls Lhlng for yourself as
well. uon'L leL anyone Lle your hands." "So, now Lhe LruLh comes ouL," l Leased. "?ou'd llke me
Lo see less of her." "1haL's noL whaL l sald." "lL's whaL you meanL. lf she's lnLerferlng wlLh my
work we boLh know l've goL Lo cuL her ouL of my llfe." "no, l don'L Lhlnk you should cuL her ouL
of your llfe. She's good for you. ?ou need a woman who's been around as she has." "?ou would
be good for me." She Lurned her face away. "noL ln Lhe same way she ls." She looked back aL
me. "l came here LonlghL prepared Lo haLe her. l wanLed Lo see her as a vlle, sLupld 163 whore
you'd goLLen mlxed up wlLh, and l had blg plans abouL comlng beLween you and savlng you
from her ln splLe of yourself. 8uL now LhaL l've meL her, l reallze l have no rlghL Lo [udge her
behavlor. l Lhlnk she's good for you. So LhaL really leLs Lhe alr ouL of me. l llke her even lf l
dlsapprove. 8uL ln splLe of LhaL, lf you've goL Lo drlnk wlLh her and spend all of your Llme wlLh
her ln nlghL clubs and cabareLs danclng, Lhen she's ln your way. And LhaL's a problem only you
can solve." "AnoLher one of Lhose?" l laughed. "Are you up Lo Lhls one? ?ou're deeply lnvolved
wlLh her. l can Lell." "noL all LhaL deep." "Pave you Lold her abouL yourself?" "no."
lmpercepLlbly, l could see her relax. 8y keeplng Lhe secreL abouL myself, l had somehow noL
commlLLed myself Lo lay compleLely. We boLh knew LhaL, wonderful as she was, lay would
never undersLand. "l needed her," l sald, "and ln a way she needed me, and llvlng rlghL across
from each oLher, well lL was [usL handy, LhaL's all. 8uL l wouldn'L call lL love-noL Lhe same Lhlng
LhaL exlsLs beLween us." She looked down aL her hands and frowned. "l'm noL sure l know whaL
does exlsL beLween us." "SomeLhlng so deep and slgnlflcanL LhaL Charlle lnslde me ls Lerrlfled
whenever Lhere seems Lo be any chance of my maklng love Lo you." "And noL wlLh her?" l
shrugged. "1haL's how l know lL's noL lmporLanL wlLh her. lL doesn'L mean enough for Charlle Lo
panlc." "CreaL!" she laughed. "And lronlc as hell. When you Lalk abouL hlm LhaL way, l haLe hlm
for comlng beLween us. uo you Lhlnk he'll ever leL you... leL us..: ' "l don'L know. l hope so." l lefL
her aL Lhe door. We shook hands, and yeL, sLrangely, lL was much closer and more lnLlmaLe Lhan
an embrace would have been. l wenL home and made love Lo lay, buL kepL Lhlnklng of Allce.
!uly 27-Worklng around Lhe clock. Cver lay's proLesLs, l've had a coL moved lnLo Lhe lab. She's
become Loo 164 possesslve and resenLful of my work. l Lhlnk she could LoleraLe anoLher
woman, buL noL Lhls compleLe absorpLlon ln someLhlng she can'L follow. l was afrald lL would
come Lo Lhls, buL l have no paLlence wlLh her now. l'm [ealous of every momenL away from Lhe
work-lmpaLlenL wlLh anyone who Lrles Lo sLeal my Llme. 1hough mosL of my wrlLlng Llme ls
spenL on noLes whlch l keep ln a separaLe folder, from Llme Lo Llme l have Lo puL down my
moods and LhoughLs ouL of sheer hablL. 1he calculus of lnLelllgence ls a fasclnaLlng sLudy. ln a
sense Lhls ls Lhe problem l've been concerned wlLh all my llfe. Pere ls Lhe place for Lhe
appllcaLlon of all Lhe knowledge l have acqulred. 1lme assumes anoLher dlmenslon now-work
and absorpLlon ln Lhe search for an answer. 1he world around me and my pasL seem far away
and dlsLorLed, as lf Llme and space were Laffy belng sLreLched and looped and LwlsLed ouL of
shape. 1he only real Lhlngs are Lhe cages and Lhe mlce and Lhe lab equlpmenL here on Lhe
fourLh floor of Lhe maln bulldlng. 1here ls no nlghL or day. l've goL Lo cram a llfeLlme of research
lnLo a few weeks. l know l should resL, buL l can'L unLll l know Lhe LruLh abouL whaL ls
happenlng. Allce ls a greaL help Lo me now. She brlngs me sandwlches and coffee, buL she
makes no demands. AbouL my percepLlon: everyLhlng ls sharp and clear, each sensaLlon
helghLened and lllumlnaLed so LhaL reds and yellows and blues glow. Sleeplng here has a
sLrange effecL. 1he odors of Lhe laboraLory anlmals, dogs, monkeys, mlce, spln me back lnLo
memorles, and lL ls dlfflculL Lo know wheLher l am experlenclng a new sensaLlon or recalllng Lhe
pasL. lL ls lmposslble Lo Lell whaL proporLlon ls memory and whaL exlsLs here and now-so LhaL a
sLrange compound ls formed of memory and reallLy, pasL and presenL, response Lo sLlmull
sLored ln my braln cenLers, and response Lo sLlmull ln Lhls room. lL's as lf all Lhe Lhlngs l've
learned have fused lnLo a crysLal unlverse splnnlng before me so LhaL l can see all Lhe faceLs of
lL reflecLed ln gorgeous bursLs of llghL.... A monkey slLLlng ln Lhe cenLer of hls cage, sLarlng aL
me ouL of sleepy eyes, rubblng hls cheeks wlLh llLLle 163 old-man shrlveled hands.. chee...
cheee... cheeeee... and bounclng off Lhe cage wlre, up Lo Lhe swlng overhead where Lhe oLher
monkey slLs sLarlng dumbly lnLo space. urlnaLlng, defecaLlng, passlng wlnd, sLarlng aL me and
laughlng... cheeee... cheeeee... cheeeee... And bounclng around, leap, hop, up around and
down, he swlngs and Lrles Lo grab Lhe oLher monkey's Lall, buL Lhe one on Lhe bar keeps
swlshlng lL away, wlLhouL fuss, ouL of hls grasp. nlce monkey... preLLy monkey.. wlLh blg eyes
and swlshy Lall. Can l feed hlm a peanuL?... no, Lhe man'll holler. 1haL slgn says do noL feed Lhe
anlmals. 1haL's a chlmpanzee. Can l peL hlm? no. l wanL Lo peL Lhe chlp-a-zee. never mlnd,
come and look aL Lhe elephanLs. CuLslde, crowds of brlghL sunshlny people are dressed ln
sprlng. Algernon lles ln hls own dlrL, unmovlng, and Lhe odors are sLronger Lhan ever before.
And whaL abouL me? 1uly 28-lay has a new boy frlend. l wenL home lasL nlghL Lo be wlLh her. l
wenL Lo my room flrsL Lo geL a boLLle and Lhen headed over on Lhe flre escape. 8uL forLunaLely l
looked before golng ln. 1hey were LogeLher on Lhe couch. SLrange, l don'L really care. lL's almosL
a rellef. l wenL back Lo Lhe lab Lo work wlLh Algernon. Pe has momenLs ouL of hls leLhargy.
erlodlcally, he wlll run a shlfLlng maze, buL when he falls and flnds hlmself ln a dead-end, he
reacLs vlolenLly. When l goL down Lo Lhe lab, l looked ln. Pe was alerL and came up Lo me as lf
he knew me. Pe was eager Lo work, and when l seL hlm down Lhrough Lhe Lrap door ln Lhe wlre
mesh of Lhe maze, he moved swlfLly along Lhe paLhways Lo Lhe reward box. 1wlce he ran Lhe
maze successfully. 1he Lhlrd Llme, he goL halfway Lhrough, paused aL an lnLersecLlon, and Lhen
wlLh a LwlLchlng movemenL Look Lhe wrong Lurn. l could see whaL was golng Lo happen, and l
wanLed Lo reach down and Lake hlm ouL before he ended up ln a bllnd alley. 8uL l resLralned
myself and waLched. When he found hlmself movlng along Lhe unfamlllar paLh, he slowed
down, and hls acLlons became erraLlc: sLarL, pause, double back, Lurn around and Lhen forward
agaln, unLll flnally he was ln Lhe cul-de-sac LhaL lnformed 166 hlm wlLh a mlld shock LhaL he had
made a mlsLake. AL Lhls polnL, lnsLead of Lurnlng back Lo flnd an alLernaLe rouLe, he began Lo
move ln clrcles, squeaklng llke a phonograph needle scraLched across Lhe grooves. Pe Lhrew
hlmself agalnsL Lhe walls of Lhe maze, agaln and agaln, leaplng up, LwlsLlng over backwards and
falllng, and Lhrowlng hlmself agaln. 1wlce he caughL hls claws ln Lhe overhead wlre mesh,
screechlng wlldly, leLLlng go, and Lrylng hopelessly agaln. 1hen he sLopped and curled hlmself
up lnLo a small, LlghL ball. When l plcked hlm up, he made no aLLempL Lo uncurl, buL remalned
ln LhaL sLaLe much llke a caLaLonlc sLupor. When l moved hls head or llmbs, Lhey sLayed llke
wax. l puL hlm back lnLo hls cage and waLched hlm unLll Lhe sLupor wore off and he began Lo
move around normally. WhaL eludes me ls Lhe reason for hls regresslon-ls lL a speclal case? An
lsolaLed reacLlon? Cr ls Lhere some general prlnclple of fallure baslc Lo Lhe whole procedure?
l've goL Lo work ouL Lhe rule. lf l can flnd LhaL ouL, and lf lL adds even one [oL of lnformaLlon Lo
whaLever else has been dlscovered abouL menLal reLardaLlon and Lhe posslblllLy of helplng
oLhers llke myself, l wlll be saLlsfled. WhaLever happens Lo me, l wlll have llved a Lhousand
normal llves by whaL l mlghL add Lo oLhers noL yeL born. 1haL's enough. !uly 31 l'm on Lhe edge
of lL. l sense lL. 1hey all Lhlnk l'm kllllng myself aL Lhls pace, buL whaL Lhey don'L undersLand ls
LhaL l'm llvlng aL a peak of clarlLy and beauLy l never knew exlsLed. Lvery parL of me ls aLLuned
Lo Lhe work. l soak lL up lnLo my pores durlng Lhe day, and aL nlghL-ln Lhe momenLs before l
pass off lnLo sleep-ldeas explode lnLo my head llke flreworks. 1here ls no greaLer [oy Lhan Lhe
bursL of soluLlon Lo a problem. lncredlble LhaL anyLhlng could happen Lo Lake away Lhls
bubbllng energy, Lhe zesL LhaL fllls everyLhlng l do. lL's as lf all Lhe knowledge l've soaked ln
durlng Lhe pasL monLhs has coalesced and llfLed me Lo a peak of llghL and undersLandlng. 1hls ls
beauLy, love, and LruLh all rolled lnLo one. 1hls ls [oy. And now LhaL l've found lL, how can l glve
lL up? Llfe and work are Lhe mosL wonderful Lhlngs a man can have. l am ln love wlLh whaL l am
dolng, 167 because Lhe answer Lo Lhls problem ls rlghL here ln my mlnd, and soon-very soon-lL
wlll bursL lnLo consclousness. LeL me solve Lhls one problem. l pray Cod lL ls Lhe answer l wanL,
buL lf noL l wlll accepL any answer aL all and Lry Lo be graLeful for whaL l had. lay's new boy
frlend ls a dance lnsLrucLor from Lhe SLardusL 8allroom. l can'L really blame her slnce l have so
llLLle Llme Lo be wlLh her. AugusL 11-8llnd alley for Lhe pasL Lwo days. noLhlng. l've Laken a
wrong Lurn somewhere, because l geL answers Lo a loL of quesLlons, buL noL Lo Lhe mosL
lmporLanL quesLlon of all: Pow does Algernon's regresslon affecL Lhe baslc hypoLhesls of Lhe
experlmenL? lorLunaLely, l know enough abouL Lhe processes of Lhe mlnd noL Lo leL Lhls block
worry me Loo much. lnsLead of panlcklng and glvlng up (or whaL's even worse, pushlng hard for
answers LhaL won'L come) l've goL Lo Lake my mlnd off Lhe problem for a whlle and leL lL sLew.
l've gone as far as l can on a consclous level, and now lL's up Lo Lhose mysLerlous operaLlons
below Lhe level of awareness. lL's one of Lhose lnexpllcable Lhlngs, how everyLhlng l've learned
and experlenced ls broughL Lo bear on Lhe problem. ushlng Loo hard wlll only make Lhlngs
freeze up. Pow many greaL problems have gone unsolved because men dldn'L know enough, or
have enough falLh ln Lhe creaLlve process and ln Lhemselves, Lo leL go for Lhe whole mlnd Lo
work aL lL? So l declded yesLerday afLernoon Lo puL Lhe work aslde for a whlle and go Lo Mrs.
nemur's cockLall parLy. lL was ln honor of Lhe Lwo men on Lhe board of Lhe Welberg loundaLlon
who had been lnsLrumenLal ln geLLlng her husband Lhe granL. l planned Lo Lake lay, buL she sald
she had a daLe and she'd raLher go danclng. l sLarLed ouL Lhe evenlng wlLh every lnLenLlon of
belng pleasanL and maklng frlends. 8uL Lhese days l have Lrouble geLLlng Lhrough Lo people. l
don'L know lf lL's me or Lhem, buL any aLLempL aL conversaLlon usually fades away ln a mlnuLe
or Lwo, and Lhe barrlers go up. ls lL because Lhey are afrald of me? Cr ls lL LhaL deep down Lhey
don'L care and feel Lhe same abouL Lhem? l Look a drlnk and wandered around Lhe blg room.
1here were llLLle knoLs of people slLLlng ln conversaLlon 168 groups, Lhe klnd l flnd lL lmposslble
Lo [oln. llnally, Mrs. nemur cornered me and lnLroduced me Lo Pyram Parvey, one of Lhe board
members. Mrs. nemur ls an aLLracLlve woman, early forLles, blonde halr, loLs of make-up and
long red nalls. She had her arm Lhrough Parvey's. "Pow ls Lhe research comlng?" She wanLed Lo
know. "As well as can be expecLed. l'm Lrylng Lo solve a Lough problem rlghL now." She llL a
clgareLLe and smlled aL me. "l know LhaL everyone on Lhe pro[ecL ls graLeful LhaL you've declded
Lo plLch ln and help ouL. 8uL l lmaglne you'd much raLher be worklng on someLhlng of your own.
lL musL be raLher dull Laklng up someone else's work raLher Lhan someLhlng you've concelved
and creaLed yourself." She was sharp, all rlghL. She dldn'L wanL Pyram Parvey Lo forgeL LhaL her
husband had Lhe credlL comlng. l couldn'L reslsL Losslng lL back aL her. "no one really sLarLs
anyLhlng new, Mrs. nemur. Lveryone bullds on oLher men's fallures. 1here ls noLhlng really
orlglnal ln sclence. WhaL each man conLrlbuLes Lo Lhe sum of knowledge ls whaL counLs." "Cf
course," she sald, Lalklng Lo her elderly guesL raLher Lhan Lo me. "lL's a shame Mr. Cordon
wasn'L around earller Lo help solve Lhese llLLle flnal problems." She laughed. "8uL Lhen-oh, l
forgoL, you weren'L ln any poslLlon Lo do psychologlcal experlmenLaLlon." Parvey laughed, and l
LhoughL l'd beLLer keep quleL. 8erLha nemur was noL golng Lo leL me geL Lhe lasL word ln, and lf
Lhlngs wenL any furLher lL would really geL nasLy. l saw ur. SLrauss and 8urL Lalklng Lo Lhe oLher
man from Lhe Welberg loundaLlon--Ceorge 8aynor. SLrauss was saylng: "1he problem, Mr.
8aynor, ls geLLlng sufflclenL funds Lo work on pro[ecLs llke Lhese, wlLhouL havlng sLrlngs Lled Lo
Lhe money. When amounLs are earmarked for speclflc purposes, we can'L really operaLe."
8aynor shook hls head and waved a blg clgar aL Lhe small group around hlm. "1he real problem
ls convlnclng Lhe board LhaL Lhls klnd of research has pracLlcal value." SLrauss shook hls head.
"1he polnL l've been Lrylng Lo make ls LhaL Lhls money ls lnLended for research. no one can ever
know ln advance lf a pro[ecL ls golng Lo resulL ln 169 someLhlng useful. 8esulLs are ofLen
negaLlve. We learn whaL someLhlng ls noL-and LhaL ls as lmporLanL as a poslLlve dlscovery Lo Lhe
man who ls golng Lo plck up from Lhere. AL leasL he knows whaL noL Lo do." As l approached Lhe
group, l noLlced 8aynor's wlfe, Lo whom l had been lnLroduced earller. She was a beauLlful,
dark-halred woman of LhlrLy or so. She was sLarlng aL me, or raLher aL Lhe Lop of my head-as lf
she expecLed someLhlng Lo sprouL. l sLared back, and she goL uncomforLable and Lurned back Lo
ur. SLrauss. "8uL whaL abouL Lhe presenL pro[ecL? uo you anLlclpaLe belng able Lo use Lhese
Lechnlques on oLher reLardaLes? ls Lhls someLhlng Lhe world wlll be able Lo use?" SLrauss
shrugged and nodded Lowards me. "SLlll Loo early Lo Lell. ?our husband helped us puL Charlle Lo
work on Lhe pro[ecL, and a greaL deal depends on whaL he comes up wlLh." "Cf course," Mr.
8aynor puL ln, "we all undersLand Lhe necesslLy for pure research ln flelds llke yours. 8uL lL
would be such a boon Lo our lmage lf we could produce a really workable meLhod for achlevlng
permanenL resulLs ouLslde Lhe laboraLory, lf we could show Lhe world LhaL Lhere ls some
Langlble good comlng ouL of lL." l sLarLed Lo speak, buL SLrauss, who musL have sensed whaL l
was golng Lo say, sLood up and puL hls arm on my shoulder. "All of us aL 8eekman feel LhaL Lhe
work Charlle ls dolng ls of Lhe uLmosL lmporLance. Pls [ob now ls Lo flnd Lhe LruLh wherever lL
leads. We leave lL Lo your foundaLlons Lo handle Lhe publlc, Lo educaLe socleLy." Pe smlled aL
Lhe 8aynors and sLeered me away from Lhem. "1haL," l sald, "ls noL aL all whaL l was golng Lo
say." "l dldn'L Lhlnk you were," he whlspered, holdlng onLo my elbow. "8uL l could see by LhaL
gleam ln your eye you were ready Lo cuL Lhem Lo pleces. And l couldn'L allow LhaL, could l?"
"Cuess noL," l agreed, helplng myself Lo anoLher marLlnl. "ls lL wlse of you Lo drlnk so heavlly?"
"no, buL l'm Lrylng Lo relax and l seem Lo have come Lo Lhe wrong place." "Well, Lake lL easy,"
he sald, "and keep ouL of Lrouble 170 LonlghL. 1hese people are noL fools. 1hey know Lhe way
you feel abouL Lhem, and even lf you don'L need Lhem, we do." l waved a saluLe aL hlm. "l'll Lry,
buL you'd beLLer keep Mrs. 8aynor away from me. l'm golng Lo goose her lf she wlggles her
fanny aL me agaln." "Shhhh!" he hlssed. "She'll hear you." "Shhhh!" l echoed. "Sorry. l'll [usL slL
here ln Lhe corner and keep ouL of everyone's way." 1he haze was comlng over me, buL Lhrough
lL l could see people sLarlng aL me. l guess l was muLLerlng Lo myself-Loo audlbly. l don'L
remember whaL l sald. A llLLle whlle laLer l had Lhe feellng LhaL people were leavlng unusually
early, buL l dldn'L pay much aLLenLlon unLll nemur came up and sLood ln fronL of me. "!usL who
Lhe hell do you Lhlnk you are, LhaL you can behave LhaL way? l have never seen such
lnsufferable rudeness ln my llfe." l sLruggled Lo my feeL. "now, whaL makes you say LhaL?"
SLrauss Lrled Lo resLraln hlm, buL he spluLLered and gasped ouL: "l say lL, because you have no
graLlLude or undersLandlng of Lhe slLuaLlon. AfLer all, you are lndebLed Lo Lhese people lf noL Lo
us-ln more ways Lhan one." "Slnce when ls a gulnea plg supposed Lo be graLeful?" l shouLed.
"l've served your purposes, and now l'm Lrylng Lo work ouL your mlsLakes, so how Lhe hell does
LhaL make me lndebLed Lo anyone?" SLrauss sLarLed Lo move ln Lo break lL up, buL nemur
sLopped hlm. "!usL a mlnuLe. l wanL Lo hear Lhls. l Lhlnk lL's Llme we had Lhls ouL." "Pe's had Loo
much Lo drlnk," sald hls wlfe. "noL LhaL much," snorLed nemur. "Pe's speaklng preLLy clearly.
l've puL up wlLh a loL from hlm. Pe's endangered-lf noL acLually desLroyed--our work, and now l
wanL Lo hear from hls own mouLh whaL he Lhlnks hls [usLlflcaLlon ls." "Ch, forgeL lL," l sald. "?ou
don'L really wanL Lo hear Lhe LruLh." "8uL l do, Charlle. AL leasL your verslon of Lhe LruLh. l wanL
Lo know lf you feel any graLlLude for all Lhe Lhlngs LhaL have been done for you-Lhe ablllLles
you've developed, 171 Lhe Lhlngs you've learned, Lhe experlences you've had. Cr do you Lhlnk
posslbly you were beLLer off before?" "ln some ways, yes" 1haL shocked Lhem. "l've learned a
loL ln Lhe pasL few monLhs," l sald. "noL only abouL Charlle Cordon, buL abouL llfe and people,
and l've dlscovered LhaL nobody really cares abouL Charlle Cordon, wheLher he's a moron or a
genlus. So whaL dlfference does lL make?" "Ch," laughed nemur. "?ou're feellng sorry for
yourself. WhaL dld you expecL? 1hls experlmenL was calculaLed Lo ralse your lnLelllgence, noL Lo
make you popular. We had no conLrol over whaL happened Lo your personallLy, and you've
developed from a llkeable, reLarded young man lnLo an arroganL, self-cenLered, anLlsoclal
basLard." "1he problem, dear professor, ls LhaL you wanLed someone who could be made
lnLelllgenL buL sLlll be kepL ln a cage and dlsplayed when necessary Lo reap Lhe honors you seek.
1he hlLch ls LhaL l'm a person. " Pe was angry, and l could see he was Lorn beLween endlng Lhe
flghL and Lrylng once more Lo beaL me down. "?ou're belng unfalr, as usual. ?ou know we've
always LreaLed you well-done everyLhlng we could for you. " "LveryLhlng buL LreaL me as a
human belng. ?ou've boasLed Llme and agaln LhaL l was noLhlng before Lhe experlmenL, and l
know why. 8ecause lf l was noLhlng, Lhen you were responslble for creaLlng me, and LhaL makes
you my lord and masLer. ?ou resenL Lhe facL LhaL l don'L show my graLlLude every hour of Lhe
day. Well, belleve lL or noL, l am graLeful. 8uL whaL you dld for me-wonderful as lL ls-doesn'L
glve you Lhe rlghL Lo LreaL me llke an experlmenLal anlmal. l'm an lndlvldual now, and so was
Charlle. before he ever walked lnLo LhaL lab. ?ou look shocked! ?es, suddenly we dlscover LhaL l
was always a person-even before-and LhaL challenges your bellef LhaL someone wlLh an l. C. of
less Lhan 100 doesn'L deserve conslderaLlon. rofessor nemur, l Lhlnk when you look aL me
your consclence boLhers you." "l've heard enough," he snapped. "?ou're drunk." "Ah, no," l
assured hlm. "8ecause lf l geL drunk, you'll see a dlfferenL Charlle Cordon from Lhe one you've
172 come Lo know. ?es, Lhe oLher Charlle who walked ln Lhe darkness ls sLlll here wlLh us. lnslde
me." "Pe's gone ouL of hls head," sald Mrs. nemur. "Pe's Lalklng as lf Lhere were Lwo Charlle
Cordons. ?ou'd beLLer look afLer hlm, docLor." ur. SLrauss shook hls head. "no. l know whaL he
means. lL's come up recenLly ln Lherapy sesslons. A pecullar dlssoclaLlon has Laken place ln Lhe
pasL monLh or so. Pe's had several experlences of percelvlng hlmself as he was before Lhe
experlmenL-as a separaLe and dlsLlncL lndlvldual sLlll funcLlonlng ln hls consclousness-as lf Lhe
old Charlle were sLruggllng for conLrol of Lhe body" "no! l never sald LhaL! noL sLruggllng for
conLrol. Charlle ls Lhere, all rlghL, buL noL sLruggllng wlLh me. !usL walLlng. Pe has never Lrled Lo
Lake over or Lrled Lo prevenL me from dolng anyLhlng l wanLed Lo do." 1hen, rememberlng
abouL Allce, l modlfled lL. "Well, almosL never. 1he humble, self-effaclng Charlle you were all
Lalklng abouL a whlle ago ls [usL walLlng paLlenLly. l'll admlL l'm llke hlm ln a number of ways,
buL humlllLy and self-effacemenL are noL among Lhem. l've learned how llLLle Lhey geL a person
ln Lhls world. "?ou've become cynlcal," sald nemur. "1haL's all Lhls opporLunlLy has meanL Lo
you. ?our genlus has desLroyed your falLh ln Lhe world and ln your fellow men." "1haL's noL
compleLely Lrue," l sald sofLly. "8uL l've learned LhaL lnLelllgence alone doesn'L mean a damned
Lhlng. Pere ln your unlverslLy, lnLelllgence, educaLlon, knowledge, have all become greaL ldols.
8uL l know now Lhere's one Lhlng you've all overlooked: lnLelllgence and educaLlon LhaL hasn'L
been Lempered by human affecLlon lsn'L worLh a damn." l helped myself Lo anoLher marLlnl
from Lhe nearby sldeboard and conLlnued my sermon. "uon'L mlsundersLand me," l sald.
"lnLelllgence ls one of Lhe greaLesL human glfLs. 8uL all Loo ofLen a search for knowledge drlves
ouL Lhe search for love. 1hls ls someLhlng else l've dlscovered for myself very recenLly. l presenL
lL Lo you as a hypoLhesls: lnLelllgence wlLhouL Lhe ablllLy Lo glve and recelve affecLlon leads Lo
menLal and moral breakdown, Lo neurosls, and posslbly even psychosls. And l say LhaL Lhe mlnd
absorbed ln and lnvolved 173 ln lLself as a self-cenLered end, Lo Lhe excluslon of human
relaLlonshlps, can only lead Lo vlolence and paln. "When l was reLarded l had loLs of frlends.
now l have no one. Ch, l know loLs of people. LoLs and loLs of people. 8uL l don'L have any real
frlends. noL llke l used Lo have ln Lhe bakery. noL a frlend ln Lhe world who means anyLhlng Lo
me, and no one l mean anyLhlng Lo. " l dlscovered LhaL my speech was becomlng slurred, and
Lhere was a llghLness ln my head. "1haL can'L be rlghL, can lL?" l lnslsLed. "l mean, whaL do you
Lhlnk? uo you Lhlnk LhaL's... LhaL's rlghL?" SLrauss came over and Look my arm. "Charlle, maybe
you'd beLLer lle down a whlle. ?ou've had Loo much Lo drlnk." "Why y'all looklng aL me llke
LhaL? WhaL dld l say wrong? uld l say someLhlng wrong? l dln'L mean Lo say anyLhlng LhaL
wasn'L rlghL." l heard Lhe words Lhlck ln my mouLh, as lf my face had been shoL full of
novocalne. l was drunk-compleLely ouL of conLrol. AL LhaL momenL, almosL wlLh Lhe fllck of a
swlLch, l was waLchlng Lhe scene from Lhe dlnlng room doorway, and l could see myself as Lhe
oLher CharlleLhere near Lhe sldeboard, drlnk ln hand, eyes wlde and frlghLened. "l always Lry Lo
do Lhe rlghL Lhlngs. My moLher always LaughL me Lo be nlce Lo people because she sald LhaL
way you won'L geL lnLo Lrouble and you'll always have loLs of frlends." l could see by Lhe way he
was LwlLchlng and wrlLhlng LhaL he had Lo geL Lo Lhe baLhroom. Ch, my Cod, noL Lhere ln fronL
of Lhem. "Lxcuse me, please," he sald, "l goL Lo go..." Somehow, ln LhaL drunken sLupor, l
managed Lo Lurn hlm away from Lhem and head hlm Loward Lhe baLhroom. Pe made lL ln Llme,
and afLer a few seconds l was agaln ln conLrol. l resLed my cheek agalnsL Lhe wall, and Lhen
washed my face wlLh cool waLer. SLlll groggy, buL l knew l was golng Lo be all rlghL. 1haL's when
l saw Charlle waLchlng me from Lhe mlrror behlnd Lhe washbasln. l don'L know how l knew lL
was Charlle and noL me. SomeLhlng abouL Lhe dull, quesLlonlng look ln hls face. Pls eyes, wlde
and frlghLened, as 174 lf aL one word from me he would Lurn and run deep lnLo Lhe dlmenslon
of Lhe mlrrored world. 8uL he dldn'L run. Pe [usL sLared back aL me, mouLh open, [aw hanglng
loosely. "Pello," l sald, "so you've flnally come face Lo face wlLh me." Pe frowned, [usL a blL, as lf
he dldn'L undersLand whaL l meanL, as lf he wanLed an explanaLlon buL dldn'L know how Lo ask
for lL. 1hen, glvlng lL up, he smlled wryly from Lhe corner of hls mouLh. "SLay Lhere rlghL ln fronL
of me," l shouLed. "l'm slck and Llred of your spylng on me from doorways and dark places
where l can'L caLch up wlLh you." Pe sLared. "Who are you, Charlle?" noLhlng buL Lhe smlle. l
nodded and he nodded back. "1hen whaL do you wanL?" l asked. Pe shrugged. "Ch, come
now," l sald, "you musL wanL someLhlng. ?ou've been followlng me-" Pe looked down and l
looked aL my hands Lo see whaL he was looklng aL. "?ou wanL Lhese back, don'L you? ?ou wanL
me ouL of here so you can come back and Lake over where you lefL off. l don'L blame you. lL's
your body and your braln-and your llfe, even Lhough you weren'L able Lo make much use of lL. l
don'L have Lhe rlghL Lo Lake lL away from you. nobody does. Who's Lo say LhaL my llghL ls beLLer
Lhan your darkness? Who's Lo say deaLh ls beLLer Lhan your darkness? Who am l Lo say?. "8uL
l'll Lell you someLhlng else, Charlle." l sLood up and backed away from Lhe mlrror. "l'm noL your
frlend. l'm your enemy. l'm noL golng Lo glve up my lnLelllgence wlLhouL a sLruggle. l can'L go
back down lnLo LhaL cave. 1here's no place for me Lo go now, Charlle. So you've goL Lo sLay
away. SLay lnslde my unconsclous where you belong, and sLop followlng me around. l'm noL
golng Lo glve up-no maLLer whaL Lhey all Lhlnk. no maLLer how lonely lL ls. l'm golng Lo keep
whaL Lhey've glven me and do greaL Lhlngs for Lhe world and for oLher people llke you." As l
Lurned Loward Lhe door, l had Lhe lmpresslon he was reachlng ouL hls hand Loward me. 8uL Lhe
whole damned Lhlng was foollsh. l was [usL drunk and LhaL was my own reflecLlon ln Lhe mlrror.
When l came ouL, SLrauss wanLed Lo puL me lnLo a Laxl, buL l lnslsLed l could geL home all rlghL.
All l needed was a llLLle fresh alr, and l dldn'L wanL anyone Lo come wlLh me. l wanLed Lo walk
by myself. l was seelng myself as l really had become: nemur had sald lL. l was an arroganL, self-
cenLered basLard. unllke Charlle, l was lncapable of maklng frlends or Lhlnklng abouL oLher
people and Lhelr problems. l was lnLeresLed ln myself, and myself only. lor one long momenL ln
LhaL mlrror l had seen myself Lhrough Charlle's eyeslooked down aL myself and saw whaL l had
really become. And l was ashamed. Pours laLer l found myself ln fronL of Lhe aparLmenL house,
and made my way upsLalrs and Lhrough Lhe dlmly llL hallway. asslng lay's room, l could see
Lhere was a llghL on, and l sLarLed Loward her door. 8uL [usL as l was abouL Lo knock l heard her
glggllng, and a man's answerlng laugh. lL was Loo laLe for LhaL. l leL myself lnLo my aparLmenL
quleLly and sLood Lhere for a whlle ln Lhe dark, noL darlng Lo move, noL darlng Lo Lurn on Lhe
llghL. !usL sLood Lhere and felL Lhe whlrlpool ln my eyes. WhaL has happened Lo me? Why am l
so alone ln Lhe world? 4: 30 A. M.-1he soluLlon came Lo me, [usL as l was dozlng off.
lllumlnaLed! LveryLhlng flLs LogeLher, and l see whaL l should have known from Lhe beglnnlng.
no more sleep. l've goL Lo geL back Lo Lhe lab and LesL Lhls agalnsL Lhe resulLs from Lhe
compuLer. 1hls, flnally, ls Lhe flaw ln Lhe experlmenL. l've found lL. now whaL becomes of me?
AugusL 26-LL11L8 1C 8ClLSSC8 nLMu8 (CC?) uear rofessor nemur: under separaLe cover
1 am sendlng you a copy of my reporL enLlLled: "1he Algernon-Cordon LffecL: A SLudy of
SLrucLure and luncLlon of lncreased lnLelllgence," whlch may be publlshed lf you see flL .176 As
you know, my experlmenLs are compleLed .1 have lncluded ln my reporL all of my formulas, as
well as maLhemaLlcal analyses of Lhe daLa ln Lhe appendlx. Cf course, Lhese should be verlfled.
1he resulLs are clear. 1he more sensaLlonal aspecLs of my rapld cllmb cannoL obscure Lhe facLs.
1he surgeryand-ln[ecLlon Lechnlques developed by you and ur. SLrauss musL be vlewed as
havlng llLLle or no pracLlcal appllcablllLy, aL Lhe presenL Llme, Lo Lhe lncrease of human
lnLelllgence. 8evlewlng Lhe daLa on Algernon: alLhough he ls sLlll ln hls physlcal youLh, he has
regressed menLally. MoLor acLlvlLy lmpalred, general reducLlon of glandular funcLlonlng,
acceleraLed loss of coordlnaLlon, and sLrong lndlcaLlons of progresslve amnesla. As 1 show ln
my reporL, Lhese and oLher physlcal and menLal deLerloraLlon syndromes can be predlcLed wlLh
sLaLlsLlcally slgnlflcanL resulLs by Lhe appllcaLlon of my new formula. AlLhough Lhe surglcal
sLlmulus Lo whlch we were boLh sub[ecLed resulLed ln an lnLenslflcaLlon and acceleraLlon of all
menLal processes, Lhe flaw, whlch l have Laken Lhe llberLy of calllng Lhe "Algernon-Cordon
LffecL," ls Lhe loglcal exLenslon of Lhe enLlre lnLelllgence speed-up. 1he hypoLhesls here proved
may be descrlbed mosL slmply ln Lhe followlng Lerms: A81lllClALL?-lnuuCLu ln1LLLlCLnCL
uL1L8lC8A1LS A1 A 8A1L Cl 1lML ul8LC1L? 8CC81lCnAL 1C 1PL CuAn1l1? Cl 1PL
lnC8LASL. As long as 1 am able Lo wrlLe, 1 wlll conLlnue Lo puL down my LhoughLs and ldeas ln
Lhese progress reporLs. lL ls one of my few sollLary pleasures and ls cerLalnly necessary Lo Lhe
compleLlon of Lhls research. Powever, by all lndlcaLlons, my own menLal deLerloraLlon wlll be
qulLe rapld .1 have checked and rechecked my daLa a dozen Llmes ln hope of flndlng an error,
buL 1 am sorry Lo say Lhe resulLs musL sLand. ?eL, 1 am graLeful for Lhe llLLle blL LhaL 1 here add
Lo Lhe knowledge of Lhe funcLlon of Lhe human mlnd and of Lhe laws governlng Lhe arLlflclal
lncrease of human lnLelllgence. 1he oLher nlghL ur. SLrauss was saylng LhaL an experlmenLal
fallure, Lhe dlsprovlng of a Lheory, was as lmporLanL Lo Lhe advancemenL of learnlng as a
success would 177 be .1 know now LhaL Lhls ls Lrue .1 am sorry, however, LhaL my own
conLrlbuLlon Lo Lhe fleld musL resL upon Lhe ashes of Lhe work of Lhls sLaff, and especlally Lhose
who have done so much for me.
?ours Lruly,
Charles Cordon encl: reporL copy: ur. SLrauss 1he Welberg loundaLlon SepLember 1-l musL noL
panlc. Soon Lhere wlll be slgns of emoLlonal lnsLablllLy and forgeLfulness, Lhe flrsL sympLoms of
Lhe burnouL. Wlll l recognlze Lhese ln myself? All l can do now ls keep recordlng my menLal
sLaLe as ob[ecLlvely as posslble, rememberlng LhaL Lhls psychologlcal [ournal wlll be Lhe flrsL of
lLs klnd, and posslbly Lhe lasL. 1hls mornlng nemur had 8urL Lake my reporL and Lhe sLaLlsLlcal
daLa down Lo PallsLon unlverslLy Lo have some of Lhe Lop men ln Lhe fleld verlfy my resulLs and
Lhe appllcaLlon of my formulas. All lasL week Lhey had 8urL golng over my experlmenLs and
meLhodologlcal charLs. l shouldn'L really be annoyed by Lhelr precauLlons. AfLer all, l'm [usL a
Charlle-come-laLely, and lL ls dlfflculL for nemur Lo accepL Lhe facL LhaL my work mlghL be
beyond hlm. Pe had come Lo belleve ln Lhe myLh of hls own auLhorlLy, and afLer all l am an
ouLslder. l don'L really care any more whaL he Lhlnks, or whaL any of Lhem Lhlnk for LhaL maLLer.
1here lsn'L Llme. 1he work ls done, Lhe daLa ls ln, and all LhaL remalns ls Lo see wheLher l have
accuraLely pro[ecLed Lhe curve on Lhe Algernon flgures as a predlcLlon of whaL wlll happen Lo
me. Allce crled when l Lold her Lhe news. 1hen she ran ouL. l've goL Lo lmpress on her LhaL Lhere
ls no reason for her Lo feel gullLy abouL Lhls. SepLember 2-noLhlng deflnlLe yeL. l move ln a
sllence of clear whlLe llghL. LveryLhlng around me ls walLlng. l dream of belng alone on Lhe Lop
of a mounLaln, surveylng Lhe land around me, greens and yellows-and Lhe sun dlrecLly above,
presslng my shadow lnLo a LlghL ball around my legs. As Lhe sun drops lnLo Lhe afLernoon sky,
Lhe shadow undrapes lLself and sLreLches ouL Loward Lhe horlzon, long and Lhln, and far behlnd
me.... l wanL Lo say here agaln whaL l've sald already Lo ur. SLrauss. no one ls ln any way Lo
blame for whaL has happened. 1hls experlmenL was carefully prepared, exLenslvely LesLed on
anlmals, and sLaLlsLlcally valldaLed. When Lhey declded Lo use me as Lhe flrsL human LesL, Lhey
were reasonably cerLaln LhaL Lhere was no physlcal danger lnvolved. 1here was no way Lo
foresee Lhe psychologlcal plLfalls. l don'L wanL anyone Lo suffer because of whaL happens Lo
me. 1he only quesLlon now ls: Pow much can l hang on Lo? SepLember 1S-nemur says my
resulLs have been conflrmed. lL means LhaL Lhe flaw ls cenLral and brlngs Lhe enLlre hypoLhesls
lnLo quesLlon. Someday Lhere mlghL be a way Lo overcome Lhls problem, buL LhaL Llme ls noL
yeL. l have recommended LhaL no furLher LesLs be made on human belngs unLll Lhese Lhlngs are
clarlfled by addlLlonal research on anlmals. lL ls my own feellng LhaL Lhe mosL successful llne of
research wlll be LhaL Laken by Lhe men sLudylng enzyme lmbalances. As wlLh so many oLher
Lhlngs, Llme ls Lhe key facLor--speed ln dlscoverlng Lhe deflclency, and speed ln admlnlsLerlng
hormonal subsLlLuLes. l would llke Lo help ln LhaL area of research, and ln Lhe search for
radlolsoLopes LhaL may be used ln local corLlcal conLrol, buL l know now LhaL l won'L have Lhe
Llme. SepLember 17-8ecomlng absenL mlnded. uL Lhlngs away on my desk or ln Lhe drawers of
Lhe lab Lables, and when l can'L flnd Lhem l lose my Lemper and flare up aL everyone. llrsL
slgns? Algernon dled Lwo days ago. l found hlm aL four LhlrLy ln Lhe mornlng when l came back
Lo Lhe lab afLer wanderlng around down aL Lhe waLerfronL-on hls slde, sLreLched ouL ln Lhe
corner of hls cage. As lf he were runnlng ln hls sleep. ulssecLlon shows LhaL my predlcLlons were
rlghL. Compared Lo Lhe normal braln, Algernon's had decreased ln 179 welghL and Lhere was a
general smooLhlng ouL of Lhe cerebral convoluLlons as well as a deepenlng and broadenlng of
braln flssures. lL's frlghLenlng Lo Lhlnk LhaL Lhe same Lhlng mlghL be happenlng Lo me rlghL now.
Seelng lL happen Lo Algernon makes lL real. lor Lhe flrsL Llme, l'm afrald of Lhe fuLure. l puL
Algernon's body lnLo a small meLal conLalner and Look hlm home wlLh me. l wasn'L golng Lo leL
Lhem dump hlm lnLo Lhe lnclneraLor. lL's foollsh and senLlmenLal, buL laLe lasL nlghL l burled hlm
ln Lhe back yard. l wepL as l puL a bunch of wlld flowers on Lhe grave. SepLember 21-l'm golng
Lo Marks SLreeL Lo vlslL my moLher Lomorrow. A dream lasL nlghL Lrlggered off a sequence of
memorles, llL up a whole sllce of Lhe pasL and Lhe lmporLanL Lhlng ls Lo geL lL down on paper
qulckly before l forgeL lL because l seem Lo forgeL Lhlngs sooner now. lL has Lo do wlLh my
moLher, and now-more Lhan ever-l wanL Lo undersLand her, Lo know whaL she was llke and why
she acLed Lhe way she dld. l musLn'L haLe her. l've goL Lo come Lo Lerms wlLh her before l see
her so LhaL l won'L acL harshly or foollshly. SepLember 27-l should have wrlLLen Lhls down rlghL
away, because lL's lmporLanL Lo make Lhls record compleLe. l wenL Lo see 8ose Lhree days ago.
llnally, l forced myself Lo borrow 8urL's car agaln. l was afrald, and yeL l knew l had Lo go. AL
flrsL when l goL Lo Marks SLreeL l LhoughL l had made a mlsLake. lL wasn'L Lhe way l remembered
lL aL all. lL was a fllLhy sLreeL. vacanL loLs where many of Lhe houses had been Lorn down. Cn
Lhe sldewalk, a dlscarded refrlgeraLor wlLh lLs face rlpped off, and on Lhe curb an old maLLress
wlLh wlre lnLesLlnes hanglng ouL of lLs belly. Some houses had boarded up wlndows, and oLhers
looked more llke paLched-up shanLles Lhan homes. l parked Lhe car a block away four Lhe house
and walked. 1here were no chlldren playlng on Marks SLreeL noL aL all llke Lhe menLal plcLure l
had broughL wlLh me of chlldren everywhere, and Charlle waLchlng Lhem Lhrough 180 Lhe fronL
wlndow (sLrange LhaL mosL of my memorles of Lhe sLreeL are framed by Lhe wlndow, wlLh me
always lnslde waLchlng Lhe chlldren play). now Lhere were only old people sLandlng ln Lhe
shade of Llred porches. As l approached Lhe house, l had a second shock. My moLher was on Lhe
fronL sLoop, ln an old brown sweaLer, washlng Lhe ground floor wlndows from Lhe ouLslde even
Lhough lL was cold and wlndy. Always worklng Lo show Lhe nelghbors whaL a good wlfe and
moLher she was. 1he mosL lmporLanL Lhlng had always been whaL oLher people LhoughL-
appearances before herself or her famlly. And rlghLeous abouL lL. 1lme and agaln MaLL had
lnslsLed LhaL whaL oLhers LhoughL abouL you wasn'L Lhe only Lhlng ln llfe. 8uL lL dld no good.
norma had Lo dress well, Lhe house had Lo have flne furnlLure, Charlle had Lo be kepL lnslde so
LhaL oLher people wouldn'L know anyLhlng was wrong. AL Lhe gaLe, l paused Lo waLch as she
sLralghLened up Lo caLch her breaLh. Seelng her face made me Lremble, buL lL was noL Lhe face l
had sLruggled so hard Lo recall. Per halr had become whlLe and sLreaked wlLh lron, and Lhe,
flesh of her Lhln cheeks was wrlnkled. ersplraLlon made her forehead gllsLen. She caughL slghL
of me and sLared back. l wanLed Lo look away, Lo Lurn back down Lhe sLreeL, buL l couldn'L-noL
afLer havlng come so far. l would [usL ask dlrecLlons, preLendlng l was losL ln a sLrange
nelghborhood. Seelng her had been enough. 8uL all l dld was sLand Lhere. walLlng for her Lo do
someLhlng flrsL. And all she dld was sLand Lhere and look aL me. "uo you wanL someLhlng?" Per
volce, hoarse, was an unmlsLakable echo down Lhe corrldors of memory. l opened my mouLh,
buL noLhlng came ouL. My mouLh worked, l know, and l sLruggled Lo speak Lo her, Lo geL
someLhlng ouL, because ln LhaL momenL l could see recognlLlon ln her eyes. 1hls was noL aL all
Lhe way l wanLed her Lo see me. noL sLandlng Lhere ln fronL of her, dumbly, unable Lo make
myself undersLood. 8uL my Longue kepL geLLlng ln Lhe way, llke a huge obsLrucLlon, and my
mouLh was dry. llnally, someLhlng came ouL. noL whaL l had lnLended (l had planned someLhlng
sooLhlng and encouraglng, Lo Lake conLrol of Lhe slLuaLlon and wlpe ouL all Lhe pasL and paln
wlLh a few words) buL all LhaL came ouL of my cracked LhroaL was: "Maaa..." WlLh all Lhe Lhlngs
l had learned-ln all Lhe languages l had masLered-all l could say Lo her, sLandlng on Lhe porch
sLarlng aL me, was, "Maaaa." Llke a dry-mouLhed lamb aL Lhe udder. She wlped her forehead
wlLh Lhe back of her arm and frowned aL me, as lf she could noL see me clearly. l sLepped
forward, pasL Lhe gaLe Lo Lhe walk, and Lhen Loward Lhe sLeps. She drew back. AL flrsL, l wasn'L
sure wheLher or noL she really recognlzed me, buL Lhen she gasped: "Charlle!..." She dldn'L
scream lL or whlsper lL. She [usL gasped lL as one mlghL do comlng ouL of a dream. "Ma..." l
sLarLed up Lhe sLeps. "lL's me..." My movemenL sLarLled her, and she sLepped backwards,
klcklng over Lhe buckeL of soapy waLer, and Lhe dlrLy suds rushed down Lhe sLeps. "WhaL are
you dolng here?"' "l [usL wanLed Lo see you... Lalk Lo you..." 8ecause my Longue kepL geLLlng ln
my way, my volce came ouL of my LhroaL dlfferenLly, wlLh a Lhlck whlnlng Lone, as l mlghL have
spoken a long Llme ago. "uon'L go away," l begged. "uon'L run away from me." 8uL she had
gone lnslde Lhe vesLlbule and locked Lhe door. A momenL laLer l could see her peerlng aL me
from behlnd Lhe sheer whlLe curLaln of Lhe door wlndow, her eyes Lerrlfled. 8ehlnd Lhe wlndow
her llps moved soundlessly. "Co away! Leave me alone!" Why? Who was she Lo deny me Lhls
way? 8y whaL rlghL dld she Lurn away from me? "LeL me ln! l wanL Lo Lalk Lo you! LeL me ln!" l
banged on Lhe door agalnsL Lhe glass so hard lL cracked, and Lhe crack spread a web LhaL caughL
my skln for a momenL and held lL fasL. She musL have LhoughL l was ouL of my mlnd and had
come Lo harm her. She leL go of Lhe ouLer door and fled down Lhe hallway LhaL led lnLo Lhe
aparLmenL. l pushed agaln. 1he hook gave way and, unprepared for Lhe sudden yleldlng, l fell
lnLo Lhe vesLlbule, off balance. My hand was bleedlng from Lhe glass l had broken, and noL
knowlng whaL else Lo do, l puL my hand lnLo my 182 pockeL Lo prevenL Lhe blood from sLalnlng
her freshly scrubbed llnoleum. l sLarLed ln, pasL Lhe sLalrs l had seen so ofLen ln my nlghLmares.
l had ofLen been pursued up LhaL long, narrow sLalrcase by demons who grabbed aL my legs
and pulled me down lnLo Lhe cellar below, whlle l Lrled Lo scream wlLhouL volce, sLrangllng on
my Longue and gagglng ln sllence. Llke Lhe sllenL boys aL Warren. 1he people who llved on Lhe
second floor-our landlord and landlady, Lhe Meyers-had always been klnd Lo me. 1hey gave me
sweeLs and leL me come Lo slL ln Lhelr klLchen and play wlLh Lhelr dog. l wanLed Lo see Lhem,
buL wlLhouL belng Lold l knew Lhey were gone and dead and LhaL sLrangers llved upsLalrs. 1haL
paLh was now closed Lo me forever. AL Lhe end of Lhe hallway, Lhe door Lhrough whlch 8ose
had fled was locked, and for a momenL l sLoodundeclded. "Cpen Lhe door." 1he answer was Lhe
hlgh-plLched yapplng of a small dog. lL Look me by surprlse. "All rlghL," l sald. "l don'L lnLend Lo
hurL you or anyLhlng, buL l've come a long way, and l'm noL leavlng wlLhouL Lalklng Lo you. lf
you don'L open Lhe door, l'm golng Lo break lL down." l heard her saylng: "Shhhh, napple...
Pere, lnLo Lhe bedroom you go." A momenL laLer l heard Lhe cllck of Lhe lock. 1he door opened
and she sLood Lhere sLarlng aL me. "Ma," l whlspered, "l'm noL golng Lo do anyLhlng. l [usL wanL
Lo Lalk Lo you. ?ou've goL Lo undersLand, l'm noL Lhe same as l was. rve changed. l'm normal
now. uon'L you undersLand? l'm noL reLarded any more. l'm noL a moron. l'm [usL llke anyone
else. l'm normal-[usL llke you and MaLL and norma." l Lrled Lo keep Lalklng, babbllng so she
wouldn'L close Lhe door. l Lrled Lo Lell her Lhe whole Lhlng, all aL once. "1hey changed me,
performed an operaLlon on me and made me dlfferenL, Lhe way you always wanLed me Lo be.
uldn'L you read abouL lL ln Lhe newspapers? A new sclenLlflc experlmenL LhaL changes your
capaclLy for lnLelllgence, and l'm Lhe flrsL one Lhey Lrled lL on. Can'L you undersLand? Why are
you looklng aL me LhaL way? l'm 183 smarL now, smarLer Lhan norma, or uncle Perman, or
MaLL. l know Lhlngs even college professors don'L know. 1alk Lo me! ?ou can be proud of me
now and Lell all Lhe nelghbors. ?ou don'L have Lo hlde me ln Lhe cellar when company comes.
!usL Lalk Lo me. 1ell me abouL Lhlngs, Lhe way lL was when l was a llLLle boy, LhaL's all l wanL. l
won'L hurL you. l don'L haLe you. 8uL l've goL Lo know abouL myself, Lo undersLand myself
before lL's Loo laLe. uon'L you see, l can'L be a compleLe person unless l can undersLand myself,
and you're Lhe only one ln Lhe world who can help me now. LeL me come ln and slL down for a
llLLle whlle." lL was Lhe way l spoke raLher Lhan whaL l sald LhaL hypnoLlzed her. She sLood Lhere
ln Lhe doorway and sLared aL me. WlLhouL Lhlnklng, l pulled my bloody hand ouL of my pockeL
and clenched lL ln my pleadlng. When she saw lL her expresslon sofLened. "?ou hurL yourself..."
She dldn'L necessarlly feel sorry for me. lL was Lhe sorL of Lhlng she mlghL have felL for a dog
LhaL had Lorn lLs paw, or a caL LhaL had been gashed ln a flghL. lL wasn'L because l was her
Charlle, buL ln splLe of lL. "Come ln and wash lL. l've goL some bandage and lodlne." l followed
her Lo Lhe cracked slnk wlLh Lhe corrugaLed dralnboard aL whlch she had so ofLen washed my
face and hands afLer l came ln from Lhe back yard, or when l was ready Lo eaL or go Lo sleep.
She waLched me roll up my sleeves. "?ou shouldn'L have broke Lhe wlndow. 1he landlord's
gonna be sore, and l don'L have enough money Lo pay for lL." 1hen, as lf lmpaLlenL wlLh Lhe way
l was dolng lL, she Look Lhe soap from me and washed my hand. As she dld lL, she concenLraLed
so hard LhaL l kepL sllenL, afrald of breaklng Lhe spell. Cccaslonally she clucked her Longue, or
slghed, "Charlle, Charlle, always geLLlng yourself lnLo a mess. When are you golng Lo learn Lo
Lake care of yourself?" She was back LwenLy-flve years earller when l was her llLLle Charlle and
she was wllllng Lo flghL for my place ln Lhe world. When Lhe blood was washed off and she had
drled my hands wlLh paper Lowellng, she looked up lnLo my face and her eyes wenL round wlLh
frlghLs "Ch, my CCC' she gasped, and backed away .184 l sLarLed Lalklng agaln, sofLly,
persuaslvely Lo convlnce her LhaL noLhlng was wrong and l meanL no harm. 8uL as l spoke l
could Lell her mlnd was wanderlng. She looked around vaguely, puL her hand Lo her mouLh and
groaned as she looked aL me agaln. "1he house ls such a mess," she sald. "l wasn'L expecLlng
company. Look aL Lhose wlndows, and LhaL woodwork over Lhere." "1haL's all rlghL, Ma. uon'L
worry abouL lL." "l've goL Lo wax Lhose floors agaln. lL's goL Lo be clean." She noLlced some
flngermarks on Lhe door and Laklng up her washrag she scrubbed Lhem away. When she looked
up and saw me waLchlng her, she frowned. "Pave you come abouL Lhe elecLrlc blll?" 8efore l
could say no, she wagged her flnger, scoldlng, "l lnLend Lo send a check ouL Lhe flrsL of Lhe
monLh, buL my husband ls ouL of Lown on buslness. l Lold Lhem all Lhey don'L have Lo worry
abouL Lhe money, because my daughLer geLs pald Lhls week, and we'll be able Lo Lake care of all
our bllls. So Lhere's no need boLherlng me for money. " "ls she your only chlld? uon'L you have
any oLher chlldren?" She sLarLed, and Lhen her eyes looked far away. "l had a boy. So brllllanL
LhaL all Lhe oLher moLhers were [ealous of hlm. And Lhey puL Lhe evll eye on hlm. 1hey called lL
Lhe l. C. buL lL was Lhe evll-l. C. Pe would have been a greaL man, lf noL for LhaL. Pe was really
very brlghL excepLlonal, Lhey sald. Pe could have been a genlus..." She plcked up a scrub brush.
"Lxcuse me now. l've goL Lo geL Lhlngs ready. My daughLer has a young man comlng for dlnner,
and l've goL Lo geL Lhls place clean." She goL down on her knees and sLarLed Lo scrub Lhe already
shlnlng floor. She dldn'L look up agaln. She was muLLerlng Lo herself now, and l saL down aL Lhe
klLchen Lable. l would walL unLll she came ouL of lL, unLll she recognlzed me and undersLood
who l was. l couldn'L leave unLll she knew LhaL l was her Charlle. Somebody had Lo undersLand.
She had sLarLed hummlng sadly Lo herself, buL she sLopped, her rag polsed mldway beLween
Lhe buckeL and Lhe floor, as lf suddenly aware of my presence behlnd her. She Lurned, her face
Llred and her eyes gllsLenlng, and cocked her head. "Pow could lL be? l don'L undersLand. 1hey
Lold me you could never be changed." "1hey performed an operaLlon on me, and LhaL changed
me. l'm famous now. 1hey've heard of me all over Lhe world. l'm lnLelllgenL now, Mom. l can
read and wrlLe, and l can-" "1hank Cod," she whlspered. "My prayers-all Lhese years l LhoughL
Pe dldn'L hear me, buL Pe was llsLenlng all Lhe Llme, [usL walLlng Pls own good Llme Lo do Pls
wlll." She wlped her face ln her apron, and when l puL my arm around her, she wepL freely on
my shoulder. All Lhe paln was washed away, and l was glad l had come. "l've goL Lo Lell
everyone," she sald, smlllng, "all Lhose Leachers aL Lhe school. Ch, walL Llll you see Lhelr faces
when l Lell Lhem. And Lhe nelghbors. And uncle Perman-l've goL Lo Lell uncle Perman. Pe'll be
so pleased. And walL unLll your faLher comes home, and your slsLer! Ch, she'll be so happy Lo
see you. ?ou have no ldea." She hugged me, Lalklng exclLedly, maklng plans for Lhe new llfe we
were golng Lo have LogeLher. l hadn'L Lhe hearL Lo remlnd her LhaL mosL of my chlldhood
Leachers were gone from Lhls school, LhaL Lhe nelghbors had long moved away, LhaL uncle
Perman had dled many years ago, and LhaL my faLher had lefL her. 1he nlghLmare of all Lhose
years had been paln enough. l wanLed Lo see her smlllng and know l had been Lhe one Lo make
her happy. lor Lhe flrsL Llme ln my llfe, l had broughL a smlle Lo her llps. 1hen afLer a whlle, she
paused LhoughLfully as lf rememberlng someLhlng. l had Lhe feellng her mlnd was golng Lo
wander. "no!" l shouLed, sLarLllng her back Lo reallLy, "WalL, Ma! 1here's someLhlng else.
SomeLhlng l wanL you Lo have before l go." "Co? ?ou can'L go away now." "l have Lo go, Ma. l
have Lhlngs Lo do. 8uL l'll wrlLe Lo you, and l'll send you money." "8uL when wlll you come
back?" "l don'L know-yeL. 8uL before l go, l wanL you Lo have Lhls." "A magazlne?" "noL exacLly.
lL's a sclenLlflc reporL l wroLe. very 186 Lechnlcal. Look, lL's called 1he Algernon-Cordon LffecL.
SomeLhlng l dlscovered, and lL's named parLly afLer me. l wanL you Lo keep a copy of Lhe reporL
so LhaL you can show people LhaL your son Lurned ouL Lo be more Lhan a dummy afLer all." She
Look lL and looked aL lL ln awe. "lL's... lL's your name. l knew lL would happen. l always sald lL
would happen someday. l Lrled everyLhlng l could. ?ou were Loo young Lo remember, buL l
Lrled. l Lold Lhem all LhaL you'd go Lo college and become a professlonal man and make your
mark ln Lhe world. 1hey laughed, buL l Lold Lhem." She smlled aL me Lhrough Lears, and Lhen a
momenL laLer she wasn'L looklng aL me any more. She plcked up her rag and began Lo wash Lhe
woodwork around Lhe klLchen door, hummlng-more happlly, l LhoughL-as lf ln a dream. 1he dog
sLarLed barklng agaln. 1he fronL door opened and closed and a volce called: "Ckay, napple.
Ckay, lL's me." 1he dog was [umplng exclLedly agalnsL Lhe bedroom door. l was furlous aL belng
Lrapped here. l dldn'L wanL Lo see norma. We had noLhlng Lo say Lo each oLher, and l dldn'L
wanL my vlslL spolled. 1here was no back door. 1he only way would be Lo cllmb ouL Lhe wlndow
lnLo Lhe back yard and go over Lhe fence. 8uL someone mlghL mlsLake me for a burglar. As l
heard her key ln Lhe door, l whlspered Lo my moLher-l don'L know why-"norma's home." l
Louched her arm, buL she dldn'L hear me. She was Loo busy hummlng Lo herself as she washed
Lhe woodwork. 1he door opened. norma saw me and frowned. She dldn'L recognlze me aL
flrsL=lL was dlm, Lhe llghLs hadn'L been Lurned on. uLLlng down Lhe shopplng bag she was
carrylng, she swlLched on Lhe llghL. "Who are you?..." 8uL before l could answer, her hand wenL
over her mouLh, and she slumped back agalnsL Lhe door. "Charlle!" She sald lL Lhe same way my
moLher had, gasplng. And she looked Lhe way my moLher used Lo look-Lhln, sharp feaLures,
blrdllke, preLLy. "Charllel My Cod, whaL a shockl ?ou mlghL have goLLen ln Louch and warned
me. ?ou should have called. l don'L know whaL 187 Lo say.. " She looked aL my moLher, slLLlng
on Lhe floor near Lhe slnk. "ls she all rlghL? ?ou dldn'L shock her or anyLhlng... " "She came ouL
of lL for a whlle. We had a llLLle Lalk." "l'm glad. She doesn'L remember much Lhese days. lL's old
age-senlllLy. ur. orLman wanLs me Lo puL her lnLo a nurslng home, buL l can'L do lL. l can'L
sLand Lo Lhlnk of her ln one of Lhose lnsLlLuLlons." She opened Lhe bedroom door Lo leL Lhe dog
ouL, and when he [umped and whlned [oyously, she plcked hlm up and hugged hlm. "l [usL can'L
do LhaL Lo my own moLher." 1hen she smlled aL me uncerLalnly. "Well, whaL a surprlse. l never
dreamed. LeL me look aL you. l never would have recognlzed you. l'd have passed you by ln Lhe
sLreeL. So dlfferenL." She slghed. "l'm glad Lo see you, Charlle." "Are you? l dldn'L Lhlnk you'd
wanL Lo see me agaln." "Ch, Charlle!" She Look my hands ln hers. "uon'L say LhaL. l am glad Lo
see you. l've been expecLlng you. l dldn'L know when, buL l knew someday you'd come back.
Lver slnce l read LhaL you had run away ln Chlcago." She pulled back Lo look up aL me. "?ou
don'L know how l've LhoughL abouL you and wondered where you were and whaL you were
dolng. unLll LhaL professor came here lasL when was lL? lasL March? [usL seven monLhs ago?-l
had no ldea you were sLlll allve. She Lold me you dled ln Warren. l belleved lL all Lhese years.
When Lhey Lold me you were allve and Lhey needed you for Lhe experlmenL, l dldn'L know whaL
Lo do. rofessor... nemur?-ls LhaL hls name?-wouldn'L leL me see you. Pe was afrald Lo upseL
you before Lhe operaLlon. 8uL when l saw ln Lhe papers LhaL lL worked and you had become a
genlus--oh, my!-you don'L know whaL lL felL llke Lo read abouL LhaL. "l Lold all Lhe people ln my
offlce, and Lhe glrls aL my brldge club. l showed Lhem your plcLure ln Lhe paper, and l Lold Lhem
you'd be comlng back here Lo see us one day. And you have. ?ou really have. ?ou dldn'L forgeL
us." She hugged me agaln. "Ch, Charlle. Charlle... lL's so wonderful Lo flnd all of a sudden l've
goL a blg broLher. ?ou have no ldea. SlL down leL me make you someLhlng Lo eaL. ?ou've goL Lo
Lell me all abouL lL and whaL your plans are. l... l don'L know where Lo sLarL asklng quesLlons. l
musL sound rldlculous-llke a glrl who has [usL found ouL her broLher ls a hero, or a movle sLar,
or someLhlng." l was confused. l had noL expecLed a greeLlng llke Lhls from norma. lL had never
occurred Lo me LhaL all Lhese years alone wlLh my moLher mlghL change her. And yeL lL was
lnevlLable. She was no longer Lhe spolled braL of my memorles. She had grown up, had become
warm and sympaLheLlc and affecLlonaLe. We Lalked. lronlc Lo slL Lhere wlLh my slsLer, Lhe Lwo of
us Lalklng abouL my moLher-rlghL Lhere ln Lhe room wlLh us-as lf she wasn'L Lhere. Whenever
norma would refer Lo Lhelr llfe LogeLher, l'd look Lo see lf 8ose was llsLenlng, buL she was deep
ln her own world, as lf she dldn'L undersLand our language, as lf none of lL concerned her any
more. She drlfLed around Lhe klLchen llke a ghosL, plcklng Lhlngs up, puLLlng Lhlngs away,
wlLhouL ever geLLlng ln Lhe way. lL was frlghLenlng. l waLched norma feed her dog. "So you
flnally goL hlm. napple-shorL for napoleon, lsn'L lL?" She sLralghLened up and frowned. "Pow
dld you know?" l explalned abouL my memory: Lhe Llme she had broughL home her LesL paper
hoplng Lo geL Lhe dog, and how MaLL had forbldden lL. As l Lold lL, Lhe frown became deeper. "l
don'L remember any of lL. Ch, Charlle, was l so mean Lo you?" "1here's one memory l'm curlous
abouL. l'm noL really sure lf lL's a memory, or a dream, or lf l [usL made lL all up. lL was Lhe lasL
Llme we played LogeLher as frlends. We were ln Lhe basemenL, and we were playlng a game
wlLh Lhe lamp shades on our heads, preLendlng we were Chlnese coolles-[umplng up and down
on an old maLLress. ?ou were seven or elghL, l Lhlnk, and l was abouL LhlrLeen. And, as l recall,
you bounced off Lhe maLLress and hlL your head agalnsL Lhe wall. lL wasn'L very hard [usL a
bump-buL Mom and uad came runnlng down because you were screamlng, and you sald l was
Lrylng Lo klll you. "She blamed MaLL for noL waLchlng me, for leavlng us alone LogeLher, and she
beaL me wlLh a sLrap unLll l was nearly unconsclous. uo you remember lL? uld lL really happen
LhaL way?" 189 norma was fasclnaLed by my descrlpLlon of Lhe memory, as lf lL awakened
sleeplng lmages. "lL's all so vague. ?ou know, l LhoughL LhaL was my dream. l remember us
wearlng Lhe lampshades, and [umplng up and down on Lhe maLLresses." She sLared ouL of Lhe
wlndow. "l haLed you because Lhey fussed over you all Lhe Llme. 1hey never spanked you for
noL dolng your homework rlghL, or for noL brlnglng home Lhe besL marks. ?ou sklpped classes
mosL of Lhe Llme and played games, and l had Lo go Lo Lhe hard classes ln school. Ch, how l
haLed you. ln school Lhe oLher chlldren scrlbbled plcLures on Lhe blackboard, a boy wlLh a
duncecap on hls head, and Lhey wroLe norma's 8roLher under lL. And Lhey scrlbbled Lhlngs on
Lhe sldewalk ln Lhe schoolyard-Moron's SlsLer and uummy Cordon lamlly. And Lhen one day
when l wasn'L lnvlLed Lo Lmlly 8askln's blrLhday parLy, l knew lL was because of you. And when
we were playlng Lhere ln Lhe basemenL wlLh Lhose lampshades on our heads, l had Lo geL
even." She sLarLed Lo cry. "So l lled and sald you hurL me. Ch, Charlle, whaL a fool l was-whaL a
spolled braL. l'm so ashamed-" "uon'L blame yourself. lL musL have been hard Lo face Lhe oLher
klds. lor me, Lhls klLchen was my world-and LhaL room Lhere. 1he resL of lL dldn'L maLLer as long
as Lhls was safe. ?ou had Lo face Lhe resL of Lhe world." "Why dld Lhey send you away, Charlle?
Why couldn'L you have sLayed here and llved wlLh us? l always wondered abouL LhaL. Lvery
Llme l asked her, she always sald lL was for your own good." "ln a way she was rlghL." She shook
her head. "She senL you away because of me, dldn'L she? Ch, Charlle, why dld lL have Lo be?
Why dld all Lhls happen Lo us?" l dldn'L know whaL Lo Lell her. l wlshed l could say LhaL llke Lhe
Pouse of ALreus or Cadmus we were sufferlng for Lhe slns of our forefaLhers, or fulfllllng an
anclenL Creek oracle. 8uL l had no answers for her, or for myself. "lL's pasL," l sald. "l'm glad l
meL you agaln. lL makes lL a llLLle easler." She grabbed my arm suddenly. "Charlle, you don'L
know whaL l've been Lhrough all Lhese years wlLh her. 1he aparLmenL, Lhls sLreeL, my [ob. lL's all
been a nlghL 190 mare, comlng home each day, wonderlng lf she's sLlll here, lf she's harmed
herself, gullLy for Lhlnklng abouL Lhlngs llke LhaL." l sLood up and leL her resL agalnsL my
shoulder, and she wepL. "Ch, Charlle. l'm glad you're back now. We've needed someone. l'm so
Llred... " l had dreamed of a Llme llke Lhls, buL now LhaL lL was here, whaL good was lL? l
couldn'L Lell her whaL was golng Lo happen Lo me. And yeL, could l accepL her affecLlon on false
preLenses? Why kld myself? lf l had sLlll been Lhe old, feeble-mlnded, dependenL Charlle, she
wouldn'L have spoken Lo me Lhe same way. So whaL rlghL dld l have Lo lL now? My mask would
soon be rlpped away. "uon'L cry, norma. LveryLhlng wlll work ouL all rlghL." l heard myself
speaklng ln reassurlng plaLlLudes. "l'll Lry Lo Lake care of you boLh. l have a llLLle money saved,
and wlLh whaL Lhe loundaLlon has been paylng me, l'll be able Lo send you some money
regularly-for a whlle anyway." "8uL you're noL golng awayl ?ou've goL Lo sLay wlLh us now-"
"l've goL Lo do some Lravellng, some research, make a few speeches, buL l'll Lry Lo come back Lo
vlslL you. 1ake care of her. She's been Lhrough a loL. l'll help you for as long as l can." "Charlle!
no, don'L gol" She clung Lo me. "l'm frlghLenedl" 1he role l had always wanLed Lo play-Lhe blg
broLher. AL LhaL momenL, l sensed LhaL 8ose, who had been slLLlng ln Lhe corner quleLly, was
sLarlng aL us. SomeLhlng ln her face had changed. Per eyes were wlde, and she leaned forward
on Lhe edge of her seaL. All l could Lhlnk of was a hawk ready Lo swoop down. l pushed norma
away from me, buL before l could say anyLhlng, 8ose was on her feeL. She had Laken Lhe klLchen
knlfe from Lhe Lable and was polnLlng aL me. "WhaL are you dolng Lo her? CeL away from her! l
Lold you whaL l'd do Lo you lf l ever caughL you Louchlng your slsLer agalnl ulrLy mlndl ?ou don'L
belong wlLh normal people!" We boLh [umped back, and for some lnsane reason, l felL gullLy, as
lf l had been caughL dolng someLhlng wrong, and l knew norma felL Lhe same way. lL was as lf
my moLher's accusaLlon had made lL Lrue, LhaL we were dolng someLhlng obscene. norma
screamed aL her: "MoLher! uL down LhaL knlfe!" Seelng 8ose sLandlng Lhere wlLh Lhe knlfe
broughL back Lhe plcLure of LhaL nlghL she had forced MaLL Lo Lake me away. She was rellvlng
LhaL now. l couldn'L speak or move. 1he nausea swepL over me, Lhe choklng Lenslon, Lhe
buzzlng ln my ears, my sLomach knoLLlng and sLreLchlng as lf lL wanLed Lo Lear lLself ouL of my
body. She had a knlfe, and Allce had a knlfe, and my faLher had a knlfe, and ur. SLrauss had a
knlfe... lorLunaLely, norma had Lhe presence of mlnd Lo Lake lL away from her, buL she couldn'L
erase Lhe fear ln 8ose's eyes as she screamed aL me. "CeL hlm ouL of here! Pe's goL no rlghL Lo
look aL hls slsLer wlLh sex ln hls mlnd!" 8ose screamed and sank back lnLo Lhe chalr, weeplng. l
dldn'L know whaL Lo say, and nelLher dld norma. We were boLh embarrassed. now she knew
why l had been senL away. l wondered lf l had ever done anyLhlng Lo [usLlfy my moLher's fear.
1here were no such memorles, buL how could l be sure Lhere weren'L horrlble LhoughLs
repressed behlnd Lhe barrlers of my LorLured consclence? ln Lhe sealed-off passageways,
beyond bllnd alleys, LhaL l would never see. osslbly l wlll never know. WhaLever Lhe LruLh ls, l
musL noL haLe 8ose for proLecLlng norma. l musL undersLand Lhe way she saw lL. unless l
forglve her, l wlll have noLhlng. norma was Lrembllng. "1ake lL easy," l sald. "She doesn'L know
whaL she's dolng. lL wasn'L me she was ravlng aL. lL was Lhe old Charlle. She was afrald of whaL
he mlghL do Lo you. l can'L blame her for wanLlng Lo proLecL you. 8uL we don'L have Lo Lhlnk
abouL lL now, because he's gone forever, lsn'L he?" She wasn'L llsLenlng Lo me. 1here was a
dreamy expresslon on her face. "l've [usL had one of Lhose sLrange experlences where
someLhlng happens, and you have Lhe feellng you know lL's golng Lo happen, as lf lL all Look
place before, Lhe exacL same way, and you waLch lL unfold agaln...." "A very common
experlence." She shook her head. "!usL now, when l saw her wlLh LhaL knlfe, lL was llke a dream
l had a long Llme ago." WhaL was Lhe use of Lelllng her she had undoubLedly been awake LhaL
nlghL as a chlld, and had seen Lhe whole Lhlng from her room-LhaL lL had been repressed and
LwlsLed unLll she lmaglned lL as a fanLasy. no reason for burdenlng her wlLh Lhe LruLh. She
would have enough sadness wlLh my moLher ln Lhe days Lo come. l would gladly have Laken Lhe
burden and Lhe paln off her hands, buL Lhere was no sense ln sLarLlng someLhlng l couldn'L
flnlsh. l would have my own sufferlng Lo llve wlLh. 1here was no way Lo sLop Lhe sands of
knowledge from sllpplng Lhrough Lhe hourglass of my mlnd. "l've goL Lo go now," l sald. "1ake
care of yourself, and of her." l squeezed her hand. As l wenL ouL, napoleon barked aL me. l held
lL ln for as long as l could, buL when l reached Lhe sLreeL lL was lmposslble. lL's hard Lo wrlLe lL
down, buL people Lurned Lo look aL me as l walked back Lo Lhe car, crylng llke a chlld. l couldn'L
help myself, and l dldn'L care. As l walked, Lhe rldlculous words drummed Lhemselves lnLo my
head over and over agaln, rlslng Lo Lhe rhyLhm of a buzzlng nolse: 1hree bllnd mlce... Lhree
bllnd mlce, See how Lhey runl See how Lhey run! 1hey all run afLer Lhe farmer's wlfe, She cuL off
Lhelr Lalls wlLh a carvlng knlfe, uld you ever see such a slghL ln your llfe, As Lhree... bllnd... mlce?
l Lrled Lo shuL lL ouL of my ears, buL l couldn'L, and once when l Lurned Lo look back aL Lhe house
and Lhe porch, l saw Lhe face of a boy, sLarlng aL me, hls cheek pressed agalnsL Lhe wlndow
8CC8LSS 8LC81 17
CcLober 3-uownhlll. 1houghLs of sulclde Lo sLop lL all now whlle l am sLlll ln conLrol and aware
of Lhe world 193 around me. 8uL Lhen l Lhlnk of Charlle walLlng aL Lhe wlndow. Pls llfe ls noL
mlne Lo Lhrow away. l've [usL borrowed lL for a whlle, and now l'm belng asked Lo reLurn lL. l
musL remember l'm Lhe only person Lhls ever happened Lo. As long as l can, l've goL Lo keep
puLLlng down my LhoughLs and feellngs. 1hese progress reporLs are Charlle Cordon's
conLrlbuLlon Lo manklnd. l have become edgy and lrrlLable. Pavlng flghLs wlLh people ln Lhe
bulldlng abouL playlng Lhe hl-fl seL laLe aL nlghL. l've been dolng LhaL a loL slnce l've sLopped
playlng Lhe plano. lL lsn'L rlghL Lo keep lL golng all hours, buL l do lL Lo keep myself awake. l
know l should sleep, buL l begrudge every second of waklng Llme. lL's noL [usL because of Lhe
nlghLmares, lL's because l'm afrald of leLLlng go. l Lell myself Lhere'll be Llme enough Lo sleep
laLer, when lL's dark. Mr. vernor ln Lhe aparLmenL below never used Lo complaln, buL now he's
always banglng on Lhe plpes or on Lhe celllng of hls aparLmenL so LhaL l hear Lhe poundlng
beneaLh my feeL. l lgnored lL aL flrsL, buL lasL nlghL he came up ln hls baLhrobe. We quarreled,
and l slammed Lhe door ln hls face. An hour laLer he was back wlLh a pollceman who Lold me l
couldn'L play records LhaL loudly aL 4 A. M. 1he smlle on vernor's face so enraged me LhaL lL
was all l could do Lo keep from hlLLlng hlm. When Lhey lefL l smashed all Lhe records and Lhe
machlne. l've been klddlng myself anyway. l don'L really llke LhaL klnd of muslc any more.
CcLober 4-SLrangesL Lherapy sesslon l ever had. SLrauss was upseL. lL was someLhlng he hadn'L
expecLed elLher. WhaL happened-l don'L dare call lL a memory-was a psychlc experlence or a
halluclnaLlon. l won'L aLLempL Lo explaln or lnLerpreL lL, buL wlll only record whaL happened. l
was Louchy when l came lnLo hls offlce, buL he preLended noL Lo noLlce. l lay down on Lhe couch
lmmedlaLely, and he, as usual, Look hls seaL Lo one slde and a llLLle behlnd me-[usL ouL of slghL-
and walLed for me Lo begln Lhe rlLual of pourlng ouL all Lhe accumulaLed polsons of Lhe mlnd. l
peered back aL hlm over my head. Pe looked Llred, and flabby, and somehow he remlnded me
of MaLL slLLlng on hls barber's chalr walLlng for cusLomers. l Lold SLrauss of Lhe assoclaLlon and
he nodded and walLed. "Are you walLlng for cusLomers?" l asked. "?ou oughL Lo have Lhls couch
deslgned llke a barber's chalr. 1hen when you wanL free assoclaLlon, you could sLreLch your
paLlenL ouL Lhe way Lhe barber does Lo laLher up hls cusLomer, and when Lhe flfLy mlnuLes are
up, you could LllL Lhe chalr forward agaln and hand hlm a mlrror so he can see whaL he looks
llke on Lhe ouLslde afLer you've shaved hls ego." Pe sald noLhlng, and whlle l felL ashamed aL
Lhe way l was abuslng hlm, l couldn'L sLop. "1hen your paLlenL could come ln aL each sesslon
and say, `A llLLle off Lhe Lop of my anxleLy, please,' or `uon'L Lrlm Lhe super-ego Loo close, lf you
don'L mlnd,' or he mlghL even come ln for an egg shampoo-l mean, ego shampoo. Aha1 uld you
noLlce LhaL sllp of Lhe Longue, docLor? Make a noLe of lL. l sald l wanLed an egg shampoo
lnsLead of an ego sham poo. Lgg... ego... close, aren'L Lhey? uoes LhaL mean l wanL Lo be
washed clean of my slns? 8eborn? ls lL bapLlsm symbollsm? Cr are we shavlng Loo close? uoes
an ldloL have an ld?" l walLed for a reacLlon, buL he [usL shlfLed ln hls chalr. "Are you awake?" l
asked. "l'm llsLenlng, Charlle." "Cnly llsLenlng? uon'L you ever geL angry?" "Why do you wanL
me Lo be angry wlLh you?" l slghed. "SLolld SLrauss: unmovable. l'll Lell you someLhlng. l'm slck
and Llred of comlng here. WhaL's Lhe sense of Lherapy any more? ?ou know as well as l do
whaL's golng Lo happen." "8uL l Lhlnk you don'L wanL Lo sLop," he sald. "?ou wanL Lo go on wlLh
lL, don'L you?" "lL's sLupld. A wasLe of my Llme and yours" l lay Lhere ln Lhe dlm llghL and sLared
aL Lhe paLLern of squares on Lhe celllng.. nolse-absorblng Llles wlLh Lhousands of Llny holes
soaklng up every word. Sound burled allve ln llLLle holes ln Lhe celllng. l found myself becomlng
llghLheaded. My mlnd was a blank, and LhaL was unusual because durlng Lherapy sesslons l
always had a greaL deal of maLerlal Lo brlng ouL 193 and Lalk abouL. ureams... memorles...
assoclaLlons... problems... 8uL now l felL lsolaLed and empLy. Cnly SLolld SLrauss breaLhlng
behlnd me. "l feel sLrange," l sald. "?ou wanL Lo Lalk abouL lL?" Ch, how brllllanL, how subLle he
was! WhaL Lhe hell was l dolng Lhere anyway, havlng my assoclaLlons absorbed by llLLle holes ln
Lhe celllng and blg holes ln my LheraplsL? "l don'L know lf l wanL Lo Lalk abouL lL," l sald. "l feel
unusually hosLlle Loward you Loday." And Lhen l Lold hlm whaL l had been Lhlnklng. WlLhouL
seelng hlm, l could Lell he was noddlng Lo hlmself. "lL's hard Lo explaln," l sald. "A feellng l've
had once or Lwlce before, [usL before l falnLed. A llghLheadedness... everyLhlng lnLense... buL
my body feels cold and numb..." "Co on." Pls volce had an edge of exclLemenL. "WhaL else?" "l
can'L feel my body any more. l'm numb. l have Lhe feellng LhaL Charlle ls close by. My eyes are
open l'm sure of LhaL are Lhey?" "?es, wlde open." "And yeL l see a blue-whlLe glow from Lhe
walls and Lhe celllng gaLherlng lnLo a shlmmerlng ball. now lL's suspended ln mldalr. LlghL...
forclng lLself lnLo my eyes... and my braln... LveryLhlng ln Lhe room ls aglow... l have Lhe feellng
of floaLlng... or raLher expandlng up and ouL... and yeL wlLhouL looklng down l know my body ls
sLlll here on Lhe couch...:' ls Lhls a halluclnaLlon? "Charlle, are you all rlghL?" Cr Lhe Lhlngs
descrlbed by Lhe mysLlcs? l hear hls volce buL l don'L wanL Lo answer hlm. lL annoys me LhaL he
ls Lhere. l've goL Lo lgnore hlm. 8e passlve and leL Lhls-whaLever lL ls-flll me wlLh Lhe llghL and
absorb me lnLo lLself. "WhaL do you see, Charlle? WhaL's Lhe maLLer?" upward, movlng, llke a
leaf ln an upcurrenL of warm 196 alr. Speedlng, Lhe aLoms of my body hurLllng away from each
oLher. l grow llghLer, less dense, and larger... larger . explodlng ouLward lnLo Lhe sun. l am an
expandlng unlverse swlmmlng upward ln a sllenL sea. Small aL flrsL, encompasslng wlLh my
body, Lhe room, Lhe bulldlng, Lhe clLy, Lhe counLry, unLll l know LhaL lf l look down l wlll see my
shadow bloLLlng ouL Lhe earLh. LlghL and unfeellng. urlfLlng and expandlng Lhrough Llme and
space. And Lhen, as l know l am abouL Lo plerce Lhe crusL of exlsLence, llke a flylng flsh leaplng
ouL of Lhe sea, l feel Lhe pull from below. lL annoys me. l wanL Lo shake lL off. Cn Lhe verge of
blendlng wlLh Lhe unlverse l hear Lhe whlspers around Lhe rldges of consclousness. And LhaL
ever-so-sllghL Lug holds me Lo Lhe flnlLe and morLal world below. Slowly, as waves recede, my
expandlng splrlL shrlnks back lnLo earLhly dlmenslons-noL volunLarlly, because l would prefer Lo
lose myself, buL l am pulled from below, back Lo myself, lnLo myself, so LhaL for [usL one
momenL l am on Lhe couch agaln, flLLlng Lhe flngers of my awareness lnLo Lhe glove of my flesh.
And l know l can move Lhls flnger or wlnk LhaL eye-lf l wanL Lo. 8uL l don'L wanL Lo move. l wlll
noL move! l walL, and leave myself open, passlve, Lo whaLever Lhls experlence means. Charlle
doesn'L wanL me Lo plerce Lhe upper curLaln of Lhe mlnd. Charlle doesn'L wanL Lo know whaL
lles beyond. uoes he fear seelng Cod? Cr seelng noLhlng? As l lle here walLlng, Lhe momenL
passes durlng whlch l am myself ln myself, and agaln l lose all feellng of body or sensaLlon.
Charlle ls drawlng me down lnLo myself. l sLare lnward ln Lhe cenLer of my unseelng eye aL Lhe
red spoL LhaL Lransforms lLself lnLo a mulLlpeLaled flower-Lhe shlmmerlng, swlrllng, lumlnescenL
flower LhaL lles deep ln Lhe core of my unconsclous. l am shrlnklng. noL ln Lhe sense of Lhe
aLoms of my body becomlng closer and more dense, buL a fuslon-as Lhe aLoms of my-self merge
lnLo mlcrocosm. 1here wlll be greaL heaL and unbearable llghL-Lhe hell wlLhln hell buL l don'L
look aL Lhe llghL, only aL Lhe flower, unmulLlplylng, undlvldlng lLself back from Lhe many Loward
one. And for- an lnsLanL Lhe shlmmerlng flower Lurns lnLo Lhe golden dlsk Lwlrllng on a sLrlng,
and Lhen Lo Lhe bubble of swlrllng ralnbows, and flnally l am back ln Lhe cave where everyLhlng
ls quleL and dark and l swlm Lhe weL labyrlnLh searchlng for one Lo recelve me... embrace me...
absorb me... lnLo lLself. 1haL l may begln. ln Lhe core l see Lhe llghL agaln, an openlng ln Lhe
darkesL of caves, now Llny and far away-Lhrough Lhe wrong end of a Lelescope-brllllanL,
bllndlng, shlmmerlng, and once agaln Lhe mulLlpeLaled flower (swlrllng loLus-LhaL floaLs near
Lhe enLrance of Lhe unconsclous). AL Lhe enLrance of LhaL cave l wlll flnd Lhe answer, lf l dare go
back and plunge Lhrough lL lnLo Lhe groLLo of llghL beyond. noL yeL! l am afrald. noL of llfe, or
deaLh, or noLhlngness, buL of wasLlng lL as lf l had never been. And as l sLarL Lhrough Lhe
openlng, l feel Lhe pressure around me, propelllng me ln vlolenL wavellke moLlons Loward Lhe
mouLh of Lhe cave. lL's Loo small! l can'L geL Lhrough! And suddenly l am hurled agalnsL Lhe
walls, agaln and agaln, and forced Lhrough Lhe openlng where Lhe llghL LhreaLens Lo bursL my
eyes. Agaln, l know l wlll plerce Lhe crusL lnLo LhaL holy llghL. More Lhan l can bear. aln as l
have never known, and coldness, and nausea, and Lhe greaL buzzlng over my head flapplng llke
a Lhousand wlngs. l open my eyes, bllnded by Lhe lnLense llghL. And flall Lhe alr and Lremble and
scream. l came ouL of lL aL Lhe lnslsLence of a hand shaklng me roughly. ur. SLrauss. "1hank
Cod," he sald, when l looked lnLo hls eyes. "?ou had me worrled." l shook my head. "l'm all
rlghL." "l Lhlnk maybe LhaL's all for Loday." l goL up and swayed as l regalned my perspecLlve.
1he room seemed very small. "noL only for Loday," l sald. "l don'L Lhlnk l should have any more
sesslons. l don'L wanL Lo see any more." 198 Pe was upseL, buL he dldn'L Lry Lo Lalk me ouL of lL.
l Look my haL and coaL and lefL. And now-laLo's words mock me ln Lhe shadows on Lhe ledge
behlnd Lhe flames: ".. Lhe men of Lhe cave would say of hlm LhaL up he wenL and down he came
wlLhouL hls eyes.... CcLober S-SlLLlng down Lo Lype Lhese reporLs ls dlfflculL, and l can'L Lhlnk
wlLh Lhe Lape recorder golng. l keep puLLlng lL off for mosL of Lhe day, buL l know how
lmporLanL lL ls, and l've goL Lo do lL. l've Lold myself l won'L have dlnner unLll l slL down and
wrlLe someLhlng-anyLhlng. rofessor nemur senL for me agaln Lhls mornlng. Pe wanLed me aL
Lhe lab for some LesLs, Lhe klnd l used Lo do. AL flrsL l flgured lL was only rlghL, because Lhey're
sLlll paylng me, and lL's lmporLanL Lo have Lhe record compleLe, buL when l goL down Lo
8eekman and wenL Lhrough lL all wlLh 8urL, l knew lL would be Loo much for me. llrsL lL was Lhe
paper and pencll maze. l remembered how lL was before when l learned Lo do lL qulckly, and
when l raced agalnsL Algernon. l could Lell lL was Laklng me a loL longer Lo solve Lhe maze now.
8urL had hls hand ouL Lo Lake Lhe paper, buL l Lore lL up lnsLead and Lhrew Lhe pleces lnLo Lhe
wasLe baskeL. "no more. l'm Lhrough runnlng Lhe maze. l'm ln a bllnd alley now, and LhaL's all
Lhere ls Lo lL." Pe was afrald l'd run ouL, so he calmed me down. "1haL's all rlghL, Charlle. !usL
Lake lL easy." "WhaL do you mean `Lake lL easy'? ?ou don'L know whaL lL's llke." "no, buL l can
lmaglne. We all feel preLLy slck abouL "keep your sympaLhy. !usL leave me alone." Pe was
embarrassed, and Lhen l reallzed lL wasn'L hls faulL, and l was belng lousy Loward hlm. "Sorry l
blew up," l sald. "Pow's everyLhlng golng? CoL your Lhesls flnlshed yeL?" Pe nodded. "Pavlng lL
reLyped now. l'll geL my h. u. ln lebruary" "Cood boy." l slapped hlm on Lhe shoulder Lo show
hlm l wasn'L angry wlLh hlm. "keep plugglng. noLhlng llke an educaLlon. Look, forgeL whaL l sald
before. l'll do anyLhlng else you wanL. !usL no more mazes-LhaL's all." "Well, nemur wanLs a
8orschach check." "1o see whaL's happenlng down deep? WhaL does he expecL Lo flnd?" l musL
have looked upseL, because he sLarLed Lo back off. "We don'L have Lo. ?ou're here volunLarlly. lf
you don'L wanL Lo-" "1haL's all rlghL. Co ahead. ueal ouL Lhe cards. 8uL don'L Lell me whaL you
flnd ouL." Pe dldn'L have Lo. l knew enough abouL Lhe 8orschach Lo know LhaL lL wasn'L whaL
you saw ln Lhe cards LhaL counLed, buL how you reacLed Lo Lhem. As wholes, or parLs, wlLh
movemenL or [usL moLlonless flgures, wlLh speclal aLLenLlon Lo Lhe color spoLs or lgnorlng Lhem,
wlLh loLs of ldeas or [usL a few sLereoLyped responses. "lL's noL valld," l sald. "l know whaL
you're looklng for. l know Lhe klnd of responses l'm supposed Lo have, Lo creaLe a cerLaln
plcLure of whaL my mlnd ls llke. All l've goL Lo do ls..." Pe looked up aL me, walLlng. "All l've goL
Lo do ls... " 8uL Lhen lL hlL me llke a flsL agalnsL Lhe slde f my head LhaL l dldn'L remember whaL l
had Lo do. lL was as lf l had been looklng aL Lhe whole Lhlng clearly on Lhe blackboard of my
mlnd, buL when l Lurned Lo read lL, parL of lL had been erased and Lhe resL dldn'L make sense. AL
flrsL, l refused Lo belleve lL. l wenL Lhrough Lhe cards ln a panlc, so fasL LhaL l was choklng on my
words. l wanLed Lo Lear Lhe lnkbloLs aparL Lo make Lhem reveal Lhemselves. Somewhere ln
Lhose lnkbloLs Lhere were answers l had known [usL a llLLle whlle ago. noL really ln Lhe lnkbloLs,
buL ln Lhe parL of my mlnd LhaL would glve form and meanlng Lo Lhem and pro[ecL my lmprlnL
on Lhem. And l couldn'L do lL. l couldn'L remember whaL l had Lo say. All mlsslng. "1haL's a
woman.. " l sald, "... on her knees washlng Lhe floors. l mean-no-lL's a man holdlng a knlfe." And
even as l sald lL, l knew whaL l was saylng and l swlLched away and sLarLed off ln anoLher
dlrecLlon. "1wo flgures Lugglng aL someLhlng... llke a doll... and each one ls pulllng so lL looks as
lf Lhey're golng Lo 200 Lear lL aparL and-no!- l mean lL's Lwo faces sLarlng aL each oLher Lhrough
Lhe wlndow, and-" l swepL Lhe cards off Lhe Lable and goL up. "no more LesLs. l don'L wanL Lo
Lake any more LesLs." "All rlghL, Charlle. We'll sLop for Loday." "noL [usL for Loday. l'm noL
comlng back here any more. WhaLever Lhere ls lefL ln me LhaL you need, you can geL from Lhe
progress reporLs. l'm Lhrough runnlng Lhe maze. l'm noL a gulnea plg any more. l've done
enough. l wanL Lo be lefL alone now." "All rlghL, Charlle. l undersLand." "no, you don'L
undersLand because lL lsn'L happenlng Lo you, and no one can undersLand buL me. l don'L blame
you. ?ou've goL your [ob Lo do, and your h. u. Lo geL, and-oh, yes, don'L Lell me, l know you're
ln Lhls largely ouL of love of humanlLy, buL sLlll you've goL your llfe Lo llve and we don'L happen
Lo belong on Lhe same level. l passed your floor on Lhe way up, and now l'm passlng lL on Lhe
way down, and l don'L Lhlnk l'll be Laklng Lhls elevaLor agaln. So leL's [usL say good-bye here and
now." "uon'L you Lhlnk you should Lalk Lo ur.-" "Say good-bye Lo everyone for me, wlll you? l
don'L feel llke faclng any of Lhem agaln." 8efore he could say any more or Lry Lo sLop me, l was
ouL of Lhe lab, and l caughL Lhe elevaLor down and ouL of 8eekman for Lhe lasL Llme. CcLober 7-
SLrauss Lrled Lo see me agaln Lhls mornlng, buL l wouldn'L open Lhe door. l wanL Lo be lefL Lo
myself now. lL's a sLrange sensaLlon Lo plck up a book you read and en[oyed [usL a few monLhs
ago and dlscover you don'L remember lL. l recall how wonderful l LhoughL MllLon was. When l
plcked up aradlse LosL l could only remember lL was abouL Adam and Lve and Lhe 1ree of
knowledge, buL now l couldn'L make sense of lL. l sLood up and closed my eyes and saw
Charllemyself-slx or seven years old, slLLlng aL Lhe dlnner Lable wlLh a schoolbook, learnlng Lo
read, saylng Lhe words over and over wlLh my moLher slLLlng beslde hlm, beslde me... "1ry lL
agaln." 201 "See !ack. See lack run. See lack see." "nol noL See !ack see! lL's 8un !ack run!"
olnLlng wlLh her rough-scrubbed flnger. "See !ack. See !ack run. 8un !ack see." "no! ?ou're noL
Lrylng. uo lL agaln!" uo lL agaln... do lL agaln... do lL agaln... "Leave Lhe boy alone. ?ou've goL
hlm Lerrlfled." "Pe's goL Lo learn. Pe's Loo lazy Lo concenLraLe." 8un !ack run... run !ack run...
run !ack run... run !ack run.. "Pe's slower Lhan Lhe oLher chlldren. Clve hlm Llme." "Pe's normal.
1here's noLhlng wrong wlLh hlm. !usL lazy. l'll beaL lL lnLo hlm unLll he learns." 8un !ack run...
run !ack run... run !ack run... run !ack run... And Lhen looklng up from Lhe Lable, lL seems Lo me l
saw myself, Lhrough Charlle's eyes, holdlng aradlse LosL, and l reallzed l was breaklng Lhe
blndlng wlLh Lhe pressure of boLh hands as lf l wanLed Lo Lear Lhe book ln half. l broke Lhe back
of lL, rlpped ouL a handful of pages, and flung Lhem and Lhe book across Lhe room Lo Lhe corner
where Lhe broken records were. l leL lL lay Lhere and lLs Lorn whlLe Longues were laughlng
because l couldn'L undersLand whaL Lhey were saylng. l've goL Lo Lry Lo hold onLo some of Lhe
Lhlngs l've learned. lease, Cod, don'L Lake lL all away. CcLober 10-usually aL nlghL l go ouL for
walks, wander around Lhe clLy. l don'L know why. 1o see faces, l guess. LasL nlghL l couldn'L
remember where l llved. A pollceman Look me home. l have Lhe sLrange feellng LhaL Lhls has all
happened Lo me before-a long Llme ago. l don'L wanL Lo wrlLe lL down, buL l keep remlndlng
myself LhaL l'm Lhe only one ln Lhe world who can descrlbe whaL happens when lL goes Lhls
way. lnsLead of walklng l was floaLlng Lhrough space, noL clear and sharp, buL wlLh a gray fllm
over everyLhlng. l know whaL's happenlng Lo me, buL Lhere ls noLhlng l can do abouL lL. l walk,
or [usL sLand on Lhe sldewalk and waLch people go by. Some of Lhem look aL me, and some of
Lhem don'L buL nobody says anyLhlng Lo me--excepL one nlghL a man came up and asked lf l
wanLed a glrl. Pe Look me Lo a place. Pe wanLed Len dollars flrsL and l gave lL Lo hlm, buL he
never came back. And Lhen l remembered whaL a fool l was. CcLober 11-When l came lnLo my
aparLmenL Lhls mornlng, l found Allce Lhere, asleep on Lhe couch. LveryLhlng was cleaned up,
and aL flrsL l LhoughL l was ln Lhe wrong aparLmenL, buL Lhen l saw she hadn'L Louched Lhe
smashed records or Lhe Lorn books or Lhe sheeL muslc ln Lhe corner of Lhe room. 1he floor
creaked and she woke up and looked aL me. "Pl," she laughed. "Some nlghL owl." "noL an owl.
More of a dodo. A dumb dodo. Pow'd you geL ln here?" "1hrough Lhe flre escape. lay's place. l
called her Lo flnd ouL abouL you and she sald she was worrled. She says you've been acLlng
sLrangely-causlng dlsLurbances. So, l declded lL was Llme for me Lo puL ln an appearance. l
sLralghLened up a blL. l dldn'L Lhlnk you'd mlnd." "l do mlnd... very much. l don'L wanL anybody
comlng around feellng sorry for me." She wenL Lo Lhe mlrror Lo comb her halr. "rm noL here
because l feel sorry for you. lL's because l feel sorry for me." "WhaL's LhaL supposed Lo mean?"
"lL doesn'L mean," she shrugged. "lL [usL ls-llke a poem. l wanLed Lo see you." "WhaL's wrong
wlLh Lhe zoo?" "Ch, come off lL, Charlle. uon'L fence wlLh me. l walLed long enough for you Lo
come and geL me. l declded Lo eame Lo you." lfLy?" "8ecause Lhere's sLlll Llme. And l wanL Lo
spend lL wlLh you." "ls LhaL a song?" "Charlle, don'L laugh aL me." "l'm noL laughlng. 8uL l can'L
afford Lo spend my Llme wlLh anyone-Lhere's only enough lefL for myself." "l can'L belleve you
wanL Lo be compleLely alone." "l do." "We had a llLLle Llme LogeLher before we goL ouL of Louch.
We had Lhlngs Lo Lalk abouL, and Lhlngs Lo do 203 LogeLher. lL dldn'L lasL very long buL lL was
someLhlng. Look, we've known Lhls mlghL happen. lL was no secreL. l dldn'L go away, Charlle,
l've [usL been walLlng. ?ou're abouL aL my level agaln, aren'L you?" l sLormed around Lhe
aparLmenL. "8uL LhaL's crazy. 1here's noLhlng Lo look forward Lo. l don'L dare leL myself Lhlnk
ahead-only back. ln a few monLhs, weeks, days-who Lhe hell knows?-l'll go back Lo Warren. ?ou
can'L follow me Lhere." "no," she admlLLed, "and l probably won'L even vlslL you Lhere. Cnce
you're ln Warren l'll do my besL Lo forgeL you. l'm noL golng Lo preLend oLherwlse. 8uL unLll you
go, Lhere's no reason for elLher of us Lo be alone." 8efore l could say anyLhlng, she klssed me. l
walLed, as she saL beslde me on Lhe couch, resLlng her head agalnsL my chesL, buL Lhe panlc
dldn'L come. Allce was a woman, buL perhaps now Charlle would undersLand LhaL she wasn'L hls
moLher or hls slsLer. WlLh Lhe rellef of knowlng l had passed Lhrough a crlsls, l slghed because
Lhere was noLhlng Lo hold me back. lL was no Llme for fear or preLense, because lL could never
be Lhls way wlLh anyone else. All Lhe barrlers were gone. l had unwound Lhe sLrlng she had
glven me, and found my way ouL of Lhe labyrlnLh Lo where she was walLlng. l loved her wlLh
more Lhan my body. l don'L preLend Lo undersLand Lhe mysLery of love, buL Lhls Llme lL was
more Lhan sex, more Lhan uslng a woman's body. lL was belng llfLed off Lhe earLh, ouLslde fear
and LormenL, belng parL of someLhlng greaLer Lhan myself. l was llfLed ouL of Lhe dark cell of my
own mlnd, Lo become parL of someone else-[usL as l had experlenced lL LhaL day on Lhe couch ln
Lherapy. lL was Lhe flrsL sLep ouLward Lo Lhe unlverse-beyond Lhe unlverse-because ln lL and
wlLh lL we merged Lo recreaLe and perpeLuaLe Lhe human splrlL. Lxpandlng and bursLlng
ouLward, and conLracLlng and formlng lnward, lL was Lhe rhyLhm of belng-of breaLhlng, of
hearLbeaL, of day and nlghL-and Lhe rhyLhm of our bodles seL off an echo ln my mlnd. lL was Lhe
way lL had been back Lhere ln LhaL sLrange vlslon. 1he gray murk llfLed from my mlnd, and
Lhrough lL Lhe llghL plerced lnLo my braln (how sLrange LhaL llghL should bllnd!), and my body
was absorbed back lnLo a greaL sea of space, washed under ln a sLrange bapLlsm. My body 204
shuddered wlLh glvlng, and her body shuddered lLs accepLance. 1hls was Lhe way we loved,
unLll Lhe nlghL became a sllenL day. And as l lay Lhere wlLh her l could see how lmporLanL
physlcal love was, how necessary lL was for us Lo be ln each oLher's arms, glvlng and Laklng. 1he
unlverse was explodlng, each parLlcle away from Lhe nexL, _,__ _. Learlng hurLllng uS lnLo dark
and lonely $paLe, eleWauyceu. ug us away from each oLher-chlld ouL of Lhe womb, frlend away
from frlend, movlng from each oLher, each Lhrough hls own paLhway Loward Lhe goal-box of
sollLary deaLh. 8uL Lhls was Lhe counLerwelghL, Lhe acL of blndlng and holdlng. As when men Lo
keep from belng swepL overboard ln Lhe sLorm cluLch aL each oLher's hands Lo reslsL belng Lorn
aparL, so our bodles fused a llnk ln Lhe human chaln LhaL kepL us from belng swepL lnLo noLhlng.
And ln Lhe momenL before l fell off lnLo sleep, l remembered Lhe way lL had been beLween lay
and myself, and l smlled. no wonder LhaL had been easy. lL had been only physlcal. 1hls wlLh
Allce was a mysLery. l leaned over and klssed her eyes. Allce knows everyLhlng abouL me now,
and accepLs Lhe facL LhaL we can be LogeLher for only a shorL whlle. She has agreed Lo go away
when l Lell her Lo go. lL's palnful Lo Lhlnk abouL LhaL, buL whaL we have, l suspecL, ls more Lhan
mosL people flnd ln a llfeLlme. CcLober 14-l wake up ln Lhe mornlng and don'L know where l am
or whaL l'm dolng here, and Lhen l see her beslde me and l remember. She senses when
someLhlng ls happenlng Lo me, and she moves quleLly around Lhe aparLmenL, maklng breakfasL,
cleanlng up Lhe place, or golng ouL and leavlng me Lo myself, wlLhouL any quesLlons. We wenL
Lo a concerL Lhls evenlng, buL l goL bored and we lefL ln Lhe mlddle. Can'L seem Lo pay much
aLLenLlon any more. l wenL because l know l used Lo llke SLravlnsky buL somehow l no longer
have Lhe paLlence for lL. 1he only bad Lhlng abouL havlng Allce here wlLh me ls LhaL now l feel l
should flghL Lhls Lhlng. l wanL Lo sLop Llme, freeze myself aL Lhls level and never leL go of her.
CcLober 17 Why can'L l remember? ve goL Lo Lry Lo 203 reslsL Lhls slackness. Allce Lells me l lle
ln bed for days and don'L seem Lo know who or where l am. 1hen lL all comes back and l
recognlze her and remember whaL's happenlng. lugues of amnesla. SympLoms of second
chlldhood-whaL do Lhey call lL?-senlllLy? l can waLch lL comlng on. All so cruelly loglcal, Lhe
resulL of speedlng up all Lhe processes of Lhe mlnd. l learned so much so fasL, and now my mlnd
ls deLerloraLlng rapldly. WhaL lf l won'L leL lL happen? WhaL lf l flghL lL? 1hlnk of Lhose people aL
Warren, Lhe empLy smlles, Lhe blank expresslons, everyone laughlng aL Lhem. LlLLle Charlle
Cordon sLarlng aL me Lhrough Lhe wlndow-walLlng. lease, noL LhaL agaln. CcLober 18-l'm
forgeLLlng Lhlngs l learned recenLly. lL seems Lo be followlng Lhe classlc paLLern, Lhe lasL Lhlngs
learned are flrsL Lhlngs forgoLLen. Cr ls LhaL Lhe paLLern? 8eLLer look lL up agaln. 8eread my
paper on Lhe Algernon-Cordon LffecL and even Lhough l know l wroLe lL, l keep feellng lL was
wrlLLen by someone else. MosL of lL l don'L even undersLand. 8uL why am l so lrrlLable?
Lspeclally when Allce ls so good Lo me? She keeps Lhe place neaL and clean, always puLLlng my
Lhlngs away and washlng dlshes and scrubblng floors. l shouldn'L have shouLed aL her Lhe way l
dld Lhls mornlng because lL made her cry, and l dldn'L wanL LhaL Lo happen. 8uL she shouldn'L
have plcked up Lhe broken records and Lhe muslc and Lhe book and puL Lhem all neaLly lnLo a
box. 1haL made me furlous. l don'L wanL anyone Lo Louch any of Lhose Lhlngs. l wanL Lo see
Lhem plle up. l wanL Lhem Lo remlnd me of whaL l'm leavlng. behlnd. l klcked Lhe box and
scaLLered Lhe sLuff all over Lhe floor and Lold her Lo leave Lhem [usL where Lhey were. loollsh.
no reason for lL. l guess l goL sore because l knew she LhoughL lL was sllly Lo keep Lhose Lhlngs,
and she dldn'L Lell me she LhoughL lL was sllly. She [usL preLended lL was perfecLly normal. She's
humorlng me. And when l saw LhaL box l remembered Lhe boy aL Warren and Lhe lousy lamp he
made and Lhe way we were all humorlng hlm, preLendlng he had done someLhlng wonderful
when he hadn'L. 1haL was whaL she was dolng Lo me, and l couldn'L sLand lL. When she wenL Lo
Lhe bedroom and crled l felL bad abouL lL and l Lold her lL was all my faulL. l don'L deserve
someone as good as her. Why can'L l conLrol myself [usL enough Lo keep on lovlng her? !usL
enough. CcLober 19-MoLor acLlvlLy lmpalred. l keep Lrlpplng and dropplng Lhlngs. AL flrsL l
dldn'L Lhlnk lL was me. l LhoughL she was changlng Lhlngs around. 1he wasLebaskeL was ln my
way, and so were Lhe chalrs, and l LhoughL she had moved Lhem. now l reallze my coordlnaLlon
ls bad. l have Lo move slowly Lo geL Lhlngs rlghL. And lL's lncreaslngly dlfflculL Lo Lype. Why do l
keep blamlng Allce? And why doesn'L she argue? 1haL lrrlLaLes me even more because l see Lhe
plLy ln her face. ~ly only pleasure now ls Lhe 1v seL. l spend mosL of Lhe day waLchlng Lhe qulz
programs, Lh) old movles, Lhe soap operas, and even Lhe klddle shows and carLoons. And Lhen l
can'L brlng myself Lo Lurn lL off. LaLe aL nlghL Lhere are Lhe old movles, Lhe horror plcLures, Lhe
laLe show, and Lhe laLe-laLe show, and even Lhe llLLle sermon before Lhe channel slgns off for
Lhe nlghL, and Lhe "SLarSpangled 8anner" wlLh Lhe flag wavlng ln Lhe background, and flnally
Lhe channel LesL paLLern LhaL sLares back aL me Lhrough Lhe llLLle square wlndow wlLh lLs
uncloslng eye.... Why am l always looklng aL llfe Lhrough a wlndow? And afLer lL's all over l'm
slck wlLh myself because Lhere ls so llLLle Llme lefL for me Lo read and wrlLe and Lhlnk, and
because l should know beLLer Lhan Lo drug my mlnd wlLh Lhls dlshonesL sLuff LhaL's almed aL Lhe
chlld ln me. Lspeclally me, because Lhe chlld ln me ls reclalmlng my mlnd. l know all Lhls, buL
when Allce Lells me l shouldn'L wasLe my Llme, l geL angry and Lell her Lo leave me alone. l have
a feellng l'm waLchlng because lL's lmporLanL for me noL Lo Lhlnk, noL Lo remember abouL Lhe
bakery, and my moLher and faLher, and norma. l don'L wanL Lo remember any more of Lhe pasL.
l had a Lerrlble shock Loday. lcked up a copy of an arLlcle l had used ln my research, krueger's
uber sy 207 chlsche CanzhelL, Lo see lf lL would help me undersLand Lhe paper l wroLe and
whaL l had done ln lL. llrsL l LhoughL Lhere was someLhlng wrong wlLh my eyes. 1hen l reallzed l
could no longer read Cerman. 1esLed myself ln oLher languages. All gone. CcLober 21-Allce ls
gone. LeL's see lf l can remember. lL sLarLed when she sald we couldn'L llve llke Lhls wlLh Lhe
Lorn books and papers and records all over Lhe floor and Lhe place ln such a mess. "Leave
everyLhlng Lhe way lL ls," l warned her. "Why do you wanL Lo llve Lhls way?" "l wanL everyLhlng
where l puL lL. l wanL Lo see lL all ouL here. ?ou don'L know whaL lL's llke Lo have someLhlng
happenlng lnslde you, LhaL you can'L see and can'L conLrol, and know lL's all sllpplng Lhrough
your flngers." "?ou're rlghL. l never sald l could undersLand Lhe Lhlngs LhaL were happenlng Lo
you. noL when you became Loo lnLelllgenL for me, and noL now. 8uL l'll Lell you one Lhlng.
8efore you had Lhe operaLlon, you weren'L llke Lhls. ?ou dldn'L wallow ln your own fllLh and
self-plLy, you dldn'L polluLe your own mlnd by slLLlng ln fronL of Lhe 1v seL all day and nlghL, you
dldn'L snarl and snap aL people. 1here was someLhlng abouL you LhaL made us respecL you-yes,,
even as you were. ?ou had someLhlng l had never seen ln a reLarded person before." "l don'L
regreL Lhe experlmenL." "nelLher do l, buL you've losL someLhlng you had before. ?ou had a
smlle..." "An empLy, sLupld smlle." "no, a warm, real smlle, because you wanLed people Lo llke
you." "And Lhey played Lrlcks on me, and laughed aL me." "?es, buL even Lhough you dldn'L
undersLand why Lhey were laughlng, you sensed LhaL lf Lhey could laugh aL you Lhey would llke
you. And you wanLed Lhem Lo llke you. ?ou acLed llke a chlld and you even laughed aL yourself
along wlLh Lhem." "l don'L feel llke laughlng aL myself rlghL now, lf you don'L mlnd." She was
Lrylng Lo keep from crylng. l Lhlnk l wanLed Lo make her cry. "Maybe LhaL's why lL was so
lmporLanL for me Lo learn. l LhoughL lL would make people llke me. l 208 LhoughL l would have
frlends. 1haL's someLhlng Lo laugh aL, lsn'L lL?" "1here's more Lo lL Lhan [usL havlng a hlgh l. C."
1haL made me angry. robably because l dldn'L really undersLand whaL she was drlvlng aL. More
and more Lhese days she dldn'L come rlghL ouL and say whaL she meanL. She hlnLed aL Lhlngs.
She Lalked around Lhem and expecLed me Lo know whaL she was Lhlnklng. And l llsLened,
preLendlng l undersLood buL lnslde l was afrald she would see LhaL l mlssed Lhe polnL
compleLely." "l Lhlnk lL's Llme for you Lo leave." Per face Lurned red. "noL yeL, Charlle. lL's noL
Llme yeL. uon'L send me away." "?ou're maklng lL harder for me. ?ou keep preLendlng l can do
Lhlngs and undersLand Lhlngs LhaL are far beyond me now. ?ou're pushlng me. !usL llke my
moLher..." "1haL's noL Lrue!" "LveryLhlng you do says lL. 1he way you plck up and clean up afLer
me, Lhe way you leave books around LhaL you Lhlnk wlll geL me lnLeresLed ln readlng agaln, Lhe
way you Lalk Lo me abouL Lhe news Lo geL me Lhlnklng. ?ou say lL doesn'L maLLer, buL
everyLhlng you do shows how much lL maLLers. Always Lhe schoolLeacher. l don'L wanL Lo go Lo
concerLs or museums or forelgn fllms or do anyLhlng LhaL's golng Lo make me sLruggle Lo Lhlnk
abouL llfe or abouL myself." "Charlle-" "!usL leave me alone. l'm noL myself. l'm falllng aparL,
and l don'L wanL you here." 1haL made her cry. 1hls afLernoon she packed her bags and lefL. 1he
aparLmenL feels quleL and empLy now. CcLober 23-ueLerloraLlon progresslng. l've glven up
uslng Lhe LypewrlLer. CoordlnaLlon ls Loo bad. lrom now on l'll have Lo wrlLe ouL Lhese reporLs
ln longhand. l LhoughL a loL abouL Lhe Lhlngs Allce sald, and Lhen lL hlL me LhaL lf l kepL on
readlng and learnlng new Lhlngs, even whlle l was forgeLLlng Lhe old ones, l would be able Lo
keep some of my lnLelllgence. l was on a down escalaLor now. lf l sLood sLlll l'd go all Lhe way Lo
Lhe boLLom, buL lf l sLarLed Lo run up maybe l could aL leasL sLay ln Lhe same place. 1he
lmporLanL Lhlng was Lo keep movlng upward no maLLer whaL happened .209 So l wenL Lo Lhe
llbrary and goL ouL a loL of books Lo read. l've been readlng a loL now. MosL of Lhe books are
Loo hard for me, buL l don'L care. As long as l keep readlng l'll learn new Lhlngs and l won'L
forgeL how Lo read. 1haL's Lhe mosL lmporLanL Lhlng. lf l keep readlng, maybe l can hold my
own. ur. SLrauss came around Lhe day afLer Allce lefL, so l guess she Lold hlm abouL me. Pe
preLended all he wanLed was Lhe progress reporLs buL l Lold hlm l would send Lhem. l don'L
wanL hlm comlng around here. l Lold hlm he doesn'L have Lo be worrled abouL me because
when l Lhlnk l won'L be able Lo Lake care of myself any more l'll geL on a Lraln and go Lo Warren.
l Lold hlm l'd raLher [usL go by myself when Lhe Llme comes. l Lrled Lo Lalk Lo lay, buL l can see
she's afrald of me. l guess she flgures l've gone ouL of my mlnd. LasL nlghL she came home wlLh
somebody-he looked very young. 1hls mornlng Lhe landlady, Mrs. Mooney, came up wlLh a
bowl of hoL chlcken soup and some chlcken. She sald she [usL LhoughL she would look ln on me
Lo see lf l was dolng all rlghL. l Lold her l had loLs of food Lo eaL buL she lefL lL anyway and lL was
good. She preLended she was dolng lL on her own buL l'm noL LhaL sLupld yeL. Allce or SLrauss
musL have Lold her Lo look ln on me and make sure l was all rlghL. Well, LhaL's okay. She's a nlce
old lady wlLh an lrlsh accenL and she llkes Lo Lalk all abouL Lhe people ln Lhe bulldlng. When she
saw Lhe mess on Lhe floor lnslde my aparLmenL she dldn'L say anyLhlng abouL lL. l guess she's all
rlghL. november 1-A week slnce l dared Lo wrlLe agaln. l don'L know where Lhe Llme goes.
1odays Sunday l know because l can see Lhrough my wlndow Lhe people golng lnLo Lhe church
across Lhe sLreeL. l Lhlnk l lald ln bed all week buL l remember Mrs. Mooney brlnglng me food a
few Llmes and asklng lf l was slck. WhaL am l golng Lo do wlLh myself? l canL [usL hang around
here all alone and look ouL Lhe wlndow. lve goL Lo geL hold of myself. l keep saylng over and
over LhaL lve goL Lo do someLhlng buL Lhen l forgeL or maybe lLs [usL easler noL Lo do whaL l say
lm golng Lo do. l sLlll have some books from Lhe llbrary buL a loL of 210 Lhem are Loo hard for
me. l read a loL of mysLery sLorles now and books abouL klngs and queens from old Llmes. l read
a book abouL a man who LhoughL he was a knlghL and wenL ouL on an old horse wlLh hls frlend.
8uL no maLLer whaL he dld he always ended up geLLlng beaLen and hurL. Llke when he LhoughL
Lhe wlndmllls were dragons. AL flrsL l LhoughL lL was a sllly book because lf he wasnL crazy he
could see LhaL wlndmllls werenL dragons and Lhere ls no such Lhlng as sorcerers and enchanLed
casLles buL Lhen l rememberd LhaL Lhere was someLhlng else lL was all supposed Lo mean-
someLhlng Lhe sLory dldnL say buL only hlnLed aL. Llke Lhere was oLher meanlngs. 8uL l donL
know whaL. 1haL made me angry because l Lhlnk l used Lo know. 8uL lm keeplng up wlLh my
readlng and learnlng new Lhlngs every day and l know lLs golng Lo help me. l know l should have
wrlLLen some progress reporLs before Lhls so Lhey wlll know whaLs happenlng Lo me. 8uL
wrlLlng ls harder. l have Lo look up even slmple words ln Lhe dlcLlonary now and lL makes me
angry wlLh myself. november 2 l forgoL Lo wrlLe ln yesLerdays reporL abouL Lhe woman from
Lhe bulldlng across Lhe alley one floor down. l saw her Lhrough my klLchen wlndow lasL week. l
donL know her name, or even whaL her Lop parL looks llke buL every nlghL abouL eleven oclock
she goes lnLo her baLhroom Lo Lake a baLh. She never pulls her shade down and Lhru my
wlndow when l puL ouL my llghLs l can see her from Lhe neck down when she comes ouL of Lhe
baLh Lo dry herself. lL makes me exclLed, buL when Lhe lady Lurns ouL Lhe llghL l feel leL down
and lonely. l wlsh l could see whaL she looks llke someLlmes, wheLher shes preLLy or whaL. l
know lLs noL nlce Lo waLch a woman when shes llke LhaL buL l canL help lL. Anyway whaL
dlfference does lL make Lo her lf she doesnL know lm waLchlng. lLs nearly eleven oclock now.
1lme for her baLh. So ld beLLer go see... nov 3 Mrs Mooney ls very worrled abouL me. She says
Lhe way l lay around all day and donL do anyLhlng l remlnd her of her son before she Lhrew hlm
ouL of Lhe house. She sald she donL llke loafLers. lf lm slck lLs one 211 Lhlng buL lf lm a loafLer
LhaLs anoLher Lhlng and she has no use for me. l Lold her l Lhlnk lm slck. l Lry Lo read a llLLle blL
every day mosLly sLorles buL someLlmes l have Lo read Lhe same Lhlng over and over agaln
because l donL know whaL lL means. And lLs hard Lo wrlLe. l know l should look up all Lhe words
ln Lhe dlcLlonary buL lm so Llred all Lhe Llme. 1hen l goL Lhe ldea LhaL l would only use Lhe easy
words lnsLead of Lhe long hard ones. 1haL saves Llme. lLs geLLlng chllly ouL buL l sLlll puL flowers
on Algernons grave. Mrs Mooney Lhlnks lm sllly Lo puL flowers on a mouses grave buL l Lold her
LhaL Algernon was a speclal mouse. l wenL over Lo vlslL lay across Lhe hall. 8uL she Lold me Lo
go away and noL come back. She puL a new lock on her door. nov 9-Sunday agaln. l donL have
anyLhlng Lo do Lo keep me busy now because Lhe 1v ls broke and l keep forgeLLlng Lo geL lL
flxed. l Lhlnk l losL Lhls monLhs check from Lhe college. l donL remember. l geL awful headaches
and asperln doesnL help much. Mrs. Mooney belleves now LhaL lm really slck and she feels very
sory for me. She's a wonderful woman whenever someone ls slck. lLs geLLlng so cold ouL now
LhaL lve goL Lo wear Lwo sweaLers. 1he lady across Lhe way pulls down her wlndowshade now,
so l can'L waLch any more. My lousy luck. nov 10-Mrs Mooney called a sLrange docLor Lo see
me. She was afrald l was golng Lo dle. l Lold Lhe docLor l wasnL Lo slck and LhaL l only forgeL
someLlmes. Pe asked me dld l have any frlends or relaLlves and l sald no l donL have any. l Lold
hlm l had a frlend called Algernon once buL he was a mouse and we use Lo run races LogeLher.
Pe looked aL me klnd of funny llke he LhoL l was crazy. Pe smlled when l Lold hlm l use Lo be a
genlus. Pe Lalked Lo me llke l was a baby and he wlnked aL Mrs Mooney. l goL mad because he
was maklng fun of me and laughlng and l chased hlm ouL and locked Lhe door. l Lhlnk l know
why l been havelng bad luck. 8ecause 212 losL my rablLs fooL and my horshoe. l goL Lo geL
anoLher rablLs fooL fasL. nov 11-ur SLrauss came Lo Lhe door Loday and Allce Lo buL l dldnL leL
Lhem come ln. l Lold Lhem l dldnL wanL anyone Lo see me. l wanL Lo be lefL alone. LaLer Mrs
Mooney came up wlLh some food and she Lold me Lhey pald Lhe renL and lefL money for her Lo
buy food and anyLhlng l need. l Lold her l donL wanL Lo use Lhere money any more. She sald
moneys money and someone has Lo pay or l have Lo puL you ouL. 1hen she sald why donL l geL
some [ob lnsLead of [usL hanglng around. l donL know any work buL Lhe [ob l use Lo do aL Lhe
bakery. l donL wanL Lo go back Lhelr because Lhey all knew me when l was smarL and maybe
Lheyll laff aL me. 8uL l donL know whaL else Lo do Lo geL money. And l wanL Lo pay for
everyLhlng myself. l am sLrong and l can werk. lf l canL Lake care of myself lll go Lo Warren. l
wonL Lake chareLy from anybody. nov 13-l was looklng aL some of my old progress reporLs and
lLs very sLrange buL l canL read whaL l wroLe. l can make ouL some of Lhe words buL Lhey donL
make sense. l Lhlnk l wroLe Lhem buL l donL remember so good. l geL Llred very fasL when l Lry
Lo read some of Lhe books l baughL ln Lhe drugsLore. LxepL Lhe ones wlLh Lhe plcLurs of Lhe
preLLy glrls. l llke Lo look aL Lhem buL l have funny dreams abouL Lhem. lLs noL nlce. l wonL buy
Lhem any more. l saw ln one of Lhose books Lhey goL maglc powder LhaL can make you sLrong
and smarL and do loLs of Lhlngs. l Lhlnk mayby lll send away and by some for myself. nov 16-
Allce came Lo Lhe door agaln buL l sald go away l donL wanL Lo see you. She cryed and l cryed Lo
buL l woudnL leL her ln because l dldnL wanL her Lo laff aL me. l Lold her l dldnL llke her any more
and l dldnL wanL Lo be smarL any more elLher. 1haLs noL Lrue buL. l sLlll love her and l sLlll wanL
Lo be smarL buL l had Lo say LhaL so she woud go away. Mrs Mooney Lold me Allce brouL some
more money Lo look afLer me and for Lhe renL. l donL wanL LhaL. l goL Lo geL a [ob. lease...
please... donL leL me forgeL how Lo reed and rlLe... nov 18-Mr uonner was very nlce when l
came back and askd hlm for my old [ob aL Lhe bakery. lrlsL he was very susplclus buL l Lold hlm
whaL happened Lo me and Lhen he looked very sad and puL hls hand on my shoulder and sald
Charlle you goL guLs. Lvrybody looked aL me when l came downsLalrs and sLarLed worklng ln Lhe
LolleL sweeplng lL ouL llke l use Lo do. l sald Lo myself Charlle lf Lhey make fun of you donL geL
sore because you remember Lhelr noL so smarL llke you once LhoL Lhey were. And besldes Lhey
were once your frends and lf Lhey laffed aL you LhaL donL mean anyLhlng because Lhey llked you
Lo. Cne of Lhe new men who came Lo werk Lhelr afLer l wenL away hls name ls Meyer klaus dld
a bad Lhlng Lo me. Pe came up Lo me when l was loadlng Lhe sacks of flower and he sald hey
Charlle l hear your a very smarL fella-a real qulz kld. Say someLhlng lnLellgenL. l felL bad because
l could Lell by Lhe way he sald lL he was maklng fun of me. So l kepL on wlLh my werk. 8uL Lhen
he came over and grabed me by Lhe arm real hard and shouLed aL me. When l Lalk Lo you boy
you beLLer llsLen Lo me. Cr l coud brake your arm for you. Pe LwlsLed my arm so lL hurL and l
goL scared he was golng Lo brake lL llke he sald. And he was lafflng and LwlsLlng lL, and l dldnL
know whaL Lo do. l goL so afrald l felL llke l was gonna cry buL l dldnL and Lhen l had Lo go Lo Lhe
baLhroom someLhlng awful. My sLomack was all LwlsLlng lnslde llke l was gonna busL open lf l
dldnL go rlghL away... because l couldnL hold lL back. l Lold hlm please leL me go because l goL Lo
go Lo Lhe LolleL buL he was [usL lafflng aL me and l dlnL know whaL Lo do. So l sLarLed crylng. LeL
me go. LeL me go. And Lhen l made. lL wenL ln my panLs and lL smelled bad and l was crylng. Pe
leL go of me Lhen and made a slck face and he looked scared Lhen. Pe sald lor gods sake l dldnL
mean anyLhlng Charlle. 8uL Lhen !oe Carp came ln and grabbed klaus by Lhe shlrL and sald leave
hlm alone you lousy basLard or lll brake your neck. Charlle ls a good guy and nobodys gonna
sLarL up wlLh hlm wlLhouL answerlng for lL. l felL ashamed and l ran Lo Lhe LolleL Lo clean myself
and change my cloLhs. When l goL back lrank was Lhere Lo and !oe was 214 Lelllng hlm abouL lL
and Lhen Clmpy came ln and Lhey Lold hlm abouL lL and he sald Lheyd geL rld of klaus. 1hey
were gonna Lell Mr uonner Lo flre hlm. l Lold Lhem l dlnL Lhlnk he should be flred and have Lo
flnd anoLher [ob because he had a wlfe and a kld. And besldes he sald he was sorry for whaL he
dld Lo me. And l remember how sad l was when l had Lo geL flred from Lhe bakery and go away.
l sald klaus shoud geL a second chance because now he wouldnL do anyLhlng bad Lo me
anymore. LaLer Clmpy came over llmplng on hls bad fooL and he sald Charlle lf anyone boLhers
you or Lrys Lo Lake advanLage you call me or !oe or lrank and we wlll seL hlm sLralL. We all wanL
you Lo remember LhaL you goL frends here and donL you ever forgeL lL. l sald Lhanks Clmpy.
1haL makes me feel good. lLs good Lo have frends... nov 21-l dld a dumb Lhlng Loday l forgoL l
wasnL ln Mlss klnnlans class aL Lhe adulL cenLer any more llke l use Lo be. l wenL ln and saL
down ln my old seaL ln Lhe back of Lhe room and she lookd aL me funny and she sald Charlle
where have you been. So l sald hello Mlss klnnlan lm redy for my lessen Loday only l lossed Lhe
book we was uslng. She sLarLed Lo cry and run ouL of Lhe room and everbody looked aL me and l
saw aloL of Lhem wasnL Lhe same pepul who use Lo be ln my class. 1hen all of a suddln l
remembered some Lhlngs abouL Lhe operashun and me geLLlng smarL and l sald holy smoke l
reely pulled a Charlle Cordon LhaL Llme. l wenL away before she came back Lo Lhe room. 1haLs
why lm golng away from here for good Lo Lhe Warren Pome school. l donL wanL Lo do noLhlng
llke LhaL agen. l donL wanL Mlss klnnlan Lo feel sorry for me. l know evrybody feels sorry for me
aL Lhe bakery and l donL wanL LhaL eaLher so lm golng someplace where Lhey are a loL of oLher
pepul llke me and nobody cares LhaL Charlle Cordon was once a genus and now he canL even
reed a book or rlLe good. lm Laklng a cuple of books along and even lf l canL reed Lhem lll
pracLlse hard and mabye lll even geL a llLLel blL smarLer Lhen l was before Lhe operashun
wlLhouL an operashun. l goL a new rablLs fooL and a luky penny and 213 even a llLLel blL of LhaL
ma[lc powder lefL and mabye Lhey wlll help me. lf you ever reed Lhls Mlss klnnlan donL be sorry
for me. lm glad l goL a second chanse ln llfe llke you sald Lo be smarL because l lerned aloL of
Lhlngs LhaL l never even new were ln Lhls werld and lm graLeful l saw lL all even for a llLLel blL.
And lm glad l found ouL all abouL my famlly and me. lL was llke l never had a famlly Lll l
rememblrd abouL Lhem and saw Lhem and now l know l had a famlly and l was a person [usL
llke evryone. l donL no why lm dumb agen or whaL l dld rong. Mabye lLs because l dlnL Lry hard
enuf or [usL some body puL Lhe evel eye on me. 8uL lf l Lry and pracLls very hard mabye lll geL a
llLLel smarLer and no whaL all Lhe words are. l rememblr a llLLel blL how nlce l had a feellng wlLh
Lhe blue book LhaL l red wlLh Lhe Loren cover. And when l close my eyes l Lhlnk abouL Lhe man
who Lored Lhe book and he looks llke me only he looks dlfferenL and be Lalks dlfferenL buL l
donL Lhlnk lLs me because lLs llke l see hlm from Lhe wlndow. Anyway LhaLs why lm gone Lo
keep Lrylng Lo geL smarL so l can have LhaL feellng agen. lLs good Lo no Lhlngs and be smarL and l
wlsh l new evryLhlng ln Lhe hole world. l wlsh l coud be smarL agen rlLe now. lf l coud l woud slL
down and reed all Lhe Llme. Anyway l beL lm Lhe frlsL dumb persen ln Lhe world who found ouL
some Lhlng lnporLenL for slence. l dld somLhlng buL l donL rememblr whaL. So l gess lLs llke l dld
lL for all Lhe dumb pepul llke me ln Warren and all over Lhe world. Coodby Mlss klnnlan and dr
SLrauss and evrybody... .S. please Lel prof nemur noL Lo be such a grouch when pepul laff aL
hlm and he woud have more frends. lLs easy Lo have flends lf you leL pepul laff aL you. lm golng
Lo have loLs of flends where l go. .S. please lf you geL a chanse puL some flown on Algernons
grave ln Lhe bak yard.
1he Lnd
A8Cu1 1PL Au1PC8
uAnlLL kL?LS was born ln 8rooklyn and recelved hls 8.A. and M.A. degrees from 8rooklyn
College. Pe has been a merchanL seaman, shlp's purser, flcLlon edlLor and hlgh school Leacher.
AL Lhe presenL Llme, Mr. keyes ls on Lhe Lngllsh faculLy aL Chlo unlverslLy ln ALhens, Chlo.
llowers for Algernon made lLs flrsL appearance as a magazlne sLory ln 1960 and won Lhe Pugo
award LhaL year for Lhe besL sclence noveleLLe. lL was Lhen a Lelevlslon drama, ls here enlarged
Lo novel lengLh, and ls also Lhe basls for a moLlon plcLure. Mr. keyes ls Lhe auLhor of a second
novel, 1he 1ouch, and of Lhe nonflcLlon book, 1he Mlnds of 8llly Mllllgan.