June 10, 2011


I read the play version of Daniel Keyes’ FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON when I was in eighth grade. It has stayed with me for decades, a haunting symbol for both the overwhelming possibilities of the human intellect and the overwhelming impossibilities faced by a profoundly challenged human mind. I’ve started and stopped this novel a half a dozen times in eleven years. I want to bring the original idea into the present millennium. To read RECONSTRUCTION from beginning to here, click on the label to the right and scroll three pages back until you get to the bottom.

Behind CJ, Mom cussed then shouted, “There’s nothing to quarantine!”

Dr. Chazhukaran tugged his gloves tighter and said, his voice amplified, “Your daughter has a dangerous infection of nanomachines…”

Mom shouted, “You put them there! They’re no more dangerous…”

“They are an infectious…”

“They were supposed to help her! That’s what you told us!” Mom stepped past CJ, putting herself between Dr. Douchebag’s army and him, Mai and the paramedics. She went down the steps, “You just want her for your guinea pig! You want to write papers about her! You want to put her in a cage!” Mom stalked across the lawn and stopped right in front of Dr. Douchebag.

CJ slithered down the side of the steps and behind the bushes that edged the garden around the house. Crawling behind them, he came out in the back yard, skittered around behind the garage and then into the bank of lilac bushes separating their house and the Abumayaleh’s next door.

The paramedics had finished coming out the front door and now stood on the lawn with Mai between them.

Dr. D shouted, “You are to turn the patient over to us!”

The paramedic shouted back something obscene then continued, “You’ll need to show us some identification indicating that you have the authority to take this patient away from us!”

In his biohazard suit, Dr. D looked surprised through the transparent face shield. The amplification didn’t make him sound sure any more as he said, “I’m here under the authority of the University of Minnesota…”

“The U didn’t have troop transports when I went there!” the other paramedic called back as he tugged the cot and they started for the ambulance.

Dr. D yanked off the hood, pulled a cellphone out of a pocket in the biohazard suit. His voice wasn’t amplified any more as he said into it, “The paramedics are taking her!” He paused then said, “I’m the brains here, not the brawn! You told me this would work!”

A voice next to CJ’s ear muttered, “Where do you think he got the troop transport?”

About jumping out of his skin, CJ turned suddenly to stare directly into Job’s grinning face. The other boy said, “None of them look like soldiers.”

“How do you know what soldiers look like?”

“Besides my brother being in the Marines? I been back to Nigeria with Dad and Mom. Never seen so many soldiers in one place as there. They looked mean. These guys don’t look mean, just scared.”

The paramedics loaded Mai into the ambulance. Mom turned away from Dr. D and ran after Mai. The paramedics directed her to the front seat and one went around to the front while the other closed the back once Mai’s cot was secure. Dr. D stomped his foot and threw the cellphone on the ground.

Job said, “Where do you think he got the the cop cars?” He squinted, “Oh, they’re all U of M Campus Security.”

“What?” CJ exclaimed. Dr. Douchebag looked their way and with three running leaps, he was in front of the bush they were hiding under. Hand flashing out, he grabbed CJ and dragged him free. “You’d better get your mother back here…”

“Or what?” CJ asked then elbowed Dr. D and ran back under the bushes, Job following him.

“Where we going?”

“The hospital, stupid!”

“Which one?”

CJ nearly stopped as a U of M security guard stepped in front of him and said, “Where do you think you’re going, kid?”

image: http://collegian.csufresno.edu/a/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/n_cops.jpg

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