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 four pages back until you get to the bottom.
CJ was sure he would hit Dr. Douchebag where it would hurt him most.
Suddenly, his head seemed to explode and everything went dark for a moment as he felt himself spinning to one side and crashing into the emergency cot.
The nurse cursed and in the distance, CJ thought he heard an alarm whooping.
After a few seconds, he felt hands lifting him, shouting and more things falling.
Mom was crying near his left ear and he heard Mai Li murmuring in the other. “CJ? Are you all right?” a totally unexpected voice asked.
He opened his eyes and said, “Job?”
“What are you doing here?”
“You called, I came,” he said, smiling widely. “I could tell you needed me the second I got here.”
Mom said from his left ear, “He’s the one who called the police.”
In his right ear, Mai Li managed to say, “I called the lawyer. She’s a good friend of mine now.”
A strange voice from across the small emergency room said, “With the patent on your counter-treatment to Dr. Chazhukaran’s experimentation coupled with the lawsuit against him and the University of Minnesota – which, by the way, has severed all connection with him – and then bring a personal injury suit against him with the U of M as a co-defendant, will make my career, no doubt.”
Mai Li laughed faintly, “I like her attitude. I always know where she stands and if she thinks I’m being stupid, she says so.”
“She’s been very stupid in the past seven days,” the woman said.
“On the other hand, she was right here when Dr. Douche...” Mai Li gasped and fell back on her cot. Buzzers and bleating and the suddenly flurry of real doctors and nurses and Mom lifted him to the floor. He staggered and found Job’s arm around him, holding him up as they moved out of the way.
Another nurse ushered them out of the emergency suites. He said, “Wait here. Someone will be out when we know something.”
Sitting, CJ leaned forward, holding his head in his hands. “My head hurts.”
“That doctor...” Mom began.
“He punched you,” said Job.
“He says you were going to hurt him,” Job said. “What a wimp. He thought you could hurt him.”
CJ looked up, “Hey!”
“You know what I mean!”
The nurse came out and gestured to them, “Come in, please! Hurry.”
They got up and a wave of dizziness rolled over CJ. Mom stopped and Job grabbed him. “No! We have to go in! We have to hear what she has to say!” The two of them helped him into the suite. The nurse nodded them in and stepped back outside.
Mai Li was sitting up, smiling faintly. She said, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to die yet – and if I have anything to say about it, I won’t die for a long, long time.”
“You found a way to stop the nanos?” CJ exclaimed.
“I didn’t say I was going to stay a super genius wonder babe, Little Idiot Brother. I said I’m not going to die.”
“If you quit interrupting me, I can tell you that I’ve been unable to find any way to stop the nanos from rebuilding my brain the way it was when Dr. Douchebag started his mad doctoring. My only attempt hasn’t made any difference, but my lawyer friend is punching through a patent on the little buggers.”
“So your intelligence is going to die,” Mom said.
Mai Li looked at her, surprised then nodded slowly. “In the end, I’ll be the same person I started as. Theoretically.” She paused a long time until she finally said, “And I’ll get to watch every step of the way.”