December 6, 2012


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 several pages back until you get to the bottom first entry – which happens to be Chapter 2...

He groaned, his stomach heaved, but he  kept everything down and didn’t barf on anyone.

At least he didn’t THINK he barfed on anyone as he went back to sleep.

The next time he woke up, someone said, “We ran a full set of CAT scans and there’s no evidence of a concussion. He’ll be woozy for a day or so. You could keep him home from school for a couple of days.”

He chose that moment to sit up from the waist. Mom and some medical person started and he said, “I’m not woozy.” He looked at Mom and said, “Where…” He was in his basement bedroom. “Mom?”

She nodded to the man, “This is Darryl. He’s the paramedic who just brought us home. Do you remember walking into the house?”

CJ blinked at her, then looked at Darryl. Finally he said, “I sorta do.” In the corner of his room Butterfly/Beardsley squeaked. He moved to get out of bed and the world swung around him. Mom and Darryl moved toward him but he held up a hand. “Hang on. I gotta go to the last two or whatever days of school...”

“The school’s going to Valleyfaire! You can’t possibly go, Christopher!”

“Kid, I ain’t your dad, but if you’re lookin’ to commit suicide, all you gotta do is go down on the Slaughtermaker once and you’ll probably die half way through. Most likely surely you’ll die if you don’t get off at the halfway point.” He shrugged, said to CJ’s Mom, “Don’t let him say I didn’t warn him,” then climbed up the stairs.

“You’re not going! I’m not going to lose both of my children…”

CJ jumped to his feet, swayed then started up the stairs, “Mai Li didn’t die!”

“No!” Mom shouted, grabbing him by a pant leg and holding his foot down. “She’s sleeping upstairs and if you’d just stop a second I’ll tell you what happened!”

CJ stopped moving, turned and because the rest of the world kept turning around him, sat down hard on the stairs. He said, “What?”

Mom walked up and sat on the step below his and said, “Whatever it was that you shot into her IV stabilized all of her signs. She woke up, she was eating and talking – but she was sleeping a lot. I said I was taking her home. They couldn’t think of any reason to keep us there now that they know Doctor Chazhukaran is a lunatic and not only tried to kill you but also tried to kill your sister. I told the hospital that I’d be suing them pretty much immediately if they didn’t let us go home. So they smiled, sent their best doctors and made it so we got out in record time. Mai Li’s sleeping upstairs. She said that was one of the effects of giving her the dose of the nanomachines she designed.”

“So she’s getting better?”

Mom nodded. “She told me to tell you…”

An ear-splitting scream came from upstairs...

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