A Useful Brain

“Good morning!” The lady in the dark pantsuit said. She looked around the room as if they were being loud disruptive children, when the opposite was actually true.

Desi looked around him and noticed that everyone was just as quiet and nervous as he was. All eyes were focused in the general direction of the woman. He couldn’t imagine why she was so nervous. She was holding the clipboard not them.

“Good Morning!” The woman spoke louder as if to speak over the top of some conversation.

Really? Desi was not a patient person and the 30 minutes he had spent waiting for this woman had nearly used up his short reserves. Just get on with it.

“Yes, well, let’s get on with it, shall we?” The woman glanced at Desi before checking her clipboard. She adjusted her glasses.

Desi felt a knot tighten in his chest. That was weird.

“Thank you for your patience. This is a first for all of us.” The woman winced and covered her ears. “We will start out with a brief introduction and then you all will undergo some observed testing.”

Needles and scalpels flashed through Desi’s head and he swallowed that fear down.

The woman in the black pantsuit smiled at the kids, something amusing her. “No worries there will be no needles or blood involved. It will involve some questions and a few harmless wires that will measure brain activity. No pain. I promise.” Her voice was a little too loud to be soothing.

Desi rubbed his hands together feeling moderately relieved. He wondered if the woman had plugged up ears. It was like she had trouble hearing. His brother would talk like that whenever he got water in his ears after swimming.

The woman rubbed her slicked back hair agitated, trying to hide her blush. She flicked her ponytail as she turned to the whiteboard behind her. She pulled out a small remote and the lights dimmed. The board lit up. Desi sat up, not hiding any of his freakishly tall six feet. The girl behind him protested that she could see the board. He should have sat in the back.

“There are some empty seats over here, Lisa, if you can’t see from there.” The woman said as she focused on the image in front of them. Lisa gasped. Desi had not given his name to anyone before he entered. They were all supposed to be anonymous.

He studied the image on the board. The company logo filled the screen. Two heads bent to each other. Was it possible? Would a scientific organization actually study something like that? But that isn’t science.

“We are a scientific organization. We study the brain.” The woman turned around and eyed Desi and a few others scattered through the room. “We believe that the brain holds limitless possibilities. Some of you in this room will be able to help us gaze into the future.”

She moved to the next slide with an illustration of the brain divided and labeled. She looked right at him then as she spoke. “Every brain is unique but they can share patterns with other brains. These patterns are what we are studying. We need a sampling of as many adolescent brains as we can. Because these patterns are so much more amped up through puberty, teenagers are excellent candidates.”

Desi stared back at the woman. The image of adolescent brains in jars popped into his mind.

She laughed as if to some private joke. “Don’t worry we won’t be collecting brains, just data.”

Desi went cold all over. He knew that least one of those helpful brains was going to be his.”

The woman met his gaze and nodded pleased.

I used “first” as my writing prompt today. Pick a word and write. It’s fun. You’ll like it.

About the author

Carley Hibbert

I just finished writing my first novel The Villain's Assistant. I'm preparing to submit it to an interested publisher.

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