For quite a while, I've been wanting to bring a story out of hietus — in which one of the characters is this young, avid 10-year old boy called Steve. (He prefers to call himself Stevie.) As a product of the very late 20th century, he is quite the awkward fellow. He likes taking out his Chemistry 2000 set in his pasttime, as well as playing Metal Gear
on his Playstation and watching the morning cartoons. With his coke-bottle glasses to complete the image, he might sound something like a stereotypical nerd.
But he wasn't always the intellectual.
Before he underwent experimental neural surgery, Stevie had a measured IQ of 69. He was somewhat naive then; understanding people was exhausting guesswork for him and he could only read up to around a toddler's level. But he liked picture books, because you didn't have to decipher the foreign text, you just look at the wonderful contours and colours. He also still liked watching cartoons then — if for the slapstick action. (One of these cartoons is a bootleg dub of Revolutionary Girl Utena
His father was an accomplished PHD
polymath, well-versed in much of the sciences — Engineering, Psychology, Applied Chemistry. He holds tenure at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and one of his research projects involves invoked Intelligence Intensification. More specifically, the stimulation of catatonic chimpanzee's amygdala with compound N-23 (because that part of the brain is the gateway to emotional and memory functioning.) His father was doing this in hopes for his son.
There was a breakthrough. The catatonic chimpanzee gradually became more active, and soon he rejoined its mates. Even better, this chimpanzee began to outwit them as he started pulling off practical pranks. (
And delivered the monkey equivalent of a Hannibal Lecture.
Stevie's father was no doubt pleased — he performed the same surgery on his son, ASAP.
Four years later, we have the geek. Now at 4th Grade in school, Stevie has to sit contentedly with his peers as he corrects many of the fumblings and mistakes his Math and Science teachers make. (The lack of a teacher's union doesn't help, nor do their awfully low salaries.)
The experimented chimpanzee begins to show signs of mental deterioration. His frontal lobes are aging rapidly into dementia. It seems the compound has caused cellular mutation; making the telomeres crumble away like a rotting wooden bridge. Stevie's father tries engineering another compound to fix this.
By the time the story starts on Christmas Night, the chimpanzee is already the equivalent of a 105-year old man. His father never tells Stevie about his fate, even though his grief shows as this grim shadowing on what once was the chipper face. Stevie suspects something, but he isn't sure what.
The Polar Express
arrives at his house, close to midnight. Stevie offers his golden ticket to the conductor, thinking he can ask Santa for that Super Spy Kit 3000..
I know this story already sounds familiar — Flowers for Algernon
had made me wetting tears all through the night. But I am wondering, does this backstory have enough drama to it? Might there be interesting tidbits I can add on?
edited 9th Mar '11 10:17:33 PM by QQQQQ