Gray Matter


Janus extracted a circular device from the box on the table.

“But it’s so small,” Ellen said. 

“Marvelous, isn’t it?” Janus held the device to the light, admiring the network of wires and pathways etched upon it.  “Every year, we cram more onto it.  With this one chip, there will be no more need of school.  No child will be left behind, because everyone will be the same.”  He laughed lightly.  “Hell, a three day old baby may very well be better educated than you.”

“But, Doctor…Surely you can’t be thinking…A child isn’t capable of…”


Janus held up a hand.  “Already tested in three hundred newborns in trials going back as far as ten years.”  He giggled.  “Their parents think they’re geniuses.  And I suppose they are, in a way: Everything ever known to mankind has been etched upon this chip.”

“Not everything, Doctor.  Individual memories…” 

“Downloaded to the main computer instantaneously.  A person’s memories become shared memories.  What you ate for dinner; the book you read.”  Janus grinned.  “Whether you’re cheating on your husband.”  He glanced at the man strapped in the chair.  “What about you, Davis.  You ready to become a genius?”

Davis’s eyes widened.  He clutched the arms of the chair.  “No.  I…”

“Poor Davis,” Janus sang.  “Every year it was the same.  Last to know your times tables.  Last to turn in your papers.  Last to read.  If I recall correctly, it took you until the third grade to understand what a paragraph was.”

Davis cast his eyes to the floor.

“You held me back, Davis.  You held us all back.”

 “Doctor,” Ellen said.  “If the subject isn’t willing…”

“Ellen, all this subject does all day is play video games and watch TV.”

 “That’s his choice.”

“Trust me, Ellen, we’re doing him a favor.”  Janus picked up his tools, and approached the chair.  He shaved the back of Davis’s head and rubbed a numbing agent there.  “Once I remove all this gray matter, Ellen, I can insert the brain.”

This piece was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge.  The word was brain: something that performs the functions of a brain; especially : an automatic device (as a computer) for control or computation.


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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Gray Matter

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gray Matter


Janus extracted a circular device from the box on the table.

“But it’s so small,” Ellen said. 

“Marvelous, isn’t it?” Janus held the device to the light, admiring the network of wires and pathways etched upon it.  “Every year, we cram more onto it.  With this one chip, there will be no more need of school.  No child will be left behind, because everyone will be the same.”  He laughed lightly.  “Hell, a three day old baby may very well be better educated than you.”

“But, Doctor…Surely you can’t be thinking…A child isn’t capable of…”


Janus held up a hand.  “Already tested in three hundred newborns in trials going back as far as ten years.”  He giggled.  “Their parents think they’re geniuses.  And I suppose they are, in a way: Everything ever known to mankind has been etched upon this chip.”

“Not everything, Doctor.  Individual memories…” 

“Downloaded to the main computer instantaneously.  A person’s memories become shared memories.  What you ate for dinner; the book you read.”  Janus grinned.  “Whether you’re cheating on your husband.”  He glanced at the man strapped in the chair.  “What about you, Davis.  You ready to become a genius?”

Davis’s eyes widened.  He clutched the arms of the chair.  “No.  I…”

“Poor Davis,” Janus sang.  “Every year it was the same.  Last to know your times tables.  Last to turn in your papers.  Last to read.  If I recall correctly, it took you until the third grade to understand what a paragraph was.”

Davis cast his eyes to the floor.

“You held me back, Davis.  You held us all back.”

 “Doctor,” Ellen said.  “If the subject isn’t willing…”

“Ellen, all this subject does all day is play video games and watch TV.”

 “That’s his choice.”

“Trust me, Ellen, we’re doing him a favor.”  Janus picked up his tools, and approached the chair.  He shaved the back of Davis’s head and rubbed a numbing agent there.  “Once I remove all this gray matter, Ellen, I can insert the brain.”

This piece was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge.  The word was brain: something that performs the functions of a brain; especially : an automatic device (as a computer) for control or computation.


Labels: ,

35 Comments:

At April 3, 2012 at 6:32 AM , Anonymous Leslicollins said...

WOW - this could really be developed into something if you explore all of the ramifications. Once inserted, chip can't be removed or system shut down! How does the receiver of one of these implants react when his thoughts and experiences are shared with the "network" faster than he can type them on Facebook or Twitter? What happens to the soul, ethics, dreams and ambitions when we no longer even have the luxury of privacy in our own minds? How do "dissatisfied customers" try and live with or alter this new condition? And what about viruses? You need to do more with this. I'm hooked.

 
At April 3, 2012 at 6:34 AM , Blogger Chris said...

Very good response to this week's challenge. Keeps you locked in until the end. Makes you fear how reliant the world has become on technology a bit, but a very interesting concept.

 
At April 3, 2012 at 6:39 AM , Anonymous Leslicollins said...

Oh - just thought of something else... brings a whole new definition to the phrase - the haves and have-nots! Run with this!

 
At April 3, 2012 at 6:45 AM , Anonymous jaum said...

"One we remove the gray matter..." Shiver Shiver..... Makes you think and that's good. Do you suppose you are forcasting some of the future?

 
At April 3, 2012 at 8:32 AM , Anonymous Leslicollins said...

Sorry - can't get this out of my head (no pun intended)... This is just so philosophically rampant with possibilities...since all experiences/memories are shared and I'm assuming stored in a communal "brain" what happens to our appreciation for the life of an individual? Does creativity explode in a positive or negative manner with one's constant bombardment or access to others' thoughts? Do we even have the luxury of mulling things over anymore? How "gray" does the area between black and white become? And then to contrast this against people who don't have an implant... dying to read some more!

 
At April 3, 2012 at 8:55 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Chris, your comment didn't show, so I'm pasting it in.

Chris has left a new comment on your post "Gray Matter":

Very good response to this week's challenge. Keeps you locked in until the end. Makes you fear how reliant the world has become on technology a bit, but a very interesting concept.

 
At April 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM , Anonymous Jessie Powell said...

Whistles. Talk about the brain. Very Stepford Wives. Or Village of the Damned.

 
At April 3, 2012 at 11:23 AM , Anonymous Colonialist said...

Don't dare think of this one too much, or I get a headache of epic proportions!

 
At April 3, 2012 at 12:39 PM , Anonymous Lexy3587 said...

Janus definitely falls into the mad scientist category! His giggles give me the heebie jeebies. I love the line "Once I remove all this gray matter, Ellen, I can insert the brain" - such an interesting take on the Brain prompt.

 
At April 3, 2012 at 10:15 PM , Anonymous SparksInShadow said...

That was chilling, especially the last line.

 
At April 4, 2012 at 4:37 AM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading. This story started and ended in two very different places. I like the place it ended up.

 
At April 4, 2012 at 4:37 AM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Yeah, Janus is kind of spooky, isn't he? Brilliant and full of resentment without any compassion. Thanks for reading.

 
At April 4, 2012 at 4:38 AM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Yeah, me too! Scary! Thanks for reading.

 
At April 4, 2012 at 4:40 AM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks, Jessie. You and I are on a similar wavelength with the prompt this week!

 
At April 4, 2012 at 4:40 AM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Chris-
Makes you fear how reliant the world has become on technology a bit - Perfect. Exactly what I intended. Thanks for reading.

 
At April 4, 2012 at 4:42 AM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

I really hope not.

 
At April 4, 2012 at 4:43 AM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Wow! Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! I love when you comment. You see things in people's writing (and photography) that others (including the writer/artist) haven't yet seen. That's why your comments are always a pleasure to read.

 
At April 4, 2012 at 6:51 AM , Anonymous The Gal Herself said...

This left me feeling so sad. I think because you created a future that may indeed be possible (though hopefully not likely). Your last line reminds me of that quote from Jurassic Park -- "Just because we can doesn't mean we should." Very evocative!

 
At April 4, 2012 at 7:07 AM , Anonymous agm9 said...

I enjoyed reading the whole thing, but the last line is especially fantastic!

 
At April 4, 2012 at 7:12 AM , Anonymous Elizabeth Young said...

Very, very frightening. Will mankind ever come to this? I think it may one day in the distant future. Excellent write here.

 
At April 4, 2012 at 11:12 AM , Anonymous Sightsnbytes said...

This is a very disturbing piece, but it is an enjoyable read

 
At April 4, 2012 at 2:19 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Yes, very disturbing. Thanks for reading.

 
At April 4, 2012 at 2:19 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

I hope we don't come to this, Elizabeth. Thanks so much for your reading and commenting. I really appreciate it.

 
At April 4, 2012 at 2:20 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading. That last line is scary!

 
At April 4, 2012 at 2:21 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Hopefully not likely for sure. Scary to think about. Thanks for reading.

 
At April 4, 2012 at 4:32 PM , Anonymous November Rain said...

Interesting direction to go in. It reminds me of Harrison Bergeron in the 21st century.

Staying Connected

 
At April 4, 2012 at 4:56 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading! I'm ashamed to admit I had to look this story up.

 
At April 4, 2012 at 5:39 PM , Anonymous TikkTok said...

Great spin! And to think they limit us to 333 words.. probably;y a good idea, though, lol.

 
At April 4, 2012 at 7:10 PM , Anonymous El Guapowitz said...

Chilling, and excellently written. Good job!

 
At April 4, 2012 at 10:14 PM , Anonymous Olddognewtits said...

Yay! I love this one. I had a similar idea but went another way. Glad to see this one fleshed out, if you will. :)

 
At April 5, 2012 at 3:59 AM , Anonymous Mel said...

This is fantastic. How clever!

 
At April 5, 2012 at 1:07 PM , Anonymous Carrie said...

Ooohhh, nice. Poor Davis. Doesn't Janus realize if everyone is the same the world will become a very boring place?

 
At April 5, 2012 at 4:48 PM , Anonymous BT said...

Grim, but effective. I could sense the cold scientific justification. A fine job indeed.

 
At April 6, 2012 at 4:59 AM , Anonymous Trifectawritingchallenge said...

Thanks for linking up to Trifecta this week. If you haven't already done it, you might be interested in clicking on the "Meet Your Fellow Trifectans" tab on our site and introducing yourself there. Hope to see you back on Monday for the new prompt.

 
At April 6, 2012 at 10:27 AM , Anonymous Christine said...

Ooo, hints of "Flowers for Algernon" here. I am most interested in Davis - where did he come from? How did he find himself here? And what will become of him? There are a number of different directions he could go. Intriguing!

 

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