SepSceneWriMo #3.25 – Ignorance Quotient

A streak of red and silver takes forever to roll by. Rivulets of rain meander down the glass blurring the colors, twisting their meaning: red turns to rush, amber is nostalgia, green, like Christmas candy, induces envy of the clueless souls who rush by, newspapers draped above their heads fending off the storm. When the fire-engine blares its alarm, he jumps, spilling his black tea held halfway to his lip. It splashes up against the deli window and runs sideways along the crack trying to escape.

Escaping with it, a tenuous notion that had perched at the edge of inspiration, blue with fractal spirals descending into the core of consciousness. The perfect thought pops, its soapy film dissolves into threads and vanishes. A sigh, Simon speaks primarily in sighs these days, escapes with the tea. “It would have only revealed more of the Universe.”

“What’s that?” A nurse to his right, she’s got the shoes and the clothes and the look, lifts her eyebrows and leans in. She’s got a bowl-sized mug full of milk barely tinged with coffee.

He blinks like his eyelids are stuck. “It’s loud noises. I startle easily.” Adjusting his glasses he spots her name-tag. “Hi, hmm… Trisha. It looks like you work at the gene-mod place across the street.”

“For now. I’m waiting on an offer from New Trinity.” She uses her napkin to stem the renegade tea that threatens to drip onto her lap.

“I’ve heard good things about that hospital. I’m Simon, by the way.”

She smiles. “Hi, Simon. So, what do you do?”

He sighs again. “Theoretical physics, I’m sorry to say. Surely not as practical as being a nurse.” Simon points through the glass. “What about that place? I’ve read about it, A-New-You-Through-Genetics. What do you think, any truth to it?”

Trisha gazes at the tan swirls in her mug. “If you’ve got the money. I haven’t heard of many complaints.” She sets cup to counter and flexes her bicep. “Worked for me. As a perk I got a boost in collagen generation and a micro-fix of endurance.”

“Wow, adventurous. No side effects?”

“My libido ticked up a notch…” Trisha looks perplexed at having revealed such an intimate detail. She shrugs. “You thinking about it?” She gives Simon the once over. “You should try it.”

“Oh, I don’t know.” Simon runs a finger along the vein-like patterns of water running down the window. “There is one DNA twist,” he grins at his own pun, “that I’ve been wondering about.”

“Mm, hmm. Well, I’ve got to get back.” As she dons her jacket she says, “Maybe they’ve got something to patch your nerves. You never know these days. There are some wild CRISPR tricks they’ve come up with.”

Simon watches her step away, a dancers step as she leaves and jaywalks across 114th, dodging cars and delivery vans like a dangerous game of hit ‘n miss.

For months he’s struggled to sleep. Worry regarding the acceptance of the theory he’d published, ten years of work, and the constant reminder of its premise drives his mind into whorls of frenzied doubt. He knows his conclusions and the ramifications they propose contribute to his angst. Thoughts creep in, blossom in his mind and now nothing can sooth him. It’s as if this revelation has triggered a curse of his own device. He has somehow induced, within himself, permanent inescapable misery. Frequently he pines for years past when he’d been naive, unaware of the philosophical dilemmas he’d unleash later in life.

Rattled and exhausted, Simon enters through the double doors of Modern Gene-Mod. A fit looking fellow with natural poise welcomes him with a pamphlet and a knowing grin.

“We have excellent revitalization programs, muscle toning, telomere extension and sense enhancement treatments. If don’t find what you’re looking for, just let us know. The design of new mods is an ongoing process and we’d love to help you find your exact solution. One that you’ll be happy with for years to come.”

Simon’s wan smile does nothing to diminish the man’s radiance. Simon folds the pamphlet. “Thanks. Could I see a specialist?”

“Ah, already selected something custom, have we?”

“I doubt very much that my request fits any of your existing treatments.”

Mr. Radiance gives Simon a skeptical look. “What general features are you considering for your enhancement?”

“Reduction, actually.”

“We have numerous systems for decreasing blood pressure, fat to muscle ratio, hair loss, what did you have in mind?”

“IQ”

“Come again?”

“I want to reduce my IQ to below one hundred, perhaps lower.”

“Reduce…”

“My IQ. That’s correct.”

“Why on earth would anyone…”

“About that specialist?”

“Right.” The fellow presses a button behind his ear and briefly murmurs into a hidden microphone. “Please, follow me. Doctor Ganesh will assist you in the, um, design of your custom treatment.”

Weeks later, an associate professor, one who’d assisted Simon in collecting citations for his paper, stops by Simon’s apartment with news. The fellow had drawn the short straw and braces himself outside Simon’s door. He takes a breath and knocks firmly.

The door opens wide revealing Simon wearing a paint-smeared t-shirt and bib-overalls; red and yellow drops have splattered across his bare feet. “Hi there,” Simon says brightly.

“Yeah, hi, Professor Kolemos. May I come in?”

“Door’s open.”

The associate hands Simon a manila envelope. “You haven’t answered any of our emails. And all my calls go to voicemail.”

“I forgot my password.”

“Ah, yes. Well, you should know, your paper on the Ouroboros Nature of the Universe…”

“Mm, hmm?”

“The one where you describe the quantum states that continuously cycle within themselves, effectively confirming the fundamental absurdity of the Universe, how it both is and isn’t, simultaneously was and will never be?”

“Painting daisies is my favorite. Their little faces are so happy.”

“Yeah, daisies. Your paper was accepted. And, I hope you remember that I contributed, you know. Anyway, they say you may be up for a Nobel Prize in Physics.”

“I painted this yesterday. It’s big and red. It makes a loud noise when it goes by. Bet you can’t guess what it is.”

“A fire engine?”

“Fire engine! That’s right. Fire engines make me happy, too.”


40 thoughts on “SepSceneWriMo #3.25 – Ignorance Quotient

  1. “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved the set-up to this–the descriptions gave me a wonderful sense of place and character, and it was clever how the firetruck at the beginning tied back in the end. I was initially sad for Simon that he hadn’t just waited it out, but then I realized he’d never know what he was missing anyway!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. … and although I believe it gets lost in the delivery, his discovery and publication only serves to compound this notion that “knowing” is worse than not knowing.
      Thanks for reading and offering your reflections.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sell that to someone in the market for a rusty bridge in San Francisco. Unless walking the dog that backtracks, wraps the leash around your legs and you have to unwrap to go forward is your evidentiary style trademark, then justification so accepted.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What Duke said. Except Algernon. The front end is a train wreck of vaguely hinged disparate events. Spilled tea, acid trip, back to the tea, off to the weeds, fire engine… all good ideas, all over the map. Straight. Line.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Loved this one. Now he fits right in.
    “Frequently he pines for years past when he’d been naive…” Looks like he got his wish. Ignorance is bliss, is it not? Your coffee cup descriptions were marvelous. And your description of the Universe? Spot on…”effectively confirming the fundamental absurdity of the Universe, how it both is and isn’t, simultaneously was and will never be?” The Universe is nothing more than a cloud of probabilities, and this is from the latest research!!! (I may bring this up in one of my own posts if I swing back in that direction…)
    Yah. It’s all a dream that passes much too quickly. A realization that bring tears to anyone…

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Not so much sad or melancholy, as defeated. For these 30 scenes, I’ve tried to ensure that the writing is better than past efforts. The writing alone. The ideas, eh, I can’t seem to come up with any ones that appeal to me. It’s a spectrum, sure but on the average, and for months and months, the spark has dimmed.
          But, the writing? I hope it has improved. I’m not convinced, however. PH, I’m sure would concur. I’ll have to come back to it in six months and re-read these.
          One good sentence followed by another. Yeah, fuckin’ hardest thing I’ve ever attempted.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Sorry to hear this. PH is good, ya. but is he your ultimate judge? I dunno. And here I thought your battle with RUST was setting you back…after all, that how you pay the bills.
            BTW, I just picked up the new Stephen King book of short stories…”If it bleeds.” I was surprised to read a story called “Rats” coincidentally about a writer trying to write. (Very autobiographical, I’m sure.) Of course, your comment made me think it might be a good read for you. Is the writer driven to insanity, in that typical Steven King fashion? I dunno. He’s getting there but I’m only half way through the story. I’ll report back. Meanwhile, breathe.

            Liked by 3 people

            1. I am not an arbiter of taste or content or style but a proponent of self editing and growth. One last time. Compare your output, “production values” if you will, to someone you admire or respect. Or was successful. At the root (structure) level. Learn what to do, and what not to do for yourself from those investigations. On a larger level The Great Gatsby was written over the outline of an earlier classic work. Be yourself, but be as damn good as you can.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. No need to defend yourself, as I suspected you would. I’m neither criticizing you nor questioning your motives; in fact, I’ve come to respect your opinion over the past year and find myself reluctantly learning from you, as if you were force feeding a baby. What I am questioning is Anony’s response to your input questioning whether it’s healthy. Working with RUST and paying the bills might be stressful enough. After one early heart attack, maybe it’s time to chill out a bit. I’d hate to lose my interactions with either of you, but the clock is ticking for us all.
                But I’ve learned the hard way that empathy without boundaries is self destruction.

                Liked by 2 people

                  1. O come on man!
                    Although I admire your dedication, perseverance, talent and dedication to perfection, have you never considering jogging, cycling, weight training, or even long walks in the woods? Or hanging out at Starbucks chatting with friends. Unless you’re actually quadriplegic you might want to consider these other forms of recreation. Just IMO…certainly don’t mean to pry.
                    I “should” veer from my story and post a personal blog.
                    But I won’t.

                    Liked by 1 person

                  1. So reading Stephen King’s short story “RATS,” about a writer trying to write, and the character grabs two paperbacks to read to pass some time. King took a moment to name the authors of the pulp fiction: None other than John MacDonald and Elmore Leonard. –facepalm–

                    Liked by 2 people

                    1. Duh. MacDonald owns the short and sweet character and ambience descriptive. All these Condemned and The Beach Girls should be mandatory for POV shift, scene and setting (on multiple levels. I pass on his moralizing. Elmore writes (most of the time) straight through. And when he doesn’t, he tells you why it’s fluffy. Get Shorty, Switch, Djibouti, Maximum Bob, Riding the Rap are textbooks.

                      Liked by 1 person

          1. Time away from it would help.
            I was going for, “where would a theoretical physicist’s mind be now that he figure out that he would never be happy again, given that his theory appears true.”
            I’ll have to see if I can return to it later and try and get that sentiment instilled into the content. Or not. I rarely return to these things and “fix” them.
            After today, who the hell will read them anyway?

            Liked by 3 people

            1. If he hasn’t already, I’m sure Sebastian will read it 😅. But maybe put it in a separate document somewhere. When you get in that mood, strike while the iron’s hot. I think it’s an interesting concept and if it’s–ironically –meaningful to you, it might be the germ of something bigger.

              Liked by 2 people

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