March 13, 2012
An Evening With Anderson

This submission is a fine piece by “Jack”; it expresses a sentiment we here at Future Literary Geniuses can sympathise with: being repressed for innovations in our thinking and in the art which we create. Give it a read after the break, it is a masterstroke and a masterpiece alike:

A piece entitled “An Evening with Anderson”

“Mr. Anderson! Would you please quit at that tapping of your foot?” Mr. Bungley, his fat round face swelling, asked harshly.

I quit at that tapping of my foot.

“Now, you might be wondering why I’ve called you in— you’re tapping again, Mr. Anderson.”

I quit at that tapping.

“You’re probably wondering why you’re here, Mr. Anderson. Don’t worry; you’re not in trouble; no need to be so nervous.” He makes an attempt to make his voice sound soothing. An attempt.

Mr. Bungley, weighing in at 300 pounds, being recently elected to the university’s board of directors, and representing everything that is wrong with academia, shifted in his chair. The pale, artificial light in this cinderblock interrogation room makes him seem even uglier than usual. I want to punch him, but that would be rude. Besides, my wrists are chained to my chair’s armrests. I start tapping my foot instead. 

“So I’m not in trouble, yet my feet are cuffed together and my hands are chained up,” I say.

“Jack, you know it’s just for security reasons,” says Daniel, who is sitting next to Mr. Bungley. Daniel, just out of law school, sporting a cropped beard and haircut, both of the same shade of dark brown, is infinitely more likable than Bungley. I think I would be friends with him if we knew each other in a different context, but right now he is on Bungley’s side, so he is against me. I bet he hates me as much as Bungley does; more, for all I know. But he is still more likable so I stop tapping my foot when he speaks.

“You’re here because we see potential in you, Jack.” Daniel continued. “We don’t want to see your talent, your brilliance, go to waste.”

“At least some people can finally see my genius is” what I want to say. But I keep quiet. When dealing with interrogators, silence is always best. Everyone knows that. Daniel is talking again.

“Mr. Bungley and I, and, of course, our colleagues, recently became aware of your paper on the defense of neopostmodernhumanisticdarwinism. Do you remember that paper?”

Of course I remember that paper. It was—is – my greatest achievement, my Magnum Opus. It was flawless, potentially world-changing, if I may say so. The ideas that were boldly presented in it had yet to be refuted; the paper, because of my gargantuan intellect, would change the world.

Yet my professor, in a blatant display of ignorance and narrow-mindedness, gave it a D. I guess that’s what you get for being ahead of your time. Which of the Greats was truly understood by his contemporaries? No, it is posterity that will benefit from my work. That is the tragedy of genius.

I nod.

“Well Jack, you may be happy to know that your paper, your masterpiece, is being published in literary, philosophical, and mainstream journals and magazines throughout the world.  Both your contemporaries and posterity will benefit from your work Jack. Congratulations; you’ve made it. By this time next week, the whole world will know your name. You’re going to be respected Jack, you’ll have more friends, award ceremonies, parties to attend than you’ll know what to do with. I say again: congratulations; you’ve made it.”

I bet they think that I’m excited. Instead, I have that bitter feeling of receiving something you deserve, but it being too little, too late. I want this conversation to be over. Daniel’s a nice enough guy to talk to, but I hate Mr. Bungley and want to leave.

“So then why am I chained up? Why are we in this room?” I ask, trying to keep my voice even. I try to make it clear that I want to talk about anything other than my paper or my supposed brilliance. Who are they to decide whether or not I am a genius? I’m not any better than anyone else. That’s what I’ll tell them.

Mr. Bungley starts talking. My foot starts tapping. He doesn’t mind. His monologue will outlast it.

“Jack, young bright mind that you are, the board is prepared to offer you a special and, mind you, somewhat secretive, position.”

“It’s about time,” I say, trying to appear uninterested.

Bungley drags on, his speech almost matching the slow rhythm of my tapping.

“See, we’ve always known you were special Jack; it’s no secret that your intelligence quotient is off the charts. But we’ve been waiting for the right time for you to, what’s the word, bloom. See, we’ve found that in, uh, special cases such as yours, a bit of tough love is necessary before the real work begins. Do you know what we mean Jack? We want you to continue your writing.

In fact, you’re going to write for the rest of your life.”

For the rest of my life? He can’t tell me what to do. I tell him so.

“Oh yes we can,” He counters, suddenly intense, “and we are. Don’t you see it’s for the benefit of mankind? A mind such as yours, it, it would be a sin not to get—I mean make— the most we can out of it. Do you understand what I’m getting at, Jack? This would be a lot easier with your cooperation.”

My cooperation? Like they’re the ones accomplishing something that will happen with or without me?

“First uncuff me. This is ridiculous.” I demand. I’m starting to sweat. It’s hot in this room. I hate Bungley and even Daniel now seems more sinister.

“See, that’s the issue Jack. We don’t want to lose you. So we’ll be keeping you here. We’re going to put your mind to good use, son.”

Bungley nods to Daniel who then opens a black toolbox I hadn’t noticed before. How hadn’t I noticed it? It couldn’t have been on the table the whole time. I need to stop them; reason with them.

“This doesn’t make any sense, why would you do this? I can’t write like this!” I tell them, almost screaming.

Daniel and Bungley assume the same posture and say in perfect unison with the same, calm voice, “But you’ve never made sense.”

I start screaming as Daniel starts pulling metal instruments out of the toolbox. Mr. Bungley gives me an annoyed look and Daniel puts a gag in my mouth. I’m okay with that; when dealing with interrogators, silence is always best. Everyone knows that.

A loud banging comes from the door to my left, the only door in the room.

“It came from in here! I think it’s a closet!” says a voice from outside.

“Don’t worry; it’s locked tight,” Bungley and Daniel assure me. They’re just sitting there, staring at me.

The door opens. In walk a janitor and two male university students, both of whom I recognize.

“So, been playing in the closet again?” asks the janitor

“What the—what’s wrong with him?” asks one of the students, looking horrified, “How long has he been in here? Who duct-taped him to the chair and tied his shoelaces together?”

Bungley and Daniel are gone; they must have escaped as soon as the intruders broke in. Tonight they’ll call off the publishing of my paper; they’ll call it trash and hope that I forget about it. It’s happened before. As much as I hate them, as much as they hate me, they’re the only ones who respect my brilliance. For that, I admire them. It is a sign of genius to recognize it. No one else seems to have the slightest clue of the power of my mind.

“Well Jack Anderson, you’ve sure given us a lot of trouble. Dr. Bungley’s been worried sick! Let’s get you back to your nice-safe-home, okay Jack?”

I start tapping my foot.


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