A momentary weakness [thesis]

Daniel R. Pinkerton
As IQs went, Melody's was a sleek gray Mercedes doing 185 in a construction zone. While the other twelve year-olds battled basic geography at the middle school across town, she was breezing through biochemistry and Kantian imperatives at Zachary Taylor High. Melody was cloistered there in the Talented and Gifted room, with its thrift-store couches, its bean bag chairs, its lesser geniuses. Fridays were spent at the state university with a doctoral candidate named Carolyn Fizer, whose job it was
more » ... r, whose job it was to guide Melody through a battery of tests ranging from the standard Wechsler Series and Stanford-Binet to the more suspect MMPI and Rorschach. Melody was occasionally taken to the medical center, where doctors CAT scanned her skull. "We're just trying to get to the bottom of things," a researcher told her once, as he held a CAT scan up to the light. Get to the bottom of things? Melody felt like the suspect in a TV mystery. Slick new photocopies of her brain were tacked to the wall each time she entered the third floor lab in Phillips Hall, and Melody's brain always looked the same to her-a colorful mutated cauliflower. She'd march into the room and deposit her backpack in an empty corner amid dust motes and flecks of chipped paint. The laboratory was a study in white, like one of Picasso's early phases. White flecked tile, pale white walls, gleaming fluorescent lights. Papers blanketed every flat surface of the lab. There was a photo taped to the wall above Carolyn's desk of a man in a red polo shirt. Melody knew nothing about him, except for his name-Brad. Brad looked like a model in a Penny's catalog, fleshy but handsome. His hair was carefully combed, and the part running down one side of his head was yard stick straight. His teeth were well-spaced and gleaming. Melody envied him those white teeth. She knew her own hygiene habits weren't quite up to snuff. The overriding scent in the room was that of mature chimpanzee, since a chimp named Charles inhabited a far corner ofthe lab. Depending on the source, he'd been named for either an English monarch or the title character ofthe sitcom Charles in Charge. The researchers in Phillips thought of the ape as a lovely bewildered relative-an institution of the institution. Charles was "Well," Carolyn began, "Char-Chuck is a chimpanzee.
doi:10.31274/rtd-180813-5213 fatcat:nib7jeasi5hh3iib6mkqp2b4pa