“You’re Different and That’s Bad”: Experimental Child

“Son, I need to speak with you.”

Adam slunk into his father’s study, his head hanging. “Yes, father?”

His was holding a sheet of paper, a printout of an electronic message. “It seems that maybe you know what this is about?” he said to Adam.

“Maybe,” Adam mumbled, sitting in the chair in front of his dad’s desk.

“Do you want to explain it to me?”

Adam squirmed, shrugged. “Well, it was just those meanie heads Basil and Myles. They just think that because they’re bigger and can run faster that they’re better than me.”

His dad cocked an eyebrow. “No reason that should bother you. If you know yourself, you don’t need to react.”

“But they called me a freak,” he murmured.

“What was that?”

“They called me a freak!”

“I see,” his dad stroked his chin. “So you felt it incumbent upon you to what? Prove them wrong? Do something only you can do and cause a serious disruption of the school day? You felt that would prove to them that you’re not a freak?”

“It wasn’t that big of a deal,” said Adam.

“Really? Here are the schoolmaster’s words: ‘The two boys were lifted into the air by their ankles, shaken like a pair of rabbits, and tied by their shoelaces to the top of the flagpole.’ Now, tell me, Adam, how would you classify that if not a disruption of the school day?”

Adam shrugged. “Just desserts.”

His dad sighed. “Adam, I understand that it is difficult for you. At the risk of sounding like I’m supporting Basil and Myles, you are different. But I’ve known that, and so have you, ever since you began school. I mean, after all, could you expect a new model like you to be the same as all the others?”

“But why do I have to be smaller and slower and not as good at physical things?” Adam whined.

“You don’t need those things, if everything we did works as planned. And it already looks like the experiment is a success. Don’t worry, Adam. Once we have confirmation about your abilities, every family is going to want one like you. Those models that Basil and Myles come from will be retired and every other child at school will be just like you.”

* * * * *

When I saw the prompt for this week’s challenge – “You’re different and that’s bad” – the first thing I thought about was not what the difference was, but why the difference. I’m sure this isn’t a new idea; I’m probably borrowing from something I’ve read before. But the habit we have of trading in our cars, phones, and computers for updated models combined with the idea of designer genetics is always a curious combination for me.

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