Static

Alex didn’t like the sound coming from the T.V. It sounded like a saw mill swarming with wasps and caused the back of his head to hurt as malfunctioning machines the size of atoms let off misfired synapses, trying without success to allow Alex to process the information bomb currently going off in front of him.

Alex wanted it to tell his brother Eli to shut it off, but he couldn’t speak (which was odd for eight months old). So instead, he began to cry. Eli looked at him with frustrated concern. All Eli could see on the T.V. was the video he used to watch when he was his brother’s age, a basic speech instruction program. He was far beyond the lesson, but the music that came from the speakers still gave him a lite feeling of happiness as all his machines fired as planned, releasing enough adrenaline and dopamine to keep him happy and attentive.

Amy heard her youngest son crying from in the kitchen. She walked into the play room and, looking at the T.V, felt a twinge of pleasure that gave her a pause before she turned to her sons.

“Eli.” she said in the maternal way that speaks paragraphs in a word. Eli picked up the remote and clicked it off. The music went quiet and only the sound that left was Alex’s crying. “You know you’re not supposed to watch those when Alex is in the room.” she said, picking up her youngest son and gently bouncing him in her arms to calm him. “That’s why we gave you a T.V. in your room.”

Eli put his head down and grumbled. “I… thought he’d like this one.” His mother gave him a stern look and then turned her attention back to her youngest.

“My poor little guy,” she said as Alex started to calm down now that the noise was gone. “What’s that sound like to you?” She gave him a quick kiss on his head and continued bouncing him. She looked back down at Eli with more sympathy.

“I know you didn’t mean it, but it’s like dad and I told you before. Alex can’t watch those movies.”

“It’s because of his brain right?” Eli asked, eager to show that he remembered the lesson he’d just been caught ignoring. His mom weighed how to answer the question as she adjusted Alex into her other arm. He was calm now and began to grasp at her hair with an inquisitive look on his face.

“It’s because of the machines in his brain.” she said, careful to explain it so her son didn’t think his brother was sick or defective. “Remember what you learned last year in science?” Eli thought back, and his machines allowed him to access a near photographic memory of that class.

The students watched with excited concentration as the music that pumped of the classroom speakers opened their minds to the information bomb being shown on the screen. A group of 30 four year olds took in a thorough history of Integrated Organic Nanomachines in 25 minutes.

From their beginnings as injected and outrageously expensive miracle cures for humanities’ burdens to the first generation of children born with them fully developed in utero, the session taught the children about what allowed them to live life free of depression, mental handicap, and function on what was once thought of as prodigious level. It was considered by some to be such a major jump in human evolution that we had officially left the title of “human” in the dust three generations back. Of course this is more heavy philosophy and is not taught in schools till at least the fourth grade.

“It’s because he’s like how people used to be?” Eli said with the hope that the conversation would stay off his potential punishment. “His machines didn’t….” he struggled for a moment as thirteen synonyms passed through his train of thought “activate.”

Amy smiled at her oldest as she bent her head to allow her hair slack for Alex’s pulling. “That’s right,” she said, “So when you play those movies, he can’t hear the music you can hear or understand what he’s looking at. He just hears a bad noise.”

Eli walked towards his mother and brother, stopping just short of reaching them. He waited until Amy reached over and led him close to her, their understood sign that there was going to be no further punishment.

“Is Alex still going to go to school?” Eli asked.

“Of course he is.” Amy said, lowering herself to one knee and balancing Alex onto his feet. “He’s just going to be in a different class than you.”

“When’s he going to talk?”

“When he’s good and ready.” she said in a jokingly aggressive way. She switched her grip on Alex to one hand and poked at Eli’s stomach, causing him to spasm and giggle. “And you’re going to help him learn all about stuff, right?”

“Right!” said Eli, excited with the prospect of being his Alex’s teacher. He looked to his brother.

“Alex,” he said “I know it hurts your head to watch those videos, so we won’t use them. But I think you’d like the music in that one. It sounds like this.” Eli began to sing the tune that in his mind sounded like a grand orchestra when he heard it through the speakers.

Listening to his brother’s melody and looking at his mother’s dark red hair and reflective green eyes, Alex’s brain fired synapses free of the machine’s influence and he laughed happily at the sensation of it all.

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