One Mind-Chapter 14

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 14 (v.1) - Thoughts and Ideas Clash

Submitted: June 26, 2016

Reads: 74

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Submitted: June 26, 2016

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Chapter 14

Lenny often met Goliath for meals.  As their friendship grew, Goliath answered Lenny’s many questions patiently, their meetings becoming more of a challenge of scientific theories and a discounting of assumptions almost. 

  Lenny cautiously asked Goliath about their differences over lunch one day, "Goliath you realize you're different." 

  "Says who?" said Goliath quietly.

  "Says the outside world, the majority."

 "Aah but what if they're wrong?"

  "What?" said Lenny confused.

 "What if we're the majority are the different ones."

  "How can that be?  There's so many of them," replied Lenny.

  "There has to be to hide the secret that we're all imperfect, all innately Others in some sense or another.”

Lenny was about to ask more questions when a light blinked on Goliath’s hip.  Quickly looking at the alarm Goliath said, "Come with me to unload the latest shipment.  You'll see the end result of these perfect people you are trying to create." 

Lenny followed Goliath with a sense of dread, feeling he was being led toward a brutal honesty he wasn’t sure he wanted to meet.  Goliath, who strode ahead, was only a shadow to the light Lenny feared he was being brought into. 

Even the murals on the walls they passed even felt like they were taking on a darker feel to them, the further into the cave they moved.  The rural scene which the two of them currently brushed past, depicted a family picnicking in a field with the painted sun was seemingly blotted out by the mood of the place alone.  Lenny glanced warily at the painted people in the scene, the shifting shadows transforming them into hideous monsters before his very eyes.  Lenny, became so transfixed by these shadowy beings, that he almost stumbled into the life sized mural of Goliath who had stopped in front of him.

Lenny watched as Goliath unlocked the door, ushering Lenny in.  Lenny heard the door click again behind him, announcing there would be no way to escape what lay ahead.

  "I can wait here," Lenny quietly said to Goliath.

  "No Governor, you can't.  It's time to educate yourself,” said Goliath waiting expectantly for him by a window.  Lenny joined his escort, looking down into a room full of subdued lights where lines of shaking people were being ushered in. "These refugees, as you can probably deduce from their clothing, have all been rescued from an H.L.U. Retraining Camp, said Goliath. Lenny watched for several minutes as these people went through the line, many of them afterwards dotting the sidelines rolled into a ball with a blanket over them.

 “That person over there in the pink Tie Dye shirt?” Goliath pointed out.  “That’s your daughter,. She’s in there doing her best to undo what her father has done.”

Lenny raced across the room frantically trying the door but it was still locked.  Lenny's eyes were wide as he raced back to rejoin Goliath at the window.  “There's a reason you're here and she's there Governor.” Goliath said calmly.  “She doesn't even know you’re watching her.  I only wanted you to know she's alright because I would want to know.”

“Dammit, I need to see her, to bring her back,” said Lenny looking at her and those she was helping.

  “She doesn't want to go back, not to your world anyway.”

Lenny sighed, trying to calm his mind down and sort everything out. Maybe it would just be best to change the subject, he reasoned.

Lenny noticed a man on a ladder adjusting a dial.  “What’s that man over there doing?” he asked curiously.

“He's adjusting the temperature, not surprising.  We’re more sensitive to things in our environment, light and heat among them. It’s the same reason we can create with such beauty, clarity and feeling, our beings are more sensitized to it in life.

That night, Lenny closed his eyes, with this place and these people still in roiling around in his thoughts, challenging every perception of what he thought he knew.  Finally he was only left struggling in a deep well of confusion which create a fitful night’s sleep.

By the next morning, Lenny realized there was only one solution to get his thinking back on solid ground.  He needed to go back to the place where people thought like he thought, acted like he acted, where there would be no questioning.  With this decision firmly made, Lenny packed his knapsack for the long journey back to his sanity.

Lenny opened the door to find Goliath waiting outside.  “Going somewhere Governor?”

“Well umm.... you see, I've got to get back to run the district.”

“Certainly, I understand.  Follow me, I'll start you on your way.”  Lenny was shocked at Goliath's acceptance and blatantly said so as he began to follow him down the hallway.

“But don't you worry?....”

“We don't much, as a matter of fact, we pretty much take life as it comes.Sort of like our ideas I guess.  Oops, watch your head on that beam, it gets me every time.We work on the assumption that if you follow your passion everything will work out in the end.” 

“What if it doesn't work out? I mean what if you're wrong?”

“All I can tell you, is it's a philosophy that's never failed any of us so far.  We're going to be taking a left up here. We place our trust in the journey.”

“How can you follow a path though when you can’t see your end goal?  See in my world you pick a career in high school, then your Senior Educational Guide sits down with you and the official Gubenatorial Career Guide.  We're up to Version 15.3.  I know, I oversaw the editing of it.  Anyway, the counselor goes to that page and all the steps are spelled out for you.  Schools, licenses, specialties, it's all very uniform and concise.”

“Ever notice though Governor, there's no pages for artists or writers or inventors for that matter, in your guide?”

“Now wait, we have literary committees, photographic and artistic acceptance teams as well as solving specifics executive think tanks,” said Lenny defending his old society.

“Let me ask you something then. When was the last time one of your “literary committees” came out with a book.  I'm not talking about a dry text book or politically cleansed entertainment novel here.  I'm talking about a real book, one that tears your heart out on Page 7 and doesn't put it back until page 358.  One of those pieces of art between the covers that you fall into and can't seem to climb out of until early one morning on the very last page.”

“Well...” said Lenny.

“Didn't think so,” said Goliath. 

“I'll bet you could create a path though, with numbered formatting steps that anyone else could follow, to do what you do and produce what you're talking about.”

“Not exactly.  See we're talking about individuality here.”Lenny looked at Goliath, as the man stopped to ponder a turn.  “If I wanted to say, be an accountant, not that I do mind you, no matter who I was or where I started out, I would follow your “procedure”, as you call it and I would get the title of accountant.  It doesn't work that way with us.  A person could follow the exact same route as me but it doesn't mean they'll create the same piece of art or write the same book.  You see creating books like that, art like that, anything like that takes exposure to life in all of it's wild and wonderful forms.  We artistic types absorb it somehow, process it through our very beings.  Then eventually everything spills back out on the canvas or the pages of a book or in a hundred other ways.  We can't explain it, document it, or even list the steps, it just happens.”

Once the pair arrived at the cave entrance, Goliath looked off in the distance, then back to Lenny.“Can't leave huh?  Yeah this place has that effect on a person,” said Goliath. “I was hoping you’d stay, I’m starting to think you could be a bridge between us and them, maybe we could even save the mound people in between. Come on or we'll be missing breakfast, something I never like to skip.” Goliath let out a chuckle, with Lenny joining him as the two walked back into the cave.

Goliath and Lenny entered the cafeteria where the noise seemed to be building to an even higher crescendo than normal.  There was a special electricity filling the air with many of the workers stealing appreciative glances at Lenny as he ate.  Lenny stared back blankly, with a slight smile to meet theirs.

It's because the tribe's coming. You're to thank for it and your wife and son who seem to be helping out too. Bet you weren’t expecting that now were you, neither did I. Life’s funny that way sometimes, huh? “

“The tribe?”

“Yeah it’s made up of these people’s kids and a few H.L.U. Orphans I suspect.”

“Orphans?”

“Yeah parents didn't make it through H.L.U. Or weren't the same.” 

“So everyone just abandoned these kids?”

“Abandoned, no.  Preserved yes.  It was the only way to ensure the next generation would survive.”

“They're children!”

“Yeah and pretty resourceful ones at that.  When the tribe started out in the old city, there were only five or six of these kids, tops, but then they kept coming.  Their leader, Elizabeth, couldn't say no.”

So what's, there 10 or 15 now?”

  “More like a hundred.”

“A hundred?  How do they eat? Where do they sleep?”

“We have contacts if you will.  Sympathizers on your side who make sure they’re supplied. The tribe knows where the food drops are and they do nightly pick ups.  As for housing, those buildings over there are pretty solid.  The last time I checked with them, Elizabeth had them housed on a former factory floor, not perfect but it works.  They should be here pretty quickly if there are no mound storms.  I mean we haven't had any recently, but no guarantees.  That’s another problem headed your way in case you don't have enough to concern you.  Speaking of that, if you’re done, it’s time for us to start developing a strategic plan together.”

“Follow me,” said Goliath as they left the cafeteria, “there’s a landscape of sorts you need to be seeing first.”  While the two walked they began playing a guessing game of sorts, with Lenny trying to figure out Goliath's position at the camp. “Now what would make you think I was a mechanical sort?” asked Goliath with a chuckle. 

“Well your clothes for one.”

“Who a person is, is deeper than their clothes, deeper than their skin even.  It's an innate part of their breathing, their waking up and their sleeping. No outfit’s going to change that.” 

“Here's what I wanted to show you,” said Goliath as they went through a doorway. Lenny found himself standing in the largest lab he’d ever seen, in a room which appeared to jut out of the very rock itself.  At the far end of this space was a large curtained window.  Meanwhile scientists surrounded them, working furiously on experiments and then documenting their results.

“Excuse me everyone, I need to give my friend here a look at our panoramic view,” said Goliath as he crossed the room and pulled back the curtains.  Suddenly a field appeared,  with mounds as far as Lenny could see.

“Governor, you walked through the smaller field, Mound Field One, which covered about 100 acres. This is Mound Field Two which covers about 300 acres and it’s still growing.  Our scientists here  are working on focused on re-purposing these mounds to make them into something useful.” Goliath drew the curtains closed and everyone quickly settled back to their work. 

Goliath walked over to a table where a man wearing thick glasses was busily mixing beakers.

“Hey Edgar, what are you working on?” asked Goliath.

“Well I've been thinking about this project for a while. We've got the engineers working on resolving the mounds.”

“Yes,”

“ I started thinking when they finally rid the land of the mounds, what does that leave?”

“Dirt?”

“Dirt.  But not usable dirt.  You've met the mound people, obviously not usable dirt.  Poisoned dirt, useless dirt.”

“So?”

“I started wondering if there was a way of recycling that dirt by filtering out the dangerous chemicals.  Then the dirt could be used to grow things and create healthy food again.”

“Which in turn creates healthy people!”

“Exactly!”

“Good work!  A solution to a problem I hadn't even begun to think about.” said Goliath.  “We'll let you get back to work Edgar.”  The scientist nodded distractedly as he added a mixture to some dirt before filtering it.

“Look, why does he even care about the mound people?  He lives here, away from them.” Lenny asked as he walked around with Goliath who was checking on the progress of several other projects. 

“People's people Governor, got to love them, everyone or not at all.  Besides they're our neighbors!”

As they entered the hallway again, Lenny began to question Goliath again. “There's something else that didn't make sense to me.”

“Yeah,”

“I didn’t see any managers in there.  How does Edgar know which project he has been assigned to?” asked Lenny.

“It’s not assigned, he chose the project himself.  Work becomes work when you start assigning it.If you let everyone come up with their own work, it's no longer work, it's following your passion.  And a problem you're passionate about gets solved much quicker.  There is a board for everyone to post their current projects on, so everyone knows what everyone else is doing.  Other than that though, the system works pretty well on it's own.” 

“Here we are,” said Goliath with a smile as he turned the handle on the door in front of him, “Governor, well I'm Governor.” 

“Excuse me,” said Lenny looking around the office they had entered “but this place doesn't look very, very....”

“Gubenatorial? It doesn't have to it only has to be functional.”

“There are piles everywhere, it's such an unorganized mess,” said Lenny.

“To your mind, yes.  To my mind, no.  I'll bet you couldn't find a thing here.”

“Probably not.”

“Like in your office, I couldn't find a thing.  Different minds, different ways of organizing,” said Goliath, shrugging his shoulders. “Now where's that remote tracker button.  Here it is, watch this,” Goliath hit a button and a computer monitor lit up.  With a couple more clicks Goliath brought up what appeared to be a city map on his computer.  “This is where our tribe is. It's that abandoned city to the north. The big red star? That’s the tribe. “

“No one lives there,” said Lenny.

“If you say so,” said Goliath with a smile.

Blips of several different colors abruptly appeared on one side of the screen. “What are they?” asked Lenny.

“The little green blips are sensory drones.  Looks like they have some Xavierdrones in there too. Those are the larger blue blips.”

“But those are only supposed to be used in the case of gubenatorial security threats.”

“Yeah,” said Goliath with a smile crossing his face.  “Think about that for a minute.  Interesting isn't it.” Lenny thought about it, then no longer wanted to think about it. The thought felt creepy, almost like cleansing. Lenny tried to chase the last thought out of his mind hurriedly.

A sudden movement made both Goliath and Lenny focus on the other side of the screen.  The blue and green blips seemed frozen, waiting for their virtual ballet to continue.  Suddenly these blips began to turn on one another.  What had at first seemed like a ballet now turned into a virtual demolition derby with blips crashing into one another and exploding off of the screen.

“Ben, Ben, Ben,” said Goliath chuckling.

“Is that a new type of drone?”

“Huh? No my son.  He's part of this tribe and he’s a bit of a computer geek too.  I suspect, he had something to do with those crashing drones.  Ben's never one to pass up a chance to play a video game.”

“Boys will be boys,” said Lenny with a grin.

“That they will.  It looks like most of the drones are down for the count and while their computerized commotion’s been going on, the tribe’s been making an escape to the outskirts of their city.  They'll check in when they get to a safe place I'm sure.” 

“You're okay with that?” asked Lenny

“Do I have a choice? Now on to our work.”

“So what do you need from us for funding?” said Lenny.

“The things we need from you Governor, aren't about funding.  They're about things you can't put a price tag on.  What we want is no different than what every human being wants, respect of our differences,  appreciation of our gifts.  We've all got them, you know it as well as I.”

“So...”

“The first thing that needs to be on the table is the HLU camps, they have got to go.”

“Agreed, but what about the specialists who work there?  And the industries they support?”

“You mean the people trying to fix what's not broken?  The ones who are making money off of our differences?” Lenny saw a flash of temper boiling over in Goliath’s eyes. Goliath spoke again as the anger subsided.“I'm thinking the best option is retooling.”

“Retooling?”

“Listen, if what a business is making goes out of style or the competition comes up with a better model, what does a company do?  It retools and makes something different to fit this new reality.  I'm thinking rather than close the HLU camps, we make them innovation colonies, each one specializing in something different.  Art, writing, computers, inventing, recycling waste...” said Goliath.  “The people these colonies house could easily support the surrounding businesses.  Maybe the people who work there now could even learn to work with us not against us.”

“I'm not sure I follow.”

“They're sensory specialists right?”

“Yeah,”

“If you paired them up with us in the community at large, we could teach them what works for us and what doesn’t, to make our one society a more tolerable place for everyone.”

“I'm not sure that will be a popular idea with them,” said Lenny.

“I don't expect it will be.  For years now they've puffed themselves up, become experts on ways to “fix” us without even asking our opinion.  They felt important, superior to us almost.  For them to find out they are no better, even the same as us in many ways, will be a tough pill to swallow.  They'll learn though.  You did after all,” said Goliath with a chuckle.

“I did indeed,” said Lenny “I did indeed!”


© Copyright 2017 Carla Charter. All rights reserved.

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