A Mad Scientist Approaches You With an Offer

A mad scientist approaches you with an offer—he will heighten one of your senses, but it will make one of your other senses duller. It isn’t optional; he’s going to perform the surgery anyway, but you get to choose which two senses. Write this scene.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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132 thoughts on “A Mad Scientist Approaches You With an Offer

  1. kathleenmagner

    Pausing before the set of bronzed gates, Trent slid his thumbs along his backpack’s straps. Beyond the bars, a ten-story apartment complex rose. Plants hung off balconies, gauze curtains draped windows, and a trim jungle of tropical foliage colored the sandy landscape.

    A boulder of a man stepped from the security booth alongside the gate. “Can I help you?”

    Shuffling back, Trent put distance between himself and the armed guard. The taller brute’s graying hair countered the slabs buttoned beneath a navy-blue uniform and cobalt eyes shooting through the bars like icicles.


    Trent fumbled in his jean’s pocket for the tattered envelope. He held the addressed side, the one matching the complex, to the scowling guard. “I’m here to see Mr. Carver.”

    The lines crossing the guard’s forehead smoothed. Looping his hands at the belt already burdened with a walkie-talkie and holster, he smirked. “You’re a little late, kid.”

    The airport delays socked Trent’s gut as he stared at the envelope’s aged penmanship. “What do you mean?”

    “Everyone’s been looking to talk with him. So many Mr. Carver’s not seeing anyone anymore.”

    “I read about that,” said Trent. Smoothing a wrinkle on the envelope, he felt the letter inside, the one he needed to deliver before it was too late. He stilled his hands and lifted his chin. “This is different.”

    The guard crossed his arms, biceps bulging like runner’s thighs. “How so?”

    “I’m supposed to mention Marie Stapleton.”

    The guard’s smirk faded. “What’s your name, kid?”

    “Trent.” Trent gulped to clear his throat. “Trent Stapleton. I’m Marie’s grandson.”

    Half a dozen cars zoomed passed before the guard extended his hand through the bars, his fingers expectant.

    Trent clutched the envelope. “I want it back.”

    “You’ll get it back.”

    With a nod at the promise, Trent handed over the letter. The guard held the envelope by the edges, head bowed over the address as he reentered his booth.

    Hovering by the gate, Trent listened to the lift of a receiver, the punch of buttons, the quiet murmur of a polite greeting.

    “I know, sir.” The guard’s voice had softened with deference. “He’s got a letter from Marie Stapleton. Says he’s her grandson, Trent.”

    After a sequence of “Yes” and “No” the phone clattered into its cradle.

    Hearing the guard return, Trent raked his hands through his shoulder-length waves and straightened the lapels of his dress shirt. Through the bars, he reclaimed the letter the guard offered.

    “Head straight down the walkway,” said the guard, thrusting a trunk-sized finger at the apartment building’s main doors. “Go through the lobby to the first set of elevators. You know the apartment?”

    Trent glanced at the cursive on the envelope, the number clear and flowing. “I do.”

    “I’ll let them know you’re coming. Straight there and straight back, kid.”

    … Click here to read the rest. Any comments are welcome.

    1. kathleenmagner

      The first story actually belongs to another prompt with the same starting phrase . This story belongs here!

      Miro stared into the hearth, into the cavity of fired clay, where flames flickered at each term Guarin proposed. The conjurer’s words hung on the hem of Miro’s traveling cloak and, as the weight grew heavy, he circled the clasp pinning the wool at his throat. Fire warmed the pendant’s ivy ribs, the ridges stinging his fingertips when the flames quieted.

      “That is what I can offer, sire,” said Guarin.

      Miro seared his thumb with a press on the sword carved at the clasp’s center. “I accept.”


      Miro set his hand on Wyot’s shoulder, silencing his son’s imprudent tongue. Broadcloth and a chainmail tunic intercepted the touch of wiry flesh underneath. Through the layers, however, Miro felt the beat of a heart, one young but yearning to make things right.

      “I’ve taken a vow to protect our people, Wyot.”

      “Protect them with your sword, father. Protect them with our armies. Protect them with compromise. Not this.”

      “The Aventi Canon will not compromise,” said Guarin.

      Miro released his hold on Wyot and squared himself to the conjurer.

      From his seat, Guarin placed his mug onto the smooth stump serving as his table and wrapped the gnarled fingers of his remaining hand around the potter’s work. The truth in his simple statement twined with the smoke in the air and Miro gripped his sword’s hilt.

      “No, they won’t.”

      Wyot turned away from the flames. “How can you both be so certain?

      Guarin lifted his white eyes, their sightless gaze locking onto the boy. “Because I have seen it.”

      “You are nothing but a blind man.”

      “And you a pup in armor.”

      After a balk and sputter, Wyot stormed to a curtain hung by the hovel’s front door. Plucking the ratty cloth aside, he revealed a clawed hole, the night, their waiting horses, and the Scuro Woods flanking the sleeping kingdom of Terrasin. “You’ve come to a one-armed blind man in search for answers, father.”

      Miro glared through the table. “I didn’t ask you to join me, boy.”

      Wyot huffed while Guarin stroked his mug, his gaze drifting into the fire. “I have told you what I can do, sire.”

      Miro strode from the hearth, stopping with boot-tips brushing the table’s bark sides. “Will it work?”

      Guarin’s gaze grew wide. Firelight glittered in his blind eyes and danced in the crags of his face. The orange light swirled with the shadows beneath his matted bangs and the darker pits below his mossy brows. A breeze swept down the chimney and pushed at Guarin’s mane of raven hair. The thick locks blew off his shoulders and his pitch-dark robes fluttered.

      The gust died and Guarin closed his eyes, his chest heaving with each wheezing breath. “It may.”

      “May?” Wyot scoffed and flung down the curtain. “This is not your only choice, father.”

      “But,” said Guarin, “it is the only choice with a chance of success.”

      The logs snapped in the silence.

      … Click here to read the rest. Any comments are welcome.

  2. DDestrukt

    It was the smell that hit me first, strong and acrid, it left a burning sensation behind with every shallow breath rattling through my chest like a cold wind through an open door in winter. I tried to blink the water from my eyes only to find myself staring into a bright light, if this was God I didn’t want to see him. The faint metallic buzz of the flurescant light buzzed loudly like a persistant wasp. “Well, finally that took you long enough”. The voice was unfamiliar, polite but stern. I tried to move, to sit up but it was no use I was bound. “The situation is rather simple, test subject zero. You have five senses, I will enhance one, the result however will involve removal of another. It’s entirely your choice, think fast, I’m on a schedule.” I was dumbfounded, mumbling, finally thrashing against the bed. Time passed and I realised the only option was making the choice. Sight, hearing, speech, smell, taste? Never seeing a sunrise, hearing a symphony, singing a hymn, tasting fresh cookies? Smell. I could deal with that. I would have to it was my only way free. I hoped…

  3. SchmidtHappens008

    I awoke groggily, painfully. My vision was blurry and as much as I blinked and squinted, it wouldn’t clear. After a minute I realized I wasn’t wearing my glasses. Panic immediately struck me and I sprang up to search for them. Or at least I attempted to. My panic intensified ten-fold when I realized that I was strapped tightly to what felt like a metal examining table.

    “Oh, how wonderful! Our subject is finally awake,” said a voice from across the room. A fuzzy white form came into view, the source of the voice, I assumed. The man leaned over me, his foul breath threatening to make me cover myself with the contents of my stomach. Come to think of it, when was the last time I’d eaten? What time was it? Where the hell was I? Questions flew through my mind and a large part of me feared they would never be answered. I began to struggle, pulling at the restraints on my ankles and wrists, bucking at the straps across my torso and forehead. “Calm down, my pet, calm down. There’s nothing to fear.” He stroked my face with the back of a gloved hand as he said the last. “You are about to become a part of history. I am a pioneer, you see.” He began to walk slowly around the table on which I laid as he spoke. “I believe I’ve discovered a way to amplify one of the five senses while sacrificing another. You, my friend, shall be my first human test subject.”

    Great. It was bad enough that I’d been kidnapped. Now, I’ve been kidnapped by a mad scientist and made to be a guinea pig. “If the procedure works, you’ll be a harbinger of great things to come for humanity. If not, then it’s back to the drawing board for me. And for you, well…let’s not think about such things. Best to think happy thoughts before a major surgery, right?”

    At some point I had closed my eyes, squeezed them as tightly as I could, hoping to be safe in my bed when I opened them. No such luck. “So, you have a choice to make. And no, leaving isn’t an option. Nor is death. At least not on purpose,” he laughed.

    I made one more futile attempt to wake up from this nightmare before making the obvious choice. But which sense to sacrifice? I began to cry because I couldn’t do anything else. What kind of choice was this? Through my frustrated tears I said, “You choose which sense to take.” He leaned down close as he put the needle in my neck. The last thing I saw before passing out was his crooked rotten smile.

  4. MagiquePhantasy

    I tried to smooth the wrinkles from what had once been a pristine, white sheet of paper. It was a fruitless task, the thing had been jammed deep into my back pocket for over a week, read and reread at least seventeen times. Taken out only when I was sure all the others were asleep, unlikely to find me squeezed into the musty attic corner with its small round hole that allowed in just enough light that, when I squinted my eyes just so, I could make out the words on my contract. I liked the sound of that. My contract. I had told no one about my secret, not even dear Nelly. She’d have told me to turn it in straight away, of that I was sure. But it was mine. He had given it to me.

    It had taken me three nights just to read the whole thing, struggling through words with more letters in them than I had years. Even now I didn’t understand all of it, but I knew the important bits. The ones that promised me something different, something better than what I was. I knocked on the door once more, listening to its metallic ring bounce off the alleyway. Fearful the sound would rouse Madame I glanced towards the deserted street. It never occurred to me that it was a physical impossibility. In my world Madame knew everything. Saw everything. Unless, of course, Mr Marimont was involved.

    The door cracked open, just enough for me to see one bloodshot, darting eye glance down briefly. “Get outta here, kid.” A reckless abandon overtook me as I watched my one chance at freedom close with that door. I jammed my threadbare, filthy shoe into the opening.

    “No. Wait!” I cried. “I’ve come for the pro…proseed…the thing. See?” I held my contract high, my badge of courage. He didn’t answer, just grunted and disappeared into the darkness. With one hand I pushed away my old life and entered my shadowy future.

    The future held a lot of big needles and strange silver equipment that my imagination was more than happy to supply a use for. I took a shaky step backwards, but the door had already closed behind me. A gentle hand touched my back, sending me skittering forward in my surprise.

    “I wondered if you’d come.” It was the man who had given me my golden ticket, my Willy Wonka. I only now paused to consider which side of the line his science fell. The sublime or the mad? “Have you made your decision?”

    No words would come, so I handed him the crinkled contract. He read over it quickly, frowning. “You didn’t pick a sense to enhance, dear.”

    I thought of Mr Marimont, his stubbed fingers leaving their greasy trails down my sides. His stale, hot breath rasping against my skin when he was roused. I shrugged. “It don’t matter much, sir. Just so long as I don’t have to feel no more.”

  5. shaykwiat


    We called him “the mad scientist” in high school.
    Now he runs a meth lab. And he really WAS a mad scientist. He was responsible for a whole slew of designer drugs. Now it seemed he had one more.
    “The Mother of all designer drugs!” he crowed, pushing his glasses back up on his nose before they slid off. His longish hair stuck out in all directions. Who could afford to worry about grooming, when there was so much fun to be had in the laboratory?
    “So listen,” he continued arbitrarily, “If you could choose to enhance one of your senses, and eliminate another — which would you choose?” He had a very disturbing glint in his eyes.
    “Um… That was random. Seriously?” I asked.
    Dude’s been drinking his own kool aid.
    “Yeah, buddy, seriously!”
    I spaced out, watching spittle spew from his lips as he went into some story about super mutant races or something. He’s been reading too many comic books.
    “Um…” I tried to rack my brain and think of something to impress him with. I wanted him to think kindly of me as he was my supplier.
    “OK, how about, um, I don’t need smell, right? And how about enhanced hearing? It’d be good for eavesdropping.”
    “Are you sure?” he asked quietly.
    “Uh, I guess, why?”
    “No reason,” was the last thing i heard…

    Until I woke up feeling nauseated. There was a hellacious buzzing in my ears that was really annoying me. I tried to sit up, but my equilibrium seemed off. I threw up.
    “Hey, hold on, buddy!” boomed The Geek.
    I put my hands up to cover my ears, and found they were stuffed with cotton. I took one out gingerly, and my head nearly exploded with the ringing of a huge ass bell. I crammed the cotton back in, remembering the grade school a few blocks away. I could tell recess was over, the buzz abated as they re-entered the school.
    He was standing there looking all proud of himself, rocking back and forth on his heels.
    “You didn’t…” I started. “You couldn’t…”
    He nodded happily. “I did! And because you are my very best customer, you had a choice! And now I’m gonna reward you — I’ll give you all the drugs you want, and in return, you’ll peddle these little assorted packages of my new designer drugs. It’ll be interesting to see the results!”
    His glee broke throw and he rang triumphant. “I AM A GOD!” he roared. Literally.
    I cringed. I snatched up the packages and weaved unsteadily to my car.
    Hey, watch out for the… dogshit,” he cautioned, a bit too late.
    I looked down at my feet, encased in a huge pile of steaming glop.
    Funny, it didn’t smell.

    –Shayla Kwiatkowski, 2013

  6. FocusedGwen

    Dr. Oz stepped into my cell yesterday stating that he would have to conduct immediate surgery on me because my sensory perceptions were out of control.

    I knew he was lying because I knew that Jesus took away all of my infirmities and by Jesus stripes I had been healed from all sickness and disease.

    But Dr. Oz was insistent on the matter. To give you a little background on the subject, Dr. Oz has had me enslaved in a dungeon here in Zurich for two years as a test case and God is good because anything that Oz has attempted to do to keep me from God’s Word has failed, and I have faith that his evil methods will continue to fail.

    So, when he offered to heighten one of my senses, at the expense of dulling another, I got creative on him, since it was not optional, and he was determined to perform the surgery anyway.

    First I prayed and asked God to give me revelational knowledge, wisdom, and discernment regarding the matter. Then I chose to be able to hear god’s voice beyond any others, my internal intuition to be increased by 500%, that I would become clairvoyant and develop a second sight, and dull my physical hearing just a bit.

  7. bekarose

    Iris loved a good storm. There was something deliciously cozy and thrilling about the sky lighting up so she could see every inch of the land before her and the rolling rain that seemed to pour out of the sky like sheets off a bed. This water from heaven pounding on the house, pounding that matched her heat beat yet filling her with a feeling of gratitude towards her well-constructed home. Iris especially liked these almost daily storms, if they happened at dusk, like the current one. She could sit at the window and watch the world about to be ripped apart. When things were wrong for Father, which the always were, she longed for that.
    Tonight, dusk turned to night rather quickly and Iris felt the need to finish up her chores. Father would be home the next morning and hated to come home to a mess. She prayed to the God she doubted was listening that the rain would delay her father another night. She cherished these nights alone. She never thought of them as lonely nights because to be out of her father’s sight was anything but lonely.
    There was a knock at the door. It was not urgent, as she would have expected on a night like this, but it was insistent. It didn’t go away. Father said to never ever answer the door. Tonight was a night like no other, she could feel it.
    It was Dr. Monroe, the town’s local doctor and whacko all wrapped up in one. He scared everyone, but he was the only doctor for 100 miles, so he had to do. Turns out he was even more frightening in a storm, lightning and thunder illuminating the crazy.
    “Iris, thank you for answering the door, I know your father would not approve but I assure you, I am not here to harm you. I am here to help.” He was so straightforward with her, it took her aback. She rarely interacted with other people, except father and those were interactions she would rather forget.
    “Of course, Dr. Monroe, but I’m not sure what you can help with, I’m perfectly fine.”
    He was still standing in her door way and with the bright flashes still happening behind him she had a hard time seeing his face. But she knew he could see right through her.
    “I don’t think you are, Dear.”
    That simple sentence almost undid her. “What do you want, Dr. Monroe?”
    “What if I could offer you a life free of fear? Your father’s wrath need never touch you again. I can literally take your sense of touch away. That means you will never feel his hard hands on your belly or back again. He can beat you all he wants and you will never sense pain again. You will never be ruled by it, held captive by it. All you need to do is follow me, help me with this experiment. I must warn you, one of your other senses will fade, I can’t tell you which one. You just have to believe that it will be worth that sacrifice.”
    As he continued to talk, Iris realized he wasn’t asking anymore.

  8. Jennifer Brown

    I look up as the man enters the kitchen, his white shirt pristine and each strand of hair carefully tucked in place. He smiles – the same smile that drew me to him at Angie’s stupid single’s bash earlier that night; the same smile that gave me courage after three years of widowhood to dismiss the sitter and invite him in for a nightcap while little Lauren slept upstairs.

    He holds up the syringe, tapping a bubble from the serum as he tips his head to the side. “Have you made up your mind?”

    I want to scream, to fight, to flee, but I know all too well what he will do to my little girl if I give in. ‘New York’s own Dr. Jekyll’ they call him in the papers; a modern-day mad scientist.

    I struggle to hold back a sob as the knots around my wrists and ankles cut into my flesh. He steps closer then kneels on the tiles, his face inches from mine. One sense surgically heightened, one surgically dulled, both of my choosing. A simple procedure, he had explained while forcing the first bout of sedatives into my vein, pinning me against the floor and binding my limbs. Non-invasive, zero scaring, and very little pain…as long as I cooperate. And if I don’t…

    Again the scream rises in my throat and again I fight it back. Whenever I hear about victims of rape or assault or muggings giving in to their assailant’s demands, I always wondered why they didn’t do everything in their power to get away. Now I know. There are things far worse than being violated, than having free will stripped away and your life torn from your control.

    All his victims are all single mothers of young children.

    I should have known.

    If I don’t cooperate, he will take each of my daughter’s senses…one, by one…until she has nothing left with which to interact with the world around her; no way of communicating her thoughts and needs. Living the rest of her life imprisoned within her own body. Forever.

    Taste. Touch. Sight. Smell. Hearing…

    I close my eyes, angry as a tear traces a wet path down my cheek.

    It was like being asked to choose which limb you would be willing to part with, which memory you would be willing to lose. Sight…my daughter’s face, her smile, her eyes, Crayola drawings and chalky sidewalk masterpieces. Smell…her first attempts at baking, the scent of her hair after a bath, flowers and bread and strawberries. Hearing…Lauren’s laughter, voice, stories, the sound of her playing, the sound of her cries when she wakes from a nightmare. Touch…my late husband’s kiss, soft newborn skin, warm sunshine and crisp fall breezes, teddy bears and new socks. Taste…chocolate and coffee, tea and toast, marshmallows browned over an open flame, spicy cinnamon hearts, ice cream.

    “Time’s up, Clara. Have you made your choice?”

    “Yes,” I sob. “Yes.”

    “Good,” he purrs. “Close your eyes and let’s begin…”

  9. DeeDee

    Madness and Butterflies are Free

    Dr. Fleck stood beside the gurney, his mouth moving curiously toward the right side of his smooth angular face.
    “Well, seems those headaches of yours are located in a part of your brain that receives signals and information about your perception and vision. We’re gonna fix that though, yeah, but you’re gonna lose something else. Won’t be too bad though to lose a little caution and fear,” he said smiling crookedly. “Lost my fear decades ago,” he churped, “haven’t missed it.” He snapped on his white powdered gloves as he peered down at my strapped body.
    Screaming, no one heard me. My mouth didn’t seem to move, and the words echoed inside my head as I tried to get up, run, and reach for my cell phone….
    Where was I anyway? This is not the butterfly club meeting room in the back of our town library. Nor is it the Sip & Dip Lounge where we all gathered after gushing over the beauty of butterflies, especially the atlides halesus or Great Purple Hairstreak. Tandy, the scarf designer, was absolutely giddy over its black wings glistening with iridescent blue on top and iridescent gold designs on its tails. She drew in her designer monographic book, singing “Chanson Papillion,” and laughing like senile cherub.
    Dr. Fleck intervened. “Let’s celebrate at the Sip & Dip Lounge,” he suggested with a halting voice. The four of us agreed, and vaulted for the exit, Tandy’s singing swirling around us.
    Then the headaches began, distorting their voices and mine. I ordered another apple-tini hoping to dull the pain in the absence of my sinus meds. Tandy’s neighbor, Aaron, offered to call me a cab, and I left. At least, I think I did. Now I am here on this gurney looking up at Dr. Fleck, unable to speak or protest or move. A muscle spasm suddenly ran through my leg and back. I felt pain but nothing else.
    “Lovely atlides halesus we viewed yesterday, wasn’t it?” Dr. Fleck coldly observed as he bent over me with a syringe.
    Yesterday, I thought, yesterday? Where’s the cab? Where’s Tandy and Aaron?
    “It was the pollen from the goldenrod on the wings of the butterfly that gave you such a headache,” Fleck casually noted.
    “ I knew it right away. Remember when we drove down toward the fields to watch butterflies. You said the goldenrod gave you severe headaches. I remember that.”
    His face lowered to mine, and his goldenrod colored eyes seemed beautiful under the glare of the surgical lamps. “Perception or fear?” he asked sadistically.
    Fear crescendoed as Tandy’s voice fluttered about in my mind. Something icy-hot navigated my veins. My eyes fixated on the iridescent blue scales finely swept through the black wings of a great purple hairstreak butterfly mounted on the ceiling above the gurney while an apex spider dangled his scalpel and madness over me.

  10. nelleg

    “Maybe this could be the big story I’ve been looking for.” Keri sat there for a moment longer and then decided to go with the strange little man. “Ok, let’s go.” Then she felt a pain in her neck and then darkness.

    “Good morning Miss Monarch.” Keri’s eyes tried to focus as a raging headache blasted through her head. “We have a lot to discuss and you have a big decision to make.” Then Keri’s eyes focused and she noticed a handsome man speaking to her.

    “Where am I?” Keri asked as she tried to get up. She then realized she was strapped to a gurney.

    “Keri, I am Dr. James. You are in a facility that officially doesn’t exist. I don’t know how much you know of your real father but he knew of this place very well.” Keri tried to speak but Dr. James cut her off. “I need you to keep quiet and listen carefully. Because of your real father’s genetic make up he was perfect for our experiments. It turns out he passed onto you the very traits we need. We will proceed with or without your permission. But I will give you a small choice in the matter. You have the opportunity to have one of your senses heighten. The only problem is, in order to do this we must weaken another. I am willing to let you choose which ones. If you don’t want the choice I will make it for you. What sense could serve you best?”

    “Hearing could really allow me to get the scoop I need.” Keri says before she could stop herself.

    “Now Miss Monarch, what sense could you do without?”

    “Have you ever had my mom’s cooking, I choose taste.” Keri answers in attempt at humor.

    “So be it.” Dr. James says and then Keri feels that awful sting in the neck again and then darkness.

    Keri wakes with a headache. The phone is ringing loudly. “I must have bumped the volume in my sleep” Keri thought as she picked up the receiver. “Hello.” Keri manages to speak. She is surprised at how dry her mouth is and then she notices the coffee.

    “Keri? You sound horrible?” Her boss’s voice came through the phone.

    “Yeah Carl, don’t ever eat at Yvette’s Café.” Keri says as she spits out the coffee she just sipped, it’s tasteless.

    “That’s just what I want to talk to you about.” Carl’s voice echoes through the receiver.

    “Why are you shouting?” Keri asks as she bites into her bagel. Once again she has to spit it out for lack of flavor.

    “I’m speaking normal, Keri.” As Carl spoke, the day before came rushing back to her and then she hears Carl’s next few words. “You know we had to make some personnel changes and let people go. I was able to get you a position at an actual network but Keri it’s all I could manage for you. You’re now a food critic!”

    Keri faints.

  11. Chris

    “Well, well, young Mr. Conner, it appears that you have awakened!”
    “Mom, is that you?” murmured, Bobby.
    “Nooo, Bobby, but she’s right here,” whispered Dr. Snyder.
    The doctor turned to Mrs. Conner, “I have to say that your request, on your son’s behalf, was the most sincere of all the cases that I have handled thus far.” The doctor, looking down, sighed and ran his fingers from his wrinkled forehead, back through his long curly locks of grey hair, and back down the apparent stiffness of his neck. Looking sincerely back to the boy, he whispered, “I know that most would consider my work that of a mad scientist, but it is my desire to help, and I believe that your life is about to change for the better, Bobby.”
    It was the last day of school before summer vacation, and the 16 year old boy walked timidly into the cafeteria. He could feel the looks, as usual, but discretely he reached into his pocket and remotely increased the volume of the device implanted in his ear to moderate sound levels into is newly heightened sense of hearing.
    “Here comes fat ass,” whispered David Marks, to Jessica Williams.
    Bobby recognized the voice, although David was seated on the opposite end of the cafeteria.
    “Stop it!” said Jessica.
    “What! Like he’s gonna really hear me. Lighten up, Jessica”
    “You’re so arrogant, David”
    Jessica rose from her seat, and walked disturbedly out of the cafeteria.
    Bobby just continued forward, strangely motivated by all of his spectators.
    “Tug boat”
    “Where has wide load been the past couple of days?”
    Bypassing the soda machine, Bobby made his way to the lunch line, picked up a tray, grabbed a skim milk, which he loathed, and slid his tray to the lunch selections.
    “Your usual, Bobby?” Mrs. Harrison voiced.
    “No….not today, I’ll have the grilled chicken breast and broccoli.”
    “Wow! I thought that you couldn’t stomach healthy food?” jested, Mrs. Harrison.
    Laughingly, Bobby responded, “I think I’ve discovered a way to tolerate it, now”
    Bobby made his way to the solitude of his table, turned down the device in his pocket to quiet the surrounding mockery, and began to eat. With a tear slipping unnoticed below the contour of his cheek, he ate with new determination. The food was tasteless, but he was alright with that.
    The students of Pinecrest High School commenced their summer break, and for most, the time slipped by quickly. The first day of the new school year was officially in session. The front doors opened, and the quietness of the empty summer hallways sprang back to life.
    “Is that Bobby Conner?”
    “No way!”
    “Who da thought beneath all that flab. Wow!”
    Jessica Williams leaned into her friend’s ear and said, “He looks great!
    Bobby heard every word, and with new hope, walked confidently down the passageways of his former pains.
    “Ahhhh! The taste of victory”