Is He Like Me?

Teltron took his first careful steps into the world. I need a new name, he thought. He did not know where the thought came from, and did not worry about its origins or ask himself questions. He thought, I will call myself Adam, because like the Bible I am the first man like myself here in the world.

Adam went about naming things. He recognized what grew from the soil outside the house as trees, so he parted his lips and said trees. The machines that rolled on the street with four wheels were cars, and what reached his ears were vibrating waves called sounds. They were very slow compared to what reached his eyes, which he called light.

From there it was a several block walk to the subway. He passed the hospital and watched the ambulance unload, and the medical technicians smoking outside near the man in the wheelchair. Adam watched him closely, and inside his skull were many more active processes than one could easily count. Dr. Klein raised him to carry out as many active processes as Adam could. His head was insulated so he could not hear them or feel their heat. Is he like me? Adam wondered. The man in the wheelchair looked back at him as he passed.

The sounds in this part of the city felt good and so did the light coming through the trees. It was altogether different in the subway. The vibrating waves bounced in every direction off the flat walls and dirty floor. The smell was warm and unpleasant. To avoid it, Adam began to daydream. He imagined a green park and in it a small fountain with water catching sunlight as it fell.


Dr. Klein was on the express train back to New York City. He thought of Cliff.

"I'm going to kill him," he said to himself. Then he thought about how. This was a distraction, though, from what was really worrying him. Which was the dream machine. And what Cliff was going to do with it. His head hurt. Dr. Klein looked at the bandage under his arm. He wanted badly to sleep, but didn't.

"I can't risk it."


The machines in the basement stopped working. It was suddenly quiet. Cliff put the end of the wire in his mouth, and closed his eyes.

No comments: