Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Kindness and Care Institute For Extremely Gifted Souls

Somehow, the heat and confusion of that day had led Masood to the Center. Well, to the environs of the Center, at least. The outside of the area, where there were benches for students to sit upon, and a circumference of proper soil for one's feet to rest as they may stroll around and around. He sat himself with his feet up on one of the benches next to the 'basketball court type of fence' (this is how he described the fence to me later--I personally know little of fences). The fence kept the gifted souls in, and Masood stretched and lay back in the clear outside afternoon, and he began to watch them. It was like watching bodies in space move about. A small boy was circling around within the fence, playing some sort of game about talking to everything he met, and all the while just spinning around and talking to himself. Nearby, an older man was teaching a little girl how to walk in straight lines, while she joyfully refused and walked in slanting dances instead. As butter and dragon flies fluttered and buzzed around his ears respectively, Masood could hear the elder admonish the child with instruction; but even that admonition was simply a way to engage her and maintain contact, since through that dance it may be possible for her to disappear into separate dimension than he, you or I inhabit.

The pirouetting boy who entertained conversations with himself at different junctures of his swirl bumped into the fence next to him.

Masood laughed, and then he immediately regretted it, because the child now began to have a conversation with him. At first Masood tried to pretend it wasn't happening--he lay his head back on the bench and took in the cool evening breeze that was blowing in the area, ripe with the invigorations of latter light fruit and sultry, goading temptation of she, the sleep.

He had learned of this place through another software developer, one who he held a lot of respect for. He'd come over to call this friend over to party that night, and he was allowed inside the Institute while the friend finished off his tasks. That was last year, or maybe two years ago (memory FAILed him on this matter), and he remembered asking his friend what exactly his work encompassed there. "I just help around, do what I can," his friend had said, sagaciously. It was a little strange, because there were all these people walking around--some his age, others much older, and others even much younger. And they were all somehow singular. "Lives up to its name, this Institute," he remembered musing to himself. His friend must have been in charge of the Institute's entire IT division or something, probably making sure that critical data about all these gifted souls was transmitted wherever it needed to be, in some clear effort to better the whole world.

But today (seemed like year--may have been three years ago, in fact, that he'd met his friend), it had been a terrible day at work, where all his unit tests were failing. Everything had been red on the screen FAIL FAIL FAIL, and now he almost wished he never wrote those damned tests. On top of that, it had been really hot today, with no respite for a man wearing a full sleeved shirt. The child was dressed as any three year old may be, in a singlet and droopy brown pants. He was round little fellow, clearly nourished well enough by his charges.

So he didn't really want to tell the sweet boy that the only thing in his head right now was FAIL FAIL FAIL, in red font. "Sorry," he said, instead, and pulled out his cellphone and pretended to do whatever it is people do with such appendages.

"What's your name?" asked the little boy.

"My name is Masood. What about you?" asked Masood, hoping to be cordial and polite.

"Pullperry," said the boy. "Your phone, is it a real one?" conspired the child. He had stopped rotating, and seemed to be communicating with him via a certain vector.

"No," said Masood, feeling a little exposed. "It's just a toy phone that I carry to play with when I am feeling sleepy." He pressed a button, which made a squeak by no creature existing on Earth, but a computational possibility of one. "See, just a toy one. There's no animals that ever make that sound."

"It's real," said the child, leaning more heavily against the fence. "Give it to me." He was pressing himself against the fence in a way that made Masood feel very uncomfortable, because it looked like the child could be hurting himself by doing it.

"Hey, hey, relax." Masood got off the bench and approached the fence. "Look, Pullperry," he said, taking the childs hands into his, "if you turn around about 270 degrees, you'll find your teacher and your friend too. You know degrees, don't you? I bet you do."

Pullperry's little fingers were digging into his palms, but the boy nodded slowly and turned the whole 270 degrees Masood had asked him to. Masood prepared to congratulate the fellow upon his find. But after a brief pause, all Pullperry did was turn the remaining ninety degrees, and then his body collapsed against the fence, and his head hit the ground. He lay there, crying. "That's not my teacher," he cried, tears wetting the soil near the fence as though threatening landslide. "That's her teacher."

There was a loud sound, almost like a dam bursting and what looked like swishes of deep black hair rushed out of an opening. As the shock wore away, he began to take in her strangely sequined coat, almost snake-skin but not from any snake that he knew, and beneath that, a flowing red gown far too impractical for this kind of work.

Masood began to prepare his lecture about her carelessness, but she pre-empted him, tossing her head toward the door she'd come from. "You have to come in now, they want to ask what you have done."

Masood tried several takes, then, ranging from total denial to looking frantically back at the bench he'd been laying at. "Th-these benches. You're allowed to sit here!" he tried. Then he pointed at the crying child. "This, this guy, he came at *me*" said Masood.

For a moment, it looked as though she wanted to puke in his face--a vomit implying his inherent cowardice. But she recollected herself, and, picking the child up, who conveniently fell asleep upon her bosom, she said, "Come in. You have to. They need to ask you what you have done."

Seeing his fear, she let the left of her mouth curl a little. "Don't worry, it's not that bad inside." And then she flung her head toward the entrance again. "Come in."

"I know it's not that bad, I've been inside before," said Masood angrily.

"So come," she said, and he simply found himself following along the circumference of the fence [there was an entrance a little up ahead].

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