The Biotechnology Revolution

September 15, 2011

Prompt of the Day

Charlotte was not paying attention. It is not such an uncommon thing for children’s minds to drift during class, but Charlotte was not like most children. She loved to learn things, and normally was the first person to shoot her hand up when the teacher asked a question, eager to prove what she knew. But today, Charlotte couldn’t focus on Ms. Tandy’s lesson on the artificial ozone shield, or the diagrams she was drawing on the biometric plasma board. Tomorrow was Charlotte’s tenth birthday, and she had an important decision to make. As she thought about her options, she doodled on her tablet, drawing lithe figures leaping superhuman heights, and girls with laser-vision melting bad guys.

“Lottie!” From behind her came a whisper with a quick tug of her ponytail, and Charlotte was jerked away from her reveries. “Hey Lottie!” Benjy hissed again, giving her hair another tug. “Whatcha drawin’?”

“Mind your own beeswax, Ben,” Charlotte whispered over her shoulder. She hated when Benjy pulled on her hair. Her red-brown hair was long and shiny, and she thought it was the prettiest thing about her, and stupid Benjy was always tugging at it. She had told Ms. Tandy on him before, and once he had even been sent to the Princi-bot’s office. He had stopped for a week, but then went right back to doing it.

“Are you drawing cyborgs?” he asked. “That’s cool. Isn’t it your birthday tomorrow?”

“Yes,” she begrudgingly replied. She didn’t want to talk to him, but she was proud to be turning ten, and couldn’t help but tell anyone that asked.

“Cool! Do you know what you’re gonna get yet? Those laser-eyes would be cool,” he gushed, peering over her shoulder.

“No, I – ”

“Charlotte! Benjamin!” Ms. Tandy called out. “Unless you have something to say to the whole class, I suggest you stop your whispering.”

“Yes, Ms. Tandy,” she and Benjy chorused. For the rest of the class, Benjy didn’t talk to her again. When the lunch bell rang, Charlotte stuffed her tablet into her bag and left as quickly as she could.

At lunch, her friends could talk about nothing but her birthday present. They chattered and giggled comparing what they had chosen and what other kids in their class had gotten when they turned 10.

“Sally got her legs, both of them, cuz her parents are rich and she’s got dance classes,” said Mabel.

“That’s stupid, what if she stops dance?” asked Jennifer. “I got my eyes. They were ugly brown before, but now they’re pretty and green and I can see everything.” Charlotte blinked, she had brown eyes, were they ugly? Should she change those?

“I wish I could’ve gotten something pretty like that,” Joanie said sadly. “My mom made me get a heart, and it doesn’t do anything.”

“What are you going to get, Charlotte?” Mabel asked, ignoring Joanie’s moans.

“Um, I don’t know yet,” Charlotte admitted. Her friends gaped at her.

“You don’t know?” Jennifer repeated, incredulous. “But your birthday’s tomorrow, what’re you going to tell the doctor?”

Charlotte shrugged. “I don’t have to get it tomorrow,” she replied quietly.

“I couldn’t stand waiting!” Jennifer cried. “I could barely wait til I was old enough to get my first one.”

“I got something stupid, and I still couldn’t wait,” said Joanie.

“It’s a stupid rule,” Mabel pouted. Her tenth birthday wasn’t for another two months, making her too young to qualify for a bionic implant. Like all little kids, Charlotte had waited her whole life to turn ten just for her first implant, but when it came down to choosing, nothing seemed right.

On the bus home, Charlotte continued to think about what she wanted to get. She gazed out the window as the bus glided through the the carpool airway. Far below on the streets, she could just make out the little ant-people. Maybe her eyes would be a good idea, but she didn’t want to get the same thing as Jennifer, or she’d be a copy-cat. She could get her fingers, and then her piano tutor would never be able to call her sloppy ever again. Or maybe her ears, and she’d have perfect pitch. That seemed like a good idea, but all of it was stuff that everyone got. Charlotte wanted hers to be different, so no one could call her a copy-cat.

“Didya decide on a implant yet?” Benjy greeted her with a ponytail pull from behind again. Charlotte wanted to turn around and hit his stupid face, but knew she would get in trouble for it. Maybe she could get sensors in the back of her head, so she would know when he was reaching. But then how would she stop him?

“No, and it’s none of your business,” Charlotte muttered.

“I got my arm, so I’m the best at dodgeball and catch,” Benjy went on. Charlotte thought about getting her arm too, then maybe she would be fast enough to catch his hand when he reached for her hair. But then she still wouldn’t know he was grabbing it until he wrapped his fingers around it and pulled.

Suddenly, a thought popped into her head. All at once, she knew exactly what she wanted to get for her birthday. Benjy continued to chatter for the rest of the ride home, but for once Charlotte didn’t mind, because all she could think about was getting her bionic.

A few days later, Charlotte was back in school. She was a little achey, but the doctors said that would happen, and otherwise she was feeling fine. As Ms. Tandy began her lesson, Charlotte fell into the routine of class and listened raptly. About halfway through the lesson, she felt Benjy take a hold of her ponytail. She was so used to his hair-pulling she waited for the tug, but she didn’t feel anything. Instead, Benjy started squealing. Ms. Tandy spun around, startled and alarmed.

“Benjy! What’s going on,” she asked as she rushed down the aisle.

“Ms. Tandy!’ Benjy cried. “Look what Charlotte’s doing to me!”

“I”m not doing anything!” protested Charlotte. Ms. Tandy reached their desks and peered down at Benjy’s hand. Charlotte watched the teacher’s face carefully, afraid she would get in trouble even though it wasn’t her fault. Ms. Tandy’s mouth twitched for a moment, and Charlotte was sure she almost smiled.

Wrapped around Benjy’s outreached hand, entwined and tightly holding his hand in place, was Charlotte’s shiny new bionic hair. It had wrapped around his fingers, and some of the longer tendrils had started savagely jabbing at his palm and wrists. They weren’t jabbing hard enough to break the skin, but Benjy’s face was a mask of fear all the same. Ms. Tandy regarded the spectacle for a few seconds, before turning to walk back to the front of the class.

“Charlotte, you had better let him go,” she said archly. “And Benjy, I obviously can’t stop you from pulling her hair, but you might want to think twice about it next time.” Charlotte’s hair relaxed, and coiled near the nape of her neck. Benjy scooted as far back as he could and sat whimpering quietly. And Charlotte returned quietly to Ms. Tandy’s lesson, stroking her beautiful hair.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘bionic hair? that’s stupid,’ but wait think about it, it’s actually pretty FRICKIN AWESOME. When Charlotte grows up, she totally becomes a starfighter pilot or something similar, and her call sign is Medusa. When she gets into hand-to-hand combat, her hair is like Rapunzel’s in Tangled… only since it’s not a kid’s movie, it probably garrotes people and stabs through their face like Pinhead. All whilst looking fabulous.

Also, let’s be honest here, Charlotte and Benjy totally end up banging when they’re older, at the very least, if not ending up in an eternal love-hate-love fest. He’ll still be the only one who’s ever called her Lottie (and lived).

See credit for photo 1… 

See credit for photo 2… 

See credit for photo 3… 

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1 Comment

  1. Ali

     /  September 15, 2011

    I like this. I can imagine that even with bionic implants, there is still a boy who pulls your hair in class. Stupid boys.

    Also, the piece reminds me of this song from Jonathan Coulton. http://youtu.be/3OL33OEW6QA

    Reply

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