Bargain Brain By Ian Sands

July 24, 2014 § 1 Comment

We were at the body part market looking for a new big toe for Mom’s right foot. She was unhappy with the one she had already.

While she took stock of everything they offered, I placed my skull inside the price estimator to determine how much my brain might be worth to someone. It popped up with a price of $10,000. I was disappointed — that was rather low as far as brains go. I pressed the chunky, white button with gray lettering that read “Explanation.”

The automated voice began: THIS JUVENILE BRAIN IS OF AVERAGE INTELLIGENCE AND COMMANDS A PRICE OF SLIGHTLY BELOW AVERAGE MARKET PRICE. UNFORESEEABLE FACTORS (BRAIN MARKET AVAILABILITY, ETC.) COULD HAVE AN EFFECT ON FUTURE PRICING. THIS IS ONLY AN ESTIMATION.

I next pressed the button that read “Even More Explanation.”

It asked: ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT MORE INFORMATION?

“Yes.”

WE OFTEN FIND IT UNWISE TO EXPLORE THESE MATTERS. DO YOU WISH TO CONTINUE?

“Yes.”

JUVENILE BRAINS SUCH AS THIS ONE RARELY ACHIEVE GREATNESS IN THEIR LIFETIME, AND IF THEY DO, IT IS PURELY BY CHANCE. THIS PARTICULAR BRAIN TESTED AT THE 43RD PERCENTILE IN MATHEMATICAL ABILITY (BELOW AVERAGE), BETWEEN THE 45TH AND 55TH PERCENTILES IN CRITICAL THINKING (AVERAGE), AND AT THE 70TH PERCENTILE IN CREATIVITY (ABOVE AVERAGE). UNFORTUNATELY, THE LATTER SCORE IS WEIGHTED LOWEST WHEN MAKING OUR PRICING ASSESSMENT.

I told Mom what had happened while we waited for her big toe procedure in the market’s lab waiting area. She said she knew all of that already.

“We love you anyway, son,” she told me, petting my head like a small dog.

Later, over dinner, I turned to Dad for a better explanation.

“We love you anyway, son,” he told me in a voice that sounded eerily similar to the voice Mom used earlier.

“Mom and I fully expect you to live a productive and prosperous life, despite your shortcomings. Don’t ever use them as an excuse to feel sorry for yourself.”

I nodded my head and my bargain brain vigorously.

“Ah, son, if you’d lived 200 years ago, your creative aptitude would have been admired. But the world has no use for artists. It is a time to be practical.”

I studied his facial imperfections — the largish mole right in between his eyebrows, the scar under his left eye that he’d developed after he fell out of bed while sound asleep — somewhat rare for a person to have these days.

Mom — she of the flawless everything, right down to her brand new big toe – piped in, “Did you know that your dad writes the most interesting poetry? I bet not.”

Dad wore a shameful expression, like someone had just pointed out he was wearing a toupee.

“I’ll sometimes hack into his digital just before bedtime,” added Mom, a nearly invisible smile appearing on her face. “Years from now, someone lovely will take a chance on you, son. And they will be pleasantly surprised, you can be sure of that.”

© 2014 Ian Sands

Ian Sands lives in northern California with his wife and two cats. He has work forthcoming or published in Eunoia Review, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Feathertale.com, and Miracle E-Zine. He is also editor of the humor web magazine, Back Hair Advocate http://backhairadvocate.wordpress.com

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