the brain of the crain pt 3

     Living A Real Life

    Dr. Stiller loved neuroscience. He handled the matter very seriously. He planned every step of his research. He also handled all sensitive equipment and research material himself. Every night before he left the lab he would personally inspect each brain. Once a month he would change the blood tubes himself. It was a waking nightmare of his that someone else would be the fault in his experiments. He must know every step himself and the easiest way for him to do that was to do it himself. 
    Technically he was what might be considered as their father, and he treated each with that inspiration in mind. He had nurtured them since creation and had taught them things as they grew, as if each were really a child. Some nights, he would just stand and stare into the room. The glass barrier between him and his children as the slept and dreamed electromagnetic dreams. 
    If Stiller was the father then Niri Usala was the mother. Niri was the cognitive scientist and had a superior understanding of the mind. She was top of her class at MIT, and was an active member in the cogsci club. There were six members, all of which she was still friends with today. They were her family and the reason she got her PhD.
    Now this was her family. Six brains and an antisocial coworker who fogged up the glass standing there looking at the unreal objects floating in synthetic amniotic fluid. Blood pumping in and out through smooth grafted tubes. Computer screens filled the walls, showing constant scans and data being collected at that moment. A giant screen in the middle displayed the vital signs, minus a heart beat. The blood is constantly flowing through the veins and capillaries giving the brains life. They had to use human blood, the staff gave twice a week. Their checks were a little larger for it, but for some it was worth it to be a  part of this experiment physically. 
    Stiller looked like he was giving a quart a day. His cheeks were sunken in and his skin a pale white. Niri was just happy that he cleaned himself and everything around him meticulously. It kept him busy around the lab and it was better than watching him stand there dreaming about god knows what. 



the brain of the crain pt 2

       They called him Crain. Crackheads in the park called him C-rain. Each time they say it with the same vigor they had when they started. They were smoking cigarettes, pockets full of change on their way to a CoinStar machine, because no dealer wants to mess with change. That would be a fruitless trip, but with that hard in hand they can make it the night. Crain weaved back and forth through crowds. Hipsters on bicycles wearing their bicycle shorts disgusted him. He couldn't understand how they would willingly dress up like that when they have the afternoon off. The crowds of tourists slid by, like a fish going upstream he hobbled and hopped his way around people in wheelchairs and kids in strollers.
    It started going bad when he felt like he was the center of attention for a moment. He started finding a rhythm with his movement and started making his "excuse me"'s and "pardons" go in time with his movements. He started adding in well coordinated and efficient and well timed movements. Past the ladies walking their dogs and by the old people with groceries he whirled and spun. He felt theatrical. People started noticing him coming and couldn't conceal their smiles. He picked a flower from the courthouse planters, he skipped forward whirling around a blue flower in the air like a love-sick madman. He saw a pretty girl as he was spinning and handed her the flower, she hesitated, still walking forward trying not to smile. She slowed to a stop and he placed the flower on the ground in front of her and said "pardon me", and gave a smile. He jumped up, spun around and started strutting forward shaking his body side to side with enthusiasm.
     People had stopped and started watching this man in a dirty coat, holey gloves, with ragged hair and a dirty face. Some people speculated he had just won the lottery. As he approached a fountain he jumped onto the ledge and drank from the angel that was spitting into the shell where he stood. He spit the water into the air above his face and let it spill back onto him. He let out a yell. "YEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHH"
    Everyone looked at him and backed away. He made a face at a little girl and she almost cried immediately. Luckily he was at the liquor store and spun inside leaving his spectators behind, knowing he was stopping in just the kind of place they thought he might be dancing off to. He bought a bottle with crisp bills.
                                                       *               *                 *
   "Two-hundred fuckin' dollars per page she said"
       Crain was talking to an older man. The two looked like they could be brothers. Sitting together you could see the other man had years in his eyes beyond that of a lot of men. He would be the father to every man he met. It wasn't just a show, the man had seen the road. He had seen generations of road, of the country, of the people in the world. He had no new left inside of him. He might get red faced if he ever had a 5 star treatment.
   "you have hundreds of those papers, how many could she want?" the man replied.


brain of the crane pt1

    The bank account was empty. Every day he would check. Each time disappointment. He thought that by some misfortune of the banks he would suddenly see his available balance rise. He was implementing the power of positive thinking. He bought lottery tickets with the same mindset. The account never rose. The winnings never outweighed the loss.
    When will the gods decide to bless my digital holdings? Not always exactly, but often enough these were his thoughts.  When he got home at night, he would repeat his mantra over and over in his head, sometimes even mouthing the words aloud. Gods of chance and change, shine good fortune onto me.
  He was never religious. He came from a family of half-assed protestants. Not that they could rightfully distinguish any of the facets of Christianity, but it seemed the easiest for them to say. No, and he was not aware of any true gods of chance and change, but he placed a faulty mental note to check at the library next time he was there putting in applications on the state employment services website. This faulty mental note went into a pile of other seemingly useless ideas that rarely got shuffled in his mind. Memories are a tough thing to perfect, sometimes it is hard to even remember ones name.
    The bottle of whiskey was easy to open, easy to empty, but sometimes too difficult to refill. He had given up on chasers all together. He never thought he would be the man drinking whiskey straight from the bottle on a park bench on the outskirts of the city. He remembered a time when alcohol would make him cringe as he sipped it, now it went down the gullet with the ease of fresh water. With those watery gulps, the current situations often warmed his stomach and dissipated throughout his body.
    In the mornings he would wake up with a dry mouth that tasted like the last drink and smokes of the night. He often found the ground around him littered with paper. Torn newspaper, notebook sheets, sheet music all scattered in no organized pattern. On each of them were small black frowning faces. Circle, dot, dot, semi-circle. Upon his first morning after examination he was surprised to find them. Drawn with no set pattern, some almost perfect circles, and others like amoebic blobs. He didn't remember drawing one of them.
   He would shake off the cold this morning and find more, the papers were getting unmanageable, but he couldn't bare to throw them out. Sometimes the few hours of sobriety in the morning were the only true moments he was himself. Newly optimistic, hungry, and searching. It was funny for him to think about searching. It seemed such a subjective term. Weren't we all searching from our nature, evolutionary pattern. You must always be seeking, creating, dying all at the same time. He didn't think there was much difference between searching the cracks in the ceiling, and searching for a place in life. The crack searching was the more tangible, the visible, the exposed and obvious. It was all of the existential, philosophical, and endless searching that seemed the unnecessary evil.
   He was searching through the black faces one morning on a bus ride to the First Presbyterian food pantry when she sat next to him. When a lady in a yellow pea coat came on the bus he didn't notice. He did notice that he hadn't been noticing lately. He remembered when a nice set of legs would drive him mad. He had not grown bitter or conscious of his transition, he seemed to just slowly slump away from the instincts he was born with, and did not find it a tragedy. The woman sat next to him, even though there were many open seats which she could have chose that didn't involve sitting next to the man with the ragged face and dirty fingernails reading old sheet music (which happened to be smeared with frowny faces).
   When she sat down her shirt rose up to mid-thigh. She had black stalkings on and he could see the edge where the garter met the nylon. He couldn't look at her face now, now that he had seen something intimate. He wanted to look at her face dearly, but in some form of shame he turned his eyes back to his paper. He couldn't look though. He kept seeing her leg in the corner of his eye and the mystery built. He saw the woman walking in his head. He could make out her movements, see her from the side with her shining handbag and expensive shoes. He could not put a face on her, he tried. He tried because he thought if he gave her a face his temptation to look up would defuse. This tactic did not work. Looking at the paper he began chanting his mantra.
    "Excuse me?"
  He heard the voice clearly. It came from the woman. The leg seemed to gesture for him to look up. He could feel the sweat bleeding from his hands into the paper. He wouldn't be surprised if the ink soaked into his hands. He wanted to look up. Fighting himself, his instinct and seemingly the universe, his head turned upward to where the sound came from.

To be continued...