Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Short Fiction: “The Edit”

October 7, 2008

New Century Neuroscience From the desk of Dr. Pat Arnolds Aug 21 2026

TO: Dr. Henry Mendel CC: – RE: RESULTS – Day 12

As I write this, it has been twelve days since the procedure detailed in my previous report. Enclosed with this report should be twelve days of records from the tests I and my assistant (Dr. Janet Peters, head of diagnostics for the department) have been conducting on subject Jerry Healey three times daily, after each meal. There seem to be, as you will see, no irregularities. Dr. Peters has also enclosed logs of her daily psychological evaluations, which are perhaps more pertinent to the issue at hand, for obvious reasons.

It is still too early to declare any conclusive results, of course, but for the time being, the procedure appears to have been a complete success. The subject’s emotional state is stable and appears entirely unaffected, allowing for the mood swings in the first few days that have so far affected every subject. The brain needs a certain amount of time to acclimate itself to the new parameters, for lack of a better term.

Dr. Peters and I are continuing to administer the placebo, and the subject appears to have no doubt about the information he has been given.[1] We began to monitor the subject three days before the procedure, in addition to the day we spent with him while getting his consent. We wanted to make sure he knew exactly what he was getting into before he signed off, partly in the event that the procedure fails at a later date, which could cause severe emotional trauma. He was made fully aware of these risks before signing on, as indicated in the photocopied pages of the waiver enclosed with the first report.

The psychological tests, as noted, show no abnormalities. The topics discussed are kept purposely vague, as not to give him any clue about the true nature of the experiment, or what may have changed in his life lately. The obvious relevant topic is broached delicately, and the subject is quickly changed. He shows no abnormal thoughts or feelings on the issue that would indicate recovered memories or subconscious awareness of the situation.

A further report will be issued in another twelve days, followed by a third, at which point weekly visits will be made to the subject’s home until the test period is complete. However, as of now, Jerry Healey has no idea that his wife is dead. Thank you for your support.


[1] The standard explanation is currently an experimental memory enhancement drug. Due to the nature of the psychological tests given, we initially tried telling the subjects that the drug was an antidepressant, but we were concerned that the resulting placebo effect could interfere with achieving an accurate picture of the subject’s emotional state.

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