Amerikada mastera başladığım yıl, ingilizce olarak ilk okuduğum hikayelerden biriydi, hoşuma gitmişti, yıllar sonra internette tekrar bulunca paylaşayım dedim, Vaktim olursa türkçeye de çevirebilirim
Mayıs 20 Kırılan tabaklar olmasaydı köşedeki akşam yemeklerimi yediğim lokantadaki yaklaşık onaltı yaşındaki yeni bulaşıkçı çocuğu farketmiyecektim.
Tabaklar yerde paramparça oldular, parçalar masa altlarına dağıldı. Çocuk orada korkmuş bir halde elinde tepsi kalakaldı. Lokantadaki ıslıklar ve bağırışmalar kafasını daha da karıştırmış görünüyordu( bir halka açık lokantada bardakların ve tabakların kırılması üzerine her zaman olan bağırışmalar “hey bütün kar gitti”, “Şerefe” ve “burada çok uzun süredir çalışmıyor…”)
Lokanta sahibi gürültünün ne olduğunu anlamak için geldiğinde , çocuk dayak yiyeceğini düşünerek kendini korumak darbeden korumak için yüzünü kollarıyla örttü. Lokanta sahibi çocuğa “Tamam tamam seni aptal şey orada öyle salak salak dikilip durma git süpürgeyi al ve yaptığın bu pisliği temizle, Süpürge, süpürge diyorum seni aptal şey! Mutfakta tüm parçaları süpür” diye bağırdı. Müşteriler: “Bak oğlum tam arkanda da kocaman bir parça duruyor…”
“Hadi tekrar yap bakim..”
“Çok aptal değil hepsini yıkamaktansa kırmak çok daha kolay…” diye bağırışıyorlardı. Çocuğun boş gözleri eğlenen kalabalığın üzerine yöneldi, önce gülümsemelerini yavaşça taklit etti, sonra anlamadığı bu şakalara sesli olarak gülerek cevap verdi. Onun aptal, manasız gülücüğünü, parlak çocuk gözlerini, ne olduğunu anlamayan fakat insanları memnun etmeye çalışan tavrını görünce içimde korkunç bir acı hissettim. Ona gülüyorlardı çünkü beyinsel özürlüydü. Ve ben de ona gülüyordum. Birden kendime ve onunla alay eden herkese çok kızdım. Ayağa fırladım ve bağırdım. “Kesin sesinizi! Onu yalnız bırakın! Anlayamaması onun suçu değilki! Anlasanıza ne olduğu konusunda elinden hiçbir şey gelmez! Kim olduğunu değiştiremez, ama allah aşkına o da bir insan “.
Oda sessizliğe büründü, kontrolümü kaybedip olay yarattığım için kendi kendime kızdım. Çocuğa bakmamaya çalışarak yemeğime dokunmadan ücretimi ödedim ve yürüdüm. İkimiz içinde çok utanıyordum.
Dürüst aklı başında kolsuz, ayaksız veya gözsüz doğmuş insanlarla hiçbir şekilde alay etmiyecek insanların bile düşük zekayla doğmuş biriyle alay etmeleri gerçekten garip değilmiydi. Kısa süre önce benim de bu çocuk gibi palyaçoyu oynamakta olduğumu düşünmek çıldırttı beni, ve bunu nerdeyse unutmuştum.
Eski Charlie Gordon’u aklımdan çıkarıp atmıştım, fakat bu zavallı çocuğu görünce daha önce ne olduğumu tüm çıplaklığıyla tekrar gördüm. Aynı onun gibiydim, insanların bana niye güldüğünü sadece çok kısa bir süre önce öğrenmiştim. Şimdi bilmeden kendimi o insanlara katılmış olarak kendime gülerken bulmuştum, En fazla da bu acı veriyordu. Genellikle sık sık gelişme raporumu okurum ve cahilliğimi görürüm, “çocukça bir cehalet” düşük zeka karanlık odadan anahtar deliği üzerinden dışardaki ışığa doğru sızıyor. Aptallığım zamanında bile daha alat bir zeviyede olduğumu ve insanlarda bende olmıyan-benden esirgenen bir şeyler olduğunu biliyordum. Zekasal körlüğümde bunun okuma ve yazma yetenekleriyle ilgili olduğunu düşünmüştüm, ve bu yetenekleri elde edersem otamatik olarak zeki hale dönüşeceğimi varsayıyordum. Geri zekalı insanlar bile diğere insanlar gibi olmak ister.
bebek nasıl yemek yeneceğini ve kendini beslemeyi bilemeyebilir, fakat
açlığı bilir. Ben de daha önce öyleydim. Nasıl
olduğumu hiç bilmiyordum, Bu zakasal gelişmeden sonra bile ne
olduğumu hiç bilmiyorum.
FLOWERS TO ALGERNON (ALGERNONA ÇİÇEKLER)
by Daniel Keyes
First published in 1959
progris riport 1—martch 5, 1965
Dr. Strauss says I shud rite down what I think and evrey thing that happins to me
from now on. I dont know why but he says its importint so they will see if they will
use me. I hope they use me. Miss Kinnian says maybe they can make me smart. I
want to be smart. My name is Charlie Gordon. I am 37 years old and 2 weeks ago was
my birthday. I have nuthing more to rite now so I will close for today.
progris riport 2—martch 6
I had a test today. I think I faled it. and I think that maybe now they wont use me.
What happind is a nice young man was in the room and he had some white cards with
ink spillled all over them. He sed Charlie what do you see on this card. I was very
skared even tho I had my rabits foot in my pockit because when I was a kid I always
faled tests in school and I spillled ink to.
I told him I saw a inkblot. He said yes and it made me feel good. I That that was
all but when I got up to go he stopped me. He said now sit down Charlie we are not
thru yet. Then I don't remember so good but he wantid me to say what was in the ink.
I dint see nuthing in the ink but he said there was picturs there other pepul saw some
picturs. couldn't see any picturs. I reely tryed to see. I held the card close up and then
far away. Then I said if I had my glases I coud see better usally only ware my glases
in the movies or TV but I said they are in the closit in the hall. I got them. Then I said
let me see that card agen
I bet I’ll find it now.
I tryed hard but I still coudnt find the pictures I only saw the ink. I told him maybe
I need new glases. He rote somthing down on a paper and I got skared of faling the
test. I told him it was a very nice inkblot with little points all around the edges. He
looked very sad so that wasnt it. I said please let me try agen. Ill get it in a few minits
becaus Im not so fast somtimes. Im a slow reeder too in Miss Kinnians class for slow
adults but Im trying very hard.
He gave me a chance with another card that had 2 kinds of ink spillled on it red
He was very nice and talked slow like Miss Kinnian does and he explaned it to me
that it was a raw shok. He said pepul see things in the ink. I said show me where. He
said think. I told him I think a inkblot but that wasnt rite eather. He said what does it
remind you—pretend something. I closd my eyes for a long time to pretend. I told
him I pretned a fowntan pen with ink leeking all over a table cloth. Then he got up
and went out.
I dont think I passd the raw shok test.
progris report 3—martch 7
Dr Strauss and Dr Nemur say it dont matter about the inkblots. I told them I dint
spill the ink on the cards and I coudnt see anything in the ink. They said that maybe
they will still use me. I said Miss Kinnian never gave me tests like that one only
spelling and reading. They said Miss Kinnian told that I was her bestist pupil in the
adult nite scool becaus I tryed the hardist and I reely wantid to lern. They said how
come you went to the adult nite scool all by yourself Charlie. How did you find it. I
said I askd pepul and sumbody told me where I shud go to lern to read and spell good.
They said why did you want to. I told them becaus all my life I wantid to be smart and
not dumb. But its very hard to be smart. They said you know it will probly be
tempirery. I said Ves. Miss Kinnian told me. I dont care if it herts.
Later I had more crazy tests today. The nice lady who gave it me told me the
name and I asked her how do you spellit so I can rite it in my progris riport. thematic
apperception test. I dont know the frist 2 words but I know what test means. You got
to pass it or you get bad marks. This test lookd easy becaus I coud see the picturs.
Only this joie she dint want me to tell her the picturs. That mixd me up. I said "e man
yesterday said I shoud tell him what I saw in the ink she said that dont make no
difrence. She said make up storys about the pepul jn the picturs.
I told her how can you tell storys about pepul you never met. I said why shud I
make up lies. I never tell lies any more becaus I always get caut.
She told me this test and the other one the raw-shok was for getting personalty. I
laffed so hard. I said how can you get that thing from inkblots and fotos. She got sore
and put her picturs away. I dont care. It was sily. I gess I faled that test too.
Later some men in white coats took me to a difemt part of the hospitil and gave
me a game to play. It was like a race with a white mouse. They called the mouse
Algernon. Algernon was in a box with a lot of twists and turns like all kinds of walls
and they gave me a pencil and a paper with lines and lots of boxes. On one side it said
start and on the other end it said finish. They said it was amazed and that Algernon
and me had the same amazed to do. I dint see how we could have the same amazed if
Algernon had a box and I had a paper but I dint say nothing. Anyway there wasnt
time because the race started.
One of the men had a watch he was trying to hide so I woudnt see it so I tryed not
to look and that made me nervus.
Anyway that test made me feel worser than all the others because they did it over
10 times with difernt amazeds and Algernon won every time. I dint know that mice
were so smart. Maybe mats because Algernon is a white mouse. Maybe white mice
are smarter then other mice.
progris riport 4—Mar 8
Their going to use me! Im so exited I can hardly write. Dr Nemur and Dr Strauss
had a argament about it first. Dr Nemur was in the office when Dr Strauss brot me in,
Dr Nemur was worryed about using me but Dr Strauss told him Miss Kinnian
rekemmended me the best from all the people who was teaching. I like Miss Kinnian
becaus she's a very smart teacher. And she said Charlie your going to have a second
chance. If you volenteer for this experament you mite get smart. They dont know if it
will be perminint but theirs a chance. Thats why I said ok even when I was scared
because she said it was an operashun. She said don be scared Charlie you done so
much with so little I think you deserv i most of all.
So I got scaird when Dr Nemur and Dr Strauss argud about it- ^ Strauss said I had
something that was very good. He said I had a g° motor-vation. I never even knew I
had that. I felt proud when he say that not every body with an eye-q of 68 had that
thing. I dont know what it is or where I got it but he said Algernon had it too.
Algernons motor-vation is the cheese they put in his box. But it cant be that because
I didn't eat any cheese this week.
Then he told Dr Nemur something I dint understand so while they were talking I
wrote down some of the words.
He said Dr Nemur I know Charlie is not what you had in mind as the first of your
new brede of intelek** (coudnt get the word) superman. But most people of his low
ment** are host** and uncoop** they are usualy dull apath** and hard to reach. He
has a good natcher hes intr- isted and eager to please.
Dr Nemur said remember he will be the first human beeng ever to have his
intelijence trippled by surgicle meens.
Dr Strauss said exakly. Look at how well hes lerned to read and write for his low
mentel age its as grate an acheve** as you and I lerning einstines therey of **vity
without help. That shows the intenss motor- vation. Its comparat** a tremen**
achev** I say we use Charlie.
I dint get all the words and they were talking to fast but it sounded like Dr Strauss
was on my side and like the other one wasnt.
Then Dr Nemur nodded he said all right maybe your right. We will use Charlie.
When he said that I got so exited I jumped up and shook is hand for being so good to
me. I told him thank you doc you wont be sorry for giving me a second chance. And I
mean it like I told him. After the operashun Im gonna try to be smart. Im gonna try
progris ript 5—Mar 10
Im skared. Lots of people who work here and the nurses and the people who gave
me the tests came to bring me candy and wish me luck. I hope I have luck. I got my
rabits foot and my lucky penny and my horse shoe. Only a black cat crossed me when
I was comming to the hospitil. Dr Strauss says dont be supersitis Charlie this is
sience. Anyway Im keeping my rabits foot with me.
I asked Dr Strauss if I’ll beat Algernon in the race after the operashun and he said
maybe. If the operashun works I’ll show that mouse I can be as smart as he is. Maybe
smarter. Then I’ll be abel to read better and sPell the words good and know lots of
things and be like other people. 1 want to be smart like other people. If it works
perminint they will '"ake everybody smart all over the wurld.
They dint give me anything to eat this morning. I dont know what %t eating has to
do with getting smart. Im very hungry and Dr Nemur l°ok away my box of candy.
That Dr Nemur is a grouch. Dr Strauss says I can have it back after the operashun.
You cant eat befor a operashun...
Progress Report 6—Mar 15
The operashun dint hurt. He did it while I was sleeping. They took off the bandijis
from my eyes and my head today so I can make a progress report. Dr Nemur who
looked at some of my other ones sayd I spell progress wrong and he told me how to
spell it and report too. I got to try and remember that.
I have a very bad memary for spelling. Dr Strauss says its ok to tell about all the
things that happin to me but he says I shoud tell more about what I feel and what I
think. When I told him I dont know how to think he said try. All the time when the
bandijis were on my eyes I tryed to think. Nothing happened. I dont know what to
think about. Maybe if I ask him he will tell me how I can think now that Im suppose
to get smart. What do smart people think about. Fancy things I suppose. I wish I knew
some fancy things alredy.
Progress Report 7—Mar 19
Nothing is happining. I had lots of tests and different kinds of races with
Algernon. I hate that mouse. He always beats me. Dr Strauss said I got to play those
games. And he said some time I got to take those tests over again. Thse inkblots are
stupid. And those pictures are stupid too. I like to draw a picture of a man and a
woman but I wont make up lies about people.
I got a headache from trying to think so much. That Dr Strauss was my frend but
he dont help me. He dont tell me what to think or when I’ll get smart. Miss Kinnian
dint come to see me. I think writing these progress reports are stupid too.
Progress Report 8—Mar 23
Im going back to work at the factery. They said it was better I shud go back to
work but I cant tell anyone what the operashun was for an I have to come to the
hospitil for an hour evry night after work. They are gonna pay me mony every month
for lerning to be smart.
Im glad Im going back to work because I miss my job and an all my frends and all
the fun we have there.
Dr Strauss says I shud keep writing things down but I dont have do it every day
just when I think of something or something speshal happins. He says dont get
discoridged because it takes time and it happins slow. He says it took a long time with
Algernon before he got 3 times smarter then he was before. Thats why Algernon beats
me all the time because he had that operashun too. That makes me feel better. I coud
probly do that amazed faster than a reglar mouse. Maybe some day I’ll beat Algernon.
Boy that would be something. So far Algernon looks like he mite be smart perminent.
Mar 25 (I dont have to write progress report on top any more just when I hand it
in once a week for Dr Nemur to read. I just have to put the date on. That saves time)
We had a lot of fun at the factery today. Joe Carp said hey look where Charlie had
his operashun what did they do Charlie put some brains in. I was going to tell him but
I remembered Dr Strauss said no. Then Frank Reilly said what did you do Charlie
forget your key and open your door the hard way. That made me laff. Their really my
friends and they like me.
Sometimes somebody will say hey look at Joe or Frank or George he really pulled
a Charlie Gordon. I dont know why they say that but they always laff. This morning
Amos Borg who is the 4 man at Don- negans used my name when he shouted at Ernie
the office boy. Ernie lost a packige. He said Ernie for godsake what are you trying to
be a Charlie Gordon. I dont understand why he said that. I never lost any packiges.
Mar 28 Dr Strauss came to my room tonight to see why I dint come in like I was
suppose to. I told him I dont like to race with Algernon any more. He said I dont have
to for a while but I shud come in. He had a present for me only it wasnt a present but
just for lend. I That it was a little television but it wanst. He said I got to turn it on
when I go to sleep. I said your kidding why shud I turn it on when Im going to sleep.
Who ever herd of a thing like that. But he said if I want to get smart I got to do what
he says. I told him I dont think I was going to Set smart and he put his hand on my
sholder and said Charlie you dont know it yet but your getting smarter all the time.
You wont notice for a while. I think he was just being nice to make me feel good
because 1 dont look any smarter.
Oh yes I almost forgot. I asked him when I can go back to the class j*1 Miss
Kinnians school. He said I wont go their. He said that soon Miss Kinnian will come to
the hospitil to start and teach me speshul. I ^as mad at her for not comming to see me
when I got the operashun "ut I like her so maybe we will be frends again.
Mar 29 That crazy TV kept me up all night. How can I sleep with something
yelling crazy things all night in my ears. And the nutty pictures. Wow. I dont know
what it says when Im up so how am I goine to know when Im sleeping.
Dr Strauss says its ok. He says my brains are lerning when I sleep and that will
help me when Miss Kinnian starts my lessons in the hospitl (only I found out it isnt a
hospitil its a labatory). I think its all crazy If you can get smart when your sleeping
why do people go to school. That thing I dont think will work. I use to watch the late
show and the late late show on TV all the time and it never made me smart. Maybe
you have to sleep while you watch it.
PROGRESS REPORT 9—April 3
Dr Strauss showed me how to keep the TV turned low so now I can sleep. I dont
hear a thing. And I still dont understand what it says. A few times I play it over in the
morning to find out what I lerned when I was sleeping and I dont think so. Miss
Kinnian says Maybe its another langwidge or something. But most times it sounds
american. It talks so fast faster then even Miss Gold who was my teacher in 6 grade
and I remember she talked so fast I coudnt understand her.
I told Dr Strauss what good is it to get smart in my sleep. I want to be smart when
Im awake. He says its the same thing and I have two minds. Theres the subconscious
and the conscious (that's how you spell it). And one dont tell the other one what its
doing. They dont even talk to each other. Thats why I dream. And boy have I been
having crazy dreams. Wow. Ever since that night TV. The late late late late late show.
I forgot to ask him if it was only me or if everybody had those two minds.
(I just looked up the word in the dictionary Dr Strauss gave me. The word is
subconscious, adj. Of the nature of mental operations yet no present in
consciousness; as, subconscious conflict of desires.) There’s more but I still don't
know what it means. This isnt a very good dictionary for dumb people like me.
Anyway the headache is from the party. My frends from the factery Joe Carp and
Frank Reilly invited me to go with them to Muggsy’s Saloon for some drinks. I dont
like to drink but they said we will have lots of fun. I had a good time.
Joe Carp said I should show the girls how I mop out the toilet in the factery and
he got me a mop. I showed them and everyone laffed. I told that Mr Donnegan said I
was the best janiter he ever had because I like my job and do it good and never come
late or miss a day except for my operashun.
I said Miss Kinnian always said Charlie be proud of your job because you do it
Everybody laffed and we had a good time and they gave me lots of drinks and Joe
said Charlie is a card when hes potted. I dont know what that means but everybody
likes me and we have fun. I cant wait to be smart like my best trends Joe Carp and
I dont remember how the party was over but I think I went out to buy a newspaper
and coffe for Joe and Frank and when I came back there was no one their. I looked for
them all over till late. Then I dont remember so good but I think I got sleepy or sick.
A nice cop brot me back home. Thats what my landlady Mrs Flynn says.
But I got a headache and a big lump on my head and black and blue all over. I
think maybe I fell but Joe Carp says it was the cop they beat up drunks some times. I
don't think so. Miss Kinnian says cops are to help people. Anyway I got a bad
headache and Im sick and hurt all over. I dont think I’ll drink anymore.
April 6 I beat Algernon! I dint even know I beat him until Burt the tester told me.
Then the second time I lost because I got so exited I fell off the chair before I
finished. But after that I beat him 8 more times. I must be getting smart to beat a
smart mouse like Algernon. But I dont feel smarter.
I wanted to race Algernon some more but Burt said thats enough for one day.
They let me hold him for a minit. Hes not so bad. Hes soft like a ball of cotton. He
blinks and when he opens his eyes their black and pink on the eges.
I said can I feed him because I felt bad to beat him and I wanted to be nice and
make frends. Burt said no Algernon is a very specshul mouse with an operashun like
mine, and he was the first of all the animals to stay smart so long. He told me
Algernon is so smart that every day he has to solve a test to get his food. Its a thing
like a lock °n a door that changes every time Algernon goes in to eat so he has to lern
something new to get his food. That made me sad because if he coudnt lern he would
I dont think its right to make you pass a test to eat. How woud Dr Nernur like it to
have to pass a test every time he wants to eat. I think I’ll be frends with Algernon.
April 9 Tonight after work Miss Kinnian was at the laboratory. She looked like
she was glad to see me but scared. I told her dont worry Miss Kinnian Im not smart
yet and she laffed. She said I have confidence in you Charlie the way you struggled so
hard to read and rieht better than all the others. At werst you will have it for a littel
wile and your doing somthing for sience.
We are reading a very hard book. I never read such a hard book before. Its called
Robinson Crusoe about a man who gets merooned on a dessert Hand. Hes smart and
figers out all kinds of things so he can have a house and food and hes a good
swimmer. Only I feel sorry because hes all alone and has no frends. But I think their
must be somebody else on the iland because theres a picture with his funny umbrella
looking at footprints. I hope he gets a frend and not be lonly.
April 10 Miss Kinnian teaches me to spell better. She says look at a word and
close your eyes and say it over and over until you remember. I have lots of truble with
through that you say threw and enough and tough that you dont say new and tew.
You got to say enuff and tuff. Thats how I use to write it before I started to get
smart. Im confused but Miss Kinnian says theres no reason in spelling.
Apr 14 Finished Robinson Crusoe. I want to find out more about what happens to
him but Miss Kinnian says thats all there is. Why ?
April 15 Miss Kinnian says Im lerning fast. She read some of the Progress
Reports and she looked at me kind of funny. She says Im a fine person and 111 show
them all. I asked her why. She said never mind but I shoudnt feel bad if I find out that
everybody isnt nice like I think. She said for a person who god gave so little to you
done more then a lot of people with brains they never even used. I said all my frends
are smart people but there good. They like me and they never did anything that wasnt
nice. Then she got something in her eye and she had to run out to the ladys room.
Apr 16 Today, I lerned, the comma, this is a comma (,) a period, with a tail, Miss
Kinnian, says its importent, because, it makes writing, better, she said, somebody,
coud lose, a lot of money, if a comma, isnt, in the, right place, I dont have, any
money, and I dont see, how a comma, keeps you, from losing it, But she says,
everybody, uses commas, so I’ll use, them too,
Apr 17 I used the comma wrong. Its punctuation. Miss Kinnian told me to look up
long words in the dictionary to lern to spell them. I said whats the difference if you
can read it anyway. She said its part of your education so now on I’ll look up all the
words Im not sure how to spell. It takes a long time to write that way but I think Im
remembering. I only have to look up once and after that I get it right. Anyway mats
jiow come I got the word punctuation right. (Its that way in the dictionary). Miss
Kinnian says a period is punctuation too, and there are lots of other marks to lern. I
told her I That all the periods had to have tails but she said no.
You got to mix them up, she showed? me" how. to mix! them (up,, and now; I
can! mix up all kinds" of punctuation, in! my writing? There, are lots! of rules? to
lern; but I'm gettin'g them in my head.
One thing I? like about, Dear Miss Kinnian: (thats the way it goes in a business
letter if I ever go into business) is she, always gives me' a reason" when—I ask. She's
a gen'ius! I wish! I cou'd be smart" like, her;
(Punctuation, is; fun!)
April 18 What a dope I am! I didn't even understand what she was talking about. I
read the grammar book last night and it explanes the whole thing. Then I saw it was
the same way as Miss Kinnian was trying to tell me, but I didn't get it. I got up in the
middle of the night, and the whole thing straightened out in my mind.
Miss Kinnian said that the TV working in my sleep helped out. She said I reached
a plateau. Thats like the flat top of a hill.
After I figgered out how punctuation worked, I read over all my old Progress
Reports from the beginning. Boy, did I have crazy spelling and punctuation! I told
Miss Kinnian I ought to go over the pages and fix all the mistakes but she said, "No,
Charlie, Dr. Nemur wants them just as they are. That's why he let you keep them after
they were photostated, to see your own progress. You're coming along fast, Charlie."
That made me feel good. After the lesson I went down and played with Algernon.
We don't race any more.
APril 20 I feel sick inside. Not sick like for a doctor, but inside my chest it feels
empty like getting punched and a heartburn at the same time.
I wasn't going to write about it, but I guess I got to, because it's important. Today
was the first time I ever stayed home from work.
Last night Joe Carp and Frank Reilly invited me to a party. There were lots of
girls and some men from the factory. I remembered how sick I got last time I drank
too much, so I told Joe I didn't want anything to drink. He gave me a plain Coke
instead. It tasted funny, but I thought it was just a bad taste in my mouth.
We had a lot of fun for a while. Joe said I should dance with Ellen and she would
teach me the steps. I fell a few times and I couldn't understand why because no one
else was dancing besides Ellen and me And all the time I was tripping because
somebody's foot was always sticking out.
Then when I got up I saw the look on Joe's face and it gave me a funny feeling in
my stomack. "He's a scream," one of the girls said Everybody was laughing.
Frank said, "I ain't laughed so much since we sent him off for the newspaper that
night at Muggsy's and ditched him."
"Look at him. His face is red."
"He's blushing. Charlie is blushing."
"Hey, Ellen, what'd you do to Charlie? I never saw him act like that before."
I didn't know what to do or where to turn. Everyone was looking at me and
laughing and I felt naked. I wanted to hide myself. I ran out into the street and I threw
up. Then I walked home. It's a funny thing I never knew that Joe and Frank and the
others liked to have me around all the time to make fun of me.
Now I know what it means when they say "to pull a Charlie Gordon."
PROGRESS REPORT 11
April 21 Still didn't go into the factory. I told Mrs. Flynn my landlady to call and
tell Mr. Donnegan I was sick. Mrs. Flynn looks at me very funny lately like she's
scared of me.
I think it's a good thing about finding out how everybody laughs at me. I thought
about it a lot. It's because I'm so dumb and I don't even know when I'm doing
something dumb. People think it's funny when a dumb person can't do things the same
way they can.
Anyway, now I know I'm getting smarter every day. I know punctuation and I can
spell good. I like to look up all the hard words in the dictionary and I remember them.
I'm reading a lot now, and Miss Kin- nian says I read very fast. Sometimes I even
understand what I'm reading about, and it stays in my mind. There are times when I
can close my eyes and think of a page and it all comes back like a picture.
Besides history, geography, and arithmetic, Miss Kinnian said should start to
learn a few foreign languages. Dr. Strauss gave me som more tapes to play while I
sleep. I still don't understand how that conscious and unconscious mind works, but
Dr. Strauss says not to worry vet. He asked me to promise that when I start learning
college subjects next week I wouldn't read any books on psychology—that is, until he
gives me permission.
I feel a lot better today, but I guess I'm still a little angry that all the time people
were laughing and making fun of me because I wasn't so smart. When I become
intelligent like Dr. Strauss says, with three times my I.Q. of 68, then maybe I'll be like
everyone else and people will like me and be friendly.
I'm not sure what an I.Q. is. Dr. Nemur said it was something that measured how
intelligent you were—like a scale in the drugstore weighs pounds. But Dr. Strauss had
a big argument with him and said an I.Q. didn't weigh intelligence at all. He said an
I.Q. showed how much intelligence you could get, like the numbers on the outside of
a measuring cup. You still had to fill the cup up with stuff.
Then when I asked Burt, who gives me my intelligence tests and works with
Algernon, he said that both of them were wrong (only I had to promise not to tell
them he said so). Burt says that the I.Q. measures a lot of different things including
some of the things you learned already, and it really isn't any good at all.
So I still don't know what I.Q. is except that mine is going to be over 200 soon. I
didn't want to say anything, but I don't see how if they don't know what it is, or where
it is—I don't see how they know how much of it you've got.
Dr. Nemur says I have to take a Rorshach Test tomorrow. I wonder what that is.
April 22 I found out what a Rorschach is. It's the test I took before the operation—
the one with the inkblots on the pieces of cardboard. The man who gave me the test
was the same one.
I was scared to death of those inkblots. I knew he was going to ask me to find the
pictures and I knew I wouldn't be able to. I was thinking to myself, if only there was
some way of knowing what kind of pictures were hidden there. Maybe there weren't
any pictures at all. Maybe it was just a trick to see if I was dumb enough to look for
something that wasn't there. Just thinking about that made me sore at him.
"All right, Charlie," he said, "you seen these cards before, remember?"
"Of course I remember."
The way I said it, he knew I was angry, and he looked surprised. "Yes, of course.
Now I want you to look at this one. What might this 'Je? What do you see on this
card? People see all sorts of things in these inkblots. Tell me what it might be for
you—what it makes you think of."
I was shocked. That wasn't what I had expected him to say at all "You mean there
are no pictures hidden in those inkblots?"
He frowned and took off his glasses. "What?"
"Pictures. Hidden in the inkblots. Last time you told me that everyone could see
them and you wanted me to find them too."
He explained to me that the last time he had used almost the exact same words he
was using now. I didn't believe it, and I still have the suspicion that he misled me at
the time just for the fun of it. Unless—I don't know any more—could I have been that
We went through the cards slowly. One of them looked like a pair of bats tugging
at something. Another one looked like two men fencing with swords. I imagined all
sorts of things. I guess I got carried away. But I didn't trust him any more, and I kept
turning them around and even looking on the back to see if there was anything there I
was supposed to catch. While he was making his notes, I peeked out of the corner of
my eye to read it. But it was all in code that looked like this:
WF+A DdF-Ad orig. WF-A SF+obj
The test still doesn't make sense to me. It seems to me that anyone could make up
lies about things that they didn't really see. How could he know I wasn't making a fool
of him by mentioning things that I didn't really imagine? Maybe I'll understand it
when Dr. Strauss lets me read up on psychology.
April 25 I figured out a new way to line up the machines in the factory, and Mr.
Donnegan says it will save him ten thousand dollars a year in labor and increased
production. He gave me a twenty-five-dollar bonus.
I wanted to take Joe Carp and Frank Reilly out to lunch to celebrate, but Joe said
he had to buy some things for his wife, and Frank said he was meeting his cousin for
lunch. I guess it'll take a little time for them to get used to the changes in me.
Everybody seems to be frightened of me. When I went over to Amos Borg and tapped
him on the shoulder, he jumped up in the air.
People don't talk to me much any more or kid around the way they used to. It
makes the job kind of lonely.
April 27 I got up the nerve today to ask Miss Kinnian to have dinner with me
tomorrow night to celebrate my bonus. At first she wasn't sure it was right, but I
asked Dr. Strauss and he said it was okay. Dr. Strauss and Dr. Nemur don't seem to be
getting along so well. They're arguing all the time. This evening when I came just to
ask Dr. Strauss about having dinner with Miss Kinnian, I heard him shouting. Dr.
Nemur was saying that it was his experiment and his research, and Dr. Strauss was
shouting back that he contributed just as much, because he found me through Miss
Kinnian and he performed the operation. Dr. Strauss said that someday thousands of
neurosurgeons might be using his technique all over the world.
Dr. Nemur wanted to publish the results of the experiment at the end of this
month. Dr. Strauss wanted to wait a while longer to be sure. Dr. Strauss said that Dr.
Nemur was more interested in the Chair of Psychology at Princeton than he was in the
experiment. Dr. Nemur said that Dr. Strauss was nothing but an opportunist who was
trying to ride to glory on his coattails.
When I left afterwards, I found myself trembling. I don't know why for sure, but it
was as if I'd seen both men clearly for the first time. I remember hearing Hurt say that
Dr. Nemur had a shrew of a wife who was pushing him all the time to get things
published so that he could become famous. Burt said that the dream of her life was to
have a bigshot husband.
Was Dr. Strauss really trying to ride on his coattails?
April 28 I don't understand why I never noticed how beautiful Miss Kinnian really
is. She has brown eyes and feathery brown hair that comes to the top of her neck.
She's only thirty-four! I think from the beginning I had the feeling that she was an
unreachable genius—and very, very old. Now, every time I see her she grows
younger and more lovely.
We had dinner and a long talk. When she said that I was coming along so fast that
soon I'd be leaving her behind, I laughed.
"It's true, Charlie. You're already a better reader than I am. You can read a whole
page at a glance while I can take in only a few lines at a time. And you remember
every single thing you read. I'm lucky if I can recall the main thoughts and the general
"I don't feel intelligent. There are so many things I don't understand."
She took out a cigarette and I lit it for her. "You've got to be a little Patient.
You're accomplishing in days and weeks what it takes normal People to do in half a
lifetime. That's what makes it so amazing. You're like a giant sponge now, soaking
things in. Facts, figures, general knowledge. And soon you'll begin to connect them,
too. You'll see how the different branches of learning are related. There are many
levels, Charlie, like steps on a giant ladder that take you up higher and higher to see
more and more of the world around you.
"I can see only a little bit of that, Charlie, and I won't go much higher than I am
now, but you'll keep climbing up and up, and see more and more, and each step will
open new worlds that you never even knew existed." She frowned. "I hope ... I just
hope to God—"
"Never mind, Charles. I just hope I wasn't wrong to advise you to go into this in
the first place."
I laughed. "How could that be? It worked, didn't it? Even Algernon is still smart."
We sat there silently for a while and I knew what she was thinking about as she
watched me toying with the chain of my rabbit's foot and my keys. I didn't want to
think of that possibility any more than elderly people want to think of death. I knew
that this was only the beginning. I knew what she meant about levels because I'd seen
some of them already. The thought of leaving her behind made me sad.
I'm in love with Miss Kinnian.
PROGRESS REPORT 12
April 30 I've quit my job with Donnegan's Plastic Box Company. Mr. Donnegan
insisted that it would be better for all concerned if I left. What did I do to make them
hate me so?
The first I knew of it was when Mr. Donnegan showed me the petition. Eight
hundred and forty names, everyone connected with the factory, except Fanny Girden.
Scanning the list quickly, I saw at once that hers was the only missing name. All the
rest demanded that I be fired.
Joe Carp and Frank Reilly wouldn't talk to me about it. No one else would either,
except Fanny. She was one of the few people I'd known who set her mind to
something and believed it no matter what the rest of the world proved, said, or did—
and Fanny did not believe that I should have been fired. She had been against the
petition on principle and despite the pressure and threats she'd held out.
"Which don't mean to say," she remarked, "that I don't think there's something
mighty strange about you, Charlie. Them changes. I d°n l know. You used to be a
good, dependable, ordinary man—not too bright maybe, but honest. Who knows what
you done to yourself to get s° smart all of a sudden. Like everybody around here's
been saying, Charlie, it's not right."
"But how can you say that, Fanny? What's wrong with a man becoming intelligent
and wanting to acquire knowledge and understanding of the world around him?"
She stared down at her work and I turned to leave. Without looking at me, she
said: "It was evil when Eve listened to the snake and ate from the tree of knowledge.
It was evil when she saw that she was naked. If not for that none of us would ever
have to grow old and sick, and die."
Once again now I have the feeling of shame burning inside me. This intelligence
has driven a wedge between me and all the people I once knew and loved. Before,
they laughed at me and despised me for my ignorance and dullness; now, they hate
me for my knowledge and understanding. What in God's name do they want of me?
They've driven me out of the factory. Now I'm more alone than ever before...
May 15 Dr. Strauss is very angry at me for not having written any progress
reports in two weeks. He's justified because the lab is now paying me a regular salary.
I told him I was too busy thinking and reading. When I pointed out that writing was
such a slow process that it made me impatient with my poor handwriting, he
suggested that I learn to type. It's much easier to write now because I can type nearly
seventy-five words a minute. Dr. Strauss continually reminds me of the need to speak
and write simply so that people will be able to understand me.
I'll try to review all the things that happened to me during the last two weeks.
Algernon and I were presented to the American Psychological Association sitting in
convention with the World Psychological Association last Tuesday. We created quite
a sensation. Dr. Nemur and Dr. Strauss were proud of us.
I suspect that Dr. Nemur, who is sixty—ten years older than Dr. Strauss—finds it
necessary to see tangible results of his work. Undoubtedly the result of pressure by
Contrary to my earlier impressions of him, I realize that Dr. Nemur !s not at all a
genius. He has a very good mind, but it struggles under the spectre of self-doubt. He
wants people to take him for a genius. Therefore, it is important for him to feel that
his work is accepted by the world. I believe that Dr. Nemur was afraid of further
delay because "e worried that someone else might make a discovery along these lines
^d take the credit from him.
Dr. Strauss on the other hand might be called a genius, although I teel that his
areas of knowledge are too limited. He was educated in the tradition of narrow
specialization; the broader aspects of background were neglected far more than
necessary—even for a neurosurgeon.
I was shocked to learn that the only ancient languages he could read were Latin,
Greek, and Hebrew, and that he knows almost nothing of mathematics beyond the
elementary levels of the calculus of variations. When he admitted this to me, I found
myself almost annoyed. It was as if he'd hidden this part of himself in order to deceive
me, pretending —as do many people I've discovered—to be what he is not. No one
I've ever known is what he appears to be on the surface.
Dr. Nemur appears to be uncomfortable around me. Sometimes when I try to talk
to him, he just looks at me strangely and turns away. I was angry at first when Dr.
Strauss told me I was giving Dr. Nemur an inferiority complex. I thought he was
mocking me and I'm oversensitive at being made fun of.
How was I to know that a highly respected psychoexperimentalist like Nemur was
unacquainted with Hindustani and Chinese? It's absurd when you consider the work
that is being done in India and China today in the very field of his study.
I asked Dr. Strauss how Nemur could refute Rahajamati's attack on his method
and results if Nemur couldn't even read them in the first place. That strange look on
Dr. Strauss' face can mean only one of two things. Either he doesn't want to tell
Nemur what they're saying in India, or else—and this worries me—Dr. Strauss
doesn't know either. I must be careful to speak and write clearly and simply so that
people won't laugh.
May 18 I am very disturbed. I saw Miss Kinnian last night for the first time in
over a week. I tried to avoid all discussions of intellectual concepts and to keep the
conversation on a simple, everyday level, but she just stared at me blankly and asked
me what I meant about the mathematical variance equivalent in Dorbermann's Fifth
When I tried to explain she stopped me and laughed. I guess I got angry, but I
suspect I'm approaching her on the wrong level. No matter what I try to discuss with
her, I am unable to communicate. I began to review Vrostadt's equations on Levels of
Semantic Progression. I find that I don't communicate with people much any more.
Thank God for books and music and things I can think about. I am alone in my
apartment at Mrs. Flynn's boardinghouse most of the time and seldom speak to
May 20 I would not have noticed the new dishwasher, a boy of about sixteen, at
the corner diner where I take my evening meals if not for the incident of the broken
They crashed to the floor, shattering and sending bits of white china under the
tables. The boy stood there, dazed and frightened, holding the empty tray in his hand.
The whistles and catcalls from the customers (the cries of "hey, there go the
profits!" ... "Mazeltov!"... and "well, he didn't work here very long..." which
invariably seem to follow the breaking of glass or dishware in a public restaurant) all
seemed to confuse him.
When the owner came to see what the excitement was about, the boy cowered as
if he expected to be struck and threw up his arms as if to ward off the blow.
"All right! All right, you dope," shouted the owner, "don't just stand there! Get the
broom and sweep that mess up. A broom ... a broom, you idiot! It's in the kitchen.
Sweep up all the pieces."
The boy saw that he was not going to be punished. His frightened expression
disappeared and he smiled and hummed as he came back with the broom to sweep the
floor. A few of the rowdier customers kept up the remarks, amusing themselves at his
"Here, sonny, over here there's a nice piece behind you ..."
"C'mon, do it again ..."
"He's not so dumb. It's easier to break 'em than to wash 'em..."
As his vacant eyes moved across the crowd of amused onlookers, he slowly
mirrored their smiles and finally broke into an uncertain grin at the joke which he
obviously did not understand.
I felt sick inside as I looked at his dull, vacuous smile, the wide, bright eyes of a
child, uncertain but eager to please. They were laughing at him because he was
And I had been laughing at him too.
Suddenly, I was furious at myself and all those who were smirking at him. I
jumped up and shouted, "Shut up! Leave him alone! It's not his fault he can't
understand! He can't help what he is! But for God's sake ... he's still a human being!"
The room grew silent. I cursed myself for losing control and creating a scene. I
tried not to look at the boy as I paid my check and walked °W without touching my
food. I felt ashamed for both of us.
How strange it is that people of honest feelings and sensibility, who would not
take advantage of a man born without arms or legs or eyes— how such people think
nothing of abusing a man born with low intelligence. It infuriated me to think that not
too long ago I, like this boy, had foolishly played the clown.
And I had almost forgotten.
I'd hidden the picture of the old Charlie Gordon from myself because low that I
was intelligent it was something that had to be pushed out of my mind. But today in
looking at that boy, for the first time I saw what I had been. I was just like him!
Only a short time ago, I learned that people laughed at me. Now I can see that
unknowingly I joined with them in laughing at myself. That hurts most of all.
I have often reread my progress reports and seen the illiteracy, the childish
naivete", the mind of low intelligence peering from a dark room, through the keyhole,
at the dazzling light outside. I see that even in my dullness I knew that I was inferior,
and that other people had something I lacked—something denied me. In my mental
blindness, I thought that it was somehow connected with the ability to read and write,
and I was sure that if I could get those skills I would automatically have intelligence
Even a feeble-minded man wants to be like other men.
A child may not know how to feed itself, or what to eat, yet it knows of hunger.
This then is what I was like, I never knew. Even with my gift of intellectual
awareness, I never really knew.
This day was good for me. Seeing the past more clearly, I have decided to use my
knowledge and skills to work in the field of increasing human intelligence levels.
Who is better equipped for this work? Who else has lived in both worlds? These are
my people. Let me use my gift to do something for them.
Tomorrow, I will discuss with Dr. Strauss the manner in which I can work in this
area. I may be able to help him work out the problems of widespread use of the
technique which was used on me. I have several good ideas of my own.
There is so much that might be done with this technique. If I could be made into a
genius, what about thousands of others like myself? What fantastic levels might be
achieved by using this technique on normal people? On geniuses?
There are so many doors to open. I am impatient to begin.
PROGRESS REPORT 13
May 23 It happened today. Algernon bit me. I visited the lab to see him as I do
occasionally, and when I took him out of his cage, he snapped at my hand. I put him
back and watched him for a while. He was unusually disturbed and vicious.
May 24 Burt, who is in charge of the experimental animals, tells me that Algernon
is changing. He is less co-operative; he refuses to run the maze any more; general
motivation has decreased. And he hasn't been eating. Everyone is upset about what
this may mean.
May 25 They've been feeding Algernon, who now refuses to work the shiftinglock
problem. Everyone identifies me with Algernon. In a way we're both the first of
our kind. They're all pretending that Algernon's behavior is not necessarily significant
for me. But it's hard to hide the fact that some of the other animals who were used in
this experiment are showing strange behavior.
Dr. Strauss and Dr. Nemur have asked me not to come to the lab any more. I
know what they're thinking but I can't accept it. I am going ahead with my plans to
carry their research forward. With all due respect to both of these fine scientists, I am
well aware of their limitations. If there is an answer, I'll have to find it out for myself.
Suddenly, time has become very important to me.
May 29 I have been given a lab of my own and permission to go ahead with the
research. I'm on to something. Working day and night. I've had a cot moved into the
lab. Most of my writing time is spent on the notes which I keep in a separate folder,
but from time to time I feel it necessary to put down my moods and my thoughts out
of sheer habit. I find the calculus of intelligence to be a fascinating study. Here is the
place for the application of all the knowledge I have acquired. In a sense it's the
problem I've been concerned with all my life.
May 31 Dr. Strauss thinks I'm working too hard. Dr. Nemur says I'm trying to
cram a lifetime of research and thought into a few weeks. I know I should rest, but I'm
driven on by something inside that won't let me stop. I've got to find the reason for the
sharp regression in Algernon. I've got to know j/and when it will happen to me.
letter to dr. strauss (copy) Dear Dr. Strauss:
Under separate cover I am sending you a copy of my report entitled, "The
Algernon-Gordon Effect: A Study of Structure and Function of Increased
Intelligence," which I would like to have you read and have published.
As you see, my experiments are completed. I have included in my report all of my
formulae, as well as mathematical analysis in the appendix. Of course, these should
Because of its importance to both you and Dr. Nemur (and need I say to myself,
too?) I have checked and rechecked my results a dozen times in the hope of finding an
error. I am sorry to say the results must stand. Yet for the sake of science, I am
grateful for the little bit that I here add to the knowledge of the function of the human
mind and of the laws governing the artificial increase of human intelligence.
I recall your once saying to me that an experimental failure or the disproving of a
theory was as important to the advancement of learning as a success would be. I know
now that this is true. I am sorry, however, that my own contribution to the field must
rest upon the ashes of the work of two men I regard so highly.
Yours truly, Charles Gordon end.: rept.
June 5 I must not become emotional. The facts and the results of my experiments
are clear, and the more sensational aspects of my own rapid climb cannot obscure the
fact that the tripling of intelligence by the surgical technique developed by Drs.
Strauss and Nemur must be viewed as having little or no practical applicability (at the
present time) to the increase of human intelligence.
As I review the records and data on Algernon, I see that although he is still in his
physical infancy, he has regressed mentally. Motor activity is impaired; there is a
general reduction of glandular activity; there is an accelerated loss of coordination.
There are also strong indications of progressive amnesia.
As will be seen by my report, these and other physical and mental deterioration
syndromes can be predicted with statistically significant results by the application of
The surgical stimulus to which we were both subjected has resulted in an
intensification and acceleration of all mental processes. The unforeseen development,
which I have taken the liberty of calling the Algernon-Gordon Effect, is the logical
extention of the entire intelligence speed-up. The hypothesis here proven may be
described simply in the following terms: Artificially increased intelligence
deteriorates at a rate of time directly proportional to the quantity of the increase.
I feel that this, in itself, is an important discovery.
As long as I am able to write, I will continue to record my thoughts in these
progress reports. It is one of my few pleasures. However, by all indications, my own
mental deterioration will be very rapid.
I have already begun to notice signs of emotional instability and forgetfulness, the
first symptoms of the burnout.
June 10 Deterioration progressing. I have become absentminded. Algernon died
two days ago. Dissection shows my predictions were right. His brain had decreased in
weight and there was a general smoothing out of cerebral convolutions as well as a
deepening and broadening of brain fissures.
I guess the same thing is or will soon be happening to me. Now that it's definite, I
don't want it to happen.
I put Algernon's body in a cheese box and buried him in the back yard. I cried.
June 15 Dr. Strauss came to see me again. I wouldn't open the door and I told him
to go away. I want to be left to myself. I have become touchy and irritable. I feel the
darkness closing in. It's hard to throw off thoughts of suicide. I keep telling myself
how important this introspective journal will be.
It's a strange sensation to pick up a book that you've read and enjoyed just a few
months ago and discover that you don't remember it. I remembered how great I
thought John Milton was, but when I picked up Paradise Lost I couldn't understand it
at all. I got so angry I threw the book across the room.
I've got to try to hold on to some of it. Some of the things I've learned. Oh, God,
please don't take it all away.
June 19 Sometimes, at night, I go out for a walk. Last night I couldn't remember
where I lived. A policeman took me home. I have the strange feeling that this has all
happened to me before—a long time ago. I keep telling myself I'm the only person in
the world who can describe what's happening to me.
June 21 Why can't I remember? I've got to fight. I lie in bed for days and I don't
know who or where I am. Then it all comes back to me in a flash. Fugues of
amnesia. Symptoms of senility—second childhood. I c&n watch them coming on.
It's so cruelly logical. I learned so much and so fast. Now my mind is deteriorating
rapidly. I won't let it happen. I'll fight it. I can't help thinking of the boy in the
restaurant, the blank expression, the silly smile, the people laughing at him. No—
please— not that again ...
June 22 I'm forgetting things that I learned recently. It seems to be following the
classic pattern—the last things learned are the first things forgotten. Or is that the
pattern? I'd better look it up again....
I reread my paper on the Algernon-Gordon Effect and I get the strange feeling that
it was written by someone else. There are parts I don't even understand.
Motor activity impaired. I keep tripping over things, and it becomes increasingly
difficult to type.
June 23 I've given up using the typewriter completely. My coordination is bad. I
feel that I'm moving slower and slower. Had a terrible shock today. I picked up a copy
of an article I used in my research, Krueger's Uber psychische Ganzheit, to see if it
would help me understand what I had done. First I thought there was something
wrong with my eyes. Then I realized I could no longer read German. I tested myself
in other languages. All gone.
June 30 A week since I dared to write again. It's slipping away like sand through
my fingers. Most of the books I have are too hard for me now. I get angry with them
because I know that I read and understood them just a few weeks ago.
I keep telling myself I must keep writing these reports so that somebody will
know what is happening to me. But it gets harder to form the words and remember
spellings. I have to look up even simple words in the dictionary now and it makes me
impatient with myself.
Dr. Strauss comes around almost every day, but I told him I wouldn't see or speak
to anybody. He feels guilty. They all do. But I don't blame anyone. I knew what
might happen. But how it hurts.
July 7 I don't know where the week went. Todays Sunday I know because I can
see through my window people going to church. I think I stayed in bed all week but I
remember Mrs Flynn bringing food to me a few times. I keep saying over and over
Ive got to do something but then I forget or maybe its just easier not to do what I say
Im going to do.
I think of my mother and father a lot these days. I found a picture of them with me
taken at a beach. My father has a big ball under his arm and my mother is holding me
by the hand. I dont remember them the way they are in the picture. All I remember is
my father drunk most o the time and arguing with mom about money.
He never shaved much and he used to scratch my face when h<j hugged me. My
mother said he died but Cousin Millie said he hear his mom and dad say that my
father ran away with another woman. When I asked my mother she slapped my face
and said my father was dead. I don't think I ever found out which was true but I don't
care much. (He said he was going to take me to see cows on a farm once but he never
did. He never kept his promises ..,)
July 10 My landlady Mrs Flynn is very worried about me. She says the way I lay
around all day and dont do anything I remind her of her son before she threw him out
of the house. She said she doesnt like loafers. If 1m sick its one thing, but if Im a
loafer mats another thing and she wont have it. I told her I think Im sick.
I try to read a little bit every day, mostly stories, but sometimes I have to read the
same thing over and over again because I dont know what it means. And its hard to
write. I know I should look up all the words in the dictionary but its so hard and Im so
tired all the time.
Then I got the idea that I would only use the easy words instead of the long hard
ones. That saves time. I put flowers on Algernons grave about once a week. Mrs
Flynn thinks Im crazy to put flowers on a mouses grave but I told her that Algernon
July 14 Its Sunday again. I dont have anything to do to keep me busy now because
my television set is broke and I dont have any money to get it fixed. (I think I lost this
months check from the lab. I dont remember)
I get awful headaches and asperin doesnt help me much. Mrs Flynn knows Im
really sick and she feels very sorry for me. She's a wonderful woman whenever
someone is sick.
July 22 Mrs Flynn called a strange doctor to see me. She was afraid I was going to
die. I told the doctor I wasnt too sick and that I only forget sometimes. He asked me
did I have any friends or relatives and I said no I dont have any. I told him I had a
friend called Algernon once but he was a mouse and we used to run races together.
He looked at me kind of funny like he thought I was crazy.
He smiled when I told him I used to be a genius. He talked to me like I was a
baby and he winked at Mrs Flynn. I got mad and chased him out because he was
making fun of me the way they all used to.
July 24 I have no more money and Mrs Flynn says I got to go to work somewhere
and pay the rent because I havent paid for over two months. * dont know any work
but the job I used to have at Donnegans Plastic °°x Company. I dont want to go back
there because they all knew me when I was smart and maybe theyll laugh at me. But I
dont know what else to do to get money.
July 25 I was looking at some of my old progress reports and its very funny but I
cant read what I wrote. I can make out some of the words but they dont make sense.
Miss Kinnian came to the door but I said go away I dont want to see you. She
cried and I cried too but I wouldn't let her in because I didn't want her to laugh at me.
I told her I didn't like her any more. I told her I didn't want to be smart any more.
Thats not true. I still love her and I still want to be smart but I had to say that so shed
go away. She gave Mrs Flynn money to pay the rent. I dont want that. I got to get a
Please ... please let me not forget how to read and write...
July 27 Mr Donnegan was very nice when I came back and asked him for my old
job of janitor. First he was very suspicious but I told him what happened to me then
he looked very sad and put his hand on my shoulder and said Charlie Gordon you got
Everybody looked at me when I came downstairs and started working in the toilet
sweeping it out like I used to. I told myself Charlie if they make fun of you dont get
sore because you remember their not so smart as you once That they were. And
besides they were once your friends and if they laughed at you that doesnt mean
anything because they liked you too.
One of the new men who came to work there after I went away made a nasty
crack he said hey Charlie I hear your a very smart fella a real quiz kid. Say something
intelligent. I felt bad but Joe Carp came over and grabbed him by the shirt and said
leave him alone you lousy cracker or I’ll break your neck. I didn't expect Joe to take
my part so I guess hes really my friend.
Later Frank Reilly came over and said Charlie if anybody bothers you or trys to
take advantage you call me or Joe and we will set em straight. I said thanks Frank and
I got choked up so I had to turn around and go into the supply room so he wouldn't
see me cry. Its good to have friends.
July 28 I did a dumb thing today I forgot I wasnt in Miss Kinnians class at the
adult center any more like I use to be. I went in and sat down in my old seat in the
back of the room and she looked at me funny and she said Charles. I dint remember
she ever called me tna before only Charlie so I said hello Miss Kinnian Im redy for
my lesuns today only I lost my reader that we was using. She startid to cry and run
out of the room and everybody looked at me and I saw they wasnt the same pepul
who used to be in my class.
Then all of a sudden I remember some things about the operashun and me getting
smart and I said holy smoke I reely pulled a Charlie Gordon that time. I went away
before she come back to the room.
Thats why Im going away from New York for good. I dont want to do nothing
like that agen. I dont want Miss Kinnian to feel sorry for me. Evry body feels sorry at
the factery and I dont want that eather so Im going someplace where nobody knows
that Charlie Gordon was once a genus and now he cant even reed a book or rite good.
Im taking a cuple of books along and even if I cant reed them I’ll practise hard
and maybe I wont forget every thing I lerned. If I try reel hard maybe I’ll be a littel bit
smarter then I was before the operashun. I got my rabits foot and my luky penny and
maybe they will help me.
If you ever reed this Miss Kinnian dont be sorry for me Im glad I got a second
chanse to be smart becaus I lerned a lot of things that I never even new were in this
world and Im grateful that I saw it all for a little bit. I dont know why Im dumb agen
or what I did wrong maybe its becaus I dint try hard enuff. But if I try and practis very
hard maybe I’ll get a little smarter and know what all the words are. I remember a
littel bit how nice I had a feeling with the blue book that has the torn cover when I red
it. Thats why Im gonna keep trying to get smart so I can have that feeling agen. Its a
good feeling to know things and be smart. I wish I had it rite now if I did I would sit
down and reed all the time. Anyway I bet Im the first dumb person in the world who
ever found out somthing importent for sience. I remember I did somthing but I dont
remember what. So I gess its like I did it for all the dumb pepul like me.
Good-by Miss Kinnian and Dr Strauss and evreybody. And P.S. please tell Dr
Nemur not to be such a grouch when pepul laff at him and he would have more
frends. Its easy to make frends if you let pepul laff at you. Im going to have lots of
frends where I go. P-P.S. Please if you get a chanse put some flowrs on Algernons
grave 'n the bak yard ...