Книга A Scanner Darkly. Содержание - 8

“No,” Fred said.

“They give aptitude tests like that to children,” the other medical deputy said.

“So what was wrong, Fred?” the first deputy asked.

“I forget,” Fred said. He shut up now. And then he said, “It sounds to me like a cognitive fuckup, rather than perceptive. Isn’t abstract thinking involved in a thing like that? Not—”

“You might imagine so,” the seated deputy said. “But tests show that the cognitive system fails because it isn’t receiving accurate data. In other words, the inputs are distorting in such a fashion that when you go to reason about what you see you reason wrongly because you don’t—” The deputy gestured, trying to find a way to express it.

“But a ten-speed bike has seven gears,” Fred said. “What we saw was accurate. Two in front, five in back.”

“But you didn’t perceive, any of you, how they interact: five in back with each of the two in front, as the black told you. Was he a highly educated man?”

“Probably not,” Fred said.

“What the black saw,” the standing deputy said, “was different from what all of you saw. He saw two separate connecting lines between the rear gear system and the front, two simultaneous different lines perceptible to him between the gears in front running to each of the five back ones in turn. … What you saw was one connective to all back ones.”

“But that would make six gears, then,” Fred said. “Two front gears but one connective.”

“Which is inaccurate perception. Nobody taught that black boy that; what they taught him to do, if anyone taught him at all, was to figure out, cognitively, what the meaning of those two connectives were. You missed one of them entirely, all of you. What you did was that although you counted two front gears, you perceived them as a homogeneity.”

“I’ll do better next time,” Fred said.

“Next time what? When you buy a ripped-off ten-speed bike? Or abstracting all daily percept input?”

Fred remained silent.

“Let’s continue the test,” the seated deputy said. “What do you see in this one, Fred?”

“Plastic dog shit,” Fred said. “Like they sell here in the Los Angeles area. Can I go now?” It was the Lions Club speech all over again.

Both deputies, however, laughed.

“You know, Fred,” the seated one said, “if you can keep your sense of humor like you do you’ll perhaps make it.”

Make it?” Fred echoed. “Make what? The team? The chick? Make good? Make do? Make out? Make sense? Make money? Make time? Define your terms. The Latin for ‘make’ is facere, which always reminds me of fuckere, which is Latin for ‘to fuck,’ and I haven’t …

The brain of the higher animals, including man, is a double organ, consisting of right and left hemispheres connected by an isthmus of nerve tissue called the corpus callosum. Some 15 years ago Ronald E. Myers and R. W. Sperry, then at the University of Chicago, made a surprising discovery: when this connection between the two halves of the cerebrum was cut, each hemisphere functioned independently as if it were a complete brain.

… been getting it on worth jack shit lately, plastic shit or otherwise, any kind of shit. If you boys are psychologist types and you’ve been listening to my endless debriefings with Hank, what the hell is Donna’s handle? How do I get next to her? I mean, how is it done? With that kind of sweet, unique, stubborn little chick?”

“Each girl is different,” the seated deputy said.

“I mean approach her ethically,” Fred said. “Not cram her with reds and booze and then stick it into her while she’s lying on the living-room floor.”

“Buy her flowers,” the standing deputy said.

“What?” Fred said, his suit-filtered eyes opening wide.

“This time of year you can get little spring flowers. At the nursery departments of, say, Penney’s on K Mart. Or an azalea.”

“Flowers,” Fred murmured. “You mean plastic flowers or real flowers? Real ones, I guess.”

“The plastic ones are no good,” the seated deputy said. “They look like they’re … well, fake. Somehow fake.”

“Can I leave now?” Fred asked.

After an exchange of glances, both deputies nodded. “We’ll evaluate you some other time, Fred,” the standing one said. “It’s not that urgent. Hank will notify you of a later appointment time.”

For some obscure reason Fred felt like shaking hands with them before he left, but he did not; he just left, saying nothing, a little down and a little bewildered, because, probably, of the way it had shot out of left field at him, so suddenly. They’ve been going over and over my material, he thought, trying to find signs of my being burned out, and they did find some. Enough, anyhow, to want to nun these tests.

Spring flowers, he thought as he reached the elevator. Little ones; they probably grow close to the ground and a lot of people step on them. Do they grow wild? Or in special commercial vats on in huge enclosed farms? I wonder what the country is like. The fields and like that, the strange smells. And, he wondered, where do you find that? Where do you go and how do you get there and stay there? What kind of trip is that, and what kind of ticket does it take? And who do you buy the ticket from?

And, he thought, I would like to take someone with me when I go there, maybe Donna. But how do you ask that, ask a chick that, when you don’t even know how to get next to her? When you’ve been scheming on her and achieving nothing—not even step one. We should hurry, he thought, because later on all the spring flowers like they told me about will be dead.


On his way over to Bob Arctor’s house, where a bunch of heads could usually be found for a mellow turned-on time, Charles Freck worked out a gag to put ol’ Barris on, to pay him back for the spleen jive at the Fiddler’s Three restaurant that day. In his head, as he skillfully avoided the radar traps that the police kept everywhere (the police radar vans checking out drivers usually took the disguise of old raunchy VW vans, painted dull brown, driven by bearded freaks; when he saw such vans he slowed), he ran a preview fantasy number of his put-on:

FRECK: (Casually) I bought a methedrine plant today.

BARRIS: (With a snotty expression on his face) Methedrine is a benny, like speed; it’s crank, it’s crystal, it’s amphetamine, it’s made synthetically in a lab. So it isn’t organic, like pot. There’s no such thing as a methedrine plant like there is a pot plant.

FRECK: (Springing the punch line on him) I mean I inherited forty thousand from an uncle and purchased a plant hidden in this dude’s garage where he makes methedrine. I mean, he’s got a factory there where he manufactures meth. Plant in the sense of—

He couldn’t get it phrased exactly right as he drove, because part of his mind stayed on the vehicles around him and the lights; but he knew when he got to Bob’s house he’d lay it on Barris super good. And, especially if a bunch of people were there, Barris would rise to the bait and be visible to everyone flat-out as a clear and evident asshole. And that would super pay him back, because Barris worse than anybody else couldn’t stand to be made fun of.

When he pulled up he found Barris outdoors working on Bob Arctor’s car. The hood was up, and both Barris and Arctor stood together with a pile of car tools.

“Hey, man,” Freck said, slamming his door and sauntering casually over. “Barris,” he said right off in a cool way, putting his hand on Barris’s shoulder to attract his attention.

“Later,” Barris growled. He had his repair clothes on; grease and like that covered the already dirty fabric.

Freck said, “I bought a methedrine plant today.”

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