Nothing Comes to Mind

Her hands rose to the keyboard, poised to take flight. They trembled, then dropped back into her lap. Over and over she did this. Tears dropped from her eyes, splashed down her nose and cheeks, fell on her hands. And yet, she typed nothing.

Hours passed as scientists watched, as she strove to use words but nothing came. Hours, and then days. She was treated well; she was physically able to leave at any moment. She didn’t.

One hundred eighty hours to the second after she had entered the testing, the gag was removed. When she spoke, it was rusty and halting.

“What did you do…”

A man in a lab coat handed her a glass of water. She let it fall, deliberately. He sighed.

“You are a political liability,” he said. “Since you won’t speak for us, you will no longer speak at all. Your creative impulses are gone.”

“But I…I can still talk”, she whispered.

“It’s not your words that are the problem”, he said.

Trembling, she raised her hands to the typewriter. She didn’t type. Nothing came to mind.

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