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Not Smart, Brillant
Everyone has had a good idea and not the chance to share it at some point in their life. Everyone has felt the frustration of seeing something that could be done better, but not able to do anything about it. That’s my life. I’m smart. Really smart. So smart that since fifth grade I have been ordered by the government not to answer questions in class, suggest ideas, or work with anyone. The government passed Fairness to All, a series of laws that includes no student can feel left out, stupid, or not able to achieve because he or she can’t answer a question right, way before I was born. They’re used to it, but I’m in tenth grade now and still burst out information when I shouldn’t, multiple times a week.
The rest of my class was doing a lab in science about the why hover cars defy gravity while I was sitting out in the back of the room. No remote control hover car for me to do experiments on, I thought. I’m too smart. I didn’t want to be an over achiever, I just am. The bell rang, and I jumped out of my seat to get to the next class where I won’t get to do anything cool.
“Hey, Ladasha, wait up!” I turned to see Maylee, my only friend, run to my side. Her short, strait, dark brown hair was tucked into a plaid hair band, the only color that goes with our school’s uniforms, unlike my wavy blond hair, which was in a ponytail that day. When she finally caught up to me, she asked, “How was science?”
“The usual. The rest of the class learned, I sat in the back memorizing the information transmitted on the walls. Again,” I responded.
The rest of my classes flew by in a blur. I might have taken a test, but I didn’t worry that much. I never need to study. After a hasty stop at my locker, I made my way home on the sidewalks. They really need to rename these things, I thought. The sidewalks move for you, all you need to do is make sure you’re going the right way. You could walk if you wanted to, but most people don’t. Why should they be called sidewalks if no one walks? They’re not even on the side of anything since hover cars came out.
I was pondering a new name for sidewalks when I noticed a man in who seemed to be in his twenties looking at me in a strange way. He was tall, taller than me anyway, with dark blue jeans and a black leather jacket, although it wasn’t cold out. It never was. His black long black hair blew in the early spring-like breeze and I saw a glimpse of icy blue eyes. The second he noticed that I saw him, he turned the other way, but not for long.
Finally, I became so sick of it that I approached him and asked, “Why are you looking at me like that? Is there something wrong I should know about? If you’re another one of those government people coming to check on me again because I’m smart, you’re not very good at your job.”
“Not smart, brilliant,” he said quietly.
“You’re not smart. You’re brilliant,” he responded, a little louder.
“What do you mean?” I asked, curious.
“Fairness to All wasn’t created just to be fair, it’s to keep intelligent people like you and I from rebelling. The government is scared of what its people might do if they found out what was really going on in the world. Several other brilliant people, along with myself, find Fairness for All a waste of today’s talent. People like you and me could be solving the problems going on outside our country, but, because of Fairness for All, we could get arrested if we tried. I came to see if you really are as intelligent as we think you are and see if you wanted to help us.”
“Wait, who’s ‘us’?”
“I’m sorry, I haven’t introduced myself yet. I’m Yane McGless. I’m part of SBO, Secret Brilliance Organization. If you want to join us, ping this number,” he handed me a card, “and tell them your name. They’ll know who you are.”
“How do you know I won’t turn you in?”
“You’re one of us, Ladasha. You won’t turn us in. You have another choice besides hiding your knowledge. If you choose it, you can leave this life behind, but, if not, you’ll be stuck hiding your brains the rest of forever. You won’t give this chance up.” He turned and walked away.
By the time I got home, I was getting a headache from my mental brain fight. I can’t do it! one half of my mind exclaimed. If it’s illegal, the government has a good reason.
Yah, to keep me from finding out what goes on in the world, the other half argued. I’ve wanted an opportunity like this my whole life; a chance to meet people who understand me.
I needed someone else to help me decide. Maylee was smart, so I pinged her. The second my best friend saw my face on the video screen she knew something was up. “What is it, Ladasha?” Maylee asked, concerned.
“I need your help.” I explained what happened on the way home and my dilemma. “What do you think I should do?” I finally asked.
She sighed. “I…I think you should go, Ladasha. You’re miserable in school, you keep getting in trouble for sharing your ideas, and I know you could do so much more.”
“But, if I do, I’ll never be back. I won’t be able to go back to school or go to your house or anything else like that. Once you join, you’re gone for good.”
“I don’t know, Ladasha. But I do know that you need to choose what is best for you. Whatever you choose, it will work out, and…if this is the last time we talk to each other…”
“We’ll always be best friends, Maylee. No distance can change that.” Maylee smiled, and then disconnected the ping.
I sat in my room, thinking. Could I really leave Maylee and everyone else I love? I asked myself. They all know who miserable I am. If they had an opportunity like this, I would say go for it if it will make you happy and I know they would say the same to me. My hand reached for the hand held ping screen, and typed in the number Yane gave me.
“Hello?” A blurred face showed up on the screen, but I recognized the voice.
“Yane, it’s Ladasha Cring. I want to join the SBO.”
Yane gave me directions to a meeting spot in the generated park, where we could walk around for hours and not be questioned. I was only allowed a book bag full of clothes and other things I would need to take. The rest, I had to leave. One hour was all the time I had to pack.
As I packed, I thought about never seeing my family again. It brought tears to my eyes not being able to say goodbye, but if I told anyone where I was going, I would get in big trouble and endanger everyone in the SBO. I would never do that to them, no matter how much pain it caused me. They were the ones who were giving me another option; soon, I would owe everything to them. I hoped it would be for the better.
Sneaking out wasn’t hard; my parents were sound asleep, not knowing that they would never see their little girl again. I practically ran to the fake park, which I had never done before on the sidewalks. When I finally reached the park, red faced and panting, I called out “Yane?” as loud as I dared.
His tall figure stepped out of the shadows and beckoned me closer.
“Are you ready, Ladasha?” he whispered.
“Yes,” I responded wholeheartedly.
“Good. The SBO has one last test for you: find the door. It’s in the park, and leads to the hideaway. Only brilliant people can manage to find it.”
I looked around, wondering where the hidden door would be. They light this park up in the day, so the door has to be somewhere concealed all the time. They probably use darkening spray, which makes things almost invisible as long as it’s in the shadows. With the height of the sun and the amount of trees… I did the math, which was complicated even for me…then it has to be… there!
I glanced at Yane, who had a smile on his face. He knew I knew the answer. I was standing on top of it. I looked down, and Yane nodded, somehow he sending a signal to open the door, and I found myself staring down at a long, dark flight of stairs. Yane went in, and I followed.
Yane walked beside me, leading me down strange, unfamiliar hallways of the SBO’s underground building. Finally, I thought, as I took in all that was around me, finally I get the chance to talk with other smart people, who will understand me and listen to my ideas. They’ll give me what the government took away. They’ll give me a chance to shine. Yane stopped at a door. Wait, not smart, brilliant.