Ghoul of the Mind

There he was again, meddling in the minds of innocent as well as perverse. Telepaths like him even invade the privacy of people's psyche for all the wrong reasons, and are likely to commit a crime than solve one. It wasn't safe to think around him with his leeching brain. To be more specific, it was knowledge he was after. To know everything was his life's goal, one that was unachievable if he remained in New Jersey. Expansion sounded lovely to him, but the U.S.A. would have to be his range; anywhere beyond the U.S.A. borders would have to wait. West Palm Beach, Florida, was a perfect place. Yes, it was, too—a perfect place to radiate his unspeakable terror again.

This telepath was Douglas Bonder, a psychology professor at Rutgers with enough prestige to have his own university someday. On the beach of West Palm, he had position his pushcart across from a Subway thirty-five feet away at four-thirty in the afternoon. Doug stood behind his cart on this blazing day, looking plain in his mid-thirties and idiotic to whomever past by him. His hair was brown and receding under his favorite white New Jersey Devils cap. His eyes had been brown, too, but now they were amazingly lavender from what he called "a necessary accident"(he was wearing shades though, and with that long nose to finalize his plain facade). Garbed in nothing but a sleeveless white t-shirt, some jean shorts and old Nike sneakers with no socks, he wasn't going to be a heartthrob to any of those sexy blondes and brunettes who strolled up and down the beach—at first. It only took a second for him to read their minds and project his thought into them. I could be on their minds all night, so let them stare into these violet pearls of horror.

Doug's cart was clad in a foreign language on white poster board, probably Russian—but it didn't matter. "Whatever makes the mind think," he exclaimed as he reached over the cart.

When people tried to read something they didn't understand, it made their brain as active as a teen that just discovered the pleasure of sex. Doug had been a psychologist since 1991 and now, fourteen years later, he had learned everything there was to know, from the cerebral cortex to the id that Sigmund Freud had explained in his studies long ago. But something had happened when he was at Rutgers seven months ago, which was "a necessary accident". Something wonderful.

He wished he had stared directly at a nuclear reactor long before he decided to become a psychologist. The reactor that was in physics class across the hall from his room at Rutgers had radiated a wave that genetically altered his eyes and brain when his plain brown eyes had landed upon it. Since then, he could read brain signals and convert them into images in his on mind, making him telepathic. Some assumed telepathy was something that accompanied birth, but Doug had made a secret breakthrough. Not only could he read thoughts, but he could project thoughts into other brains also. Any kind of thought; even ghastly ones.

Now he was in West Palm Beach, doing something else he discovered he could do—gather knowledge. Not just things about the Civil War and the equations in calculus, but things that no one would tell or reveal—like account numbers of credit cards or where all the weapons of mass destruction were held in the U.S. For the time being, all he wanted was to know.

As he reached over the cart again to fix the slanted poster on his pushcart, a man and his German shepard came to his cart. The man resembled one of those surfers from the MTV show Laguna Beach. Doug looked at the dog and signals reeked off the top of its furry cranium.

"Yo, my man," the surfer guy said, "whatcha sellin' here? Water?"

Brain waves aren't reeking off this guy's head, Doug thought. He took off his shades; he only wore them to keep from reading minds that were insignificant at first glance.

"What do you think I sell, dude?" he uttered.

"Whoa, man," said the surfer guy, "you don't have to bite at me. That's what I have a mutt for."

"Yeah, a mutt that might very well be smarter than you, my friend." Doug had already gone through the surfer guy's mind: his name was Joseph Mackay, he was bisexual, his mom died from breast cancer three years ago, his favorite show was Punk'd, blah blah...

"Whatever, dude." Joseph MacKay's tanned face tightened. "Just because business isn't booming for you doesn't mean you have to take your anger out on the customers. C'mon, Kaiser. Screw you, dude!"

"I love you, man," muttered Doug.

He was hoping what he just said hadn't excited Joseph's homosexuality; the surfer guy flipped him the bird and tugged at the red leash that was attached to Kaiser's black collar instead. However, the dog trotted towards the pushcart and rested his forelegs on it, yanking Joseph's arm with him. Kaiser stood at least six feet on just his hind legs as Doug began to gaze into his shaded brown eyes. He saw how the dog had been burying a Barbie doll lying on the beach as Joseph was gawking at another surfer guy in the water. Along with that, Doug saw that Kaiser had been sniffing the rear end of a poodle near a flea market.

Neither the trainer nor the trainee can keep their hormones under control.

Doug retracted his psychic stare off the dog and the trainer jerked him off the cart. "Stay away from my mutt, you queer!" he ordered.

How about I have you thinking that your little boyfriend Virgil's HIV test came back positive tonight, you surfing fruitcake! It'll have you as paranoid as a Klansman in a room full of Black Panthers! That'll teach you not to stick your cock where it doesn't belong, Mackay!

Joseph stormed off with Kaiser hurrying along behind him, Doug gazed. He then awaited the next victim who was intelligent enough to accumulate knowledge from."The mind is a terrible thing to waste," someone once said, and Doug continued to be the monstrous brain ghoul that consumed intelligence in exchange for a darkness no one could ever think of.

Hey there,

"Knowledge is power"—that is the theme I tried to express in this story. In my eyes (and in Doug's, which are eerily lavender in their own way), money is not power—it can only get you things. To know is scary, is it not? When people know things, they have the upper hand over those who don't know things, right? For example, if I knew where all the weapons of mass destruction were held, then I could use them as means for rising to power. You couldn't mess with me if I waved a grenade launcher in your face, could you? And check this out—the more you know, the more valuable you are to society. But as you just read, Professor Bonder didn't want to be valuable to society and help society out—he wanted to destroy society. I believe if a man knew everything there is to know, he wouldn't use his knowledge to assist mankind; he'd be too busy making himself perfect.

And it also has to be scary to know very little about things, too. Intelligence freaks like me like to sit back and absorb all the knowledge we can. That is why I can't understand why people of my generation hate school and don't read—when you tell me that you do not go to school or don't read, you just reveal your weakness to me. People like Doug Bonder will take advantage of that in an accelerated heartbeat. I make sure I learn something significant everyday—how about you?

Bill Gates had enough knowledge to create the Internet and other software, and everybody that's somebody is online everyday—and today he's worth 48 billion dollars. He helped the world. Imagine if he was to use his creations for evil deeds?

And do we all want everyone to read?Do we want everyone to use their minds? do we want everyone to go to school? Doug used his mind, but it wasn't for a positive purpose. Some minds come up with cures for AIDS, and someminds come up with deadlier forms of HIV--what kind of brain do you have?

Think about it, dear Reader—think. Everybody knows something, but nobody knows everything. Call me a smart-aleck (or just Alex), but I have to know, or that lacking will eat me alive like a ghoul of the mind would.

--Zander Williams