When I was little I was amazed at how often there seemed to be some terrible horrific industrial accident or local chemical fire. To be sure it was hard living somewhere that there seemed to be and endless number of unsolved accidents, whose cause was not unknown, but should in theory not have developed into the tremendous fatal catastrophes that occurred on way too regular a basis. In industrial towns people expected to have industrial accidents, but this had begun to look more like industrial clumsiness, and if they had not been so severe people might have laughed at how often things “fell down.”
My town was filled with kids who were curious like most towns, but they seemed to grow up with an interest in how things worked and how things were made. Manufacturing boomed, as well as chemical plants, textiles, and steel. As they grew older they became the laborers and engineers that powered the workforce of our town. Big industry tried several times to come in and buy out the factories and businesses that were responsible for the prosperity of our town despite our tendency to have accidents frequently. I, like those kids used to be interested in the beginning too, I wanted to contribute to the workforce that made our town great. That is until I realized that my interest or participation was somehow connected to those incidents.
At about age 12 I began having incredible headaches. One doctor told my mother children didn’t have headaches, some said it was caused by stress, and others said it was due to the change in my biology since puberty. I tried to explain to my mother they were partly caused by the buildup of ideas collecting in my head. The doctor smiled and patted my head and said, “sweet little girl, ideas do not cause headaches.” I rolled my eyes at him and looked impatiently at my mother. I was not a genius by any means, but I was smart enough to know when I was being patronized. I had found that whenever I expended energy doing something productive the headaches seemed to subside. I was good at thinking through complex problems even when I was too inexperienced in my youth to be able to know the solution.
I used to watch the local news and discuss with my parents what things our town claimed were problems but they never seemed to actually work at them. When I first began to suspect my connection it was in regard to an old rusty trundle bridge. Several railroad companies had refused to send their trains across it because it had grown rusty and unsafe. The town claimed it was the federal government’s job to replace it and had applied for land grants and federal subsidies to cover the cost, but the process was lengthy. Meanwhile the bridge remained in disrepair and avoided by the companies that might have meant revenue for the town. I suggested to my father that the steel mill might provide some assistance in exchange for some tax breaks and offers at federal contracts that way they could fix the bridge and still make some money. My father thought it was an idea worth pursuing, though he did not tell me that at the time, he simply said I was very bright and tucked me under the chin, his way of showing affection.
The following week I learned that he had taken my idea and suggested it to his foreman who had then suggested it to their general foreman. It kept going up the chain until the company head had his secretary draft a letter to the federal government requesting just such terms as I had suggested. The federal government was pleased with the proposal, but large steel companies discovered the request and attempted to under bid them. Meanwhile the deal was stalled. I sat thinking hard of a way to resolve the issue without losing the benefit for our town. That night my head hurt so intensely my mother sent me to bed. I lay with my head sandwiched between my hands begging for it to stop. And then I heard it in my head, a mind blowing explosion I was certain that the whole world had to hear.
I ran downstairs. “I thought I sent you to bed?” asked my mother.
“I feel better now.” I said.
“Yes well I’m not taking any chances, school tomorrow you know so back to bed with you,” she said.
I turned to climb the stairs but noticed on the TV screen an instant replay of the bridge being struck by lightning and the trundle falling with its farthest end hanging in the riverbed below. The federal government did not wait for the paperwork to be submitted by the opposing company and gave the contract to the local steel mill which was ready to make repairs immediately having funds and permits previously approved.
I thought that was strange, then later similar events occurred. During the first few incidents no one had known the solution ideas had come from me but as I grew older and more vocal people began to ask questions. When a young man died in a chemical fire caused because the Chemstar factory would not fix a valve relay at my suggestion, the police hauled me in for questioning. I was 18 years old. The valve exploded, the plant caught fire and I was accused of industrial espionage. I was released because I had never been on the premises, only discussed it with a few of the engineers that worked there. One had died in the fire and the other had been at a committee meeting at the time the fire occurred. No one else had known of my suggestion.
After the incident I became more particular about who I shared my information with. I realized the town government didn’t really want to solve the issues. So I began keeping a journal, which later turned out to be a mistake. Whenever I had a headache caused by local trouble I would think really hard about the solution until I got a headache thinking about it and then I would go to bed. When I woke in the morning whatever the problem was had been destroy by some disaster or event and solutions were then sought to rectify them. They never asked me. I sometimes mailed the ideas to researchers or engineers.
What I had not know was that government agents were monitoring mail sent by me as well as following local events. They sent officers to my parent’s home with a warrant giving permission to search my personal premises. They found my journal and sent me to federal prison. Despite the fact that the incidences never stopped they have kept me there close by. I have had headaches quite frequently since having arrived.
The Scientific advisers and research people come by regularly to ask me how I would resolve some local problems. Funny how helping them still seems to make my headaches go away.
Mind Expansion Explosion © DJuna Blackmon 2014, All Rights Reserved