The Mind Reader

No invention had a more devastating effect on the life of its inventor than the mind reading machine. It’s ironic that one of the greatest inventors of all times reaped only ruin from his invention.

Jack Mente had only two passions� tinkering, and his beautiful wife, Sue. He was torn between the two. Both
passions always competed for his time. He felt guilty when
he spent the evenings away from her in his basement
laboratory, and he felt guilty when he wasn’t working on
the mind reader. He tried more than once to explain his
project to her. On occasion, she sat next to him and
watched him work on his machine, but she never
stayed long. She had passions of her own.

“Oh my God! Oh my God!”

Alarmed, Sue dropped her book, and rushed to the
basement. Before her hand reached the knob, the door
at the top of the stairs flew open and Jack burst into the
hall. He was wearing a Chicago Bears helmet.

“I did it. I did it!”

“What? It works?”

“Yes, Yes. I recorded Lucy’s mind.”

“You recorded the dog’s mind?”

“Yeah, here try it.”

He took the helmet off and placed it on her head. He
adjusted the dials. Her expression became alert. She
looked up, down, sideways.

“I feel nothing. Wait, yeah.” Her hand desperately
tried to scratch her head under her helmet. “What an
itch!”

Her eyes swung to Jack with an adoring expression.
“Oh, my God!
She loves you so much. Wait! She feels you are her
mate. Oh no, this is too much.” She took the helmet
off, and gave it to Jack with a troubled expression.

“Isn’t that great?” he asked.

“I don’t know, Jack! I’m scared.”

“Honey, this is the greatest invention of all times.
This is going to change the world”

“Yes, I don’t doubt it, but is it going to be for the best?”

“Yes, of course. Honey, once people know how it really
feels to be another, cruelty will be impossible.”

“I don’t know, Jack. I learned something very troublesome
just now.”

“What’s that?”

She had a pained look on her face. “Our dog loves you
more than I do.”

“What?” Now the pained look was on his face.

“Her love is purer. Mine is mixed with all kinds of…
You know I love you, but….”

“But what?”

“Nothing. Smash that thing to pieces. It’s big trouble.”
“No way! I want you to read my mind. I recorded it for
you. Go ahead, put it on.”

“No, Jack, I have a bad feeling about this.”

“Oh, come on, honey. It’s only the technique of building
the machine. I want to see if you can learn it directly
from me. Think of it, we could be multi billionaires in
no time.”

“Sweetheart, You have been closeted in the
basement too long, it’s 2098, an orbital condo costs
a billion dollars”

“Yes, and we want one of those, don’t we? It seems
the only way to be safe from crime nowadays. Well,
we’ll have trillions then.”

“Give me that thing back. I won’t learn any ungodly
secrets, will I?”

“I don’t think so. Unless…”

“Yes?”

“You might discover I love Lucy more than you.”

“Oh, Jack, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”

“It’s Okay. Love can’t be measured by mere feelings.
What you detected in Lucy was just that, feelings.
Love can only be measured by how much we are
willing to sacrifice for one another. Anyway, I’m
certainly grateful for any love I get. Come on, let’s
get to work.”

He was ecstatic at the depth of her understanding.
Sue was amazed.

“I understand everything. I feel like a scientist.
It’s… a new world!” She hugged and kissed him.
“Oh, sweetheart, I never really knew how great
you are. You are a genius.”

Jack spent the next few days working on the
documents needed to file a patent request, but
Sue’s confession about her love for him was a
troublesome distraction. He heard her voice saying
that awful sentence again and again: “Our dog
loves you more than I do.”

How much did she love him? Did she love him at
all? He had said that it didn’t bother him, but it
bothered him, a lot! It robbed him of all the joy
he felt for his success. It kept him awake for hours.
He knew he should forget it, that nothing good
would come from pressing the issue, but he was
powerless to stop. He just had to know.

“Let’s make love,” he said

“Now?”

They just had finished dinner and she was washing
the dishes.

“Yeah! I’m in the mood, aren’t you?”

She put the dish down and gave him a searching look.
“You had this planned, didn’t you? Flowers,
champagne, ordering out? Okay, let’s go.”

On entering the bedroom she stopped and grabbed
his arm.

“What’s that doing there?”

The Chicago’s Bear helmet was on her pillow.

“I want you to wear it.”

“While we’re doing it?”

“Yeah, I’m curious to know how sex feels to a
woman. Aren’t you curious to know a man’s
feelings?”

“Yes, that’s true. You wear it then!” she said

“Alright, I’ll wear it first, but you’re next. Okay?”

“Okay,” she said

After they both took turns wearing the mind reader,
they lay in silence staring at the ceiling. She was still
wearing the helmet. “Set the dials to read. I want to
be first to read.”

“No way. I was first to record and I’ll be the first to
read,” said Jack.

After he finished reading, he took the helmet off with
a worried expression and, leaning on one elbow, stared
at her.

“What?” she asked, blushing.

“You didn’t have an orgasm.”

“How could I, wearing this? It weighs twenty pounds,
for Heaven’s sake!” She picked up the helmet and
waved it in his face.

“I did.”

” Ha! You’re used to it. You probably wear it on the
toilet!” She threw the helmet against the wall. She
turned away and turned off the lamp. Five minutes
later she was asleep. He hated it; it was as if she
didn’t care. He stayed awake for hours. He reviewed
every detail, every word.

Had she ever had an orgasm with him? He had
never doubted it, but now, how could he be sure?
Women were good at faking.

Next morning neither Sue nor he mentioned the
previous night’s fiasco. Both kept sullenly silent and
he left for work without kissing her. As soon as he
left she put the helmet on and read his part of the
recording.

She was astonished. It was incredible. It was as if
she were he. She could feel the pleasure her body
gave him. She never imagined sex could be like
that. Her pleasure seemed shallow and pale compared
to his wild surges of ecstasies. She wondered about
her own body its power to give pleasure, its beauty
as seen through his eyes.

She could see herself naked under him. She took her
nightgown off and touched every part of her body he
had touched and it was as if she had become them
both. She felt his orgasm and hers blending in her
head. It was the greatest she ever had. She felt sure
it was the greatest anyone ever had. Just to make sure
she tried it again.

Wow! She felt exhausted, but never happier. Sue
decided to call him and share her happiness, but hung
up before he answered. It would be better to tell him
face to face. Or would it? He certainly would notice that
she never felt that way with him. That knowledge would
further wound his ego. He would ask questions for which
she had no answers. She’d honestly didn’t know why her
pleasure in lovemaking had always been so shallow. She
thought that was the way with everyone. When some of
her girlfriends boasted about how good it had felt last
night, she thought it was only bragging and
exaggeration.

Jack’s male ego was slow to mend. Despite her attempts
to pretend everything was normal, he remained cool and
distant all week. Sue used the machine every day,
sometimes two or three times a day.

Each time, she discovered new feelings, new nuances
in Jack’s recording. Sue now viewed herself from his
perspective. Her own body became alien� an object
of desire. A week passed in this way and then, one day,
when she put the helmet on nothing happened.

He had erased the recording. She was almost frantic
with despair and at the same time shocked by her
addiction. What did this mean? Was she some kind of
pervert? She must ask him to wear the helmet again.

That evening Sue went down to the basement. He
was surprised to see her and gave her an inquisitive
stare.

“Let’s try it again.”

“You want to wear the helmet?” he asked

“Yeah, both of us, like we did last time,” she
answered looking at the floor.

“I don’t think so.”

“Why not?” She asked.

“It was a mistake.”

“Please?”

“No, I’ll never wear it again for sex,” he answered.

Anger flashed in her eyes. “Fine, suit yourself. Let’s
don’t make love again, period.”

She went up the stairs and slammed the door at the
top. Jack felt guilty. Why was a smart guy like him so
inept with people? He knew next to nothing about
women.

Next morning, Jack sat at the kitchen table with a
cup of coffee. The early morning sun shone cheerfully
on the floor tiles. Sue came down from the bedroom
and sat across from him.

“Good morning,” she said.

From behind the newspaper he said, “good morning.”

After a few minutes of silence, he sensed something
wrong and lowered the paper. She had not bothered
to pour herself a cup of coffee. She sat staring at the
wall with a dejected look on her face.

For the first time since the mind reader’s incident, his
resentment melted and he felt great compassion for her.
His feelings of love returned like a tidal wave. He
understood how unfair he had been with her and felt
remorse.

“Oh, Sue, I’m so sorry! I behaved like an ass.”

She looked at him with what Jack thought was the
most pathetic, saddest look he had ever seen. He
was about to apologize again when she blurted out,
“I want a divorce.”

“What!” He hastily placed his mug on the table.

“I want a divorce,” she repeated in a firmer tone.

“Why? Oh for Heaven’s sake! I admit I was a jerk, but…”

“I want a sex change.” Her face had a dejected look.

“Oh, please, be serious! Is there another man?” He
gave her a searching look.

“Didn’t you hear me? That’s your problem, you only
hear what you want to hear. Would I want a sex
change, if it were a man?”

“You mean there’s a woman?” He looked at her open
mouthed.

“No! Well, there is a man, you. I want to be you. I
don’t know, Jack. I was perfectly happy until you
invented that dammed machine. Sure, my sex life
wasn’t that great, but you can’t miss what you don’t
know. Can you? Now, I know, and I can’t un-learn
what I know. I see that what you feel is a lot better
than what I feel as a woman.”

“Sue, you’re making a big mistake. All men don’t
experience the same pleasure that I do. I don’t feel
the same with other women. I don’t have that level
of pleasure with you all the time, either. I was in
high spirits because of my success. I felt like a
pioneer, I felt like I was seeing you for the first time.
I don’t know why but, believe me, I don’t feel that
way every time.” He looked at his watch.

“You are not leaving for work in the middle of the
most important talk of our lives, are you?”

He gave her a guilty look. “No, of course not, it’s
just a habit.”

“Yeah, right!”

“Sue, you can’t make such an important decision
on the basis of one experience. You can’t assume all
men feel the way I feel. You can’t assume all women
feel the way you feel. Generally, women feel more
sexual pleasure than men. Maybe all you need is to
see a sexual dysfunction therapist.”

“Oh, don’t give me that crap. How could anyone
have known the difference before you invented the
mind reader? And I don’t need a therapist, I need
a lawyer.”

Jack reddened with anger. He stood up. “We’ll talk
later. I need to think. I’m going for a walk.” He
hurried to the door as if the house was on fire.
Outside, he stood on the sidewalk unable to
decide which way to go. A sense of utter doom
paralyzed his will. He was about to lose everything
he cherished, not only his wife, but his invention as
well, for how could he, with a clear conscience
unleash such a machine on the world? He was
about to throw open the flood gates that protected
people from the slush that festered in the insane,
the criminal and even the normal mind. If such a
simple experiment as to experience your spouse’s
sexual pleasure resulted in this debacle, what
could he expect when more dangerous behaviors
were explored? He must destroy the mind reader,
but not before he used it again to save Sue.

Losing her was painful enough, but Sue getting a
sex change was too humiliating. How could he tell
his parents? He could hear the jokes and laughter
of those who envied his talent. He realized he
had been walking for some time. Jack looked around
disoriented.

Where was he?

Sue was still sitting at the table drinking coffee, when
he walked in. Jack looked embarrassed. He said her
name twice and fell silent. She took his hand and
squeezed it.

“Sue, I think you should sleep with another man
before you decide anything. We could ask him to
wear the helmet, so you could get a better idea of
how sex feels to men.”

She let go of his hand. “And how do you propose
I find that man? Shall I walk into a tavern and
ask a stranger? Hey, you want to wear this while
we� you know� do it?”

“No Sue, I’ll ask Greg.”

“You’ll ask your best friend to screw me?”

“Well, he isn’t my best friend any longer. I
haven’t seen him for a while. He confessed
to me he had a crush on you.”

“Greg? On me, really?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s funny!”

“Why?”

“Well, he’s so shy. Does he have a girlfriend?”

“No, not that I know of, but that’s my point, you
will see all men don’t feel alike. You, as a man,
will still be you, and your feelings won’t be any
deeper. It’s your mind, not your body that
needs to change. Will you give it a try, please?”

“I don’t know. Oh, God, I’m so confused!”

“Please!”

” All right! Now, leave me alone!” She said,
rushing upstairs. For Jack the next three days were
among the most painful of his life. Being the
go-between for Greg and Sue, he felt sometimes
like a diplomat clearing objections and
misunderstandings and sometimes like a pimp.
Now, finally, she had left for Greg’s apartment
carrying the helmet in a shopping bag. He was
sitting in his living room. The setting sun cast a
reddish glow. Only a few minutes had gone by
and he was already listening for the sound of the
garage door opening. He hoped that she would
change her mind, and at the same time, that she
would go through with it.

Jack went to the bar and poured a drink. He
turned on the TV. In a few minutes, he turned
it off, and then played the stereo. A few
moments later he picked up a book, just to put
it down again after reading a page. Hours passed.
He began looking at the phone. He was
getting drunk. Should he call Greg’s apartment?
That would be too humiliating, he concluded. He
poured the rest of the bottle of brandy in his glass.
Half an hour later he passed out.

At four o’clock in the morning, he woke up and
staggered to bed. Sue wasn’t there. He woke up
again at eleven a.m. and called the apartment.
No one answered.

An hour later, he tried again without results. He
had the worst feeling about this. Something
unforeseen, terrible had happened. Why were
people so unpredictable? He hated dealing with
them. It would have been better if he had stuck
to science, and remained single, cloistered in his
basement like a monk. He smiled at this thought,
but then his mind turned gloomy again. Could she
be dead?

He drove to Greg’s building. No one answered the
intercom. He stood by the outer door not knowing
what to do next. Should he call the police? What
could he tell them? I arranged a date between my
wife and a friend and they are not answering the
phone?

A man pushed past him and opened the front door
by placing his eye in front of the pupil reader. Jack
snuck in behind him and took the elevator. He
knocked on the door and waited.

Nothing. He placed his ear against the door not a
sound. He pounded the wood.

“Sue, Greg!” He yelled. He kept pounding.

The door of the next apartment opened. An old
man stuck his head out. “Hey, stop that! What’s
going on, anyway? Last night I couldn’t go to
sleep with this woman yelling. `Oh, Greg, oh,
Greg!’ And now, you� go away. ” He slammed
the door.

Jack face was burning. Humiliated and hurt he
walked away. On the third day, she called.

“Where are you?” he asked.

“Florida.”

“What are you doing in Florida?”

“I’m here with Greg. We are flying back
tomorrow. I’ll be by in the evening to bring
the mind reader and pick up my clothes.”

“What in the world is going on?”

“I’m moving in with Greg. We fell in love.” He
hung up.

“Ain’t that a bitch? Try to help people and what
happens?”

That evening, as soon as she gave him the
helmet, he took it to the basement and
smashed it to pieces. He erased all documents
concerning the mind reader from his computer.

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3 Responses to “The Mind Reader”

  1. Anna Ruiz Says:

    Go ahead, make my day…write the story…. when you were me..

    ~A

  2. baskaran Says:

    a story that has something to understand about life and the natural way of living as designed by the supreme and what happens when interfered with.

    god bless you.

    baskaran

  3. Steve Summers Says:

    Excellent. Very thought provoking. I wonder if this could ever be possible?

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