Author : Benjamin Dunn

Little Tyler looked around nervously. Tim dragged him into the reception area by the hand, a scowl engraved on his face. He marched up to the reception desk, hoisted Tyler by the armpits, and sat him down in front of the receptionist.

“I want a refund,” said Tim. The receptionist’s eyes flashed red, and she continued staring into the middle distance. After a few minutes, her eyes turned green and she looked up at him, a well-practiced frown on her face.

“A refund, sir?”

“Yeah. My son’s a dimwit.”

“I beg your pardon?” Tim unlovingly shoved Tyler across the desk. Tyler looked up, confused, looking like he was going to start crying.

“He just stares off into space during his reading lesson, and when I went to get him his first neuro-implant, the doctor wouldn’t do it because he said he had an ‘abnormal brain.’” Tim started to raise his voice. “What the hell does that mean? I paid for a gifted child, and a gifted child’s what I’ve come here to get!” Tyler was crying now, his mouth a big toothless cavern. Tim ignored him.

“What is your child’s name?” asked the receptionist.

“Tyler Bernard Horton Conway.” The receptionist’s eyes went red again as her mind floated off into the main database. They were green again a moment later.

“Sir, I read here that, although you did order a gifted child, the warranty you purchased guarantees only normal-level brain function. Now, if he had somehow become mentally retarded, the warranty would cover you, but in this case, there’s nothing I can do.” Tim’s face went red and he pounded his fists on the desk.

“Look here!” he bellowed, and then turned to Tyler. “Stop crying, young man!” Tyler stopped immediately. He’d had enough harsh spankings to understand that his father meant business. “Tyler, what’s the capital of Argentina?” Tyler’s tear-streaked eyes looked up at his father, then flicked over to the receptionist. She stared at him blankly; she wasn’t in the business of getting friendly with products.

“Bwenos Awes,” said Tyler, sniffling. Tim’s face creased in disgust.

“You see how long that took him? The boy’s a moron! I want to talk to your superiors.” The receptionist barely suppressed the urge to roll her eyes. Those eyes went red for a moment as she contacted them, and a moment later, a hologram of a sharply-dressed man appeared behind the desk.

“My name is Herman Coll. I’m head of the public relations department. How may I help you?” asked the hologram.

“Yes! My son is an idiot, and I specifically requested a child of above-average intelligence.” The hologram turned red, then blinked green.

“Sir, as Mrs. Richardson has already informed you, you purchased a warranty that guarantees only normal intelligence. If you wish to dispute that warranty, I can direct you to the correct people, but I should warn you: GeneTopia’s lawyers are well-engineered, and they have never lost a case.” Tim scowled at the hologram. Then he scowled down at his son, who was busy sucking his thumb. He turned to the hologram.

“Can I trade him in?” The hologram smiled.

“Certainly, sir. That’s GeneTopia policy: trade-ins always welcome.”

“Fine. Then take him back. I want a son who can think.” A representative in a black jumpsuit appeared from around the corner and led little Tyler away. Tyler cried and cried, screaming “Bwenos Aweeeees!” until he disappeared down the hallway.

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