Author: Marcel Barker

NPA 002 PRENATAL – AUTH GRACE HOSPITAL
“And? What does the brain scan say? Is little Baby J going to be a Johann?”
“Beg pardon?”
“As in Sebastian Bach.”
“I see. No, the neuroaptitude algorithm reports no musical affinity. Reasonable potential for mechanical aptitude.”
“That’s too bad.”
“Perhaps Joseph? As in Bramah, the inventor of the hydraulic press?”

NPA 006 @ 4 YEARS – AUTH WEE CARE PRESCHOOL
“You tested our son?”
“We did. Joseph has been fighting again, which is unacceptable here at Wee Care Preschool. During Constructive Free Play, he refused to play with his Lil’ Roughneck Tool Caddy, and was stealing toys from the other children. He struck another student in the arm with a xylophone mallet. We felt neuroaptitude testing was appropriate.”
“And the test? He keeps trying to play with the music toys. Is there anything there?”
“We looked. There’s some mild musical talent. Of course, four is much too late. There are specialized toddler toys and games he would have needed to properly form neural pathways. Even then his talents are non-exceptional. Moderate mechanical aptitude. We’re recommending Joseph be downgraded to a type 3 preschool.”

NPA 010 @ 8 YEARS – AUTH SAMUEL MORSE ELEMENTARY
“The results are quite definitive.”
“We talked about that damned test that morning. Joey could tell we were disappointed, so he wrote on the test that he loved cars and building. He lied. He’s bored in his classes. He thought that we were upset because we wanted him to be a better mechanic. Joey spent the brain scan portion forcing himself to think about fixing things.”
“The results are what they are. Good mechanical aptitude, no other skills of note.”
“But… couldn’t the test be wrong?”

NPA 014 @ 12 YEARS – AUTH SAMUEL MORSE ELEMENTARY
“Another test?”
“Yes. The state mandates a neuroaptitude test for all students leaving elementary school. It takes into account neurological scans, a student questionnaire, grades, and feedback from the instructors.”
“And? What did the instructors say?”
“Joe is… a problem child. He spends his time singing and drumming on his desk. He’s disruptive to the other students.”
“Joe is bored. He’s really a very clever kid!”
“Mmm. That’s not what the test shows. Joe’s skill set is too low for a type 3 high school. It would be better to put him in a type 4 vocational school. There’s no need to learn math and science and fine arts. Joe should focus on learning auto mechanics.”
“Auto mechanics! Don’t you worry about putting these kids in boxes?”
“That’s the beauty of the neuroaptitude algorithm. No need for children to fumble around trying to find themselves. Once we know their vocation, we can focus on that without wasting time and resources on the extraneous.”
“Like music?”
“Like music. Don’t you want Joe to live up to his potential?”

NPA 019 @ 32 YEARS (POSTHUMOUS) – AUTH BLAINE COUNTY CORONER
“I don’t understand… how were they able to test him?”
“The scan of his temporal lobes was done posthumously, by the coroner. Standard procedure, used as input to refine the neuroaptitude algorithm.”
“Where did they find him?”
“Maxis Autobody, early this morning. He had rerouted a customer’s vehicle’s exhaust system to pump directly into the cabin.”
“Maxis? He lost the job at D & J Collision too?”
“I suppose so.”
“Was there… did he leave a note?”
“Well, not as such. We found a sheet of paper in the vehicle with him, covered in musical notation. It was… written as he asphyxiated.”
“Do you mean Joe’s last act was… to write a song?”

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