Problem Child

By Amy Chused and Charles Dickson

Page 17

  Scene: Counsellor's Room. Jiapa and Lite are inside, and the 
  door *swick*'s shut behind them. An electronic chime indicates 
  the activation of the door seal.
  Jiapa: Well, Lite, it looks like it's just you and me. I bet we 
  can have some fun while we wait to arrive, though. What would 
  you like to do?
  Lite:  Nothing with you, Lady.
  Jiapa: Now really Lite, I don't think that's quite nice. I'm 
  here and you're here and we can have some fun. Wouldn't you like 
  to play some computer games?
  Lite:  Like what? Stupid inkblots?
  Jiapa: No, no, this is like a shooting game. Really. You just 
  watch the screen and pretend that the stars are ships coming to 
  get you. You press a button whenever you see a star and it'll 
  Lite:  That sounds boring. Don't you have any others?
  Jiapa: Yes, but I want you to play this one first. For me, 
  Lite:  What's it called?
  Jiapa: It's the Posner Spatial Reaction Time task. (Pause while 
  Jiapa realizes her blunder) I mean, it's called shoot-em-up.
  Lite: Yeah, Right. I don't want to play your stupid games, Lady. 
  Lemme out of here.
  Jiapa: Now come on, Lite. I know this game is boring, but if 
  you finish it, I'll give you a more interesting game.
  Lite: Don't call me Lite!
  Jiapa: Well then, what would you like me to call you?
  Lite: Bloocheez the second, future ruler of the Universe.
  Jiapa: Now Lite, I can't do that. It wouldn't be true.
  Lite: Aargh. You called me Lite again. Now I'll never play 
  your stupid game.
  Jiapa: Lite... (he looks at the wall, pointedly ignoring her), 
  Come on, Lite, let's talk. We were having a good conversation. 
  (He ignores her even more pointedly.) Li-iite, look at me when 
  I'm talking to you. (No apparent reaction from him) (Jiapa 
  sighs) Bloocheez the second, will you listen when I talk to you?
  Lite: Not unless you use my full title. (He stares at the wall 
  Jiapa: Lite, get your butt in that chair and take that test.
  Lite: Computer? Can you hear me?
  Pandora: Hello Lite. I can't talk now, but we'll arrive at the 
  starbase in 5 hours and 55 minutes.
  Lite: Computer, get me out of here, and don't call me LITE!!!
  Pandora: Hello Lite. I can't talk now, but we'll arrive at the 
  starbase in 5 hours and 54 minutes.
  Jiapa: Lite, Pandora has been instructed not to interrupt us. 
  Now please cooperate with the testing.
  Lite looks around the room, stares haughtily at the offered place 
  in front of the computer screen, and then scans the room once 
  again. He gives no notice of Jiapa's presence.
  Jiapa:  Ok, Lite, I know that's a boring test, but I 
  really want to know how fast you are. I'll bet you're a lot 
  slower than Earth kids. They can take this test and be done in 
  10 minutes. I'll bet it takes you half an hour at least.
  Lite: (whirls around to glare at Jiapa) I'll show you, Bitch. 
  I can race through your stupid test in 5 minutes. 
  Jiapa: All Right! (She quickly moves to start the task)
  Lite looks at her cheerful face and again at the computer and 
  turns his back to her again. "But I won't. You called me Lite"
  Jiapa looks ceiling-ward, then sighs and looks back at Lite. "I 
  give up. I'll get this task later. Right now I want to try you 
  on a puzzle. It's called the Wisconsin Card Sort. It's kind of 
  tricky because I can't tell you too many rules, but I bet you can 
  figure them out."
  Lite: (curiously and suspiciously) What is this? A test 
  without rules?
  Jiapa: Oh, it's got rules all right. You've got to tell the 
  computer where to put each card. And the computer will tell you 
  if you're right or wrong. But you have to figure out how to tell 
  where to put the cards. It's hard even for earth children, 
  though. I bet you can't figure it out at all.
  Lite: I want to float.
  Jiapa: What?!
  Lite: I want the gravity off. I wanna float around the room.
  Jiapa: I want you to take this test. If you take the test, I'll 
  turn off the gravity for a few minutes.
  Lite: I'll bet you won't.
  Jiapa: Here, I'll prove it. Pandora, when Lite finishes the 
  Wisconsin Card Sort, give a warning and then turn off the gravity 
  for two minutes. Do not let me change this order.
  Pandora: Noted. We'll arrive at the starbase in 5 hours and 43 
  Lite: All Right, all right, I'll take your stupid test. Where 
  is it?
  Jiapa shows Lite a flat lap-sized screen with four cards showing 
  across the top. The first card has a single red triangle on it. 
  The second has two green stars. The third has three yellow 
  crosses. The fourth and last has four blue circles. On the 
  bottom of the screen is one card. On the bottom rim of the 
  screen is four buttons, one button below each of the four cards.
  Jiapa: Here, you can sit on the floor and play with this. Just 
  push one of the buttons to tell the computer where the card 
  should go. You'll get a beep when you're right, and a BRACK 
  when you're wrong. Tell me when you're done. 
  Lite: Ok.
  Lite pushes the first button and receives a nice pleasant beep. 
  This is, however, the last beep he will receive for some time. 
  What the computer wants him to do is match the cards by color. 
  He doesn't seem to be matching the cards by any criteria other 
  than sheer randomness, and somehow avoiding the right answer at 
  all costs. Lite is getting more and more frustrated.
  Jiapa: Lite, dear, you might try to figure out how the computer 
  decides whether you are right or wrong.
  Lite: Forget it Lady. This computer is stupid and broken. 
  He throws the screen against the wall where, of course, it 
  cracks. Being safety glass, nothing shatters, but the screen is 
  now unreadable.
  Lite: I'm FINISHED with that stupid test.
  Jiapa: No, Lite. You didn't really ...
  Pandora: 30 second warning for gravity reduction.
  Jiapa: No, Pandora, he didn't really finish the test.
  Pandora: 15 second warning for gravity reduction.
  Lite: (running out and standing in the middle of the room, ready 
  to jump into the air) WHEEEE!
  Jiapa: Pandora, cancel the order.
  Pandora: Sorry, you can not cancel this order. Null gravity 
  starting now.
  Lite jumps into the air and bounces off the ceiling. He sails 
  into Jiapa's desk and scatters her papers and disks all over the 
  Jiapa: NOOOOOOO!!!
  Lite: WHEEEEEEE!!!

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