Home > Character Interviews > Day One Hundred and Twenty: Kari Truman

Day One Hundred and Twenty: Kari Truman

Part of writing is getting to know your characters. The way that I’ve been working so far, there’s not been a lot of time to do that. I write a story, and move on – maybe coming back another time to revisit the people I have created, but usually not. So just for fun, I’m going to do some character interviews this week and see what I can find out about the folks who emerged from between the folds in my brain. To do so, I’ve got my list of characters and the fine folks over at random.org, and together I’ll be randomly choosing my subjects. If you have a request for a character interview, let me know in the comments and I can see to it that he or she jumps to the head of the queue.

For our final interview, we will talk to Kari Truman, the mother of the brilliant – if eccentric – Kevin Truman from Day 71, Genius. When we saw her, she had discovered that her son was capable of brilliant scientific discovery, but what he did struck her as horrifying and unnatural. When she tried to call the police, Kevin froze her in a null-time field. Let’s see how she’s dealt with that…

——————————

So. You must be the “historian.”

I am a chronicler, Great Mother, yes. It is an honor to-

Don’t call me that.

I’m sorry, Great Mother? Don’t…?

Don’t call me “Great Mother.” I hate that. I don’t care what my son has told you.

I am most sorry, Gre-

I’m sorry. Is there something else I can call you?

Call me Kari. It’s my name, after all. Not like anyone remembers with all this “Great Mother” nonsense.

Very well, then… Kari. We are here to begin the interviews for your part of the Chronicles. Your son commissioned them, you’ll recall. Before he left.

Yes, I recall. I just didn’t expect anyone would actually want to hear my side of the story. No one has asked me about it, not since I woke up. I just get paraded about and called “Great Mother” and spend the rest of my days wondering how I can just die and get it over with.

I’m… I’m sorry?

Never mind. What do you want to know?

Well, we want to hear about your life, from before. Before you were woken into the  world your blessed son gave to humanity.

Hmm. My blessed son.

(pause)

We used to have a normal life. More or less normal, anyway. Phil and I were happy to have one child – we thought it was just as much as we could handle, really. We could give our child our full attention and resources, and not have to deal with all the stress that would come with more. We thought we had planned it all through.

Then we had Kevin.

Don’t misunderstand – I loved my son. My poor, strange son. Even when he was very young, he was so smart – he took things apart and put them back together. He absolutely loved math and science, and while other boys were out playing games or joining the Boy Scouts, Kevin was doing math problems or tinkering in the garage.

We worried a little, actually. We worried that he wasn’t getting enough social interaction. He went to an excellent school, with some of the brightest kids in the country, but he never seemed to be interested in making any friends. He didn’t join any clubs in school or get invited to birthday parties. He just came home every day and did his work, and he was happy with that. Still, when he was ten, we bought him a puppy. An adorable little beagle that he named Racer.

Yes, I’ve seen the statues. He looks like he was a noble dog.

Noble? Anything but. He was noisy, he never really learned where not to pee, and he shed all over everything.

But he was dedicated to Kevin. And Kevin loved that dog. Probably more than anything else in the world, other than his work. He was just shattered when Racer ran away. Or that’s what I thought, anyway.

About his work – when did you begin to understand your son’s genius?

Well, like I said – I always knew he was special. By the time he was in high school, he was begging us to give him the basement as workspace. I thought it was part of some teenage need for privacy, you know – control of your own world and all that. That’s what the parenting sites all talked about, anyway. So we gave it to him, under the condition that he not do anything illegal or anything that would damage the house.

He loved it down there. He’d come up for meals and to go to school, but otherwise he was in his “workshop.” I thought he was just doing electronics, maybe building little robots or something.

Then I went down there.

Then I saw everything.

What… what did you see?

He had… monstrous things down there. The worst of it was that he had Racer’s head in a jar. And it was still alive. It could move, and even bark. I was… I remember just being sick to my stomach when I saw it. Then Kevin told me about all the other things he’d made, and the things that he was working on. An army of insects. Artificial cells. A time-device.

My son. My wonderful, genius son was playing with life and death. He was trying to change the order of the world. He was trying to interfere with the course of nature and God’s own plan.

My son was a monster.

Well… history would disagree with that, Gre… Kari. 

History can disagree all it wants, young man. I know what I saw down there. I know what he was working on, and when I tried to stop him… When I tried to stop him, he used his time device to slow me down. To keep me out of the way.

When I blinked, I went from our basement to a great marble temple, and my son standing there with a crowd of worshippers behind him. He just beamed at me and said, “Welcome home, mother!”

Three hundred years. Gone. Just like that.

Everything I knew is gone. My friends, my husband, my home – all gone. In its place is this… this “paradise” you all seem to love so much.

But it is a paradise. No one wants for anything, no one need get sick, or even die. There is global peace and prosperity for the first time in human history.

Yes, and how did that happen?

Your son gave it to us, of course. 

And you don’t see any problem with that?

I don’t… I don’t understand the question.

Young man, humans don’t do very well when people just give them things. It makes us complacent and lazy. Tell me – how many new things have been invented since my son “gave” you this perfect new world? How many things have been made by someone other than my son?

Well, I…

None. You look at vids from a hundred years ago and they look exactly the same as they do now. And they’ll probably look the same a hundred years from now. Nobody needs anything, so nobody makes anything. Nobody comes up with creative solutions to problems because there are no problems. Humans used to advance and create and grow. Now we just exist.

But things are so good! Like I said, no one wants for anything, not like in your day, when there were poor and hungry people everywhere.

There was a saying when I was young – “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” My son has given you all a whole lot of fish, but he hasn’t taught you a damned thing. And you probably expect that he’ll keep giving us things, which is fine… Until it stops.

Someday, mark my words, all this will come to an end. Maybe Kevin will die. Maybe he’ll get bored, or he’ll wander off to some other world and forget you. But one day, he’ll stop giving, and this whole place will collapse around your ears. You write that down in your book, young man.

I… I will.

Good. Now get out. I have a busy day of existing to do.

Thank you… Kari. If I have questions, may I contact you again?

(sighs) Sure, go ahead. Maybe I can talk some sense into you people.

Very well. Have… Have a wondrous day.

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