S.I.L.E Short Story

This is an original story I had to write for English class

“Students for Intellectual Learning Experiment”

I’ve read that most people go to school with many, many other kids their own age. I know that most kids go to schools with other kids because I’ve been shown pictures by my schoolteachers. I never went to those schools. I was chosen to be part of a special school. One where I’m the only one in it. I have the same hours as a regular school, but instead I go to school in one room. My entire schooling has been done in this one room. It gets boring after a while. But soon I’ll be done with school. I’m a senior. I get to graduate the program. I’ll never have to see this room again. It’s a quiet room full of books on almost every subject. I read them through the entire year and then when I move up a grade they replace them all. My teachers come in and they explain the lesson and then they leave and I work on it for hours alone. If I don’t understand I can click a button by the desk and they will come up and try and re-explain it to me and help me understand. That doesn’t happen often. I don’t get to choose my classes like in some schools. It’s all strictly things that the teachers choose. Once I get up in the morning and go to school I’m not allowed to leave the classroom at all. Everything I need is in there so I can’t pull any excuses. When I was younger I tried but it didn’t work. I’ve also read that in other schools it’s only nine-ten months. Instead of going to school year round, schools chose to let students out, losing important time from academics.
“Thomas! Pay attention!” my English teacher Ms. Payne snaps. We were talking about To Kill A Mockingbird. Ms. Payne was talking about Scout and how she didn’t flourish in the school. How Scout was very smart, book smart and had nice common sense, but that her teacher and the school were holding her back. I just thought that she must have had an odd experience going to school with other kids. I couldn’t imagine going to school with so many other loud distracting children. Ms. Payne had explained to me that if S.I.L.E was a success, which she had no doubts that it wouldn’t be, that eventually there would be many kids going to school together, but that it would be different from original schools because it would still be the experience I had.
“Talking between students and interaction beyond academic conversations will not be permitted.” I remember her saying. As if there would be a need or a reason to talk to other students beyond academic ones.
“Thomas,” she sighs and then sits down. “I’d like to explain some things to you about the school program since you’re graduating at the end of this week.”
I sat up paying attention.
“Yes, Ms. Payne?”
“As you know the school program you are in is called S.I.L.E. It is the first of its kind of school program. We took students whom were already wards of the state and gave them a second chance at education. You will go on to do such great things, Thomas. However you are not the only student. We have a hundred students who are each in different classes that we have taught since you first entered the program. New students from each grade entered the program every year. You are the first grade to graduate. None of you were allowed to see each other because that would have distracted you from your studies. You and your other classmates are now the highest scoring children in any school program across the entire North America. We have essentially taught you, and cared for you year round from the time you entered school, till now. Your class has surpassed every requirement set for school and beyond. Your class and the classes behind you have far exceeded all of our expectations.”
“Yes Ms. Payne. Thank you.”
“Of course, Thomas.” She said smiling.
The approval of the teacher was nice, but the fact that my test scores were so high was better.

At the end of the week I packed up some of my favorite books and I left to go to my new job. The company was large and full of people, more people than I had seen in my entire life. It made me uncomfortable and I felt suffocated. I had to speak to the head manager about hiring me even though Ms. Payne said they would automatically give me a job because I was a graduate of the program.
“Why do you think we should hire you?” The manager asked me. A bulky man who seemed larger than the desk itself.
“I’m smart.” I said proudly.
“What else? What other skills do you have?”
I felt extremely confused. What else is there?
“I’m smart. I have high test scores.” I said again.
“What else Mr. Lane?”
I just sat bewildered.
“There is nothing else to say. I have good test scores. I am a graduate of S.I.L.E. I am supposed to get a job.”
After staring at me for a long time, he excused me with the information about my new job. After the day was over I had to go find an apartment. I supposed it wouldn’t be difficult. The school gave us each some start up funds but warned us it would not last long. I went into the office of one apartment building.
“I’d like to rent an apartment” I said.
The women behind the desk looked up from filing her nails and burst out laughing.
“Do you have an appointment? Your paperwork and first and last months rent?” Have you even seen any of the apartments?”
My face turned red but I didn’t understand why.
“I need an apartment. One room. I have money. It shouldn’t be hard. One window would be nice.”
She stared at me. I pulled out my phone, a shiny metal contraption I barely knew how to work. It had one number in it. The one for my transitioner. Someone to call if I had trouble.
“Hello.” The voice came from the other end.
“Hello. This is Thomas. I am suppose to call you if I am having trouble. I am having trouble with this apartment business.”
“Thomas we have an apartment complex setup for all of you in the S.I.L.D program. Ride the train to Fifth and Lexington.”
“How do I do that?” I said confused.
“Where are you?”
“I don’t know that either.” I said.
The women behind the desk was listening with a pitying look on her face. She took the phone and spoke into it.
“My name is Carrie Ann. If you give me the address I’ll help Thomas get to wherever he needs to be.”
“Thank you.” I said.
Carrie Ann took me to the apartment complex and explained how to work the train system. She also put her phone number in my phone and said to call if something needed to be explained. The apartment that they gave me was huge. It already had furniture and books and the fridge was stocked. The transitioner explained in a flat tone where everything was and then left. I was hungry but nothing in the kitchen was prepared. I sat staring at the kitchen and realized I didn’t know how to cook. I pulled cans out and started reading the labels trying to make soup. I turned the stove on and then placed a bunch of things into the pot and tried to heat it. While I was looking for salt and pepper I smelled something burning and looked around. A towel had caught on fire. I ran downstairs to the office.
“Yes Thomas?” Said the transitioner.
“I caught a towel on fire. What do I do?” I asked.
“What?!” She shrieked.
She ran up the stairs and into the open door of the apartment. The towel was completely blackened and much of the counter. She put it out with the fire extinguisher and then turned to me.
“Perhaps you should not use the stove until you have learned to cook.”
“Perhaps not.” I agreed.


Subject’s Name: Thomas Lane

Subject’s Age: 17

Subject’s Years In Program: 12

Subject’s Test Scores: Exceed Limits Expected

Subject’s School Notes: Subject exceeded in science and mathematics. He has a short attention span with English. Subject also had quite a bit of difficulty accepting his different schooling when he learning of others. Subject listens well and reads the entire library set out for him, something other test subjects have not yet done. Subject also exceeds in all schooling and lessons set before him. Subject rarely pushes the button to bring in a teacher for further explanation.

Subject’s Transition: Subject has had difficulty with basic adult skills. Noted: All other subject’s of S.I.L.E have had difficulty transitioning. Subject set kitchen on fire by accident. Subject has difficulties interacting with others.

Important: All future subjects must be taught basic skills.

Experiment: Schooling: Success, Transition: Failure.


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