"Flowers for Algernon" By Daniel Keys, published in Fantasy and Science Fiction.
Copyright 1959 by Mercury Press.

progress report 12 - April 30

I've quit my job with Donnegan's Plastic Box Company.
Mr. Donnegan insisted it would be better for all concerned if I left. What did I do to make them hate me so?
The first I knew of it was when Mr. Donnegan showed me the petition. Eight hundred names, everyone in the factory, except Fanny Girden. Scanning the list quickly, I saw at once that hers was the only missing name. All the rest demanded that I be fired.
Joe Carp and Frank Reilly wouldn't talk to me about it. No one else would either, except Fanny. She was one of the few people I'd known who set her mind to something and believed it no matter what the rest of the world proved, said or did-and Fanny did not believe that I should have been fired. She had been against the petition on principle and despite the pressure and threats she'd held out.
"Which don't mean to say," she remarked, "that I don't think there's something mighty strange about you, Charlie. Them chang- es. I don't know. You used to be a good, dependable, ordinary man--not too bright maybe, but honest. Who knows what you done to yourself to get so smart all of a sudden. Like everybody around here's been saying, Charlie, it's not right."
"But how can you say that, Fanny? What's wrong with a man becoming intelligent and wanting to acquire knowledge and under- standing of the world around him?"
She stared down at her work and I turned to leave. Without looking at me, she said: "It was evil when Eve listened to the snake and ate from the tree of knowledge. It was evil when she saw that she was naked. If not for that none of us would ever have to grow old and sick, and die."
Once again, now, I have the feeling of shame burning inside me. This intelligence has driven a wedge between me and all the people I once knew and loved. Before, they laughed at me and despised me for my ignorance and dullness; now, they hate me for my knowledge and understanding. What in God's name do they want of me?
They've driven me out of the factory. Now I'm more alone than ever before. .

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