According to Dr. Darold A. Treffert of the University of Wisconsin, there are fewer than one hundred reported cases of prodigious savants in the world. Those few who possess the savant syndrome all have an island of brilliance that allows them to excel in some remarkable talent. Unfortunately, they all share various developmental disabilities. In 1962, Burlington, Vermont, seventeen-year-old Gavin Weaver survives a dreadful explosion, six hours of brain surgery, and thirty days in a coma, to awake as an acquired savant, possessing not just one genius ability, but several, including art, music, mathematics, and memory, and all without suffering any of the usual mental disabilities associated with head trauma. These newly acquired abilities thrust him into the public eye as the amazing ‘Whiz Kid’ from Burlington; a moniker he detests. His genius, paranoia, and increased hallucinations result in some strange and extraordinary encounters with the icons of the ‘60s, including Bobby Fischer, Nikita Khrushchev, Edward R. Murrow, John Chancellor and even John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
The odds are slim Gavin will survive his deteriorating mental state and his increasing tendency for violence, before obtaining the one thing he desires most, the girl he’s loved since childhood.
Prodigious Savant – excerpt
Dennis Daley and Steve Simpson reached out and clawed at him, Daley on one side of the bed, Simpson on the other. In the middle, Mabel clamored over his legs and crawled on his chest until their eyes locked, Gavin’s wet with tears, Mabel’s leaking vitreous fluid out of sunken sockets, her face the dry pallor of the dead. He felt the suffocating weight of the three corpses shoving his naked body deep into the hotel-room mattress, the smell of decomposing flesh permeating each breath he struggled to take. He sat up and yelled, almost drowning out the persistent ring of the telephone as the nightmare dissolved.
“Mr. Weaver,” the front desk clerk said, “I’m sorry to phone you an hour before your wake-up call, but the police are in our lobby and have requested you by name.”
“Yes, sir. I apologize, but they insisted.”
“What do they want with me? Are you sure they asked for me—Gavin Weaver?”
“Yes, sir. They are interviewing several guests and employees, not just you.”
“Okay,” Gavin said. “I’ll come down. Do you know how long they’ll keep me? I’m in the tournament this morning.”
“No, sir, but the sooner you get down here, the more likely they can finish before the tournament begins.”
“All right, tell them I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
As he pushed himself off the bed to stand, he felt something damp on the mattress. The nightmare’s realism had exhausted him, the sheets soaked with his sweat.
J. J. White was born in Burlington, Vermont but has lived most of his life on the Space Coast of Florida. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida. He has penned seven novels and over two hundred short stories, with stories published in several anthologies and magazines including, Wordsmith, The Homestead Review, The Seven Hills Review, Bacopa Review, and The Grey Sparrow Journal. His story, The Adventures of the Nine Hole League, was recently published in The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, #13. He has won awards and honors from the Alabama Writers Conclave, Writers-Editors International, Maryland Writers Association, The Royal Palm Literary Awards, Professional Writers of Prescott, and Writer’s Digest.
His novel, Prodigious Savant, was released by Black Opal Books in 2014, to be followed by Deviant Acts in 2015 and Nisei in 2016. He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for his short piece, Tour Bus.