Trying to identify a SF short story I read perhaps in middle school... in it, there's an experiment to try to reactivate the mind/consciousness of a severely disabled, possibly brain-dead test subject. During this experiment, we read the thoughts of some person who is slowly regaining consciousness and trying to understand what's going on around them.

At the end of the story, the lead researcher determines that the human subject is still completely unresponsive. In their frustration that the experiment has 'failed', they kick the top off of a carrot plant in a pot in the same room. As the story closes, we read the 'subject' screaming something like 'my eyes, my eyes! I can't see!'

  • 1
    I thought potatoes had eyes
    – Danny Mc G
    May 1, 2019 at 18:16
  • So nothing to do with that one episode of Pinky & The Brain then.
    – IG_42
    May 2, 2019 at 0:23

1 Answer 1


"No Harm Done", a 1961 short story by Jack Sharkey, first published in Fantastic Stories of Imagination, July 1961, available at the Internet Archive. Does any of these covers ring a bell?

Man and woman stood side by side in the hot light of the afternoon sun, staring, staring at the immobile form of the patient whose disrupted mind they were attempting to reunite into an intelligent whole . . .

My name, he thought. Funny. I should know my own name. I've heard it often enough . . . It's . . . Is it—is it Garret? That sounds like it, but—I can't seem to recall . . .

[. . . .]

"At least," said Lisa, taking him gently by the arm, "He's no worse off. The experiment just didn't work out, that's all.But there's no harm done, at any rate."

"Nope. I suppose you're right," Jeff said bitterly, reaching to lift the stool from its patch of sunlight. Then, with a brief surge of anger at the futility he felt, he lashed out with his foot and kicked the green parsleylike top clean off a carrot that jutted just a bit higher than its fellows in the garden bed behind the stool. "No harm done," he muttered angrily, and went back with Lisa toward the sanatarium.

While a silent, agony-filled voice behind him kept shrieking, over and over, "My eyes! He kicked out my eyes! I'm blind! Help me! Help me!"

  • Wow! Thank you!
    – tannranger
    May 2, 2019 at 5:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.