Disclaimer: I do not own Gattica or any of the characters therein
Jerome's body sliced through the water like a knife. He kicked his way to the surface, and was off across the pool like a rocket. He was not nervous. He had no doubt about his victory. His parents had chosen his genes specifically to make him the best swimmer in the world. He'd been swimming since almost as soon as he could walk. Decades of genetic research and a lifetime of training now came down to this single moment in time. Water sluiced off him in sheets as he propelled himself onward, his well-muscled arms and legs moving him perfectly through each stroke. He didn't bother to check his competition. There was no way he could lose. He simply concentrated on swimming. Unlike most post-race interview clichés, the race did not go by in a blur. It was perfectly measured out by the steady metronome of his heartbeat. He'd kept the time by counting it. He would remember later enjoying the knowledge that this would be his best personal time. His hand struck the wall, driving him out of his reverie.
He would never forget what came next, even as the flames rose higher in the incinerator in Vincent's apartment. He had stood in the water and pulled his goggles up on his forehead, looking expectantly towards the board. That was when his world came crashing down. In his mind, he watched himself in slow motion from outside his body. He turned his head. His jaw dropped in shock as he registered that his name was not in the first slot. Someone else's hand had beaten his to the wall. He forced a smile as he congratulated the other swimmers. No point in showing bad sportsmanship. Not here. The fake smile remained as he clutched the silver medal around his neck while he stood on the second lowest level of the podium and listened to another country's national anthem blare gratingly out of the sound system. He paid no attention to the cheers, or the flashing camera bulbs. As soon as he was politely able to, he fled back to the locker rooms. Soon he was back in his hotel room. In that space, devoid of other people, his true feelings boiled through to the surface. The sheer rage would have been terrifying to his brainless, cheering fans or the newsgirls with overdone makeup and push-up bras. He trashed his hotel room. He screamed at himself, he could not understand how this had come to be.
It was not long after that that he first drowned himself in a vodka bottle. As he sank deeper into the sea of fermented potatoes that had become his life, he began to question his existence. Finally, he decided that the Olympics had been a sign. There was no place for him in this world. This simple revelation, seen through the bottom of a shot glass, was somehow calming to him. Paying his tab, he got up and stumbled out of the bar to the corner. Decades of genetic research and a lifetime of training had all come down to this single moment in time. He gauged the distance and speed of the approaching headlights. His brain swiftly ran through the calculations that told him the driver would not be able to stop in time. As the headlights drew nearer, he stepped into the street.