Another Day, Another Blog

December 15, 2007

Saving Einstein

Filed under: ficlet, humour — iamza @ 10:20 pm

It was an accident, so they tried to tell everyone later. Newton, Thorne, and Einstein had gathered in the upstairs library for their bi-annual “Save a Physicist, Save the World” campaign. They’d been waiting for quite a while for their fellow compatriots to put in an appearance. Rutherford was downstairs in the middle of a fencing lesson, being bombarded with foils. And Bohr was outside, circling the house like a lost electron.

Bored, Thorne handwaved a wormhole into existence, and Newton lobbed an apple at the shimmering interface. “He shoots, he scores!”

Unfortunately, Einstein picked just that moment to take a closer look at the collection of dusty books piled on the table in front of Thorne’s wormhole. The apple hit Einstein square in the head, stunning him and causing him to stumble backwards into the wormhole. Then, before either of the remaining men could so much as blink, the wormhole sealed itself up with a barely audible burp.

Newton looked at Thorne.

Thorne looked at Newton.

“Oops,” said Thorne.

The door to the library opened, and Rutherford came in, his face red and shiny, and full of pockmarks where the foils had driven home. “I say,” he said, “there’s nothing quite like a little blood-loss to make one’s head lighter. It’s a good feeling, actually — makes me feel unconstrained by the gravity of the situation.” He paused, and looked around the room. “Where’s Einstein?”

Thorne bit his lip.

Newton coughed. “He, er, stepped out.”

“Well, at the rate we’re going, we’ll never get this meeting off the ground,” said Rutherford, and stomped across the room to the library’s sole window. He yanked the window open, and leaned out. “Bohr! Stop fooling around with those daisy chains, and get yourself up here!”

Newton cleared his throat. “Uh, Galileo called. He’s having legal issues, and probably won’t come. His ex communicated with lawyers, and now Galileo’s stuck in court. The judge is apparently a real hard-ass.”

Rutherford frowned. “So it’s up to the two of you, Einstein, Bohr, and me to save the world?”

“No, no,” Thorne said, with a curiously high-pitched laugh. “Michelson and Morley are coming as well. They were caught up in light traffic, but should be here any minute.”

Just then, the door to the library opened again, and a pale-faced Bohr snuck in trailed by a dozen daisy chains.

“Good of you to take time out of your busy schedule to join us,” snapped Rutherford.

Bohr sighed. “I was going to give you one of my chains,” he said, “but I think I’ll give it to Michelson and Morley instead.”

“Oh, they’ve arrived, then?” Newton quickly interjected, as Rutherford’s face purpled and his mouth opened.

Bohr nodded, then looked quickly around the room. His eyes narrowed. “Where’s Einstein?”

There was a moment’s silence as Newton looked at Thorne, and Thorne stared down at the floor with sudden and intense interest.

Newton glared at the top of Thorne’s head.

Bohr cleared his throat. “Uh, Einstein? Remember him? Crazy white hair pointing every which way but down?”

Newton transferred his glare to Bohr. “He stepped out.”

Thorne covered his downcast eyes with one hand, and mumbled, “Wa-a-a-a-ay out.”

Bohr’s gaze narrowed still further. “Define ‘wa-a-a-a-ay’.”

“Hesteppedinawormholeandisnowquiteprobablylostsomewhereonthefarsideofthe universe,” said Thorne.

“What?” said Rutherford, even as Bohr yelled, “You lost Einstein?!”

The library door opened, to reveal Michelson and Morley standing in the hallway, smiles quickly draining from their faces. “Einstein’s lost?” said Michelson.

“That’s bad,” said Morley. “How are we supposed to save the world without Einstein?”

Bohr frowned. “Well, I suppose we could try recreating the experiment.”

Rutherford nodded. “Excellent idea. Thorne, make a wormhole.”

Thorne looked down at the floor again. “We’ll need an apple,” he mumbled, “and some rope.”

Michelson pulled an apple from his pocket. “I was saving this for the ride home, but you can have it.”

Bohr looked at the daisy chains looped about his feet. “I reinforced these chains with wire,” he said. “Will they be strong enough, do you think?”

Newton looked up at the ceiling, lips moving silently as he did some quick mental calculations. “Hey! It just might,” he said, then stooped down and picked up the loose end of a daisy chain, which he tossed at Rutherford. “Here, tie this around your waist. Morley, run and get a fencing foil from the hallway downstairs.”

“Me?” said Rutherford. “Why me?!”

“We don’t know where Einstein came out. You’re the one of us most capable of defending himself if it’s somewhere nasty,” said Newton in a distracted tone. “Now, hurry up and tie that rope around your waist. Thorne, can you handwave the wormhole back into existen–?”

“Wait!” yelped Rutherford. “What about my foil?”

“What about my apple?” Michelson said mournfully from his vantage point in the corner.

Morley came running back into the library, a foil clenched in one fist. “Here you go,” he wheezed, handing the foil to Rutherford whose face looked distinctly paler than it had a few minutes before.

Thorne gulped. “Now?”

Newton nodded grimly. “Michelson, get ready to toss that apple at Rutherford’s head as soon as the wormhole appears.”

“What?” squawked Rutherford, even as Michelson’s gloomy expression melted into a giant smile.

Thorne waved his hands, and a shimmering blue circle opened just behind the table of books. Michelson’s apple sailed across the room strong and true, and hit Rutherford with a thud. “By node!” Rutherford yelled even as he disappeared in a cloud of bloody daisy petals.

“I love it when a plan comes together,” said Bohr, and smiled.




December 14, 2007

Thought Experiment

Filed under: ficlet, humour — iamza @ 10:34 pm

Michelson! Morley! Leave that laser equipment alone, will you? You’ll hurt someone.

Einstein, stop hitting Hertz. No, he doesn’t have to discuss photoelectric effects and quanta with you if he doesn’t want to.

Maxwell, where did you get that magnet? And the wire? Just put it down before you hurt yourself.

Liebniz, if you don’t put that apple away, I’ll confiscate it. Yes, I bloody well can, and what do you think your parents would say if they found out you’d been tossing apples at Newton’s head all day, anyway?

Marie, Pierre, move apart please. You’re starting to glow.

Damnit, Millikan. What did I say about letting your oil spill all over the pla–

OW! Michelson! What did I say about the laser equipment? No, don’t look at Morley. You’re the one holding the laser, and I’m the one with a hole in my leg. Just, just put it down, and go and sit next to Marie.

Yes, Rutherford, I’m fully aware that gold doesn’t tarnish, but, as I’m sure you’ll agree, gold foil leaves rather a lot to be desired in the bandage department.

Thorne, Morris, why don’t you send that wormhole somewhere useful for once, and fetch the nurse?

Morley, so help me, if you don’t put that laser down right now… No, I don’t care about testing the penetrability of gold foil. Nor, Mr. Kelvin, do I care about the interior temperature of a gold foil-encrusted oil planet when subjected to a blast of electromagnetic radiation from one of Hertz and Maxwell’s contraptions.

Liebniz, if I see that apple one more time, I will stuff it in your mouth, and serve you for Sunday lunch. Clear?

Dear god, when will this day end? No, Davies, that was a rhetorical question. I do not need to know what happens in either the first or the last three minutes of the universe right at the moment.

Einstein, take Rosenberg, and check up on the wormhole twins, would you? And ask them to hurry it up a bit. The room is starting to fade at the edges.

Schroedinger! Put Marie’s cat down, and give her back her radium. No, I will not climb in the box so you can think about whether I’m alive or dead. No, I don’t care that you’d leave out the radium! If you have to think about something, think about a tree falling in an empty forest.

Where is that godforsaken nurse?! Is it starting to get dark in here, or is that just me? Edison, could you turn the lights up?

Morse, Bell, call for help, would you?

I’m just going to take…a little nap….

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