Edinburgh, Scotland, 1995.
This is my first time abroad. I’m here to talk to an Englishwoman.
I’ve met plenty of English people. I’ve worked with about ten Brits over the past six years. I never knew them very well, of course. One doesn’t develop many friendships working in a secret multi-national scientific research lab. It’s designed that way.
We don’t fraternize outside of work, though we all live on base while we’re on the job. It’s in the rules.
Besides, if the rest of the team is like me, they take their work home with them. There’s no time (ha!) for relaxation on this project. No time for the wife, especially no time for the kid and his inane crap.
Anyway, the English people I’ve dealt with are absolutely brilliant—isn’t that a British expression? They’re the top of the crop. I can’t say that I’ve been exposed to a fair sampling of their countrymen. Certainly, none of my colleagues were obnoxious, obscene, or downright ridiculous. Not like this other English person with whom I’ve become intimately acquainted—through no fault or desire of my own. The one I’m here to meet.
It is because of her that working at home became nearly impossible. It’s her fault about Thomas.
My son is a genius. He’s destined for great things.
His mind should be directed toward higher math, astrophysics, membranes, strings, and the ways around relativity! But Thomas doesn’t spend hours building representative models of DNA and its radio-frequencies. He doesn’t stare at the reaches of the universe through that telescope I bought him.
No, it seems there are more important things for an eleven-year-old to study. It seems that memorizing the table of elements is not nearly as important as memorizing dreadful dialogue, a vast collection of difficultly named characters and how they’re all intricately related, and a huge array of senseless words that one must shout around the house at all hours of the day, while waving a pointed stick, jumping off the furniture, and talking to the damned cat like it’s a person!
No matter what I’ve done to curb Thomas’ behavior and set him on the right track, he still dashes about in a purple-lined cape and those stupid John Lennon glasses, screaming things like, “A-Gloria!” and “I’ve got a cadaver!” or whatever the hell it is.
I fully expected Thomas to develop some hero-worship, his dad being such an important part of such an amazing project—though he’s not quite certain what it is I do, he knows it’s important. There are texts lying around the house from the greatest minds of history! I go on and on about Planck, and Einstein, Marconi, Edison, even Tesla—their discoveries, practices, and how their amazing minds led us to the most exciting time ever.
I did not expect his hero to be a fledgling wizard from the wasted mind of a… a writer!
Fantasy! It’s just what it says it is. Poppycock.
Science fiction is about as close as a fiction writer can come to truth. Otherwise, they’re wasting space and time for all of us. Maybe there’s something I can do about that now. After this, of course.
I’ve spent six years working on the most important invention of all time. I did it for the future—for my son. For science and the scientists it will breed. What will happen if those future men of greatness become namby-pamby wanna-be wizards instead? Wasting their best learning years talking about pseudo-mythical monsters and drawing schematics for magic schools and imaginary worlds! What if just one future great mind decides to write fantasy stories instead of deciphering the cosmic code? What if it’s Thomas?
So that’s why I’m here.
I’m waiting on this particular street for a particular young woman to come out of her home. She’s just finished writing the first installment of her utterly ruinous series of nonsensical novels.
I watched her last night, from the roof across the street. I watched her read and re-read the last of her first story for over an hour. She trolled about the house, window to lighted window, reading her fistful of pages. Twit.
When she comes out, I’m going to talk to her first. I’ll try and convince her to give it up. I haven’t thought much about what to tell her, other than she’s turned my son into a dribbling fruit with all her cabbitch games, flying cars, and pointing of sticks. I’ll tell her that if she never makes her silly stories available to the public, Thomas won’t waste his time and mind drowning in her made-up world.
Perhaps I’ll grab her, and take her to her delirious future of movies, action figures, and lightning-shaped plastic scars. Let her read the biographies, blog entries, and news articles about her special hand-written books. Maybe I should show her how easy it was to learn that she’d be coming out that door in about half an hour. No, that would only encourage her.
Who am I kidding?
I’ll probably just kill her. That’s why I brought the gun.
Copyright: © 2010 Kevin Shamel
Copyright: © 2010 Kevin Shamel
Kevin Shamel writes weird stories and he does it on purpose. You can find his first book, Rotten Little Animals, at Amazon. People seem to like it. Magazines have printed his stories. More and more of his weirdness is showing up online and in print. Check out his website, ShamelessCreations, to find out where. And please accept his third-person thanks for reading!