Other Navigation
From my internetz . . . . to yours . . . .

Beautiful photo. Beautiful band.

Even Marilyn bit her nails....

One day, I'll get back to you. (c/o: lonelyplanet.com)


« Rules of attraction? | Main | THE FORMULA (Part I) »


Immediately after his morning meal, he decided to begin with the dishwasher. This would be a simple beginning that might rule out further, more complex procedures. So he ran the formula, with the dishes from breakfast, through the dishwasher. This was number one, the premier test, which, as he had convinced himself at the onset of every successive trial, was the most important. Once the slopping and the whirring and the swishing ceased, he unlatched the lock of the washer door and opened it with a cautious hand. Steam escaped; an elegant but uncomfortable emission. He slowly pulled out the top rack, and lo! the formula was intact; no sog, no fade, no reduction in accuracy. He ran it again five more times before lunch, then with the dishes from lunch (fish encrusted plates, and bowls and tumblers lined in residual tomato soup and orange juice, respectively), then again seven times before dinner. Content that the formula had passed its debut examination, the scientist rested after supping, the excitement of the day over his head like an aureole.

Early the next morning, he was back at it again. What, Formula, shall we do today?, he wondered, as he rubbed his hands together.  He decided that the kitchen was a good place to stay because there were meat tenderizers, blenders, and, best of all, microwaves.  A fine invention, he thought. But not as fine as my Formula, which he began with today by sticking inside a marshmallow, putting on a plate, and starting for a fourth of a minute in the microwave. 1. 5. START. He watched as the marshmallow began to swell like the stomach of a dead horse to one, two, three times its size until the microwave beeped done. The marshmallow quickly shriveled down like a big white prune to almost as small as it was when he began, but now barely resembling the neat cylinder of its original shape. He started it again. This time 5. 0. 0. START. The marshmallow started to swell again, but soon bubbled and burned, turning brown, then black, until it was a dry clump of smoking coal. A wave of restless nerves rippled through his stomach. Hands shaking, he scraped away the hardened sugar. But there it was. The formula was fine. Just fine.

For days he submitted the formula to this test and that test, then on to another test, and then, yet another.  He took a chisel to it one Tuesday, gave it a good, big whop with a sledgehammer every five minutes for twelve hours on Wednesday, and on Thursday broke four drill bits on it that he had borrowed from the neighbor. He was so satisfied, and exhausted, that he took the rest of the week off, while the formula lay buried six feet below his wife’s tulip garden.

Ada started to wonder what was keeping him so preoccupied. It wasn’t any bizarre behavior she noticed, but an odd change in his countenance, a strange effulgence in his eyes. She knew it wasn’t a mistress, because he wouldn’t, and because when he wasn’t lecturing he was at home tooling around in the kitchen or doing Hawking-knows-what in their makeshift-laboratory garage. But there must be something he was keeping from her. He assured her, when she asked, and as she moved one stem of her thin, dark metal spectacles back and forth on its hinge, that there was, indeed, no mistress, but, oh, just something he was working on.

The conversation with his wife troubled him a bit.  Even the thought of her slightest moment of mistrust was enough to make him stare at the ceiling in the middle of the night.  He leaned over to her in the dark, touching her shoulder gently, to wake her without startling her.  He whispered her name.  She moved a bit.  He then tried to console her, by emphasizing that his preoccupation was with something completely innocent and scientific and that he wished he could tell her exactly what, but, he couldn’t, though one day he would, and he was sure she would understand, because it was going to be an important thing.  She didn’t open her eyes the entire time.  She made one or two weak moans, though maybe they were snores?  After a pause she mumbled with her eyes still closed “Dear, I don’t live for answers anyway.”  Just sleep talk.  He’d try again another day, when the timing was better.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>