#190 Pictures of Infinity

by Eric R. Schiller

With black paint he traces a long arc across the canvas. The painting was meant to be purely abstract and intuitive, but standing back now he recognizes his life’s work. The streaks and explosions before him are collisions of matter and antimatter, streaking away to infinity. Funny, he thinks, but he doesn’t laugh.

Almost finished. Twenty-three years of study, thousands of nights wrestling math, and his life is an acknowledged waste. When he was fired he knew exactly what to do. He would paint, and he would kill himself. His life of analysis and logic was for nothing. He would leave behind illogical beauty.

He had fought bitterly about infinities in functional mathematics. You damn well can’t multiply it by q[E + (v x B)], so how his replacement pulled the wool over their eyes is a mystery.

It’s done, he decides. Door unlocked, note on table, he climbs out onto the ledge looking down thirty-one stories. No anxiety now, no pain.

Accidentally, he falls. When he forces his eyes open he realizes something is wrong; he’s falling sideways, and he’s not alone. Everything not nailed down flies sideways, rocketing over the Atlantic Ocean. His painting flies past him and disappears.

In a split second he realizes he’s falling towards Switzerland. Then it dawns on him; his young replacement has fudged the math, and the fine scientists at CERN have opened a black hole.

So it wasn’t for nothing, he thinks, and laughs all the way to the Event Horizon.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...
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JRVogt said...

Ah, black holes. When will they learn? I like the sudden shift this story takes!

Shona Snowden said...

Like the witty finish!

Janice D. Soderling said...

Clever. I like it.