Jonathan vos Post
ZigZag Strikes Again
Very elliptical years, the 57th Century, or “Years of the Cat.” Practically nobody uses sentences. Anymore. Very eccentric. Tell story.
Am Time Bum. Name of ZigZag, honorable family, agent, sex-linkages. Manipulator and explorer of paraHistory via the Leonardo.
Journey to the Age of Styrofoam, the Coke Bottle Century, my favorite time, the 20th, when Giants walked the Earth. Mao Tse Tung, The Beatles, and the Father of Time Travel: Albert Einstein.
“Hey, Al, how they hangin’?” I sez as I pop into his Princeton, New Jersey pad. He looks up from his desk, his gentle eyes & white atomic hair.
“ZigZag, my friend, did you by any chance bring me an icecream cone?”
“Jamocha Macadamia Fudge, vintage 1984.”
“My favorite flavor. Too bad they won’t make it for another 30 years.”
“OK park my Leonardo here for a while?”
“Sure, ZigZag, just lean it up against my Peugeot there. So how’s the War?”
“Same War. Talk General Relativity.”
“Gladly. I’ve been thinking about gravity again...”
Same War. Some War. Always was. Always will. Last trip, I eliminated time-leak from 34th Century (Years of the Cuttlefish). Vegetarian Void-oid name of Hitler. Hooked on Amphetamines and time-leaked violence drug Akaia. Got his staff stuck on Cocaine. Mutual incomprehension and geomilitary collapse followed inevitably.
One loose end very subtle. So-called World War II now overlap so-called First Uranium War. How to stop premature vaporization of Los Angeles? Will clean up mess with little side-trip. Chat with Einstein necessary research.
“... and so, re-examining Schwarzschild’s metric I still see these ugly singularities following gravitational collapse. No one else seems to notice that space-time cannot be defined in this case.”
“Bet your booties, Al. No one will for couple decades. Will make you feel better if tell you charge and angular momentum conserved there anyway?”
“Much better. Is this related to the principle of your time machine bicycle?”
“Sorry, Al, forbidden to answer. But business: how and when did Nazi atom-folk develop fission weapon without you?”
“Because, my temporally peripatetic pal, they could not exorcise ‘Jewish science.’ It all came together at the Max Planck Institute in 1941...”
Jews again! Never a chance to clean up that leak from the 41st, whole Moses burning bush tablets tractor beam on Red Sea routine. Chosen people supposed to be Romany, but no one perfect.
Left main Leonardo with Father of Antigravity. Check saddlebag. Mescaline for Bosch, Blake, Dante still there. Took short-range Leonardo with me, inside lucky rabbit’s foot.
Jump to Max Planck Institute. Hypno German. Dress like lab assistant. Were methodically checking one element after another. Neutron cross sections. I examine apparatus. So crude! To check Uranium in an hour. Simple fix. Found little square of gold foil. Placed between target and detector. Will hide effect, change history. Rub rabbit’s foot. Eight hours later. Heisenberg himself in laboratory.
“Werner, baby, how’s tricks?”
“Herr ZigZag! How pleased I am to see you again. Maybe you can help me. Just this morning we tested Uranium for the chain-reaction effect. The theory is good, but we can’t seem to find an element it works for. Tomorrow we try Cerium, Neodymium, something like that. Can’t you give me a hint?”
“Sorry, Werner, dead end alley. You cut out to be a great Theoretician. Folks my time still appreciate Uncertainty you invented.”
“Immortality! Thank you, Herr ZigZag. I’m glad to hear that someone appreciates Quantum Physics.”
“Well, nobody uses in 57th Century, but much aesthetic joy from Uncertainty principle. Work of Art. Rest on laurels. Perhaps you and me for schnappes and beer?”
Few hours later, after good time at local cat-house, back to Princeton. Seems shame to mislead such nice guy, but now only America gets fission weapon, uses only twice, orientation nexus Disneyland safe. Unfortunately, New York safe too. Must fix that. Else kid name of Dylan will spread pacifist message, prevent Second Uranium War in Africa. Void-oid name of Amin Dada.
New York not such bad place. Maybe fix so only New Jersey vaporized. Not so much complaint there. Final chat with Einstein, Father of Warp Drive, before continue Heaven/Hell medieval Archetype Enhancement with psychedelics. Necessary preparation for Helium Invasion of the 29th Century (Years of the Monster). As climb on Leonardo, Albert Einstein insists: “I do not believe that God plays dice with the universe.”
Well, nobody right ALL the time.
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About the Author
Jonathan Vos Post
Professor Jonathan Vos Post is an author and editor with a history of blending hard science, fiction, and poetry. He has 820+ publications, presentations, and broadcasts to his credit. Among other achievements, he has created stories with Ray Bradbury, written science texts with Nobel Laureate physicist Richard Feynman, and edited publications with David Brin and Arthur C. Clarke. He won the 1987 Rhysling Award for Best Science Fiction Poem of the Year, was published in the 1989 Nebula Awards Anthology, and was a semifinalist for the 1996 Nebula Award. He is currently Vice President, Chief Information Officer, and co-Webmaster of Magic Dragon Multimedia.
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