The Triplet Paradox
you drive atoms to work, it is of the utmost importance to check the weather
before heading out to start the day. Too cold a day, and the particular motion
of your vehicle will slow to a solid, immobile state. This is not conducive
to punctual travel. On the other hand, if you happen to catch a heatwave,
you could be careening out of control on your nearest freeway with gaseous
collisions a likely consequence.
manufacturers are now coming out with new models specifically tuned to fluctuations
in the weather. Is it below freezing outside? Hop on the Ethyl Ether LE, with
a modified low-freezing point depression, allowing for efficient travel in
remote places like Reykjavik and Canada. Do you live in a tropical clime?
Then perhaps the Camphor Coupe is the answer to your needs. It features a
high molal boiling-point elevation constant and fuel-injected energy levels,
perfect for controlled travel in places like Egypt and the United States.
atoms in a world of negative trees is especially dangerous, even more so when
you are looking for a path to self-validation. Atomobile manufacturers have
yet to develop an atom that can deal with such ethereal pursuits, but engineers
have been scouring the meditation halls and religious centers looking for
the right combination of ingredients to make such travel feasible in the near
Malkins. Susan, Michael, Orion, Oreo, and Oregano. A nuclear family in subatomic
times, with strange names for the kids. Susan works for a bank. Michael is
a cosmetics test subject. This is a relatively new area of employment for
humans, and it was developed as a result of the successful lobbying against
animal testing by various activist groups, including the Council of Canadians.
was named after a cookie that Michael came across in a supermarket one day.
Strangers, upon hearing her title, would always ask whether she was so named
because of her raven hair and wan complexion. Each time, Oreo would patiently
explain that she was bald and bloody at birth, and that her dad just really
liked the cookie.
is completely ridiculous.
around the house are an exercise in frustration and futility, with some forensics
thrown in for good measure. Oregano pretends to kill his older sisters, and
together they recreate the crime scene from whatever clues have been left.
When Monday morning rolls around they are often present at the front door,
ready to hand their father some samples for him to bring to the lab and have
tested. Once, he actually ran the tests, and to his shock and horror discovered
the plasma from thirteen different human beings on one of his daughters
gloves. He still ran his kids tests after that week, but just did them
this particular Sunday, however, they decided that a family outing was in
order. Family outings had a set pattern for the Malkin family: They would
all pile into the car and drive along the 401 until they saw somewhere cool
to stop. Past excursions had landed them at Mr. Spookys Haunted Hayrides,
The Giant Toonie, Hell Holes Farms, and the Flea Market of Damascus, Ontario.
Todays destination was still a mystery - they were presently hurtling
past Napanee, heading west towards Toronto.
I cant stand this music!"
Music for Small Rooms, Volume 2,
was apparently too large for the car. Orion, though she didnt like it
either, was contemplating sending a copy to her hypersensitive friend with
a really small apartment in Montreal and seeing how he reacted to the title.
its nice sweetie, listen to the guitar parts
opened her mouth, twirled on her tongue a snide retort, but thought better
of it, and sat back with resigned acceptance. Oregano, however, had no such
this is fucking bullshit shit, it sounds like Yanni and Michael Bolten and
Sisqo are fucking each other."
watch your tone," piped his father. He then turned to his wife and with
raised eyebrows mouthed the words: "Whos Sisqo?". She shrugged
apologetically. He made a mental note to download one of his songs. He felt
no guilt over accessing music for free; many a time hed walked into
Rasputins café on Bronson Street, snuck a listen to one of the
featured ragtag artists, and subsequently broken into the poor souls
van to steal some mix tapes.
Dad, can I sit on the hood?"
just asked me that?"
Orion, can I please sit on the hood?"
your mother, shes the driver
ok, but dont sit in front of me, block your father."
happily clamored out the window, dangled precariously for an instant a mere
inches from the flying pavement, and then hauled herself up onto the hood.
She readjusted the mirror that she had bumped into on the passenger side,
swept away some leaves that had gotten caught in the wipers, and then reclined
gently onto the windshield. There, she would listen to the hum of the engine
below her. She could imagine the serpentine belt rolling beside the alternator,
and it would conjure up images of the time she went to visit her friend in
Montreal and they stumbled upon the see-through printing area for the newspaper
La Presse somewhere near Rue Archembault, and they stared and stared and stared
at the massive conveyer until she was sure that if she were to lie on one
of the belts and follow the path of the blank print paper that she would be
swept into the news and come out in the midst of some chaotic protest in the
Middle East, or at least some place alone with Arthur Kent.
watching her daughter lie contemplatively on the windshield for a while, Susan
turned to her husband and queried, "Why on earth do you think she likes
it so much up there?"
thought about this for a moment. "She told me she does it to be closer
to the radiation, she says it helps her think."
were coming up on Picton now, and were about an hour and a half outside of
the Greater Toronto Area. The kids were starting to get restless in the back,
and Michael considered slipping in a DVD (his favourite Waiting to
Exhale) to calm the masses.
sign passed so quickly, that nobody was really able to process its significance
until they had just slipped by the indicated exit.
read: ISAIAH TUBBS INN AND RESORT, EXIT 24
sign was a Ministry of Transport Ontario model, with crisp white lettering
against a royal blue, reflective background. The governments logo, a
trillium flower bordered by the sort of rounded triangle you find in pool
halls, was pasted onto the lower left corner. The locals would tell you that
was the only part of the sign that ever got its reflective tape replaced on
a regular basis.
although sensing an increase in the concentration of ultraviolet light, missed
the sign completely. Jennifer was too busy driving and humming along to an
instrumental take of a Santana instrumental on Guitar Songs for Small Rooms
to catch it fully, while Michael was starting to feel some ill repercussions
from the newly formulated talc powder that had been squirted into his eyes
at work on Friday.
however, understood quickly and slammed on the brakes. The caravan went careening
onto the shoulder, sending Orion into a patch of Indian corn, which happens
to be the least forgiving strain.
Susan, I told you the kids brake option was a terrible idea!" exclaimed
I told them umpteen times that it was only for emergencies. They have them
in the subways! What if something were to happen to the two of us on a drive?
I am not having this argument with you again, now get out and find your daughter."
exited the vehicle and sloughed his way through the rows of pixilated vegetable.
He paused briefly to take a sip from his water bottle and have a nibble of
trail-mix, then headed off in the vague direction of his daughter. From the
ground, the corn didnt appear to be planted according to a set grid,
or any pattern for that matter, which made the search all the more difficult.
From the air, however, one could see the clearly the distinct outline of the
logo of the Montreal Canadiens hockey club, for the farmer who owned the land
was a Habs fan. As a matter of fact, he was bons amis with Gaston Gingras,
the journeyman defenseman who played for the Canadiens in the mid-1980s.
Gingras swore by the farmers corn, once proclaiming to a skeptical Larry
Robinson that the kernels were responsible for the ethereal pop to his slapshot.
eventually found her at the upper tip of the logos "C", her
body eerily curled up in the same shape of the letter she lay in. She was
slightly bruised, but otherwise ok, and they giddily made their way back through
the logorinth to the 401. Everybody in the car was quite excited to see them
and the trail-mix.
Oregano, would you please enlighten us as to why you felt it was necessary
to utilize the emergency brake?"
me? Isaiah who?"
Tubbs? Did he play basketball?"
I dont think so."
I think he did
with Budd Sugarman!"
I heard he has a parkette named after him somewhere. Ah, I loved to watch
that man dribble, smooth as Nabatean silk, supple as a camel in Canaan."
Michael reminisced, Oreo quickly did two web searches on her laptop under
the key words "Budd + Sugarman" and "Isaiah + Tubbs",
respectively. She was able to interrupt her father just as he was reaching
the part about Sugarman dishing to Tubbs for a behind-the-back triple saucau
theres nothing on the internet about Budd Sugarman, cept for some
drug paraphernalia. No wait, there is a parkette named after him at, uh, Rosedale
subway station in Toronto. But it says here the parkette was named for a homeless
man who used to sleep there. And Isaiah Tubbs wasnt a basketball player,
its the name of some resort and inn not that far from here."
silently cursed the internet for its voracity in veracity, then checked out
the photo of the Inn. It was listed as having 84 bedrooms, a sauna, pool,
tennis courts, on-site masseuse, and most importantly, a Restaurant on the
Knoll. It also made mention of several theme week-ends, and encouraged people
to call for updated information on these special occasions.
may I please have your cellular telephone?"
who had been in the midst of a call (antennae down, of course), grudgingly
got off the phone and tossed it to her father. She then pulled out her smokes.
punched in the required digits and waited. After a couple of rings a polite
Tubbs Inn and Resort. Were not just another hole, we feature the Restaurant
on the Knoll. How may I help you?"
hi, this is Michael Malkin speaking. Im here on the side of the 401
with my family and I was just wondering what theme you might be having this
week-end at your establishment?"
was a short pause before the voice resumed. "Ooooh, well, were
trying a new one. Were calling it the Relativity Speaking Week-end."
chuckled at this.
do I know what you mean," he said, "we here in the Malkin family
often have Relatively Little Speaking Amongst Relatives Week-ends."
woman at the other end chuckled at this.
they both chuckled together.
you tell me a bit about what the week-end would entail?"
Mr. Malkin, but I dont want to give away too much. Suffice it to say
there will be a lot of Science, and with Science comes Truth and Understanding.
And if Truth and Understanding isnt enough for you, then we have Space
Miss, that sounds great! If you have room for five people at your little resort
there, then wed love to come and stay."
Malkins piled back into the minivan and headed onto the 401 East. They excitedly
kept an eye out for West Lake Road, aka County Road #12, and when they finally
found it Michael passed out sweets and cakes.
voluptuous county road dipped and swerved, and Michael was pleased with the
vans handling. It had been an impulse buy; after toiling away for hours
at one of the many one-of-a-kind craft shows his wife drags him to, he had
finally decided that hed had enough of hand-painted, pastel-coloured,
inverted tire-mirrors and rushed to the nearest Pontiac dealer to buy something
mass-produced with four right-side-out tires, a rear-view mirror, two side
mirrors and a transmission, all for about the same cost as one of those "art
been driving for about 20 minutes when Oregano first spotted what looked to
be a ferris wheel gently rising into the air like a hot air balloon, unhinged,
rotating along its slope. It broke the cloudline, disseminating some wisps
of mist, and then disappeared from sight. At about the same time, coming from
within the cloud mass, another ferris wheel appeared. It punctured through
the lower layer of the line and gracefully rolled downwards towards the earth.
road led them past several abandoned farmhouses and a row of silos. After
they cleared the corner, the resort came into full view. It was sprawled out
in a natural valley, with intricate systems of levers and pulleys attached
to the treetops, and buildings peppered throughout the enclave.
were greeted at the gate by a reasonable facsimile of Simeon Poisson, the
scientist who developed the eponymous Poisson distribution, which describes
the probability that a random event will occur in a time or space interval
under the conditions that the probability of the event occurring is very small,
but the number of trials is very large so that the event actually occurs a
bonjour! Welcome! Welcome!"
cherubic Poisson was smiling broadly. He was decked out in period costume
replete with taffeta necktie, tubular trousers, and a welt-pocketed sack coat.
are the odds, what are the odds" he exclaimed, "that you would by
chance end up here at Isaiah Tubbs Inn and Resort! Another confirmation of
my distribution. I am unstoppable. I am hero!"
this proclamation he levered himself into the air and clacked his heels together,
a gesture that Orion felt was superfluous and tacky. She wondered where they
had found the actor. The pick of Picton no doubt.
follow me, suivez-moi, I will take you to the Hepburn building and get you
grounds were teeming with faux-scientists. To their right, Copernicus was
spitting watermelon seeds into a creek, while Kepler and Galileo were tossing
a baseball around. Maxwell was on his cellphone, and Gauss was eating a macaroon.
Newton was out of sight, busy experimenting with the planetary globes of one
of the guests.
Hepburn room was decorated in a black-light-rendered galaxial motif. Oregano
immediately pointed out that Oreo had applied chapstick on her nose, and Orion
instinctively moved closer to the source. Michael was amused at how the cartoon
characters on his Warner Bros. denim shirt were fluorescing a feature
he would have gladly paid extra for.
and stars swirled around them. Susan started pondering her insignificance
as a mere mote in the face of the vastness of the universe. She thought about
writing a poem. The alpha cluster blinked and purred.
basked in the ultra-violet glow of the light. She was reminded of a first-year
Physics course she had taken in which the professor was describing various
ideas about how the universe originated and how a basic tenet of physics is
that nothing can become of nothing, and trying to reconcile this theory with
an explanation for how the universe began. Trying to wrap her head around
concepts such as anti-matter and energy fields and quantum spin. A cat in
a box is both there and not there. A switch is both on and off. The course
started causing her actual physical pain. Physics pain. New pain. Pressure
in the temples, upset stomach, and a slew of other idiosyncratic ailments.
She was diagnosed with having irritable bowel syndrome, a terrible region
to be short-tempered, and eventually dropped the course in an attempt to stave
off chronic illness.
woman at the desk smiled and greeted them warmly, she was almost effervescent,
an aura accentuated by the purple glow of her exceptionally large teeth.
there! Are you the family that just called? Malkins? Are you related to Sandy
and Richard? From Philadelphia? No? Ok, we have a room for you in the Bayhaven
cottages. The kids have their own room with two singles and a cot. Theres
a fireplace, a colour TV with digital feed, and a hair dryer. We offer room
service from the Restaurant on the Knoll, and you are within walking distance
to Adolphus Beach. We also offer day trips to Waupoos and Big Island. You
can book those here the morning of. Here are your keys, checkout time depends
on your dimension
hee, hee, oh its just a theme joke
its 11am. Let me call Kevin, I mean Lorentz, hell show you to
your room and tell you about our events this week-end."
Malkin was beaming. It seemed that here he had finally found the elusive combination
of education and fun that no CD-ROM had been able to produce, not even Funbrains
Math Baseball, though that one was pretty good.
appeared quickly. He was about 17 years old, and was doing this as a summer
job in order to save money for university. He vowed that once he reached the
age of 23, he would never again take a job that required period costume. He
launched into a prepared speech:
What is Science? Is Science a powerful tool with which we can understand the
world and beyond? An optical fibre driven into the organs of our universe?
A submersible vessel dropped to the depths of our galactic trench? Or is it
fallacious and salacious? A tool used by the infidels to wipe divinity from
humanitys conciousness? This has been a question that has been debated
for many centuries, and it would be crass of me to suggest that I might have
an answer here for you at the present time. However, we here at the Isaiah
Tubbs Inn and Resort feel that regardless of your theoretical leanings in
this matter, it is important to honour the 100th anniversary of the discovery
of the theory of relativity by Albert Einstein. Thus, we have created a unique
accommodation experience centred around this magnificent entity. Join us tonight,
at the Restaurant on the Knoll, for what promises to be a time-bending affair!"
finished his homily and took a bow, leaving the Malkins alone in their cottage.
"You sure are sweetie, you sure are."
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