April, 2012
























Potts' Peak page 3

Potts wasn't quite sure what to make of his new surroundings, but it was gradually dawning on him that perhaps these 10 old souls had been here for a considerable time and maybe even were stuck here. Did that mean that Potts was stuck here also?

"Not to pry, but have you been here long?"

"Yes and no."

A considerable pause ensued before Potts replied. "Elucidate please."

"Certainly. Two of us have been here for more years than one cares to admit, and the rest of us drifted here one at a time over the past fifty years. That's fifty years in your time, not our time."

"Did you all arrive as I did? I don't see any other umbrellas."

"No, you're the first,

"So, um, where am I?"

"You're here, just like the rest of us."

"Yes but, where exactly is here?"

"Not sure."

Potts would have shifted from one foot to the other except that he was floating in the air. " Do you know approximately where we are?"

"Well of course we do."

Now we're getting somewhere thought Potts. After a few more moments of silence than might be expected in a conversation Potts finally asked, "And where approximately is it that we are?"

"As near as we can tell, and assuming that we've corrected properly for deviations in the observed speed of light and the general upward curve of the space-time continuum in this general area, we're about just below the Van Allen belts and about over New Jersey. Give or take"

"You see," continued another old man, "we're not 100% sure because it seems like light waves bend away from us so we really can't see much out there."

"So, if you know how you got here and you know approximately where you are then why don't you return?"

"We couldn't figure out how to return. Otherwise we certainly would have by know. You, however, don't know how you got here so you also don't know that you can't return. We were thinking that perhaps we could return with you when you leave. Providing of course that you're going back down and not planning on continuing up, which by the way isn't possible, but that's another story."

"Don't tell him," shouted another old scientist, "You might skew our chances in the wrong direction."

"I wasn't going to tell him, do you think I'm daft?"

The room quieted for a moment. Potts had the impression that these old physicists followed the rule 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all'.

Presently one broke the silence. "So, are you ready to go?"

Potts pondered for a moment and replied, "if you were me how would you return?"

"If I told you then you wouldn't be able to because I don't know how and I know I don't know how. The more important question then is 'How would you return?"

Potts considered that question for a moment. Then he considered his answer and presently an idea occurred to him. "It's fairly certain that I'm here because of my umbrella, so it would follow that I could go back because of my umbrella."

"Yes, do go on."

"It's also clear that there was some conjunction of effects which began when I thrust my closed umbrella upwards in exuberance over a glorious day. Two things which I am not accustomed to do, making it likely that one or the other or both are key to my being here and hence to my return."

"Precisely. Continue."

Potts pondered his two seemingly unrelated events which were related to each other in time and space. I normally don't have my umbrella closed, what's the point of that? If you need the umbrella then it's open, if you don't need it then why have it? Furthermore, since I didn't need it yet I had it, it was because of a glorious day without rain, the likes of which also caused my exuberance. Therefore, the glorious day is behind all this which makes three events tied in concert and each having it's own contribution to the outcome. As I'm an accountant, not a physicist, the key is in the numbers and the sum, not in the theories and the postulates. Otherwise these ten quantum physicists would have worked it out by now. Three simultaneous related events each taken one, two or three at a time gives seven outcomes, yet I'm only looking for two, one to come and one to go. Clearly one of the events is not important, but which one?

Potts considered and reconsidered his possibilities. Eventually his gaze fell upon the stained glass windows along the walls of the church. Ah ha! that's it.

"Just out of curiosity, how is it that there's a church here?"

"Well, when Evelyn had her epiphany she was sitting in a pew in the front of this very church. Fortunately, no one else was in the church at the time, because the church rose right along with Evelyn."

"Yes, but why a church? Surely others of you were indoors during your deliberations yet there's no other buildings here."

This time it was the brilliant physicists who were left to ponder. "Yes, why a church, why not Ballmer Hall? That's where I was."

"Hmm. I also was indoors, yet I came without my building. As a matter of fact I had to float out the front door to come, the building wasn't budging."

Potts couldn't leave them hanging any longer. "Look, I normally don't float and I normally don't have my umbrella over my head and closed. It's normally open. The important thing here is the tip of the umbrella, that's where the fabric of the space time continuum was bent, not torn nor pierced, nor simply pushed up, it was bent severely, just like it was at the point of the church steeple."

"Of course."

"That means that the umbrella was one of the two events and the other was either the thrust or the glorious day. Well, if we're going home then it has to be the thrust because there's no sunlight on the windows so this would hardly be considered to be a glorious day."

"Who's coming?"

Eight hands rose.

"You all go, I'll stay incase you need to come back, I'll keep the tea on the stove," spoke Isaac.

"I also will stay, can't leave you here all alone, old timer," added Leibnitz.

The eight physicist and Potts floated to the foyer, grabbed each other hand to ankle with Potts and his umbrella at the fore. As soon as the last of the chain passed out the door, Potts opened his umbrella and thrust it upwards, causing all of them to drift ever so slightly down, thereby causing the peak of the bend in the space time continuum to also bend ever so slightly down over the top of the umbrella, flattening as it went. The more it flattened the lower they sank and the lower they sank the more it flattened.

In no time the church became a dot above them and the ground below them came dimly into view. Gradually they could make out features on the ground and carefully selected a patch of green grass to aim for.

"Are we going too fast?" asked someone near the bottom of the chain, which was now the end towards the earth.

"It'll be OK, I have a firm grip on the umbrella," replied Potts.

Sure enough, the umbrella slowed their descent just like a parachute and the whole of them landed in a pile in the grass in front of Ballmer Hall, incidentally setting the Guinness record for the tallest pile of astrophysicists.

Un-piling themselves, the nine of them shuffled off each in their own direction. As far as I know none of the have repeated their experiments which caused them each to float off into space and Potts has refrained from displays of exuberance.

To this day, if you look skyward you may notice a faint blue flicker of light, not enough to be a planet or a star but close enough to see. You just might be watching the blue flame heating Isaac and Leibnitz's tea water through a window of the church.

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