Getting Physical

Members of the Physics Club met on a Saturday evening to discuss, debate and deliberate on important developments in the field. I called the meeting to order.

First, we decided on the agenda for the Meet. While some wanted to discuss quantum mechanics and string theory, others wanted to debate the advisability of using dill pickle in their cheeseburgers. The latter turned out a hot topic but after half an hour of discussion no consensus was reached.

The meeting after this turned into a free-for-all with some of the choicest epithets cloaked in technical terms being bombarded as though with a cyclotron on the members. One person f’rinstance hurled on another a most unsavoury differential equation which loosely translated into dolt. When I reprimanded the guilty party he turned on me and called me an opprobrious formula which I have yet to simplify and solve. If it turns out to mean what I suspect it does I’ll have to express myself firmly to him with suitable permutations of letters of the alphabet.

After this the chaos theory was well proved and all I can say is that the entropy of the group as a system tended rather to rise. So also the tempers.

It ended with me limping home with several lumps on the head.

Hubble telescope…
the photo noise deciphered as
an ad for Coke

Gautam Nadkarni

Getting Physical

Warps And Gorpps

When Glibb X came across a cloud of smoke appearing out of nowhere and decided to step into it for a lark he little knew he was stepping into a time warp. That’s the fancy word they use for a crack in space-time.

Suddenly Glibb found himself falling with a thud to the bottom of a molehill. When he looked up he knew there was something different in his surroundings. And that’s putting it mildly. Because the concrete metropolis around him had been replaced by a prehistoric setting. And he knew about prehistoric settings. He had seen ‘em all in Hollywood blockbusters.

Even as he looked up a couple of Neanderthals wielding clubs turned the corner. One of them spotting him shrieked in horror and almost fainted. Then he collected himself.

“Do you see what I see?” he asked his equally flabbergasted companion. The companion could only say weakly, “Gee, I dunno…”

This interested Glibb immensely.

“Do you fellows actually speak English? The Queen’s own English?” he asked the Neanderthals.

“Listen, wise guy,” said the taller of the two cavemen. “Kindly desist…refrain from making racist cracks.”

Glibb blushed at the compliment and said, “I’m from millions of years in the future. We didn’t know you chaps were so advanced as to speak English.”

This had the cavemen slapping their thighs and guffawing.

Then the shorter man said, “But seriously, we two are school dropouts. The dudes with the degrees speak a more advanced language.”

And they were still laughing when they disappeared in a puff of smoke.

my time machine too small
for a Brontosaurus


Gautam Nadkarni

Warps And Gorpps

The Vegetable Option

My father is seventy-eight today. Every year I bring him for dinner on his birthday. Dinner in the middle of the day. He is a countryman. This year he looks different.

his chest shrinking
it is too big for him now
my fathers jacket


I bought my grave, he announces.
Did you?
I did, he says. Four hundred and fifty euros. In Burgess.
So you have land in Burgess now!
Oh I do, he says. That’s a good one, land in Burgess.
Do you have to look after it in the meantime? I ask.
I dunno, he says. I haven’t thought about that.
You should use it, I say. Grow some vegetables maybe.
He laughs at that.
That’s a good one, he says. I could grow parsnips.


Sean O’Connor

The Vegetable Option

Channel 7 Exclusive: Persephone Tells All

a butterfly
peaking out of its chrysalis—
#MeToo emerging

Persephone: The myths have it wrong. Hades didn’t trick me into eating his pomegranate. I tricked him. Power over death? A chance to save Teleus?

Homer: Teleus?

Persephone: Yes, Teleus. Great-grandson of Ares? Nothing like Ares, except if you’re threatening an innocent. Anyway, Hades was my way to save him. You’d be surprised how a few flowers can brighten up Tartaros. Fire, this. Ashes, that…

Homer: What did you do? How did you trick Hades?

Persephone: Hades hated Teleus, denying him loyal servants in Tartaros. Gosh. Well, anyway, when they grabbed me in the field, I screamed. I pouted. I even slapped Hades. Mother played her part well, even causing a famine over my loss.

Homer: Your mother, Demeter? Yes, those were hard times. I’m sure the audience remembers that famine and all the death that followed.

Persephone: One night, while Hades was playing with his dog, I snuck up on him, dressed in lingerie and carrying a pomegranate.

Homer: Ah, the pomegranate.

Persephone: So, Hades takes one look at me and drops the 3-ring chew toy—Cerberos loves fetching that toy. I tell him that I’ll eat it if he does one thing for me. I place his hands on the bottom of my slip. Predictably, he says he’ll do anything. The whole Underworld is mine if I’ll take that bite.

Homer: No!

Persephone: Yes! And then I put him in a headlock. Me for Teleus. Call off the hit.

Homer: A headlock? What happened next? Did Hades call off the hit?

Persephone: It took a few hours of sexy Underworld jiujitsu, but he finally caved. And I ate that infamous seed, sealing our deal.

Homer: And Demeter went to Zeus to ask for your release.

Persephone: Yes. It’s not like Hades was going to admit that I beat him in combat. And now I can live topside with Teleus for 8 months a year while Hades sulks. I even get Cerberos every other weekend. He loves the park over on 8th. When Teleus enters Tartaros—hopefully not for a very long time—I’ll stay there longer. Maybe even embrace the whole Queen of the Dead thing. Who knows? I’m still young.

Homer: Yes, you are. Well, there it is, folks. You hear it from Channel 7 first!

a royal flush—
rewriting mine, too


Colleen M. Farrelly

Channel 7 Exclusive: Persephone Tells All


Genesis, dusk . . .

With the sweet crunch still fresh in his mouth, Adam perceives a change.  A cool breeze causes him to shudder.  He sees traces of dirt packed into the cracks of his palm and feels like a golem, clay brought to life, raw form kneaded as bread into a shapely husk, and yet, forever dust, coming from dust and to dust returning . . .

After cryptology . . .

Anunnaki writes the shem, a name for God, on a scrap of papyrus and inserts the honied text into a golem’s mouth.  Like Pinocchio coming to life, the golem speaks, “Aye,” turning into a man, almost.  Then Anunnaki writes emet, truth, on his forehead, so he’ll never tell a lie and warns him, “I can cut the aleph from your inscription, creature, changing it from truth to death, emet to met.”  But the golem only stares back with his sunken eyes, illiterate, uncomprehending . . .

WWII . . .

The Nazi scales the synagogue stairs, determined to find the golem, forged from clay from the Vltava River bank then awakened through rabbinical ritual—a golem who can raise the dead and become invisible.  A bolshevist’s puppet, the Nazi thinks, teeth clenched, a demonic fiend who challenges the swastika, a murderous rapist who lost at love, hidden in the synagogue attic (a place no Nazi should trod alone).

He opens the door.  He scans the darkness.  He raises his knife, careful on his shiny black jackboots.  When the golem springs from the shadows, monstrous as a gargoyle, the Nazi slashes at the inscription, scratching off the aleph, changing emet to met, truth to death.  The Nazi turns to ash in the synagogue’s burning, but the golem escapes into the night, the crystalline, starry, starry night.

blood moon
what a single spark
will do


Anna Cates