Strange the oddities you can find in the attic of a refurbished home. I was told that the previous owners of my house were eccentric, by five different neighbors, no less, but this was never more evident to me than when I found a bottle in my attic.
“Remover,” the label said.
Immediately, curiosity filled me. “Why,” I said, “this must be half a label. I cannot tell what it removes, or how to remove it.”
And being a scientist, I decided to test this vial of liquid. Such was my downfall, for reasons I will get to.
I uncorked the bottle and a vile smell spilled forth. Unperturbed (for I have worked with many a chemical), I wafted some of the air toward my face. The smell was not recognizable. I reached into my pocket for a gauze mask, which I always carried, and put it on my face. Same for my goggles, which I always had. You never know when you might hit a pocket of chlorine gas, even when cleaning an attic.
I dropped a single drop of the liquid on the nearest object I found, a broken chair. The most peculiar thing happened. I expected one of two results, either nothing would happen, or the chair would be eaten away just a little. But with a pop, the chair did something I have not known chairs to do often. It vanished.
I’ll admit, I might have shrieked, and it wasn’t a “eureka” that I shouted.
I reached for the chair, but it was really gone. No trick of the eyes to account for. And well, that just didn’t make sense. How had this vial differentiated between the chair and the floor? There was no mark on the plywood boards of the attic. For that matter, how did the drop cover the whole chair? Why didn’t it stop at the seat of the chair, rather than also devouring the legs? What madness was this?
As a scientist, I had no choice but to continue. My next target was a hideous old vase. It, too, vanished with a pop. I kept my composure this time.
“Hm,” I said, “Not just wood remover, but also glass, and–”
I stopped and realized my error. I had stumbled across a logic problem. If this was glass remover, how was it that the glass vial it rested in was not removed itself?
What madness! I had ended up in a logic book!
I set the vial down and hurried to find pen and paper. What I had discovered could rewrite science itself, could redefine our knowledge of the world! Or destroy it. I was scribbling my thoughts with furious passion when Clay walked up the stairs.
“Hello, old friend!” he said. “How goes it?”
I paused in my writing. “Friend, what are you doing here?” I asked with a smile.
“But your job in London,” I said, “Are you on vacation?”
“I am there too!” he said.
My smile fell away. “Egads, man, are you drunk? It cannot be that you are in two places at once.”
He tilted his head. “Why not?”
“Because it can’t!” I cried. “We are scientists! Logicians! And– And enough of this foolishness. You jest with me. Come, see this.”
Clay walked over to the table. “Remover, huh?” he said, seeing the label.
“Yes, and it dissolves glass into thin air.”
“I see,” he said.
“But yet, the vial is not damaged in any way. Have you a hypothesis?”
Clay nodded. “Why does it have to dissolve the vial in the first place?”
“Because it’s glass!” I roared. “Keep up, Clay. If the liquid dissolved glass, and it is in a glass jar, it must dissolve it!”
“Only if you apply logic to it,” Clay said.
Then my folly dawned on me, and I staggered back against a ceiling joist. “No,” I said. “It can’t be.”
“Can, cannot,” Clay said. “I came over to see if you’d like to have dinner. The me in London is paying.”
I swallowed and nodded. “Dinner and a drink,” I said.
I went out with him and tried to forget, tried not to think about the vial in my attic. It was dangerous, too dangerous. I had applied logic and science to them, and the liquid had removed a great portion of those things from existence. The world became more chaotic, and it was all my doing.
If you see something that doesn’t make logical sense, I am to blame. God help me, I didn’t know. God help us all.
The third short snippet for my site. What a strange little story. I guess we all know who to blame for odd political events now.
See you around,