Author : J. S. Kachelries

“Well, what do you think?” asked my roommate, with a grin that appeared to cover almost half of his disheveled face.

“About what, Jim?” I replied, while pretending to ignore the large polished chrome sphere sitting between us, in the middle of our kitchen table.

“Come on, Isaac. What do you think of my doctorate project, The Graviton Shield?”

“It looks a metal basketball to me. What’s it supposed to do?”

“Besides win me a Noble Prize? Well, when I activate it, it will become unaffected by gravitational fields.”

“You mean it will float?”

He laughed. “Of course not, you idiot. You Liberal Arts majors really crack me up. It still has inertia. You know…Newton’s first law. It must continue to move in a strait line in whatever direction it was moving when I threw the switch. Do you know what direction that will be? Hell, of course you don’t. Look, the Earth rotates in 24 hours. At our latitude, we’re moving at about 700 miles per hour. Without Earth’s gravity holding it down, the GS Ball will drift upward toward the west. He pointed toward the top of the refrigerator. In addition, the Earth also orbits around the sun. Let’s see, that’s 587,000,000 miles in 365.25 days. That’s 67,000 miles per hour. At this time of day, the Ball will continue to move toward Epsilon Tau.” He pointed toward the window above the sink. “Of course, we’re also revolving around the center of the Milky Way. Let’s see…that’s…”

“OK, OK, I get it. Just tell me where to stand, so it won’t hit me if it actually moves.”

“Oh, you’re fine right where you are. The battery will only last about 30 seconds. Just long enough to prove it works.” He reached over and flipped the toggle switch on the top of the Ball. But the Ball didn’t move. Regardless, Jim jumped up and began to dance around the kitchen, cheering and shouting “Oh yea, oh yea, I knew it. Take that bitch!”

“Whoa, Jim. Calm down. It didn’t work.”

“Don’t you guys take any science classes? Of course it worked. Had everybody, including my ex-girlfriend, been correct, that Ball should have exited the kitchen, stage right. But it didn’t. Don’t you see what that means? Duh, I guess I’ll have to explain that to you too. Mary Jane, my ex, said I was a self centered, egotistical, narcissistic bastard, who thought the universe revolved around him…..What, you still don’t understand? The Ball didn’t move! God, you’re slow. If the center of the universe was really somewhere out there in the cosmos, we’d have a hole in kitchen wall. Therefore, I must be the center of the universe. Everything does revolve around me. I’ve got to send her an IM.” He reached under the table and brought out his laptop.

I sat there motionless while I tried to decide if I should call the psychotic helpline, or just get up and run like hell. That’s when I noticed that the Ball was moving very slowly to my left. Although I hadn’t noticed until now, it had actually moved about a foot since Jim had flipped the switch, right down the center of the table. As I carefully watched its path, it began to curve away from me as its battery began to die. Huh, I thought, it looks like it’s trying to make a big circle, a little bigger than a hula-hoop, with Jim smack dab in the middle. “Well, I’ll be damned!”

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