Author : David Botticello
“How was your vacation, Professor?” Huxley asked, glancing from the display in front of her.
“Oh, you know the Paradise Worlds, they always leave you feeling so relaxed…and yet unfulfilled at the same time,” responded Professor Tibbetz, nodding in acknowledgment to the other lab assistants. There were two of them—cosmology just didn’t attract the same crowds as physics, chemistry, biology, or actually any of the other disciplines. Even economics.
The professor sighed, nostalgic already. “So, how fares the monkey habitat? Have they done anything interesting in my absence?”
At this Huxley brightened—the monkeys were her pet project, so to speak. It was an effort to silence the critics really. See, theoretical cosmology was all well and good, but every so often the religious organizations would react to pure theory in a manner that was..less than encouraging. The last time, several years ago now, the critics had gone and done something rather rash. They had asked for proof. It was a new tactic, to be sure. And so, the cheerily dubbed ‘Infinite Monkey Project’ began. The hubbub all centered on a thought experiment: in theory, if infinite monkeys were given infinite typewriters and infinite time, they would eventually type out the entire works of the great poets, completely by accident.
Funding had been a nightmare, but eventually, a pocket universe was created and a world placed there. The trick was spinning up the time cycle so that it wouldn’t take forever.
And then a week before Professor Timmetz’ sabbatical, it was ready. An infinite number of monkeys was, sadly, beyond their meager budget—they went with ten thousand, figuring that the monkeys could reproduce and they could always warp in new typewriters.
The horrible little creatures had promptly smashed their typewriters, and by the time he was leaving on vacation they were busy sharpening the debris into weapons. He let the students handle it. It was an annoying project anyway.
“So, you remember how they broke all the typewriters we gave them?” asked Huxley.
Her professor nodded gravely.
“Well, we didn’t want to give them more; they were killing each other with the ones they already had. So we left them alone, hoping their violence was a temporary phenomenon. And when I came in on Wednesday, they had discovered fire, and were busy torching their forests.” Noting the professor’s unimpressed face, she continued on hurriedly, “but then yesterday, just when I was leaving, they started making their own typewriters. Not as good as ours, to be sure, but really, quite impressive. I was just going to look into it when you came in.”
“Ah, yes Huxley, good. Carry on.” Professor Timmetz had almost escaped into his office when the student spoke up again.
“Uh, professor? They…I think they did it. I’m getting text here. The script is a bit strange but, this is systematic, metered…it’s poetry.”
Professor Timmetz turned, surprise and alarm measuring simultaneously on his face, much to the amusement of the other students. His brow furrowed as a scanned the data hurriedly, moving inexorably toward the same conclusion the student had made. “Um…what…hmmm. Which monkey did this, exactly?”
“Right,” Huxley tapped a few parameters into the console. “Here it is, it looks like,” she paused, pondering at the pronunciation of a monkey language before deciding it didn’t really matter, “his name is Shakespeare.”