tcepsa: (Inconceivable!)
Smithson held himself closely to a writing ritual. His workdays always consisted of the same steps, though he let himself vary somewhat on the details. For example, first he prepared himself a beverage. Perhaps water, perhaps tea, perhaps coffee, perhaps a can of root beer or, on rare and adventurous occasions, perhaps a mug of his most recent batch of kefir mead. Drink in hand, he would enter his study. It was a beautiful room, all full of dark hardwoods and books and fun little toys and gizmos scattered about. He had purchased most of the items himself, though some had been sent to him by friends or fans, and he had even made a couple of them personally. Many of them were clockwork gadgets of some sort, and the overall effect was very reminiscent of something from the Victorian era, when the world was just beginning to discover the wonderful, crazy, ridiculously dangerous things it could do with steam. He would pause a moment to survey the room, relishing the glow of the light off of the wood and the smell of the books, before crossing to his desk and lowering himself into his chair. He would place his beverage on the clay coaster his daughter had made for him and consider for the umpteenth time whether there was a way to consult her, without hurting her feelings, about whether she had deliberately constructed it to look as though he had just crushed some large insect with his glass or if that part was just a Rorschach coincidence. If the former, he would wonder, what did that say about his daughter's mind? If the latter, what did it say about his own? He would then shake his head and, if he had prepared himself a hot beverage, set a little Stirling engine on top. It was a beautiful engine, all brass and crystal and shining steel, and after he put it in motion it would let him know by its slowing that his drink had cooled enough for him to consume it.

That having been done, he would turn on The Machine. )

To be continued?
tcepsa: (Inconceivable!)
"All right then, what do you have here?"

"Ha! You'll like this. Have a look!"

"What, you mean this little pebble here?"

"Precisely! Oop, careful though, under no circumstances do you want to set it off accidentally!"

"Oh? What is it?"

"I call it 'Solid Phlogiston'!"

"Oh come now, the theory of phlogiston was disproven a few years ago!"

"You know I know that. I just wanted something that was was adequately descriptive. Imagine, for a moment, it turned out that phlogiston was real, and that you could some how compress it, solidify it, freeze it--"

"Frozen essence of heat? That's as ridiculous as your dehydrated water idea!"

"If you'll please let me finish? Thank you. As I was saying, if you could solidify it, then I am reasonably certain it would have properties similar to that 'pebble' you hold."

"Surely you jest! Nothing this size could hold that kind of energy."

"Before now. I hope to sell it to the railways; they could get farther on this than an entire car of coal."

"Come now, that's impossible. You'll be the laughingstock of the city! My good friend, you've been cooped up back here for too long; come on, won't you join me for a cup of coffee?"

"Tea, thank you, and no, thank you. I have not yet quite perfected the process, but since you are obviously still unconvinced I believe a demonstration is in order. If you would be so kind as to hand it to me, I will show you!"

[Insert harrowing yet hilarious description of how it goes horribly wrong and they barely make it out of the workshop alive. Possibly save the shop, possibly not. They collapse outside, dirty and disheveled, and take several minutes to catch their breath.]

"Now then, do you still think 'Solid Phlogiston' is a misnomer?"

"No, but I am beginning to suspect despite your startlingly astute grasp of language that you may very well be quite mad."

EDIT: Changed last sentence so it no longer has "starting" and "startlingly" so trippingly close together ^_^ And removed one of the instances of 'that'...
tcepsa: (Inconceivable!)
[Setup about how a couple entered the restaurant, description of what they looked like, note that the woman was very focused on her knitting, and that the man took care of putting their names in, steering her to a place to stand while they waited, guided her to the table when it was their turn to be seated, and helped her take her chair. At no point during this does she look up, say anything, or indicate awareness of the world around her.]

It had been a long day for Emilia. [description of travails] So when the young man stopped her before she could even begin to ask what they would like to drink, she almost said something sharp and probably unwise to him. But there was something about him, a tension in his face and an urgency in his voice as he cut her off while still remaining intensely focused on the woman across from him, that made Emilia stop.

"Wait," he repeated, "just until the end of this row. Please. It's terribly important."

So she did, looking at the woman, waiting curiously. There didn't seem to be anything particularly special about the work she was doing; some lace pattern that she couldn't really follow. The man had lapsed into complete silence, all of his attention directed at the needles, watching every loop, every stitch, every movement as the woman worked.

Finally, she finished the row, and as the last stitch slipped from needle to needle he breathed a deep sigh of relief and visibly relaxed, as if someone had pulled a plug in one of his shoes and all of the tension was draining out of him. The woman busied herself putting the knitting away, and Emilia was overcome by curiosity.

"What was that all about?" she asked the man.

He looked up at her, "You know how some physicists talk about the fabric of spacetime, and how they're interwoven and everything?"

"Um... sure?" Emilia wasn't really sure what he was talking about, but she vaguely recalled hearing something about that on the radio or news or somewhere.

"Well, they're close, but they're wrong."

"Oh?"

"Spacetime isn't woven," he said, glancing meaningfully at the woman across from him, "it's knit."

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