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"I think I will have that brandy, Mr. Darwin."
Darwin patted my shoulder and left to pour my drink. I didn't think about what I did. If I'd given it a thought, I wouldn't have done it.
Once upon a time, there was a man who was given a plug of caesium to use as a bomb. The caesium was coated in gel and rendered safe until the gel was dissolved in water. No one bothered to tell the man about the explosive nature of the caesium, seeing as he was just a plaything. This man being the type to look into his own well-being, went to a library and reviewed books on chemistry and learned the nature of the caesium and the gel it was encased in. This man also learned that caesium was safe as long as it made no contact with water. This man harvested some of the caesium, using a syringe he'd procured from a doctor and kitchen matches to reseal the gel capsule the main plug was housed in. The initial purpose of the caesium syringe was simple. The man was worried about his sweetheart and two acquaintances, and thought a little explosive power might be good to knock out a lock. A little alkali, a little spit and boom.
When the time came, the man found himself with keys to the door. The lock bursting syringe was not necessary. In fact, he forgot about it all together. And it sat, hidden in the lining of his jacket until... well... until today.
I withdrew the caesium syringe, uncapped it, and pumped the entire contents into the Swan's lock. She stopped and watched me. At some point they had replaced the eye I had shattered. The Swan watched me in silence, her jaw moving up and down. Maybe she was trying to speak, or breathe, or maybe that's just what the animatronic animal did. I coated the inside of the lock and replaced the empty syringe into the lining of my jacket. Darwin entered with my brandy.
"On second thought, Charles, I really best be on my way."
For a second Darwin looked crestfallen, but then he remembered his dignity.
"Right, do come back if you're in need of work."
I gave him a wink.
I left his office, his building, his campus. Maybe Mary and I can make it to Budapest, or maybe Paris, or America. Anywhere but here. Because the air in Oxford is far too moist, and one day that caesium will reach its limit, and maybe then Mr. Darwin will learn the true nature of chaos.
About the Author.
Nathan L. Yocum is an author, teacher, and entrepreneur living in the jungles of Hawai'i.
As a writer Nathan's inspirations include Kurt Vonnegut, Cormac McCarthy, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Charles Bukowski, but admits that the list goes on and on.
Nathan is also the editor-in-chief of SpecLit Masters Magazine, an eZine featuring the best in new speculative short fiction, as well as an award winning screenwriter for Catbrain Film Factory.
His first novel, The Zona, was published via Curiosity Quills Press in February, 2012.