Here’s my take on Peter Wyn Mosey’s – writing prompt #18. Thanks, Peter, I went with the 2nd writing prompt “Small things have the biggest effects”. There’s a bit of serendipity at play here as the idea for this came to me while walking Archer this morning. When I saw the prompt well … it spurred me on to scribble something down. (~450 words).
“Like a butterfly, flapping its wing?”
“No, it’s never been a butterfly,” I tried to not roll my eyes. Always with the bloody butterflies. You tell someone you can pinpoint the cause of weather and before you know it they’re rabbiting on about butterflies and chaos theory. Christ, if I’d bought into that bullshit, I wouldn’t be standing here with a cool million in the bank clutching my Nobel Prize medal. I also wouldn’t have to be answering inane questions from the world’s press. I guess it’s a small price.
I nod to an eager reporter. Not chaos. Not chaos.
Fuck it! “Let me stop you there, Michael is it?”
Michael sits down. A too-bright flash goes off in my face. I try to smile through it. “I’ve never been a fan of the theory. To me, it’s smacks of fatalism, not science. Just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. How many previous recipients of this prestigious prize have demonstrated that?”
Another voice. “Professor, can you enlighten us to some of your more recent discoveries?”
I like this one. That’s an interesting question. “Of course. Hurricane Laura, last month, we tracked the source of that down to human activity. Specifically, a lady who sneezed in Rio de Janeiro on the 8th November at 4:54:16 local time.”
”How can you be so sure, professor?” somebody calls out.
“How?” I repeated, stroking my medal. It’s showtime, time to dazzle. “At the point the computer modelling allowed us to literally track atoms it just came down to processing power. Quantum processors solved that, allowed us to run almost infinite permutations. Forget big-data, we like to talk about immense-data.”
“Is there any room for error in your calculations, Professor?”
Who is that? It’s the same reporter. I still can’t see her. What’s she after? “Hardly! They don’t give you one of these,” I hold up my shiny medal. “for just getting close.”
There she is. I can see her now. She’s smiling at me, it’s not a pleasant smile. “What’s your response to Maria Oliveira, Professor?”
“Maria Olivera. She’s the woman you mentioned. CCTV footage confirms she was the one. She’s being sued by the families of the victims of hurricane Laura, Professor!”
What? Shit. Thank god the lights are on her. I’m sweating. Who’s leaked the name? Crap! The spotlight’s back on me. I can hear a pin drop. No, not a pin, it’s my medal. I scramble after it.
“Professor, will you be testifying for the prosecution? What does this mean for the owners of Fido the golden retriever? Who’s responsible for the devastation in Australia, Professor. The dog? The owners?”
The camera flashes are blinding. I can’t find my medal. It’s gone. It’s all gone.
Cover image courtesy of: Renee Carter