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 answer, trying not to roll my eyes. There it is, always with the bloody butterflies. You tell someone you can identify the origin of weather and before you know it they’re blabbering on about butterflies and chaos theory. Christ, if I’d bought into that bullshit, I wouldn’t be standing here clutching my Nobel Prize medal, a cool million sitting in the bank. I’d also not have to answer the inane questions of 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 blinding flash goes off in my face. I try to smile. “I’ve never been a fan of the theory. To me, it smacks of fatalism, not science. Just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. How many past recipients of this prestigious prize have demonstrated that?”
Another voice, somewhere towards the back of the room. “Professor, can you enlighten us to some of your more recent discoveries?”
I like this one. That’s an interesting question. “Sure. Hurricane Laura, last month. We tracked the source of that down to human activity. Specifically, a lady that sneezed in Rio de Janeiro on the 8th November at 4:54:16 local time.”
“Professor, how can you be so sure?” somebody calls out.
“How?” I repeat, stroking my medal. It’s showtime. Time to dazzle. “At the point the computer modelling allowed us to track atoms, it just came down to processing power. Quantum processors solved that by allowing us to run almost infinite permutations. Forget big-data, we like to talk about universal-data.”
“Is there any room for error in your calculations, Professor?”
Who is that? It’s the same reporter. I still can’t quite 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’s a chuckle in the room. 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 Brazilian lady you mentioned. CCTV footage confirms your findings. She’s being sued by the families of the victims of hurricane Laura, Professor!”
What? Shit. Thank god the lights are on the annoying reporter and not me. 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 lean down after it, fingers searching.
“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’m scrabbling across the floor. I can’t find my medal. It’s gone. It’s all gone.
Cover image courtesy of: Renee Carter