The Higgs Boson Anthology: Say Hello Wave Goodbye To The Particle God Function by Marc Nash
The youth was at his appointed station louchely hunched over the pinball table. All he was lacking for was a Gitane bobbing up and down with each purse of his lips, as his whole body flinched and flexed in operating the flippers. Very La Nouvelle Vague, (Belmondo rather than Delon), save for his whole being radiating with a shimmering light which rather made it look as though he was emitting smoke even without a cigarette generator. But there again he was a divine being, so one might expect some sort of light, smoke, bells and smells, even if the pinball table was providing the bells and some secondary flashing lights. The smells? Perfumed ambrosia I’d say.
Of course that may have had something to do with his sister (a passing resemblance to Jeanne Moreau) entering and ushering in such a sweet balm. While he might not smoke because the intermittent physics of falling ash, the mechanics of lighting fresh cigarettes, the poser of what to do with the butts, each a stumbling block to the progress of his game under glass, she embraced the foul weed. Yet no fetor emanated from her. Her body as a temple, our temenos to be sure. “Still at it then Fizz I see” she purred and somewhere in the cosmos a thousand seraphim sung in unison and anointed a new galaxy. “Oi! Leave it out Molly”. Newton’s action-reaction third law prompting in him a recoil not dissimilar to a juggler being tossed a further fiery torch to shuffle with.
“Do you know how tricky it is to play a quantum pinball table?” Tongue protruding out the corner of his mouth such was his dedicated application.
“Oh don’t give me that. It’s all solid state, solenoids and stuff and you know it. Look at that spinning gate-” she indicated with her cigarette as pointer, fug billowing across the table.
“Argh, missed the slingshot up the ramp!”
“You do know they say it’s the sign of a misspent youth?” said idly while examining her cute cuticles.
“If you’re any cop at this game”.
“I thought that was pool”.
“Planets and particles crashing into one another? I don’t think so. Why’s there nowhere to sit down here?”
“Don’t even think about it Moll” with her palms braced on the table poised to hop on to the glass. He swept her arms from his purview. A bell clanged from somewhere within.
One says ‘youth’ but this merely reflects his state of arrested (suspended?) development. The pantheon in which this filial pair propped up the marbles only enshrines them. The doxology didn’t stretch to a Father, nor an immaculately preserved intact vulva from which they’d emerged. Yet don’t be fooled by the image of him as a perpetual delinquent, for he knew he must never permit this game to end, or it would surely entail a whole dimension of his creation, or at least the creation contracted to him, disappearing in the blink of an eye, the flap of a butterfly’s wing. The tsunami of a collapsed wave function. That last silver sphere must never be permitted to bisect the firmament just beyond his cupped reach. Fortunately he had racked up a fair few credits in extra balls, so there was no imminent danger. The planets were correctly aligned. None were wobbling off their orbits. At the other end of the scale, particles were doing whatever it was they were charged with doing, while waves weren’t at all particular about where they were supposed to be so that was all in order too. But he was feeling a touch fatigued. A planetary orb the size of an atom slipped passed his floundering weak-wound left flipper and disappeared down the drain. “Damn her” he mouthed, but since his back was fully presented she wouldn’t have seen it.
“I credit you’ve invested a little too much of yourself in your stupid little shellgame”.
“Haven’t you some place you should be? Holding things together like me? Fulfilling your devoirs”.
“No, not particularly. And my responsibilities are all taken care of. If like me, you’d set it up so that it sequences itself and you could just stand back-”
“And admire your handiwork. Bask in your own brilliance reflected back at you? Uh uh, not for me. Yesss! Sunk one in a gobble hole. What is there left for you to do all day but file your nails with an emery board? Blast, the voltage on that pop-bumper is down.”
“You’re developing terrible posture, do you know that? Curvature of the spine’s a distinct possibility. Still, that might cue curved space”.
“Lucky I’m composed of regenerating, numinous gas then isn’t it?’
“Stardust? You’re all dark matter Bruv and don’t you forget it. Think you’ve been hanging around your executive toys waa-ayy too long”.
“What did you mean by shellgame? That a snide reference to the now you see it, now you don’t nature of my work? You’re the one who’s all prestidigitation and cozening”.
“Says the boy who humps the table leg to stop his planet-particle spinning off kilter”.
“Hey, the death save is a legal manoeuvre to keep the sphere in play. If you don’t hit it right, you tilt the whole thing and it’s game over anyway”.
“Don’t tempt me little Bruv”.
“Your system isn’t self-regulating at all. It demands attention just like mine. Left to their own devices, your genetic codes diverge from their (b)reading programme. They create mutations, teratologies. You have to watch out for that. You ought to be monitoring it, who knows where it could lead up?
Ostentatiously she flicks a ludicrously distended pillar of ash from the tip. It floats upwards and she follows it with her gaze, glowering all the while.
“Oh you divinely silly creature Fizz. I’ve built that in. That’s how the system keeps fresh and renewing itself. It’s the blind horologist drive to reproduce itself that keeps the whole thing spinning. Hands-free, unlike your crazy heath robinson here. Gravity? Do me a favour!”
“Look it’s a stretch, especially in the tenth and eleventh dimensions I’ll give you that. But who else is going to do it? Or can do it?”
“I think you’re over-inflating your own purpose. So you’re holding together a few planes of existence, whoop dee do. Doesn’t mean you actually created it”.
“What?” His hands came off the flipper buttons and a silver rondure tamely rolled into the gutter, apologetically wiping out a solar system somewhere in the cosmos with little more than a burped sigh.
“You could be merely executing the will of a yet higher being. You might just be a functionary. An armature. There could be a host of you dotted around, each one charged – if you’ll forgive the pun – with maintaining a certain class of matter. Somewhere there’s probably a leptonomist, another one who’s firming up the fermions, a further bod putting the meat on the bones of the quark. You’re just holding up your end of the equations with the bosons here”.
“The same could be true for you. Good golly Miss Molly, someone could have a superior key to life molecule than yours. And appreciate the drive behind it to boot”.
“Naturally”. She glissaded over and placed her cigarette between his lips. Close up, he could see the chips of black nail polish (from her last millennium Goth phase) around her cuticles that the scourging acetone had evidently missed. He chanced to glance up at her and their eyes momentarily locked on one another. Frisson. Quickly supplanted by the tug of the smoke on his eyes and lacerating his throat. He canted his head away, exhaling in twin plumes either side of the fag and shutting his eyes to shield them from the sting.
“Sharks and snakes both lid their eyes as they strike. Marvellous acquired instincts. How I applauded those at the time. Course if we were the only two supreme beings… I mean it couldn’t get any more tainted than this. Oedipal even though we lack for actual parents…”
Fizz bolted his eyes open and shot Molly a quizzical look.
“Brother and sister? While it does happen, those lines soon die out or go round the twist. Genetically speaking of course. No there’s others knocking about the cosmos and they’re having a right old laugh at our expense. Our… sublimation activity”.
She removed the cigarette. He had smoked it down to the start of her lipstick ring. “Who the hell do you think’s narrating and sternographing all this? Ain’t you or me now is it?” She took a long drag, drawing it contemplatively deep into her lungs. Their eyes didn’t meet this time and his final exhalation jagged the air to the rhythm of his words.
“Well if what you say is true, there’s still someone in charge. There’s still a top job to aim for”.
“Forever with the burning ambition”. She cups his balls through his trousers, (the artists were wrong, numinous beings do have genitalia). She squeezes. “I keep telling you ambition is seated lower down than the head. My work proves this beyond a shadow. Oh look, you just lost one of your marbles there. A galaxy sacrificed on the altar of your arthritic reflexes. Your palsied inhibitions. I think the music of the spheres just hit a bum note”.
“Screw you Sis. I hope you get cancer”.
“In a way, so do I. Carcinogens are great for some fresh mutations to be added to the pot. Sugar and spice and all things nice…” She chain lit a fresh fag from the dog end. Sometimes it was hard to conceive of her as feminine, she was so, well, hard in so many of her motions and views. He shook that thought clear from obfuscating his attention. He must re-steel his own self. “Look, unified field theory drives us all on. But it will still have to be defined in terms of one singularity. Crack that and the head honcho role is a gimme. I’ve got some of my best people down there-”
“My best people you mean”.
“Our best people, working on it right now. I’m telling you, the Boson will inherit the earth and the cosmos. We explain matter. We are the building blocks like your precious DNA”.
“I didn’t have to have my people smash anything up though did I? It was all rather beautiful geometry and architecture. Blooming and blossoming growth unfurling. That aesthetic thing you’ll never grasp. With you, it’s all speed, penetration, spent energy and fragmentation. Where’s your version of apoptosis?”
“But your lot are no different. However sublime you think your inheritance, they still are forever imagining a designer. That strikes me as a fatal flaw in their make up. Okay, now I’m cooking on the table here…”
“No, I yield them free will and free expression. How they develop and what they do with it is entirely down to their own resourcefulness”.
“Denying responsibility as ever I see. Bingo, get in there! Notched the whirlwind. Careful now, see where she spits it.”
“Nah. She’s a swallower… ”
“Fuck! Straight down the gutter”.
“You know what happens to your free will creations don’t you?”
“They develop and progress to deny the need for any beings above them. No reifications. No gods. No divine designers. They even modify genetics. They’ll edit out your mechanism soon enough. Yet while they can plot exactly where each planet will be in the solar system centuries ahead, they still can’t determine the precise location of anything on my sub-atomic level. They will still have to pay me fealty”.
“Til their sun stops torturing itself and finally turns off its lights”.
“Bulls eye!!! The exact spot. Seventy googolplex points at last! Now I’ve got the hadron collider up again”
“Haven’t you had that before?”
“Yes, but it blew a fuse in the backboard and before I could realise what was happening, I lost my access to it. But not this time. Come to Papa baby”.
“So this is it? Finally?”
“Yup. The apotheosis of my lifetime’s work. Isn’t she a thing of beauty?”
Suddenly the lights stopped flashing and the sounds choked and died. “Tilt” registered the table’s backboard.
“What? You clumsy cow! You did that on purpose you bitch!”
The lights went out for good apart from one singularity outlined in lipstick, the burning tip of a cigarette. “I’m sorry, I’ll make you another bagatelle”.