Books: An Abridged Existence (excerpt)

The car speeds away, back to Carl’s laboratory house. The return trip seems to take less time, Carl thinks, but he assumes nothing of it. Carl parks the car, and they both get out.

“This is it. My laboratory and home,” Carl says as they walk inside. “The guest bedroom, as well as the rest of the living accommodations, is right through this door,” Carl leads Sid to his temporary room.

“Do you have a phone I could borrow? So I can call my landlord and see what the deal is?” Sid asks.

“Sure,” Carl hands Sid a regular wireless phone. “Just use it as you would a normal phone.”

“Thanks,” Sid responds.

“If you need anything else, I’ll be in my workshop. Just hang up the phone when you’re done.”

Sid nods, and Carl goes back into his workshop. Carl picks up his goggles and drilling device, and starts to get back to work on “the box.” Sparks fly as Carl fervently melts away at the access panel of the box. He soon reaches the circuitry of the box, and puts down the drilling device, and begins searching for the parts and other tools that he will require to finish up and complete it. He searches for nearly half an hour, when at last he finds the parts he needs buried at the bottom of a pile of miscellaneous scrap pieces and electronic components.

He throws everything together, in the way that it is meant to go of course, and seals the box completely back up. Now he only needs to test it, but that shall have to come later, for Sid walks in just as he removes his goggles and sets down his tools.

“Hey Carl, what’s that?”

“Do you really want to know?” Carl inquisitively asks.

“Well, not really, just trying to make conversation. But if you want to explain, then I’m all ears.” Sid replies. Carl begins on a long and lengthy explanation of what the device is, explaining its purpose to the fullest extent possible. Sid, however, is no exception to the usual result of Carl explaining any of his machines. Sid’s eyes glaze over, and he nods occasionally, feigning an understanding of concepts that even Carl just barely understands himself.

At last Carl’s explanation ends an hour later.

“Uh-hu,” is all that Sid is capable of responding with.

“So, how did your phone call with the landlord go?” Carl asks.

“It went yes,” Sid’s mind is still in somewhat of a state of shock from the lengthy explanation. “I mean, uh, turns out that the fire was caused by some sort of electrical fire or something like that. They don’t think it was arson, but they haven’t ruled that out. They also think that it could have been an ‘act of god.’” Sid responds.