Quirks and Dimensions Preview

This is a preview of my upcoming novella, Misplaced Fools. It is a hilarious story about time travel, tenure, and the foolishness of the wizards of the University of Esoterica.

This scene is set briefly after some of the wizards discuss sending some of the main characters off on a trip through time. Having done with that discussion, they get drunk and start discussion quirks (their version of the subatomic particles we know as quarks) and how many dimensions their universe has.

Quirks and Dimensions Scene

It had been several hours since the wizards meeting on time travel. They had long ago diverged from their original purpose. They were doing what wizards did best: drinking and bickering about esoterica. 

Next to Albie Easelstein, Professor of Hyper-Special Squiggle Topology, was Grossman, the Professor of Improper Numbers. Sprawled in an enormous, spongy leather chair beside him was Elwin, Doctor of Possibly Superfluous Geometry. Besides him was Norok, Professor of Eldritch Higher Dimensional Taxes. 

The wizards were sitting around the table and drinking large glasses of bourbon, wine, strange and sinister bubbling substances with little broomsticks, staffs, and, in one case, what appeared to be a bit of chalk.

Alcohol freely flowed, and glasses rarely rested to collect dust. Fortunately, the large side table contained an enormous collection of strange bottles that would have confused most mathematicians. One bottle twisted around itself to have made the mathematician Möbius blush.

Wizards have a magical field infusing their bodies. The wizards at the University of Esoterica barely use magic. Their field was very slight but enough to help their bodies more readily process alcohol. That saved their lives a lot of wear and tear.

That was fortunate. Most wizards drank enough alcohol to make pirates into a drunken frenzy, clutch their livers, and swear off the demon drink. But most wizards could metabolize alcohol faster than normal humans. That allowed them to consume large quantities of alcohol while remaining relatively sober. However, even wizards have their limits. As they sat around, loudly bickering, they had finished several bottles. They were mumbling, and they were making even less sense than usual.

“I don’t know what to say. All the damn quirks are strange. Isn’t that so, Norok?” Grossman slurred.

“I will grant that, but the strange quirk is the strangest of them all!”

“We can’t call it that…tit… it sounds stupid! Try again, Norok,” said Elwin.

“Fine, we will call it the be…pea…peak …peak quiller quirk!”

“Nah, that sounds stupider. The strange quirk?” Grossman asked.

“Alright, the strange quirk. What about the other one? We have five more.” Norok stated.

“Bottoms up!” Grossman said as he raised his glass.

“Bottoms and up? I guess that two of them are done… done and done,” said Elwin as he raised her glass.

“Nah, that is not what I meant?! I meant glasses up, cheers, congratulations, and whatnot!” Grossman grinned as he raised his glass, and the others did likewise.

“Let’s just go with that. Ok, strange, bottom and up. Three more to go,” said Elwin.

“Well, top and down.” Norok stopped to chug the rest of her drink. “Come …. to mind…”

“Ah, of course, that makes sense. What’s it to go? The number before two?” asked Grossman.

“One, I think? One more to go…” Elwin belched.

“Charm…charming, Elwin…” yawned Grossman.

“Charm it is then!”

“No, I was gonna ‘charming’. Thanks, Elwin. That will do for a name.”

“Alright, that is all the six quirks named. Anything important to do?” Norok asked.

“We didn’t finish figuring out the time travel thing,” Grossman said.

“Well, we will figure it out in the morning. We are tenured professors!” Albert grinned the staggeringly overly confident grin only given by the dangerously drunk or insane. He had said nothing for a while. The others got a start as they remembered he was there.

“Hey, why didn’t you help us name the quirks, Albert?” Elwin asked.

“That particle magic thing is not my area of expertise, so why bother? You guys were doing fine.”

“What do you suggest we do now?” asked Elwin.

“Import…important business! Like how many dimensions the universe has!” Grossman thumped his hand onto the arm of his chair.

“Nineteen dimensions!” said Elwin.

“Are you babbling insane?! The universe would fall to pieces if there were nineteen dimensions. Twelve!” said Norok.

“Idiots! It is nine and a half!” Grossman thundered.

“That assumes it is a finite number! We don’t know the universe has a finite number of dimensions!” said Albert.

“Good…good point, I suppose?” asked Elwin.

“If it was twelve, all the silly putty strings wouldn’t be symmetric!” Norok.

“Imagine if there were ten and three-quarters dimensions. Then they would be symmetric…” Elwin pointed out.

“But the actual numbers would total negative three.” Grossman objected.

“Well, who says they can’t?” Elwin asked.

“If there were 42.3443 dimensions, the Bigg-Boson theory would explain the quirks’ supersymmetry,” said Norok.

“Trust an accountant to make an insane assumption like that!” said Grossman.

“Of course it is true! How else to explain gravity?” Albert.

“Might as well assume man evolved from a baboon’s uncle! What nonsense!” Grossman shook his head.

They continued for hours, well into the predawn hours in which drunkards often stumble into bed. You might ask if this insane rambling achieved anything, but you would be missing the point of it. Advancing the state of magical lore was not the point; it was never the point. 

The wizards were not interested in advancing knowledge. They were interested in pumping air into their egos. They care more about their titles and looking good. The wizards do not care about knowledge; any advancement of magical knowledge is incidental. The wizards wanted to collect esoterica, not learn things. That is how academia usually works, even when its members are sober.

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