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Noble Prize

“Dark energy,” he muttered to the old golden retriever huddled at his feet.

“Dark energy was a great discovery, Doctor.”

He dismissed the words with a skeletal wave of the hand. “The greatest. It changed everything. I know. How could they not?”

“Perhaps they do not have the perspective that you possess?”

He ran his cadaverous fingers down the retriever’s spine. “What could be more obvious? Wormholes require enormous amounts of energy. Did they think they just spontaneously appeared?” He clenched the retriever’s fur. “I gave it to them to reap and sow. Interstellar travel. Time travel. It was all me. I harnessed dark energy. Unleashed the motive force of the universe. Put creation at their fingertips.”

“You are a god to many, Doctor.”

“Not to them,” he scoffed into the ether. “Ingrates. They snubbed me. Gave it to someone else. A nothing. A less than nothing. What did he do?”

“Miracles they say.”

“Poppycock! Thermodynamics does not permit miracles. No one knows better than I the quid pro quo of existence.” He stamped a foot and the retriever stirred with a growl. “They dishonor me with their ignorance.”

“Might they be trying to save face? You have been patient.”

“My patience wears as thin as the veil that separates us.”

“Doctor, they are young.”

“They are ungrateful.” He raised gnarled fists in displeasure. The ether crackled for countless parsecs.

“If they come with the offering, you will remain dignified? Decent? All will be forgiven. Will it not?”

“When they come calling, and they will, I will take my honor and my dark energy and give them the cold shoulder.” The retriever rose as the firmament on which it rested became unsteady.

“Heat death, Doctor? The Committee will never accept it.”

“The Committee be damned! It is my choice now.”

“Can you not share it?”

“We will all share this cold comfort. Heat death.” He grinned as the retriever looked up into the thinning cosmos and shivered.

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