Author’s note: Part 1.
“I’m sure it wasn’t your fault,” I replied reassuringly. Tinnesdale smiled back at me, but I could tell he wasn’t convinced. He returned to his scribbling.
“We suspect that there are particles called gravitons that are responsible for gravity,” Tinnesdale said, to no one in particular, as he wrote. I tilted my head to indicate my total attention, loving how academics always lapsed into lecturing. “Of course, no one has ever found one, or proof that gravitons exist at all. But they make sense with the mathematics, see?”
He pointed to an equation, and I nodded and looked enlightened as best I could. Behind him, I could see Jimmy the Wrecker gliding across the bar. He seemed to have mastered the art of moving in space, and was hunting down the rogue floating martini olives.
Next to me, Tinnesdale was squinting in confusion at the equations. “It’s weird, though. For some reason, it seems as though the gravitons in this area have all switched their spin in unison. They all should be in spin 2, but if they switched to a different spin, the gravitational effect would vanish.”
I wondered if there was any universe where this would make sense to me. I’m a bartender, and aside from an encyclopedic memory for drink recipes, I’m not the brightest guy. “Can we get them spinning again?” I asked.
Tinnesdale had let go of the bar as he wrote, and was currently floating upside down, but I can still recognize a frown. “It’s not that sort of spin,” he said distractedly. “This really shouldn’t be possible. I mean, I can show it with an equation, that it’s impossible. Like this.”
As Tinnesdale spoke the final word, gravity returned to Flotsam. And buddy, when I say returned, I mean with a vengeance! The loud thump as Jimmy hit the floor was audible even over the rain of shattering glassware. I winced as a rare bottle of 1887 Laphroaig scotch exploded. The scientist himself came down right across the bar. I barely managed to catch my martini shaker.
“Excellent work!” I congratulated the man as he crawled back to his stool. “You fixed things!”
Tinnesdale frowned back at me. “I didn’t fix anything, though,” he complained. “I just proved that what was happening wasn’t possible!”
I winked at him. “Sometimes, the world tends to forget what’s possible and what isn’t,” I said sagely. “It needs brilliant people like you to remind it.” Now I know, technically, that wasn’t true. But it was worth it to see that little scientist square his shoulders and sit up a bit straighter. With a flourish, I emptied the shaker into a glass. A perfect Manhattan!
It took a few hours to clear up all the broken glass, of course, and Jimmy had to lie down for a while. In fact, if you look under that table, over there, it’s still banged up from the fall. But that’s Flotsam for ya. Anyway, any idea what you’re in the mood for? Maybe a Manhattan?