#103 What If/ Rodriquez pushed the cart with his maintenance supplies to Dr. Kuku’s office on the third floor. Rodriquez worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) cleaning office’s after the scientists and engineers had left for the day. He let himself into the office and saw calculations left on the whiteboard. Wonder if Jose can figure this out? Jose, his adopted son, just turned fourteen and had been in special classes since he started school. But Rodriquez knew something about him that nobody else ever took time to learn. Three years ago the doctor told him, “Jose is developmentally delayed” Rodriquez wasn’t quite sure what he meant, He knew Jose was different from all the other kids in the orphanage when he adopted him, but never thought he was retarded. “Are you saying he’s a retard?” “Cognitively impaired or intellectually impaired is a better term,” the doctor said, “he has an IQ below 70.” Sure Jose was slow in a lot of ways, but he knew his multiplication tables by the time he was three, and could do basic math at four. By the time he was five he surpassed what Rodriquez knew about arithmetic, so he started buying textbooks from the used bookstores and would give Jose problems from the books to solve. By using the answer keys to the book he learned that Jose was one hundred percent on every problem he did. My kids no retard Rodriquez knew, but as the years went by, Jose found any problems from the books boring because they were so simple to solve. When Rodriquez started working at JPL and saw the scientists pondering over their different calculations, he’d write them down and bring the problems to Jose who’d quickly solve them. He got the idea of sending the problems to Jose the day he acquired a cell phone. Rodriquez used his camera phone to take pictures of the calculations on Kuku’s white board, and messaged them to Jose. That doctor was the retard, calling my son developmentally disabled. His brain calculates like a computer, Rodriquez thought, as he wrote the answers his son had sent him just minutes after he received the problems. He’d come to work the next day, anticipating a reaction from the white collar guys, but was disappointed when not a one mentioned the solutions being handed to them. After a few weeks of having his theorems mysteriously proven, Kuku, an eminent Japanese scientist, started purposely leaving longer and more complex problems on the whiteboards. Rodriquez continued sending the problems to Jose and he’d churn out solutions almost as fast as his father could send them. The correct solutions were written on the boards when the scientists returned to work the next day. One afternoon he went to clean Kuku’s office, and when he opened the door he saw him and another man sitting at the desk. He started to close the door so he wouldn’t interrupt them when Kuku shouted, “Come on in, and don’t pay any attention to us. Do what you usually do,” Rodriquez entered the little cubicle that was Kuku’s office. The three of them could hardly fit in the small room. Think they’d give these brainy guys some room to move around in he thought as he emptied the waste basket, dusted the blinds and kept busy so he could listen to what they were saying. “This is incredible. I have a magic whiteboard,” Kuku the Japanese Physicist exclaimed. “You too?” Interjected Slovnck, the Russian who was the other man in the room, “no wonder they beat us to the moon, they have magic on their side.” He chuckled at his own joke. “Nothing to laugh about, have any of your equations been reformulated for you?” Ah finally they’re noticing, Rodriquez thought. “Someone is playing a trick on us.” Slovnck said. “Probably, but what if there’s some sort of supernatural force answering our equations for us?” “Unlikely, but what if there’s a parallel universe and our counterparts are working on the same thing we are, but they’re one day ahead of us, and that’s why we find the answers on the board in the morning.” “What’s a parallel universe, if not supernatural? I’m going to put an unsolvable theorem on my board tonight and I’d like to see whoever or whatever solves it,” Kuku said. “Which problem are you going to post?” The Hodge conjecture. A major unsolved problem in algebraic geometry. There is a $1,000,000 prize for proving the Hodge conjecture. So I know there’s no way the answer will be on the board. Why would anyone give away the answer when they could claim the prize?” Rodriquez stopped moving when he heard a million dollars. Jose could solve any mathematical equation he knew, but no one would even pay attention to his son’s abilities because of his diagnoses, but when he put the answer on the board and it was proven correct, then he would tell everybody where the answer came from and prove those retarded doctors wrong. “Yeah, but what if the answer magically appears on your board?” “If the answer’s there and correct, I’ll have to find whoever put it there and give them the reward, or maybe I’ll claim the million for myself,” Kuku said and wrote Hdgk (X) =H2k (X,Q) ∩ H k,k (X). on the white board. Rodriquez’s heart fell when he heard Kuku say he may keep the reward for himself. Once he finished writing the formula on the board he said, “Okay, let’s go do some research Dr. Slovnk.” “Research, what do you think I’ve been doing all day?” “Research at the Dew Drop Inn is what I’m talking about.” A smile spread across Slovnk’s face as he jumped up, grabbed his jacket from the chair and headed out the door followed by Kuku. Rodriquez had mixed emotions when he took a picture of the theorem and sent it off to Jose, and within fifteen minutes Jose texted him his calculations. Would Kuku really keep the reward, he wondered as he wrote Jose’s equations on the white board? Kuku didn’t even shower the next morning. His head hurt from too much alcohol and too many lap dances at the Dew Drop. Have to quit going there, he thought, but the thought of not seeing Matilda squashed that thought. Since the day she appeared at JPL on a tour with her college class, Kuku had been acting like a love sick puppy. He lectured her group, and while lecturing, he couldn’t take his eyes off her svelte body. Her coiffure set her pixie like face off to perfection. She noticed his fascination and on the way out handed him a card and said, “Come and see me sometime.” She touched his hand as she passed him the card, and that touch ignited his imagination even before he looked at the card that read “Matilda, exotic dancer. Performances nightly at the Dew Drop Inn. Afraid he’d appear foolish for going to such a place he waited for an excuse to go. When Slovnk was selected to be manager of the group that would design an interplanetary probe, Kuku took him to the Dew Drop under the guise of celebrating his success. Matilda came on to perform and the way she squirmed and slid up and down the pole was just a taste of what was to come. She must have been a gymnast with all the dance moves she performed. There was nothing crude about her dancing at all. Even Slovnk was impressed. “She’s as good a ballet dancer as I’ve ever seen, and believe me-I’ve seen the best in the world, ”Slovnk said, “I’ll bet she can give a lap dance I’ll never forget.” Kuku wanted to say, “Pick another, she’s the reason we’re here,” but he chewed his tongue instead. Fortuitously a blond with at least a 44-D sized breasts came and sat on Slovnk’s lap, “Hi, I’m Flambeaux, what’s your name cutie?” She ran her fingers through Slovnks beard and into his mouth. Slovnk started sucking loudly on her fingers as she giggled and squirmed on his lap. Kuku surmised that he soon forgot all about Matilda. At closing time Slovnk left with the blond and Kuku took Matilda to her apartment she shared with her dog Fluffy and cat, Henry. The place was neat and clean but small. “I’m using the money I make at the club to pay my way through medical school. Matilda told him. For some reason learning that she wasn’t just a bimbo was a letdown. After that night with her he couldn’t get her out of his mind. All he could think about was being with her. He came to appreciate his magic whiteboard. If it wasn’t for the board figuring out all his mathematical equations he would have been stuck and never hit upon the idea of marrying Matilda. For the first time in years he was thinking of something besides work. The morning after he wanted to get to the office before anyone else, to verify that the mysterious problem solver failed to prove The Hodge conjecture. He sped down the freeway and pulled into JPL’s parking lot with tires squealing. Breathe deep, breathe deep, he told himself and by doing so he calmed down, a little. He fumbled with his keys after trying to turn the knob to his office door and found that his office was still locked. He stuck his key in and opened the lock, leaving his keys hanging, he pushed the door open and rushed into the room. One look at the whiteboard and his knees went weak. On the board he saw H2(X,Z) ∩H1,1 (X) the proof he thought he’d never see. “Slovnck, you better get down here,” he said into the phone. “I’ve got to get out of bed and have my coffee before I do anything. What’s so important that you call me before sunrise?” How, why, questions swirled through his mind. Should he claim the million for himself? Should he tell Slovnck how he got the answer or claim he figured it out himself? Maybe he better conspire with Slovnck and split the million with him.” After all nobody knew where the answers were coming from. If anyone claimed to have written the answer for him, he could claim it was sour grapes. Hold on, I’m not in this for money, he thought. He didn’t want to let greed influence his thoughts. There’s a genius at work here and we should find out who he is, so we can make use of his talent. The reward money normally wouldn’t have influenced him, but thinking of Matilda and how on his government pay he could hardly afford to drink at the Dew Drop Inn, never mind support her. If he claimed the reward, that problem would be solved. While he sat at his desk thinking Slovnk came crashing through the door and the keys he had left in the lock swung noisily back and forth. “Okay, show me, what’s the big deal I have to see?” Kuku pointed to the board. Slovnk’s face contorted in concentration, then he exclaimed. “Eureka, that’s correct. No, don’t tell me, it was on the board when you came in this morning.” “No, I stayed up all night figuring it out.” Kuku was embarrassed for lying to his friend. “You’re kidding right? The magical white board figured it out, didn’t it?” Kuku started to deny it, but his conscience wouldn’t let him, “Yes, the damn board did it.” “Well, let’s announce that we did it jointly and claim the reward. Hell, we’ll probably get nominated for a Nobel too.” “I don’t know. After all, somebody else figured out the theorem, not us. They deserve the reward.” “Don’t even think that way. The board is magic and it gave us a gift. Now I can afford to take Flambeaux on that cruise she’s been dreaming about. Why don’t you bring Matilda and we’ll sail the seven seas using the reward money.” The thought of cruising with Matilda sent chills down Kuku’s back. He envisioned the tiny cabin with one bed they’d share during the entire cruise. He was tempted, but something inside of him told Kuku it wasn’t right to take credit for someone else’s work. “What if whoever solved the problem comes forward?” “We already discussed that, just deny it. How’re they ever going to prove it?” Kuku’s small brain was insisting that he go along with Slovnk and continuously sent images of Matilda lying on the intimate bed in their cabin aboard the S.S. Whatever ship they’d be on. “Let’s sit on this for a while, okay? I need time to think about it.” “Okay, but I’m making my cruise reservations today. I’ll reserve a cabin for you and Matilda too. I know you’ll be making the right decision.” The right decision, what was that? He couldn’t make up his mind what to do. He opened his wallet and stared at a picture of Matilda she had given him. She had written on the back, “To the most honorable man I know, love Mat.” Honorable, what a joke, here he was, about to claim credit for something he didn’t do. He gazed at the whiteboard before he left his office and for the first time in his memory there were no problems waiting to be solved on it. He went home to mull things over. He dejectedly entered his office the next day after spending an agitated night trying to decide what action to take, or not take. Matilda sat in his chair. “What’re you doing here?” he asked. “Flambeaux told me about the cruise we’re going on. I’m so excited. Here.” She handed him a framed picture of her sliding down her dance pole. He set it on his desk. “Got to go now,” she said. “Be sure to come by the club tonight. I’ve got something special for you,” she said. Two minutes after she left Rodriguez knocked on the door and pushed it open. “You want to know who has been solving the whiteboard problems.” He shoved a picture of Jose in front of Kuku’s face. The picture showed Jose with hooded eyes, a crooked smile and braces on his teeth. “You’re not going to tell me this kid did,” he said, took the picture and set it on his desk. “My son Jose,” Rodriquez said. “Arithmetic, it’s the only thing he can do. You can help him, please?” “I’ll do what I can,” Kuku said. The pictures sat side by side on his desk and his eyes traveled from one to the other over and over. I’m an honorable man and will do the right thing he thought as his eyes settled on Matilda wrapped around her dancing pole. Kuku picked up the phone. “Security? I want to report one of the janitors, Rodriguez, has been stealing from me. I want him fired and barred from the campus.” “Anything you say Professor Kuku,” the chief security officer said. Kuku smiled because he had done the honorable thing. If he didn’t claim the reward, he couldn’t keep his promise to Matilda. It was dishonorable to break a promise, wasn’t it? For more stories, poems, & other stuff. http://joedibuduo.com/ http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=joe+DiBuduo My newest novel “Cryonic Man,”is available at http://www.amazon.com/Cryonic-Man-Paranormal-Joe-DiBuduo/dp/0692381287/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425870872&sr=8-1&keywords=Cryonic+Man PLEASE SUBSCRIBE FOR$1. A MONTH TO ENABLE ME TO CONTINUE WRITING A STORY A DAY. IF I CONTINUE FOR A YEAR, I WILL WRITE 365 STORIES. You'll receive them all for $1. A month. https://www.patreon.com/creation?hid=1772333&u=423048&alert=3
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