Free Schrodinger's Kittens to a Good Universe

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I was making my famous plate of secret-recipe nachos when Steve called. I punched the speaker button on the cell phone and said, “Hey, Steve!”

“John, can you come over?”

“The game is on in twenty minutes. Why don’t you come over here?”

“Can’t. I need you to see something. Remember what I told you about my cat, Snowball?”

Steve is a great guy. Very smart and even famous for his experimental work in quantum computing, nanomaterials, and other things that I can’t even pronounce. I’m just an accountant at the research institute we both work at. We both grew up together and Steve even helped me get the job at the institute.

“Is it still doing magic tricks,” I joked.

“John, this is serious! Her kittens are doing the same thing!’

“Steve, cats are naturals at sneaking around. Don’t tell me you measure the kittens with that equipment?’

Steve has an amazing setup in his basement. He’s one of those folks who doesn’t separate work from his home life. All kinds of electronic equipment for detecting and measuring whatever particles or energies he is currently investigating. He was working in his basement a couple of years ago when he first came up with the crazy ideas about Snowball, his cat.

“I was going up the basement stairs when Snowball just appeared in front of me,” he told me one day at lunch. “The basement door was closed and I know Snowball didn’t pass me on the steps. How did she get there?’

“Maybe, you just didn’t notice. You walk around here sometimes without even seeing me or anyone else saying ‘hello’ to you.”

“Yes, but there was the time when I found her in the closet. The bedroom door was closed and I was in there for several hours before I heard her meowing in the closet. And I just saw her an hour ago climbing the tree in the backyard.” Steve leaned in closer to me and spoke to me in a lower voice.

“John, there is also the weird measurements from my equipment. Sometimes, there is a localized explosion of exotic particles. Some of the times of the explosions seem to coincide with Snowball’s appearances and disappearances.”

“And what do you always tell me; correlation doesn’t equal causation,” I replied.

Steve leaned back. “And extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. What about that newspaper fragment I found Snowball with?”

“That was someone’s joke. JFK did not have a second term and there is no such paper like the New Amsterdam Times. It’s not hard to create a fake front page of a newspaper.” I got up and headed to the tray return. “Take some time off. You need to relax and enjoy some nice place away from work. And cats.”

Six months after that conversation, Steve told me that Snowball was pregnant. That was strange because Snowball was fixed when it first became safe to spay her. I told Steve that maybe the veterinarian did a lousy job. Anyway, two months later and Snowball had the cutest litter of kittens.

Steve really enjoyed having a house full of kittens even though he would occasionally complain about the “gang of kleptomaniacs.” The kittens would steal and hide almost anything they could get their paws on. Steve came home one holiday weekend to find half of the Christmas ornaments missing from the tree.

And then recently, Steve started telling me about the weird objects he would find in the cats’ usual hiding places. Things with weird alloys or strange writing in languages that didn’t exist according to the Internet. He started setting up cameras around the house and claimed to have visual evidence of cats suddenly disappearing or appearing in various places all over the house. I just discounted this as the cats stealing the neighborhood’s kid’s toys. You know how all the kids are into science fiction today.

The videos were harder to explain, but I pointed out how there were occasional bursts of static on the video. “It’s probably interference from all that equipment you have in the basement. The static always occurred when you measured those exotic particle explosions. What do you think is happening? The cats are jumping through wormholes into other universes? Don’t tell me you built a stargate in your basement.”

Steve was so mad about that last remark, he didn’t speak to me for a month. In fact, that is why I was surprised when Steve called me tonight.

“John, there is a clear connection between when the kittens disappear or appear and the exotic particles explosion. I’ve also found that the quantum vibrational numbers for those weird things that the kittens stole are different from anything else made anywhere else on Earth. It’s like there is a different set of physics involved in their manufacture.”

I took a deep breath. “OK, Steve. I give up. You have a bunch of cats that use wormholes to roam around in other universes. Now, exactly how would that happen?’

Steve started to speak. “I don’t know how it happened and I admit it sounds crazy. All I am saying is please come over. I bought some GoPros and put them on the cats. You have to see the footage! Once you see what is on those cameras . . .” Steve trailed off.

“Steve? What’s going on?” I asked.

“Hang on, John.” I heard the phone being put down and then footsteps. Then, I heard something that sounded like a cross between a loud gurgle and a high-pitched scream.

“Steve! What the hell was that?” I yelled into the cell phone. I then heard running footsteps and the phone being picked up.

“Oh my God, Steve! You won’t believe what the cats just dragged in!”

About the Author: 
Bill Brantley works as a Federal employee by day and teaches at two universities in his spare time. He also is also an open source developer, data scientist, a certified project manager, and a certified HR professional.