I’m very probably the only person in the universe who will ever find this funny. But I did, to the point of having to get up and walk around because my sides were too sore from laughing.
The cave glowed with a warm and friendly light. Yeah, I know an eldritch and sickly glow would have been more appropriate, but Fintan uses some kind of glowing ceramic filament for lighting. I know because I got sent out to borrow a cup of perovskite and few spoonfuls of Ytterbium oxide from the neighbors, if they could spare them, when he was working on it. It’s cheaper and easier for me to order these sort of things online than to explain to Fintan that his neighbors are a furniture reconditioner and laundry, and neither of them would lend him a spoonful of sugar, let alone Lanthanide oxides. They might be more generous with rat-poison if they thought he’d drink it. That too is possible. He just doesn’t die.
I listened outside, cautiously. I’ve yet to work out what women find attractive about the old goat, but he’s not helpful when he’s interrupted. But all I could hear was his tuneless whistling. So I walked bravely in past the tottering piles of books. Grimoires, physics tomes, penny horribles… I bought him a computer once. I thought he could use that for his research, instead of looting libraries. He thought it great for surfing online porn, until he’d given a large number of sites a virus. Then he got bored with it. That was typical of Fin. The time to be really afraid was when he latched onto the new idea.
There he was, in his dirty old white robe and bare feet, scrawling magical symbols onto the floor, straggly white beard narrowly missing the gunk he was shovelling out of little tubs and writing with. I sniffed cautiously. Yep. Quark. A kind of soft cheese, which Fintan makes in various flavours. This looked suspiciously like ‘strange’ quark, which was still better than ‘truth’ or ‘beauty’. They’re point-particles, which meant he was messing about with non-spatial geometry again. Sure enough there was his hand-blown modified Alice version of a Klein Bottle gently rocking away in the middle of the charmed circle.
I wondered if I should run like hell.
He shaped the last symbol of the Feynman diagram and sat up and grinned at me with that childlike glee of his. “I’m hoping to summons Nonabelian ghosts to deal with the vintage problem.”
The rocking of the bottle was getting quite marked by now. It started to gyrate. The air was a little smoky, but that could have been from the fire on the other side of the orrery. The bottle began to fill, slowly. With something in a nasty shade of virulent green.
Fintan looked at it and sighed. “It’s either Creme de Menthe again, or some poor alien’s just found his drinking beaker is a lot emptier than he’d thought it was. Well, neither are much use to me. So, Eochaid-me-lad, how about if we went somewhere to find a cool glass and some pretty women?”