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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Malpass

The Fun House

"And finally, here we are! Welcome to the Fun House, Andrew!" Aaron leads me down a short stairway and shows me through yet another heavily reinforced doorway. Now he and I are standing on a grated platform at the very top of a dome-shaped room—no, check that—it's a complete sphere. We're suspended inside an immense snow globe, just without the snowflakes. (And hopefully without a giant standing by to vigorously shake us up and watch us flail about helplessly!) Two of Aaron's scientists are waiting for us here. They introduce themselves as Barbara and George.

Barbara smiles kindly. "Okay Mr. Matheson. Did Mr. Mackenzie explain how the SSG works? Do you have any questions about what you're about to experience?"

"Yes Barbara, I have lots of questions. But Mr. Mackenzie says experiencing the SSG firsthand is the simplest and best way to answer my questions. Do you agree with that?"

"As long as he got your signature on the Release of Liability form," Barbara looks over at Aaron with a grin, "sure, I'll go along with that." They're all chuckling at her little SSG Insiders joke as she and George begin to fit me into some sort of spacesuit thing hanging from the ceiling.

Aaron gives me a little pep talk while Barbara and George continue attaching my gear. "We're just teasing you, Andrew. We've all done this dozens of times, and everything's perfectly safe, I assure you. It's just it can be very disorienting, and sometimes victims—er, I mean participants—experience some slight motion sickness. Remember, if you barf in your helmet, you will have to clean it up yourself!" They're enjoying themselves immensely. I can hear my pulse pounding in my head.

Aaron continues. "So now to the science of the Small Singularity Generator, or SSG if you will. We're about to create a highly transitory, fraction-of-a-nanometer-sized black hole down below us at the center of this sphere-shaped room. We impart an enormous spin to the black hole as it forms, to stabilize and contain it—and frankly, to keep this part of Texas from imploding into it. Additionally, the walls of this sphere are coated with a proprietary formulation that acts as anti-gravity shielding to protect the outside world from the harmful effects of so much gravity."

Wait a second. Did I hear him right? "Hey Aaron, let me interrupt you there, please. Um, so what about inside the sphere? What will be protecting ME from so much gravity?"

"Simple. The anti-gravity suit you're wearing will protect your overall physical integrity. And the transitory nature of the black hole as it forms and is annihilated millions of times a second will keep you from experiencing unacceptable gravitational accelerations." Aaron wraps his arm around my shoulders supportively. "It's science, Andrew. You like science, remember? You'll be okay, buddy. I promise."

The anti-gravity suit you're wearing will protect your overall physical integrity.

"The anti-gravity suit you're wearing will protect your overall physical integrity."

I can taste blood at the back of my throat, and I'm already sweating profusely inside this anti-gravity contraption they've got me wearing. Barbara and George are testing all of the clasps and connections, and now they back away and look me over from head to toe.

"You look great, Andrew. He's ready, isn't he guys?" Barbara and George nod in agreement, and all three of them step off the platform and back through the doorway, closing and sealing the heavy door behind them.

I'm standing there alone, trying to remember to breathe evenly and stay calm. After a few seconds, I hear Aaron through the headphones in the anti-gravity suit. "Okay Andrew, listen up. Initiating SSG sequence—NOW!"

Instantly, the whole sphere explodes in utter chaos, as if a nearby giant has reached over and vigorously shaken this flake-less snow globe just to watch me flail about helplessly, trapped inside.


(Image of Mercury-astronaut-style spacesuit posted by SpaceHero at

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