THE INVENTIONS OF DR. EDGAR EUPHONIUM: Z RAY GLASSES

“Sit still, Floyd, the glasses are still warming up,” Dr. Edgar Euphonium said. The glasses in question were his latest invention, Z Ray Glasses. “You see, Gottfredson,” he had lectured me, “regular x ray glasses only perceive to the xth level, which stops at the skeletal structure. So you can view someone’s internal organs and bones, if you dig that sort of thing, but if we really want to get down to the nitty gritty dirt bandwidth, we need something more powerful. Hence, the Z Ray Glasses, which perceive all the way down to Level Zed, the omega of levels. Nobody’s seen that far before!”

“Huh,” I said. “So, why am I all dressed up?” He had insisted I dress in my Sunday best, and had also seated me at a stool in front of a beige backdrop. It was exactly like getting my school picture taken, except there would be no 8 X 10 glossies or wallet-sized photos for Grandma. At least, I hoped not. Dr. Euphonium had even adjusted my chin placement like a school photographer. He could be odd sometimes.

“This is an auspicious occasion, Floyd, my boy. A truly stunning discovery is being made. And I want you to look sharp when I document it for posterity.” So, there may be 8 X 10’s. “Ah! The Z Ray Glasses are warmed up.” He placed what appeared to be oversize novelty sunglasses on, then attached the thin black cord trailing from the stem to a small television. “Here goes nothing,” he said, staring at my torso. For some reason, I was offended by that remark.

The television immediately came to life, snow bursting and bars rolling up the screen. Dr. Euphonium adjusted the antenna until both ears were straight up. The picture cleared and we were treated to the most unusual sight. Tiny, bug-like figures were seated on chairs, reading the newspaper. The background was deep red. “Extraordinary!” Dr. Euphonium said. “Gottfredson, these are the miniscule germs inside your body. Judging by the color, I’d say they live in your bloodstream.”

“Are they reading a newspaper?” I asked. Before Dr. Euphonium could respond, one of them glanced out looking directly at the doctor.

“Psst, Merle,” it whispered to the other germ, apparently named Merle. He glanced up. The other germ pointed at Dr. Euphonium.

“They’ve spotted us!” Dr. Euphonium said. “This should be interesting.” The germ named Merle rose and addressed the doctor.

“Hey, pal!” he shouted, in a distinctly New York accent. “Do you mind?”

“It’s speaking to me, Floyd!” Dr. Euphonium said, “This is astonishing!”

“Hey, Mack,” Merle said, “I ain’t gonna ask you again. Don’t make me come out there.”

“Uh, Dr. Euphonium,” I said, “maybe you should turn it off.”

“Listen to the pip-squeak, or I’ll give you what for,” Merle said, shaking four of his six limbs. Dr. Euphonium quickly shut off the Z Ray Glasses.

“Incredible,” he said. “And yet, utterly freaky. Let us never speak of it again.”

“Agreed,” I said, “I’ll never bring it up again.”

Oops.

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