Written for Write On Edge. A story, about a better mousetrap (rat trap) that backfires in a terrible way, begins after the image.
Genre: Science Fiction/Humor
The Perfect Rat Trap
Who can ever predict how the mind of a genius works?
I had this friend who’s a mad genius, an inventor in many fields. He had created this strain of wheat. It was immune to any known disease and insects refused to eat it. Did he use it to make billions and change the world? No! He wanted bread with a certain flavor. It was great bread, mind you, but I never could fully understand the way he thought. The trouble with his wheat was: Rats and mice LOVED it. They would migrate across multiple states just to get at his wheat, and that set Vincent Gimble on an entirely new course of invention: the perfect rat trap.
He called me one day, desperate for me to come see him. Soon, I drove around the discarded satellite parts sitting in his driveway. He met me at the door where he used a rhino horn as a doorstop, and ushered me in to a surprisingly neat living room.
We hid behind the couch while he described his invention with whispers. “Over there, the rats have eaten through the wall as they do. They’ve established a path through the house to the kitchen where I’ve stored the wheat. This means they must walk through the middle of the living room.”
I looked and all I saw was wooden floorboards. “Okay, but where’s the trap?”
“It’s right there in front of you!”
“I don’t see it. Is it really, really small?” You could never tell with Victor.
Before long, a rat waddled across the living room straight to where he pointed. Without warning the rat shot upward at incredible velocity and splattered against the ceiling. “You see?” he crowed. “The perfect rat trap!”
“What just happened?”
He picked up an ipad from the sofa and drew his finger down it. “Okay, it’s disarmed. With this control app, I can control the repulser embedded in the floor. With it, the floor becomes the ceiling, except it does it at 22 gees, force enough to kill the rat. Undetectable by the vermin!”
“Victor! You’ve created a gravitic space drive. With that, we can build starships!”
He looked at me blankly. “No, it’s a rat trap. You miss the obvious sometimes, Travis.” He walked to the rat hole and set the controller down. “The rat starts here and walks over here.” He stood atop the repulser pad.
I tried to warn him.
“Victor! Get away from the pad. There’s a rat at the controller.”
“Travis,” he sighed. “Rats don’t respond to commands like ‘get away.'”
“Not the rat. You…!” Then the rat took a fateful step on the touch screen, and set the repulser to full power.
The scene was pretty gruesome. I recovered the controller and turned the device off, then called the police. After they left, I called a friend who works at DARPA. He had to test it…and then I had to call the police again.
Luckily, I have a friend at JPL…
A Repulser is: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Repulsor_beam
JPL = Jet Propulsion Laboratory: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/
DARPA = Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DARPA
This week, the Write On Edge prompt uses this quote from M.C. Escher as a writing prompt, “Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?” Write on Edge writing prompts may be found weekly right here: http://writeonedge.com/category/write-at-the-merge/