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Professor Schmaltzenberger's Equation - Chapter 10

Posted by StarMountainKid , 23 October 2012 · 345 views

It was nearing 8 o’clock, and Professor Schmaltzenberger was impatient for Dr.
Reinhold to arrive.  He wondered how the meeting would go. The circumstances of Otto’s death bothered him, too. Murder. Who had motive to kill Otto? Perhaps it was just an unfortunate accident after all. At any rate, he would have to have all his faculties during the meeting. He wanted this time equation business cleared up and off his mind. He had enough to think about now that he was on his own and had to plan his future.
Just then there was a knock on the door. The Professor let Dr. Reinhold in and they seated themselves in the living room.
“Well, Professor,” Dr. Reinhold began, smiling, “how have you been?”
“Well enough,” the Professor answered politely. “Poor Otto, I still can’t believe he’s dead.”
“Neither can I, Professor. I hope the police can discover the circumstances and catch the culprit. I know it’s a great loss to you.”
“Yes it is,” the Professor said sadly.  “He was my best, I suppose my only friend.  Now I must depend on myself in all these matters.”
“If there’s anything I can do, please don’t hesitate to ask, Professor.”
“Thank you, Dr. Reinhold.” The Professor edged forward in his chair. “What I wish to discuss with you tonight is my time equation.”
“Of course, Professor.”
“How is the peer review going?”
“Slowly, I’m afraid,” Dr. Reinhold answered. “These things take time, especially with as radical idea as this is. I expect a conclusion in a few weeks. There is one more thing I would like to discuss with you, though.”

Dr. Reinhold stood up from his chair with a worried look on his face.. He stared at the Professor for a moment, then turned and walked to the other side of the room before a window. He stared out into the night for an awkward moment. The room was silent, Dr. Reinhold and Professor Schmaltzenberger were alone together, and many thoughts were going through Dr. Reinhhold’s mind. This was his chance, perhaps his only chance, to rid himself of this one last complication. He turned and looked at the Professor expectantly.
A slight look of apprehension flashed across the Professor’s face. The confused look on Dr. Reinhold was disturbing. Dr. Reinhold approached the Professor, standing above him, his hands at his side clenched into tight fists.

Finally Dr. Reinhold blurted out, “I can’t do it, Professor.”
“Can’t do what?” the Professor asked.
“Oh, never mind,” Dr. Reinhold said angrily as he sat down again. “Look, Professor, I have to tell you the truth.  I sold your time equation to Mr. Freemont, the toy tycoon.”
Professor Schmaltzenberger looked at Dr. Reinhold in astonishment. “Toy tycoon?”
“Yes, he’s owns the largest toy corporation in the world. He’s offering me…us… a great deal of money”
The Professor gazed at Dr. Reinhold, mystified. “But, what would a toy maker want with my time equation?”
Er…he’s going to make a toy out of it.”

“A toy?!” the Professor exclaimed, jumping up and facing Dr. Reinhold angrily. “You’re going to use my time equation to make a toy?!”
“I know it sounds unbelievable, but look, there’s a lot of money involved. We can make a fortune! Don’t you want to be rich?!”
“No!” the Professor barked. “I want my equation beck! This is ridiculous!” The Professor shot up from his chair and began pacing back and forth in front of Dr. Reinhart. “How could you sell my time equation to a toy maker?!” he shouted. “Don’t you know how dangerous this could be?”
Dr. Reinhold tried to calm the Professor. “What’s the harm? So some kids go back and forth in time a little. It’ll be a great experience for them. Think of what they could learn. You want children to learn about the past, don’t you?”
“Yes, but not by going there themselves using a toy! They could be injured or killed! What were you thinking?!”
“I don’t know, Professor. It’s just all this money. I’m going to see Mr. Freemont in two days to sign the contract.” Dr. Reinhold looked up at the Professor. “Now that you know, I’ll cut you in for half. With Otto gone, you’re going to have to think of practicalities. How do you think you’re going to live from now on? You have no job, no income…you’re going to need money, Professor. This way, you’ll have lots of it. Think about it.”
Professor Schmaltzenberger stopped pacing and faced Dr. Reinhold. “What about Otto, Dr. Reinhold? It seems strange to me he should die just when there is a lot of money to be made. Did you have anything to do with his death?”
“Of course not, Professor! Dr. Reinhold replied. “How could even think of such a thing? Otto was my friend, and besides, his death has nothing to do with all this. You must believe me!”
The Professor walked to the window and looked out into the night. After a moment he said, “I think I’ll go with you to see this Mr. Freemont. We need to stop this thing now, before it’s too late.” The Professor looked at Dr. Reinhold. “You are to withdraw from this transaction and get my equation back! That will be the end of it. There will be no toy and no money. For either of us!”

Dr. Reinhold looked grim. “That will be impossible, Professor. Mr. Freemont phoned me this afternoon, and they’ve already constructed a prototype. I’m to look at it tomorrow. As you see, it is already too late.”
“But, a toy time machine is insane!” the Professor shouted. “I’ll not have it! This is an impossible situation! You must tell this Mr. Freemont he must not continue with this lunacy!”
Dr. Reinhold stood up from his chair. “Calm yourself, Professor!” Dr. Reinhold said as he reached out and grasped the Professor by his shoulders. “It can’t be stopped now!” He shouted into his face. “There’s a fortune to be made, don’t you understand that?!” Dr. Reinhold’s hands moved from the Professor’s shoulders to his collar.
“What are you doing, Dr. Reinhold!” the Professor gasped as Dr. Reinhold’s fingers reached the Professor’s throat and began to squeeze. The Professor struggled to free himself, but Dr. Reinhold pushed the Professor back into his chair, holding tightly to the Professor’s neck. After another moment of resistance the Professor ceased to struggle and slumped seemingly lifeless into the cushions. Dr. Reinhold released his grip and staggered backward.

Staring down and Professor Schmaltzenberger’s limp body, Dr. Reinhold realized with horror that he had now committed two murders. He turned away from the body with revulsion and walked unsteadily to the door. All he could think of now was escape. Escape from his own dreadful deeds. He opened the door quickly and rushed out into the terrible night.

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