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Professor Schmaltzenberger's Equation

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This next story of several Chapters contains elements of mystery, suspense, drama, greed, crime, murder, heroic effort and hopefully some humor within it...just like everyday real life. I had fun writing it, and I hope you have some fun reading it, poor thing that it is. Hopefully, the condition of my brain will allow me to complete this story.


Professor Schmaltzenberger's Equation - Chapter One


Professor Schmaltzenberger was wandering around in his study wondering where he had left his pencil. He had just thought of a new equation, and he wanted to write it down before he forgot it.

Professor Schmaltzenberger was a theoretical physicist, a brilliant mathematician and a genius. Like all genius’s, he kept forgetting things, like where he lived and what his name was. He can, of course, be forgiven for this. He was a genius after all, and this is what genius's do. This kind of behavior is acceptable for him, but not for ordinary men. Ordinary men hardly ever forget where they live or what their name is. But, of course, Professor Schmaltzenberger was different.

After about an hour, the good Professor was still looking for his pencil, but by now he had forgotten what he had been looking for. He spent his time peering at various objects lying around his study. Almost everything he looked at he was seeing for the first time. This was because he had previously forgotten all about them. He often spent hours doing this, looking at new things, forgetting about the new things he had just looked at, and forgetting he was supposed to be looking for one particular thing.

At last, the good Professor found his pencil. However, having forgotten what he had originally been looking for, he put the pencil back where he found it, and continued wandering about his study peering at various objects and wondering why they were there. He most likely will spend some time in this fruitless occupation, so there's little point in continuing to watch him, or to write about it.

That night happened to be a stormy night, and the wind was blowing fiercely outside his study windows. Sharp streaks of brilliant lightening lit the room eerily from time to time. This only confused our Professor, for with each flash he thought he could see out of the corner of his eye a mysterious figure standing in the intervening shadows. A little frightened at this strange apparition, the Professor decided to sit down at his desk and think about it. But, since glimpsing apparitions out of the corners of his eyes wasn't what the Professor was about, he soon forgot about this as well. As he gazed around his study aimlessly, he suddenly remembered he was supposed to be looking for something special. He knew it was important to find it, although he could not quite remember what it was. He stood up for a while and thought about it.

Now, thinking was Professor Schmaltzenberger’s specialty. Thinking was what the Professor mostly did. He was very good at thinking, and this thinking had brought him many awards and honors. These thoughts of his he would write down on pieces of paper, and his loyal assistant would gather them up and send them off to various scientific journals. This is the reason the Professor had gathered so many awards and honors.

One interesting thing, the Professor hardly ever remembered what he had written down on these little scraps of paper. This was good, as in this way the Professor was never bothered by all the success he had gained from his thoughtful efforts. He hadn’t even realized he was the most famous and respected scientist of his generation. He just stayed in his study, and was free to think new thoughts.

His loyal assistant, who I shall call Otto, protected his eminent employer by keeping him unaware of his success. Otto was good at keeping secrets, and the biggest secret he had ever kept was not telling the Professor how famous he was and not telling anyone where the Professor lived, or even anything about him.

So, no one knew where Professor Schmaltzenberger lived, but, of course, everyone wanted to know. The press and other scientists were constantly searching for this mysterious Professor Schmaltzenberger. They hired private detectives, they hired gossip columnists, they hired psychics, they hired conspiracy theorists, they hired helicopters, they hired mountain climbers just in case the Professor was clever enough to live on top of some obscure mountain. They hired almost anyone who thought they had a clue or even an inkling of where this famous man resided, but to no avail.

As I say, Otto was very good at keeping secrets.

Well, back to the Professor. By this time he had gotten tired of peering at objects lying around his study he had never seen before and wondering how they had gotten there, he finally remembered his lost pencil. After thirty minutes or so he found it, and actually recalled that this was the object he had been looking for all this time. Luckily for the Professor, he had kept in his mind the equation he wanted to write down. He quickly jotted it on a scrap of paper on his desk and was satisfied. However, his satisfaction didn't last very long. As the Professor gazed at what he had written, an astonished look came over his face. It was one thing to work out equations, but another to realize the potential consequences of said equations. This time, which was very rare for the Professor, he did realize the consequence of this particular scribble.

Our Professor sat back in his old chair and ran a hand over his face. Of all the ideas and thoughts he had ever had, only this one made any kind of impression on his mind. He realized here he had something extraordinary, something unique and profound. The equation he had written down stared back at him in an unnerving way. The Professor realized he had discovered The Equation of Time.

Now, to most of us, this Equation of Time would not mean very much. In fact, written down it would look very much like gibberish. Mathematical equations always look like gibberish to us, but Professor Schmaltzenberger immediately recognized its importance. “This could change everything,” he said to himself aloud. “What in the world shall I do with it?”

It just so happened that Otto, the Professor’s loyal assistant, was the apparition who was standing in the shadows the Professor thought he saw out of the corner of his eyes in the flashes of lightening. Otto also heard what the Professor had mumbled to himself, “This could change everything.” Otto kept repeating this phrase to himself, and wondered what it meant.

Otto was a clever fellow. After all, he had kept the Professor’s whereabouts secret for all these years. This had been very profitable for Otto. You see, the Professor had received various grants, prizes and cash which had been the results of the various equations he had scribbled down. The Professor never knew about these profitable dividends because Otto, as I said before, was very clever and very good at keeping secrets.

Now Otto silently moved into the light of the study and approached the Professor. He said, with a sly smile, “Well Professor, I think it’s time you hit the sack. It’s getting late, you know. You don’t want to over tire yourself with all the work you’ve been doing tonight.”

The Professor looked up absently. “Is it late?” He asked to the room in general. “I should be going to bed then, I suppose.” Looking around he now saw Otto standing before him. “By the way,” the Professor continued, “who are you?”

I’m Otto, Professor. You remember, your loyal servant.”

Ah yes, of course, Otto,” the Professor said a little hesitantly, looking at the man more closely. “Well, I’m going to bed now, Otto. I suppose I’ll see you in the morning?” The Professor stood and walked toward the study door, then hesitated. He walked back to his desk and picked up the scrap of paper. “Perhaps I should put this somewhere safe,” he said to himself, and quickly put it in his pocket.

The Professor walked out of the study into a hallway followed by Otto. “The bedroom is this way, Professor,” Otto suggested as the Professor turned the wrong way in the corridor. The Professor, slightly confused, was guided in the correct direction to his bedroom door. The Professor opened the door and stepped inside. He then turned to Otto, who was standing in the doorway closely watching him, and said purposely, “Goodnight Otto.”

Goodnight, Professor,” Otto said reluctantly. “Sleep well.” Otto had to step back as the Professor then closed the door, leaving Otto standing somewhat frustrated in the hallway. After a moment of hesitation, Otto walked away thoughtfully and entered his own bedroom.

Finally way from prying eyes, the Professor took out the piece of paper from his pocket and looked at it. “This is important; I must remember to keep it safe," he said. Then the Professor looked about the room, wondering where a safe place would be. He then crossed the room to a bookcase, took a book off a shelf at random and placed the scrap of paper among its pages. “There, now I can sleep and not worry.”

The Professor undressed, got into bed, pulled the covers up to his chin. “Tomorrow I’m going to do something special,” he murmured. “Something I have not done in many years. I am going to go out of the house.”

Professor Schmaltzenberger slowly fell into an uncertain sleep, dreaming of floating scraps of paper appearing in an unfamiliar landscape.


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This story definitely has potential. Don't stop now.

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Professor Schmaltzenberger's Equation - Chapter Two


Professor Schmaltzenberger woke the next morning not knowing where he was. He sat up in bed and looked around the room. Slowly, memories of his location and who he was returned to his mind. As he got out of bed and started to dress, a thought nagged at his mind. There was something he should remember, but exactly what it was he couldn’t quite grasp.

Just then, Otto knocked on his bedroom door. The Professor looked up. “Professor, are you dressed?” Otto asked from the hallway.

Yes, come in, whoever you are,” answered the Professor.

Otto entered the bedroom and helped the Professor find his shoes, all the while glancing around the room hopefully. “There you are,” Otto said after he had tied the Professor’s shoelaces. “Now, how about some breakfast?”

Breakfast, yes,” the Professor agreed vaguely. “But before that, there’s something I should be remembering. Do you know what it is?”

No,” replied Otto, innocently “Whatever it is I’m sure you’ll remember it later.”

Yes, I suppose so,” Professor Schmaltzenberger replied vaguely.

The Professor and Otto left the Professor’s bedroom and entered the kitchen where Otto prepared breakfast. The Professor ate thoughtfully and then returned to his study, his usual routine in the morning. He sat at his cluttered desk, piled with objects and notes the Professor had never seen before, and tried to remember something. This sitting and thinking went on for quite a long time, so we’ll switch to another scene.

The other scene is Otto desperately searching the Professor’s bedroom. He searched here, he searched there. He even searched the book in which the piece of paper containing The Equation of Time resided between its pages. However, in Otto’s over-enthusiasm, his search of this particular book was not thorough enough. Greedy men are oftentimes not interested in details, so are typically not good searchers. They are too quick in their greed. Otto did not find what he was looking for, but this did not discourage him.

After an hour or so of trying, Professor Schmaltzenberger suddenly remembered something. Conveniently for him and for our story, he remembered hiding a piece of paper in a book. A piece of paper that was very important for some reason. Of course, he hadn’t remembered what was written on this small piece of paper, but the fact that he did remember something made the Professor smile in anticipation. He thought, if he could remember this something, perhaps he could remember another something, as well.

This was a breakthrough. Now Professor Schmaltzenberger’s mind worked hard. First he had to remember that he had remembered something. This was his first difficult mental task, but after a while he got used to the idea.

Remembering that you had remembered something is pretty easy for most of us. In fact, we don’t even have to remember that we remembered, all we have to do is the second remembering part. But for the Professor this was something special. He thought, “Maybe if I can remember to remember, I can even remember to remember to remember!”

I won’t go on with this, because it’s starting to sound like gibberish. Nevertheless, this is the line of thought that was in the Professor’s mind. He worked out in his head all sorts of pathways of remembering remembering and remembering remembering remembering, and finally came to work out a startling new Theory of Mind. This new Theory of Mind would have had quite an important impact on the world in general, and would have gone a long way in explaining a lot of things that confuse most of us about the mysterious workings of our own minds. If only the Professor could have found a scrap of paper on his desk large enough to have written it all down, we would all have been better off. For instance, the divorce rate would have gone way down, children would be a lot easier to live with and we’d always remember where our car keys are.

Unfortunately, the Professor had misplaced his notebook, which was large enough to have served nicely, and also he had misplaced his trusty pencil again, which would also have served nicely. So, the Professor soon forgot all about his new and startling Theory of Mind, and we must continue with our confused lives, and somehow be satisfied with them. In any event, we’d probably be too lazy to have put the Professor’s Theory of Mind into action anyway, if he had written it all down, so, nothing would have changed, and we’d still be trying to muddle through life by our normal, absurd method, which is, of course, no method at all.

Anyway, the result of all this was that even though the Professor had already forgotten his new Theory, he had managed to remember the important scrap of paper. He stood from behind his desk and returned to his bedroom, where, after a few misses, he opened the book in which he had placed what he was looking for. The Professor gazed at the equation that he had written down. “I must do something with this, it could be very dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands!” He thought.

Just at that very moment, Otto entered the room.

The Professor turned to Otto and said, “Bring the car around, I’m leaving for a while.”

Surprised at this statement, and wondering how to dissuade the Professor, Otto said, “But Professor, are you sure you remember how to drive?”

Yes, of course I remember how to drive!” The Professor replied in annoyance. “It seems I used to drive all the time.” The Professor looked at Otto closely. “I’m starting to remember things, Otto. It’s odd, really. It seems I’ve been lost in a fog for ever so long. I don’t understand it.”

I’ll get the car, then, but where are you going?” Otto asked, nervously.

Oh…yes where…” The Professor looked at Otto once again, a slightly confused look on his face. “I suppose I should have a destination. Where do you think I should go?”

I think you shouldn’t go anywhere,” replied Otto. “You’ve not wanted to leave the house for a long time, Professor. Why do you want to leave now?”

The Professor pondered this question for a moment. He knew he must do something with the equation on the scrap of paper in his pocket, but he wasn’t sure what. Suddenly he exclaimed, “I know! I must go and see Dr. Reinhold!”

Dr. Reinhold?” Otto asked.

Yes, Dr. Reinhold! The Professor exclaimed in excitement. “He is the only one who can help me!”

Now, this Dr. Reinhold was a experimental physicist whom the Professor had known and worked with many years in the past.

But, we don’t even know where Dr. Reinhold lives,” explained Otto. “It’s been so many years…”

Well, we must find him, then,” the Professor said determinedly. “Go and discover his address somehow and let me know when you find it.”

Yes, of course I will,” Otto replied, and reluctantly left the room.

Later, the Professor was again wondering just who this Otto fellow was. He couldn’t quite remember where he came from, or for how long he had been around. Even though he was starting to remember some things, this was another example of his not remembering, and it frightened him.

Now the Professor had an idea. “I’ll just call Reinhold on the phone, myself!” he said aloud, and slapped his forehead in disgust. He looked around and found a telephone sitting on his desk half-covered with debris. He cleared this away and picked up the receiver and thought, “I wonder what his number is?” Thinking carefully, he knew he should have an address book somewhere, even though he couldn’t remember it. He looked through the drawers of his desk until he found one. It was old and tattered. The Professor leafed through the pages until he found Reinhold’s name with his telephone number written along side it. A sudden chill went through the Professor’s spine. He couldn’t remember speaking to anyone besides Otto for a long time, and wondered how it would be to speak to someone else again.

Putting this thought aside, he dialed the number. After a moment he heard a female voice on the other end say, “Hello, Doctor Reinhold’s office.”

I’d like to speak to Doctor Reinhold, please,” the Professor said softly.

I’m sorry, Doctor Reinhold is busy on another line, can you wait?” the female voice asked.

Yes I can wait,” the Professor replied. The Professor held the receiver tightly to his ear and drummed his fingers nervously on his desk.

The person speaking to Dr. Reinhold on the other line was Otto.

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