Famous mathematician

Following my interview of him, he said: “I’ve got to get up from this wheelchair to shower and prepare to speak at an engagement this evening. They grow on me, the bacteria. They grow within me. I am largely made of them. The bacteria-man. I may be wheelchair-bound but I have special powers that allow me to mutate into other creatures made of bacteria. For instance, I can mutate into cows and peanut butter and women who make marmalade. I cannot, however, mutate into a whale, nor most sea creatures. I cannot mutate into birds until they are dying, infected with the bacteria of other creatures seeking to devour the life and essence of the birds. I can mutate into other humans, those that don’t make marmalade, but why would I experience that torture? I would rather mutate into a ghost but that is impossible. So my special powers as the bacteria-man are generally worthless but sometimes fun if the weather is nice.”

“Do you need any help?” I asked, referring to the shower, though I regretted the question immediately.

“No thank you. It is nice of you to ask. I have a special shower that allows me to move about the bathroom, seated in my chair, and still enjoy the spray of the shower, the seven heads of which follow me around the room via infrared monitoring devices. I move freely about the waterproofed room and am able to clean myself from all angles, destroying the bacteria on my body’s surface, at least for the time being.”

I looked at him and tried to imagine the room.

“I would happily show you the bathroom but it is currently dangerous due to one of the shower heads disconnecting from the network and going rogue, so to speak.”

“No that’s okay, thank you,” I said. “Perhaps I should be going.”

I walked out of his apartment and heard him chanting quietly: “Key misfortune, key misfortune, key misfortune.”


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