Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Hypercube Roots"

This poem came out of the October 2-3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from my_partner_doug.  It has been sponsored out of the general fund, based on an audience poll.  This poem is a crossover between Monster House, which you can explore further via the Serial Poetry page; and Schrodinger's Heroes, which has its own menu page.

Hypercube Roots

The tesseract in the basement was ringing.

Grandma was pulling a pie out of the oven
and putting a casserole into the oven
and apparently didn't hear it
over the sound of the timer beeping.

When she stood up, I nudged her and said,
"Grandma, the uh ... downstairs line is ringing."
"Oh!  Well, we'd better get that," she said,
tugging me out of the kitchen.

"What about supper?" I asked
as I followed my seeing-eye gremlin
down the stairs to the laboratory.
"It will never miss us," Grandma promised.

So we followed the hypercube roots
to the stillpoint of the spinning wheel,
where there were messages waiting
and lights blinking and flashing
and people of all sorts in a muddle.

Grandma quickly cut through the chaos
and made her way over to
a brown man and a blonde lady
and their surprisingly relaxed black cat.
"What seems to be the trouble?" Grandma asked.

The blonde lady dragged a hand through her hair
and said, "Well, there are these dopplegangers
from some hell dimension going around
impersonating people and doing evil,
and aside from us professional troubleshooters
nobody notices so that's a pretty big problem.
We'd like to find a way to identify them that doesn't
involve Tim the Tentacle Monster licking  everyone."

"Where are they coming from?" Grandma asked,
and the blonde lady started talking in equations
considerably more complex than just hypercube roots.
But I was more interested in the licking, so I said,
"That sounds like a visual illusion of some kind.
If the dopplegangers taste different from people,
then the body chemistry must be different,
so what you need is some kind of
chemical-sniffer equipment."

The brown man grinned and declared,
"That's a hardware issue!  Let's go shopping!"
So I showed him to The Grand Bizarre,
which was less of a bazaar
and more of an explosion in a flea market.

He put together bits of this and pieces of that
and had something working rather well
by the time some kind of alarm
whined about a doppleganger using their portal.

We managed to find the creature
and contain it with the help of a trapdoor monster.
Meanwhile the blonde lady and Grandma
had figured out which hell dimension
the dopplegangers were coming from
and how to send them back there.

Then someone else's  pet
chased my seeing-eye gremlin up a logic tree
and it took the black cat quite a while
to coax the gremlin back down again.

Fortunately travel by tesseract
can fold time as well as space,
so we made it back home
before the casserole or our relatives
had noticed our absence.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, writing
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