Paradox within a Paradox
The Story of a Fish Having sex with a Frisbee.
Two of the greatest friends in the world were sitting in a sunny park on a bench one day. Their names were Elocution and Vernacular and one said to the other.
“Vern, I’ve invented a machine that turns things into other things” He said this softly as if knowing it sounded crazy.
“El, you’re going to have to be more specific” said Vernacular.
Elocution responded by shaking his head slowly as if trying to find the words, and the way to say them, then he gestured at his companion and led him to a nearby copse in the woods. Here stood a monstrous device, roughly shaped like a port-o-let out of the distant future. He searched around on the ground and came across a frisbee, he opened the door of his newly made machine and tossed the frisbee into it.
The machine hummed and hissed and the door slammed shut. A great light emanated from every pore and crevice in it and Vernacular started to wonder about his friends sanity. Then a great bang sounded from the machine and with a long slow whine it powered down. The door opened on its own after a while and there at the bottom of the machine was a flopping fish, a trout if I’m not mistaken.
Elocution grabbed the fish quickly and released it into a nearby stream, where it swam happily away. Why it was particularly happy, we’re not sure, but perhaps the life of a fish is infinitely more interesting than that of a frisbee…
They talked late into the night about this marvelous invention, trying to decide, how it worked. Did it go through time as well as space? Did it turn things into something besides fish? Did it work on people? Well the answer to all three, as you’ll soon see, is a shifty and dodgy yes.
A series of experiments began where tennis shoes became robots and plants became tiny cars. Soon the day came where they must try the ultimate experiment, and they decided to test it on a human. They couldn’t use some random person because the process couldn’t be reversed. They were such good friends that neither could bear to lose the other either. So the time came when they decided as a final ditch effort, that they would both step into the machine at the same time.
There was a great clacking whirring and booming and the tiny screen on the outside of the changing machine suddenly sprang to life and read something like this 124:20:21. El and Vern were quite unaware of this as they were currently inside the machine, letting it work its insidious science on their bodies. After a short while with much noise and fanfare, the machine finally whined to a halt. It obviously had made its last change. The door swung open and there on the ground were two more fish! Trout if I’m not mistaken.
With a much more limited intelligence than a human, yet with a much greater intelligence than a trout, the two friends realized their plight. They had both become fish, much like the Frisbee of the first experiment! This led El to conclude that possibly people were closer to Frisbees than they had previously suspected. This thought was cut short however by searing pain and a lack of oxygen.
They both leaped and twisted and headed toward the stream but an ugly truth reared its head. They weren’t going to make it. They both recognized this at the same moment and they both tried to use their last bit of strength to fling the other to the water, so that one of them may live. Vernacular was slightly faster in his execution and succeeded in flinging Elocution all the way to the waters edge. El watched his friend gasp out his final fishy breath as he slipped into the blissfully breathable water.
El the trout swam along somewhat despondently and grieved for his lost friend, but soon came to like the fishy life. He even soon took a fishy wife, and life continued on as its prone to do. At least for a while. You see back in the woods, near the stream that was El’s new home. Sat the machine, quiet and dark, except for the screen that had sprung to life during the final and fateful formation. It now read 123:19:08, and as you may have guessed it meant that El had only 123 days, 19 hours and 8 minutes before something terrible happened.
The machine was built by El, but on top of the plans of others and so there were fail-safes and odd bits of things that even El never understood. The screen itself was there to reverse everything that had been done so far, in the event that something went terribly wrong, as in the case of El and Vern. Well something had gone wrong, but more wrong than any of us imagined.
El had met a female fish and had little fish children and they all stayed very close together, in the stream near the machine that had been their home these long 123 days so far. When the machine finally ticked its oblivious way towards 000:00:00 it sent out a wave of energy that returned everything to the shape which it had been. But there was a serious problem with this.
You see, the fish that he married was once a Frisbee, the fish that Vernacular had become had died near the stream, the children that El had were in essence, half human, half fish, and half Frisbee, in the most disturbing improper fraction there ever was… and Elocution was just a human.
Suddenly Elocution was sitting in a stream, naked and cold cradling a Frisbee, a group of disfigured (and now quite dead) fish/frisbee/children and next to him lay the horrifically decomposing corpse of his best friend Vernacular. He wept for all their losses for hours on end. But in the end life must continue and usually does, so he gathered his friends remains and all his lost children and took them all away to be given a proper burial. The Frisbee he laid gently on the ground right where he had found it and wished it the best. Then he was gone, to live his life in sadness, but live it just the same.
However, there’s a part that we’re all forgetting that makes this drama a tragedy. The machine didn’t just move molecules. It moved time and space and form and function. The same set of fail-safes also provided a back-door into the past to prevent just such an occurrence. El, without knowing it, had traveled back to the very beginning of this whole adventure, but his grief was too great to realize it until much later. So as he lay sobbing in his home, mourning his friend, his wife and his children…
Elocution and Vernacular came into the woods, to try the marvelous machine and the first thing that Elocution could find to toss into the machine to show his friend it really worked, was a Frisbee on the ground.