Friday, September 29, 2006

The Aftermath

As I knelt beside the crumpled cadaver of Perkeo in that dismal hall of puzzles, I became cognizant of the crowd. They had gingerly encircled an object that lay on the stage at the exact position where Bossert's 4 by 4 by 4 Cube had exploded and he had met his end. What further madness was this? They reverentially approached something at the locus of the still smouldering blast zone with the air of pilgrims outstretching their hands to touch a piece of the true cross, or the likeness of Christ in a bagel.

Still shaken from the harrowing pain I had earlier suffered, I limped towards the crowd of puzzlers and raised my voice to an authoritative bellow.

"What transpires here, you cursed rouges?" I thundered. In truth, I had intended to say "rogues", but I was so impassioned that I misspelled my imprecation. No matter, for as soon as I approached, they each stepped back in awe of my domineering presence. I can be quite butch when the situation demands it.

In the centre of the ring of agog puzzlers there sat a Cube, steaming gently. This was of course confusing because we had all witnessed Bossert's 4 by 4 by 4 Cube exploding. It was then that the full horror of what I was seeing struck me. It was unthinkable, but I was forced to think about it nonetheless. It was unimaginable, though after I saw it, it became all too easy to imagine it because it was there in front of me. It was unbelievable, but I had to believe it anyway what with it being there. Gentle readers, this Cube was a 5 by 5 by 5...

"How can this thing have come to pass, you course brutes?" I probed, again misspelling a word in my fervency, though thankfully far fewer people noticed this time.

Up spake a bookish looking Swede: "We believe that Bossert's wicked soul overloaded the 4 b' 4 b' 4, causing a rift in the space-time continuum, and causing the Cube, in common parlance, to 'blow up', as it were. We believe that at the exact instance that the 4 b' 4 b' 4 Cube became overloaded, a larger Cube was spontaneously created that would be robust enough to accommodate the recalcitrant soul of Patrick Bossert. Hence this awful 5 b' 5 b' 5."

Readers, this was quite beyond my ken, but I was not about to admit any ignorance in front of this rabble, so I feigned understanding.

"It is as I conjectured," I said.

"And of course, this Cube must never be solved, for if it is, Bossert's soul will be released into the world," said the Swede, "And that would be disasterous. What we see here is a terrible weapon."
Certain puzzlers quickly indicated that they wished the Cube for their own. Treachery and greed, readers, treachery and greed: how quickly it consumes lesser men. A Canadian puzzler stepped up and said, "It is a gift. A gift to the foes of America. Why not use this Cube? Give Canada the Cube. Let us use it against the US!"

A terrible shouting match began, which got a bit hectic. All the while, the Cube glowed kind of malevolently like. I made a decision.

"I will take it," I said, quietly. Here I snatched up the Cube and wedged it awkwardly into my pocket. "I will take the Cube to Dundee. Though...I do not know the way."

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