Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Flash Fiction by Paul Smith
Shine a Light
"She's been missing since Friday and you're not worried?"
"Of course I'm worried."
"You don't act worried."
"She's our daughter. She's done this before."
"Not a whole weekend. I think you are the problem, you and your male indifference. You are why she did this."
"It's not me."
"Who is it, then?"
"Who? Who's Heisenberg? The football guy or the guy in the band?"
"Now she's hooking up with a scientist?"
"No. Heisenberg had a theory about atoms. When you shine a light on them, their electrons react to the light. So you can't predict their behavior. His theory is called the Heisenberg Uncertainty Theory. It applies to teenagers too. The more scrutiny you put on a teenager, the more he or she will avoid your scrutiny. And that's our daughter Kate -- the avoider of our scrutiny. So I say we go to bed, and she'll show up."
"When? When will she show up?"
"When she feels no scrutiny."
"How is that?"
"Turn out the lights."
"I'm worried about her."
"Me too, but this lamp in the living room is emitting millions of electrons that are laughing at us. We'll go to bed and turn off their laughter."
"You are impossible! Alright, the lights are out. Now what?"
"I'm not good at patience."
"You would make a terrible neutron or proton. All we do is sit around the nucleus and watch electrons."
"My husband -- the proton."
"Yes, the back door."
"Mom? Dad? Why are the lights out? It's only nine o'clock."
"We were going to bed."
"Me too. Good night."
"Don't mom. Don't."
"I'm just going to turn on the lights."
"See? It's me."
"I know dear. I just wanted to be certain."