Dr. Milo was not a real
doctor, of course, but he wore a set of small round spectacles. He also carried
many books around with him, never bothering to read the words, and sometimes
dressed in a professors jacket, which kids liked to call a horsey
jacket. Really, he reasoned, there was little difference between his mode
of life and the comings and goings of real PhDs.
Do you know the
answer to this problem? he would ask occasionally, holding up scratched
numbers for someone to answer.
subject would invariably mumble; it was not a surprise they never knew the
answers because the equations were not real. Then, with conviction, Dr. Milo
would offer his own irrefutable response.
Dr. Milo was now engaged
in just such an encounter on a flight to Las Vegas. A kind old woman was
smiling at him, thinking What a strange stick-figure man and What a strange
black bowl haircut as he explained the equation. All the people seated around
the conversation wished that the doctor would close his mouth and
stop making racket.
It was at this precise
moment that time froze and the universe expanded. That is to say, an
other-worldly creature materialized with a vibrant sizzle inside the plane. His
fingers were lightning, his eyes small round dots, and his voice was a
practiced rhythm of all human languages.
If the people on board
this flight still possessed the option, they would have scattered away in fear.
As it was, the creature had temporarily restrained their free will. He rather
liked to do this to lesser animals when he was not amusing himself on other
planets or watching game shows.
People of this
Doomed Flight, he began, I have come for one purpose: To collect
the smartest person on earth.
Without hesitation, the
kind old woman and all of her neighbors pointed their fingers at Dr. Milo. The
Show me that
equation, he commanded.
Dr. Milo held it up and
the strange head tilted.
He can solve
that, the kind old woman offered, and Dr. Milo was instantly
As he flew into the air,
bound for uncomfortable experiments, the creature called out, By the way,
I was kidding about your flight being doomed!
The people on board the
plane settled into their seats for a quiet trip to Vegas where they would
attempt to win twice in one day.