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The Hubris of Dr Milo
by JD DeHart



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 professor’s 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.

“No,” the 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 creature approached.

“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 seized.

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.




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