I achieve perception in a milieu of plasma, phasing in from a sub-perceptional state where such things exist as: A bed, limbs, sleep, morning. I’m mostly charged particles. A thin membrane of indigo crystalline slime shields me from a nearby ongoing fusion reaction.
“Junior,” I emit/photonize/bubble six-dimensionally, “have you been at it again?”
“Dad? Ehm, you sound hoarse.”
I swear I love the little genius, but he always tries to change the topic no matter what, where, or when we are. “What did you do this time?”
His sigh reaches me in the form of gamma radiation. “I might have altered the charge of the up-quark slightly.”
“You know you’re not supposed to play with the elementary particles.”
“No buts. Just change it back.”
I wake from the strangest dream with a bit of dried blue wine gum stuck on the sleeve of my pajamas. It evaporates with the dream.
I’m thirsty like I’ve been frying in the Sun for a day, so I go downstairs and fire up the coffee machine. From the kitchen I notice that there’s a light on in Junior’s room. I hope he hasn’t been up all night playing with his chemist set, though I suppose that’s what teenage geniuses do.
A little later I hear sounds from inside, and his lanky body slips into the kitchen. He opens the fridge.
“Dad, I think I did something bad.” His head is in the fridge, but I can hear the embarrassment.
“What?” I ask.
“I introduced a new particle, a different kind of boson. It gives particles mass.”
“That’s bad?” I grab a mug from the cupboard and pour myself a steaming cup of black coffee.
“Yeah. There’s a whole lot of gravity issues.” He gets the milk and drinks from the bottle, which for once fails to annoy me. “Oh, and they’ll have to build a 27-kilometer particle accelerator just to prove it exists.”
To cover the fact that I don’t really understand what he’s talking about, I lift the mug and take a sip. The roasted essence of goodness tickles my tongue and throat. I am embraced in a perfect bitter taste that lingers as the coffee spreads its warmth in my stomach. The Sun chooses that moment to pour a flow of gold inside through the east window.
“Dad,” Junior says, “do you think I should change it back?” His thin limbs are tense with honest confusion.
I wrap my left hand around the mug and my right arm around my son. “You know, if it works, don’t mess with it. And this is just perfect.”
Jakob Drud lives in Denmark, where he writes ad copy for a living and science fiction and fantasy for fun. His short fiction is due to come out in Flash Fiction Online and Space&Time Magazine.