The Heisenberg Principle

Cover for The Heisenberg Principle


by Robert Lee Beers




      “Damn it!!” Hugo threw the morning paper to the floor and stalked across it to the coffee maker, “ Another loser. Why do I keep torturing myself this way?” The question went unanswered as Hugo lived alone and couldn’t keep pets. This wasn’t due to any clause in his rental contract, they either ran away or died on him.

      “ I’ve got to have the worst luck in the world, the universe.” Hugo muttered recriminations at himself as he made his way to his basement workshop. “Why do keep betting on them? Every time, they lose, every time!” Rather than being hyperbole, what he said to himself was true. Hugo had never won a bet in his life. In fact, he hadn’t won anything. All he owned was due strictly to diligence and hard work and Hugo was a hard worker. He’d received several commendations during his years as a game designer for both his attitude and the quality of his work, but anything in the realm of chance stayed far from him. To complicate matters, Hugo could not keep himself from trying, time and again, his luck at whatever struck his eye as a sure thing. One year he chose an NFL team that had breezed into the playoffs and won the Superbowl by a record number of touchdowns. They became the first team ever to be shut out for the entire season. The team owner committed suicide on the fifty yard line and the head coach when last heard from was managing a McDonald’s in Portland.

All this merely added to his determination to change his luck.

      Hugo’s workshop closely resembled a mad scientist’s wet dream. One wall contained a rat’s nest maze of conduit, piping, fiber optics and blinking LED indicators. Nestled into a corner was a mix of computer monitors tied into a series of exposed mother boards and hard drives. A couple of keyboards sat to the left stacked against each other like ladders.

In the center of the basement crouched a mechanism straight out of Star Trek. A series of glowing rings encircled an electron gun bristling with wires and fiber optic lines that fed down and behind the gun into a large sheet metal box spray painted a flat green. The gun aimed its business end at a composite target coated with an emulsion that glowed with a pale pinkish radiance. The balance of the basement was littered with a complex assortment of electronic odds and ends that forced a balancing act in order to get from one end of the workshop to the other.

      His obsession with luck, more correctly, his luck, had led Hugo into a study of Heisenberg’s laws of probability. As crackpot as it may seem, he was currently working on a theory concerning the existence of probability waves consisting of particles similar to Quarks. The math appeared to be correct so now all he needed to do, in theory, was push the fire button on the gun.

      “OK, here goes…..whatever.” Hugo said to no one in particular as he depressed a blinking red tab on the gun’s bread-boarded console.

      A stream of extremely over agitated electrons impacted the target emulsion, splashing against it in an ever expanding rainbow such as one might see under a fountain on a clear summer’s day. Hugo rotated a rheostat. The voltage diminished to a level below that of a phone line yet the rainbow effect remained constant.

      “Hmmm…..” He made a note in a dog-eared logbook. “Now, according to Murphy’s corollaries there should be two polarities to this spectrum. If these are in fact probability waves…how do I find out? Tricky…….”

      Hugo theorized that if Murphy was right in saying (1) That if anything could go wrong it would, and (2) That if anything could go right it would, there could possibly be a way to force the condition. Sort of a lucky force field, as it was. The trouble came in him trying his luck in proving it, seeing his track record in that arena.

      He had decided on dice as his control once he solved the problem of creating his “lucky zone”. Typically the trouble with containing specific forms of energy outside of light and electricity was that they tended to be linear in their movement. They went from point A to point B and that was it. Hugo had spent numberless hours pondering the problem. He’d found the solution through researching ball lightening. Nature had a way of enclosing electrical energy into a coherent sphere so there had to be a way of doing it with other forms. After several failures, some of them spectacular, he found magnetism to be the perfect tool for shaping his probability field. As magnetism naturally formed a spherical field, all he had to do was search out the correct field strength for containing an injection of probability waves.

      The glowing emulsion on the electron gun target was based on a slightly radioactive offshoot of the collected scrapings of dozens of cheap glow-in-the-dark wrist watches. The math said it should have the property of a wave colander, essentially collecting the probability waves while letting all the rest strain through. Beneath the target Hugo had centered a small electro-magnet set to generate a field approximately 18 inches in diameter. Placed at a point where the center of the field should be was an old card table with a green felt top. Printed onto the felt in white ink was a circle 18 inches across. It was there the proof would happen. The looming question was…what? He had no way of knowing, without actually trying his luck,  whether the field contained positive probability waves or negative. He also had not been able to determine whether or not the condition remained static. That is, if he exposed himself to a concentration of the particles, would he retain them as with other forms of radiation? What if he did and they were of the negative variety?

He had too much of that already. That would be where the excremental matter hit the revolving blades.

      He rolled the dice around in his hand. They had been weighted to come up with a winning 7 continuously. As this change in the dice removed any aspect of chance from the toss even Hugo could throw a winner. Theory proposed that a concentrated field of probability would overcome cheat devices……either way. That is, concentrated negative probability should force the weighted dice to come up craps with every toss……in theory.

      Taking a deep breath, letting it out slowly, he rolled the pair of dice into the circle. His eyes followed them as they bounced towards and then through the circle’s center, coming to rest about an inch from the far edge.

Displayed on the top side of each dice was a single black indented dot centered in a white face.

      “Waaahhhooooo!!!!” Hugo danced around the workshop waving his hands in the air, success, at last. All he had to do now was reverse the polarity for the check. If that worked, the pair of non-weighted dice he had in his pocket should come up with a winning combination every time.

      The polarity control consisted of a simple toggle switch. Up selected one polarity and down selected the other. Currently the switch was up, Hugo reached out an index finger and with a smug flick set it into the down position. Then he reached into his pocket, pulled out the legal dice and tossed them into the circle where they landed next to the other pair. One dice showed 3 the other showed 4. Subsequent tests brought up several different combinations with the singular tie-in of being all winning combinations.


      Hugo, grin still in place, sipped his single malt.” Oh, definitely. Definitely, for sure. Yep.”

      The bartender held the glass up to the light and squinted at it. “Tell me how, again?” What the hell, it was a quiet night anyway.

      Hugo was in his element. He leaned forward and held up his left hand, cupping it into a sphere. He waved his right hand towards it. “We’re bombarded daily with various forms of radiation. Most pass through us without us ever noticing. You probably have heard them called Cosmic Rays.”

      The bartender nodded. Hugo continued,” Well, I discovered a spectrum of Cosmic Rays that effects the outcome of events normally ruled by random chance.”

      “Like what?”

      Hugo picked up his shot glass. “Oh numerous things. Betting on a football game, pulling a slot machine’s handle, lotteries, bingo, roulette, to name a few.”

      “And…Your gizmo fixes the game, eh?”

      “No…Not exactly, what it does is……Look. You know what a teeter-totter is, don’t you?”

      “Sure. Doesn’t everybody?”

      “Ok. Say you’re on one end of the teeter-totter and I’m on the other. Who’s going to be up in the air?”

      The bartender chuckled. “Hey, no contest, face it buddy, you’re no lightweight.” Hugo tended toward the portly side.

      “Exactly, now, have you ever noticed that some people tend to have more luck than others?”

      The bartender pursed his lips and nodded. “Yeah…sure I have.”

      “Alright, let’s say all the lucky people are on my end of the board and all of the unlucky people are on yours. It would be fair to say the ways of the world are weighted towards the lucky, wouldn’t it?”

      “I guess so.” The bartender found he was becoming interested in Hugo’s thesis.

      “What would happen if you could swing some of the weight to the other side?”

      The bartender stopped whipping the glass. He thought for a moment then pointed a well chewed fingernail at Hugo. “It’d even out!”

      Hugo drained the last of his scotch. “That’s exactly what I have in mind.” He said as he walked out.

♦          ♦          ♦                     


      Getting even was exactly what Hugo had in mind. He cared little as to whether or not his belief was justified. He felt the world, no; the universe had given him a raw deal when it came to getting the breaks. He had always considered himself to be just a little better than average when it came to the attributes needed for success. He merely had a dismaying knack for being in the right place at the wrong time.

      Hugo no longer drove. Several years ago his driver’s license was pulled because he was involved in too many accidents. One year he managed one a week. The DMV didn’t care that none of them were his fault, they just wanted him off the roads. He stopped riding bikes a couple of summer’s ago because it became too expensive to replace the things, so now he walked. As the local was only about a block away from his home the trip was no hardship.

      He giggled to himself as he daydreamed a scenario where Dick Clark stood on his doorstep handing him his 11 million dollar check while he howled his triumph at God. His mirth increased to such a level that several people and a few dogs crossed over to the other side of the street when he passed by.

      Back in his home he found he was far too wired to go to sleep so he made his way down to the workshop. Plans, dreams, and visions of what his life was going to become flooded through his consciousness while he flipped switches and depressed buttons. The first thing he was going to do…well…one of them would be the first thing he was going to do. All he had to do, he was sure of it now, was saturate himself with positive probability particles and let his altered nature take its course.


      Hugo jerked back from the glowing target that signified where to place himself. The basement workshop was immersed in brilliant white light. Its source appeared to be a figure, slightly larger than man-high standing just off to the left of the target area.

      “Huh?” He swallowed the lump arising in his throat.

      “You mustn’t do that!!!” The voice was smooth, pleasant even, if perhaps, a bit too loud.

      “Why?” Hugo’s natural stubbornness rose to the surface.

      “You….oh fiddle! Do you mind if I turn down the glow? I find it awfully pretentious.”

      “Uh, sure. Yeah, go ahead.”

      The light intensity dimmed to reveal a pleasant looking middle-aged man dressed in white tweed with a matching bowler hat and umbrella. “Thanks, awfully. You know, I’m supposed to be covering London, but you’ve upset the kettle a bit here.”


      The men stretched out his hand.” I’m sorry, I haven’t introduced myself. Percy’s the name, Guardian Angel Corps, Howjado.”

      Hugo stood dumbstruck. A Guardian Angel? Everyone knew the Bible was just stories. No one of any intelligence took them seriously. Especially not him…until now…maybe…

He lifted his chin at the man, “How do I know you are what you say you are?”

      A look of annoyance crossed the other’s face. “You’re not one of those are you? Oh bother! If you insist…” The glow came back, but this time it had a different quality. Somehow more regal with a stronger brilliance that yet allowed Hugo to see clearly what wa happening. The figure that called himself Percy grew to a height that reached the ten foot ceiling. Wings, whiter than the purest snowfall, spread out from behind him until they reached either side of the workshop, a span of nearly 25 feet. “Does this satisfy you??” The angel thundered.

      Hugo’s pseudo atheism fled him at the approximate speed of pssssst! It is difficult at best to disbelieve in something when that something is near to making you wet your pants. “Yes, yes! Ok, I believe you, alright?”

      The angel shrank back to its former size in one smooth second. “Very good, I hate having to do that, you know. Strikes me as too Cecil B DeMill, a bit too showy for my tastes.” He stuck out his hand again. “Shall we try it one more time?”

      Hugo reached out his hand in the same manner that one reaches into a snake’s den. The angel grasped it and shook it warmly. “That’s the spirit! Pleased to meet you old man. Hugo, is it?”

      “Uh huh…”

      “Very good, as I was saying, you’ve upset the kettle a bit and I’ve been sent to help you straighten it out.”

      “What…Who…What are you…huh?”

And that is where I’ve stopped. Like Buggzapped, I’m stumped as to where to go. I think it’s because I am a fantasy writer by heart and tend to lose my way in the sci-fi realm. Again, if any of you out there have suggestions that help get this thing finished, you get on-cover credit.



About robertleebeers

Author, Illustrator, Artist, Musician, and (sorry) politician.
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