Saturday, February 19, 2011


When Jonathon awoke, he was in Doctor Franklin's  commodious quarters. Everything was done up in high federalist splendor, Jefferson himself, never had any better. Rich velvet draperies covered nonexistent windows. Well the frames were there and they did contain the requisite number of panes. But the glass was all transluscent. It was milky white. And the exterior 'sunlight' was of the artificial variety. The great scientist occupied a fine, wing chair. He sipped a cup of Earl Grey, as he studied his 'young' guest. They were both dressed in 1780's high fashion. None of that frou-frou Frenchy stuff. these outfits were fit for country gentlemen, thin suede knee britches, full. white shirts (I said full, not puffy!). You've seen stuff like this on the covers of romance novels. Sure, Franklin was a bit paunchy. But remember, he is not like everyone else. This is,after all, the man responsible for the birth of modern technology. The doctor spoke. He said - Would you like anything, I mean anyone? We have an assortment of disgusting criminals you might enjoy......Jonathon said - How thoughtful. I may take you up on that offer in a day or so, if I'm still here. And I presume that I will be here at least until you manage to free Sarah...and the 'others.'........Please, sir, what are your ideas on that subject?...........Franklin cleared his throat. He placed his cup upon a small, occasional table created just for that purpose. He said -'ve heard my music during the night, haaven't you, my boy?........Jonathon nodded........The learned gentleman continued - It is produced by a piece of apparatus I call 'the great armonica.' I presume that like almost everyone else in Philadelphia, you've gone on the tour of my house, or what's left of it?.......Jonathon said - Yes?......Franklin said - Then you've no doubt seen the small version, one of my first attempts , on display there. You know what I mmean. The thin, fine-tuned crystal discs arranged on the silver rod? They all think it's just a musical instrument. Why are people so self-limiting?...But that's another problem....Well, I have an armonica here. But this one is much larger. It's configured a bit differently. And the revolving discs are 'dampened' with heavy water...You know, like the nuclear scientists used? Oh, and they're not made of crystal, not glass crystal anyway. These are made from quartz, a  quite rare variety too. (sighs)  What use is talking? Come, I'll show you......Jonathon's heart quickened. Perhaps this meant something?.....He got up and followed the spry old man (no doubt fortified with tiny draughts of his own blood) through the rest of the quarters (all nicely done) and out into the general corridors. They continued this way and that way for a while, finally comming to a stop before two large, heavy doors. If you are asking Zebulon to guess the material, I would say some sort of florentine finished stainless steel. I remember seeing the like in Babylon, or perhaps during my sojourn among the Hind. Franklin fingered that little fob he always carried and the portals silently slid open. He went in, motioning for Jonathon to follow. The youthful Andalusian noticed the doctor's electric scooter parked inside and he gestured toward it.....The doctor said - I know. You're wondering why I'm not using it. And yes, It is due to your blood, those tiny samples drawn off by the drones, for which I thank you very much....Then he clapped his hands and the lights came up (remember, 'the clapper' was one of his inventions too) revealing a large, white, clinical laboratory. In it's center rested 'the great machine.' There was a long, silver shaft, at least sixty feet. Dozens of huge, clear, quartz discs, arranged in decreasing size were 'strung' along its length. A shallow trench, lined with some sort of ceramic material ran under the contraption. It was partially filled with a substance that looked like water, but was not water. The climate in this space was such that a fine mist  rose up from the trench, where it condensed upon the transparent discs keeping them continuously moist. Two guards silently entered. Even Jonathon did not hear them and that was rare indeed. One began to address the doctor. But Franklin simply held up his hand and said - Not now. Everything is all right. There is no need. You may wait outside.......And they left. Franklin quickly tickled his fingers over that fob causing a low electric hum to pulse up from the floor (but there was no accompanying shock) and travel into the massive, bronze looking, Rodin-esque statues supporting each end of the sixty foot shaft. The contraption came to life. Songs came out of it. There is no other way to describe it. Not like real songs. But like whale songs, or the deep, yet melodious resonances said to eminate from the earth before a quake. The doctor went over and fiddled with some sort of a control panel off to the side. Certain discs began to spin, some of the largest ones, reaching fourteen feet in diameter, as well as some of the smallest down to about eight inches. This brought forth a sound like human singing. No, like angels singing. Jonathon just stood there, taking it all in. The threehundred and four year old 'wizard' said - Behold, the mantra of the thousands of etherial butterflies materialized over-head and fluttered about the heights like petals on the wind........

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