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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quantum Entanglement (2) The next instalment of the story of the Boy from the Year 2000

The next day Jimmy was back in his garden waiting to see if his entangled pair would turn up again and, sure enough, about three o’clock, there he was. Running cross the lawn beside him.
“Wait.” Called Jimmy.  But as soon as they got to the fence it, or he, disappeared.
Jimmy pondered for a little while and then thought what Mr. Smith had told him.  If they were both part of an entangled pair, then it stood to reason that their quantum states must be exactly similar.  Jimmy also remembered what Mr Smith had told him about Schroedinger’s cat some weeks before.  It was impossible to know two things about a quantum state at once.  You could know where it was or you could know its momentum, but not both together. That must be true for both parts of an entangled pair.  Jimmy could only be sure he would know where his pair would be if he stopped running.  

So Jimmy started running up and down the lawn at full tilt hoping to capture his entangled pair but after half an hour he was exhausted.  Jimmy’s mother opened the window.  “If you keep running up and down like that, you’ll wear the grass away.” She smiled as she said that because she knew that their genetically modified Evvagreen grass would never wear out.  Sometimes she secretly wished for the days before the year 2000 when things were simpler and grass grew if you watered it and mowing it was something you had to do as a simple pleasure.  “Would you like an afternoon pill?”  She asked.  “Its a glass of milk and a biscuit.  Its blue.”
“No thank you” said Jimmy.  He was keen to get back to his experiment.  And a glass of milk and a biscuit never seemed very attractive when it was in pill form.

It was a full fifteen minutes later that the boy appeared again.  Half way across the lawn, Jimmy stopped dead.  The boy stopped dead beside him.
“I know where you are.”  Said Jimmy firmly.  As if it was some sort of binding spell.
“Eh?”  said the boy.
“I’m in my garden.  So you must be,too.”
The boy was looking puzzled.
“You’re an entanglement.”  Said Jimmy by way of explanation.
“What?” said the boy.
“You’re my entangled pair.”
“You’re nuts, you are.” Said the boy.  “I ain’t a tangly nuffing.” And then after a pause he went on: “My name’s Bobby.”
“So what are you doing here, then?” said Jimmy.  He was feeling very proud that he knew what was going on.
“I was running up and down.  Minding my own business when, whoosh, here I am.  Wherever this is.  You’ve kidnapped me, ain’t yer?”
“No, no.  Not at all.  You see, some bad people have entangled us at the quantum level and we’re the same.  We do the same things at the same time.”   Then Jimmy ran out of explanation because he didn’t really understand any more than that himself.
“Rubbish.” Said the boy.  “You’ve kidnapped me and I’ll have the law on you.”
Jimmy felt his bottom lip trembling again.  This wasn’t the way it was meant to come out.
“Well, maybe not the law.  We don’t exactly go in for that sort of thing.  But my Dad’s a big bloke.  He’s a bruiser.  He’d sort you out.”
Jimmy had no wish to be sorted out.  He wished he hadn’t embarked on this experiment now.  Science was about hover cars and rocket ships, not about fierce boys with bruisers for dads.
“It’s all right.” The boy said.  “Don’t fret.  I don’t need my dad to fight my battles.  My name’s Bobby.”
“I’m Jimmy.”  Said Jimmy.

There was something not quite right about the boy.  Jimmy suddenly realised his hair was not smoothed down and neatly parted the way most boys were but stood up on end in a sort of tangle like a gooseberry bush, his face and hands clearly hadn’t seen an auto-scrub for some time and what’s more, he wasn’t wearing a silver suit.  Jimmy began to think that the entanglement theory may not be right.  Unless, of course that was how Jimmy looked himself.  “I think you may be an entanglement.” Said Jimmy. 
Not me, mate” said the boy “I’m just Unhappy” said the boy grinning broadly and showing his stained, uneven teeth.
“You don’t look unhappy.” Said Jimmy puzzled.
“No not unhappy,” replied Bobby grinning even more broadly.  “But Unhappy.  You know the name the governments cooked up for the like of us.”
“You?  You’re a...”
“’Sright.  I’m a dissident.”
“You mean a terrorist?”
“Right again, me old cock.  I am a terrorist.    Bobby the Terrorist.”
“Crumbs.” Said Jimmy in awe. “I’ve never met a terrorist before.”  And then he couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“Well, I’ll be on my way then.  Cheers, mate.” Said Bobby.
“Er, wait a minute” called Jimmy as Bobby turned to go.
“ ’Urry up.   Me tea’s on the table.   We got pizza and chips tonight and I ain’t gonna let it get cold.”
“Umm.  What do terrorists do?”  asked Jimmy.
“You know. We sort of... terrorise people.  Ain’t you ’eard?”
“How do you do that?”
Bobby came up very close to Jimmy so that he could smell his bad breath and put his face next to his.   “Boo” he said.  Jimmy jumped. 
“Boo?” Said Jimmy.
“Yep. Boo.” Replied Bobby.
“Right, I see.”
“OK, then toodle oo, old chap.”
“It’s not very terrorising.”
“Boo.  Boo hoo.  Boo hoo.  That’s why they say we’re unhappy.”
“Toodle oo.”  Said Jimmy after a moment’s thought.  But Bobby was already gone.

(Note from author:  There may have to be a third part to see what happens to Jimmy and Bobby later.  Please tell me if you're enjoying this series.)

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