Of course, it had to be a mad scientist.
Snide was already there scribbling into his notebook. Like all newly minted police detectives, he leaned inwards towards witnesses, eagerly hanging on their every word. It was a rookie mistake. Witnesses were always more forthcoming when they felt the need to earn someone’s attention. Snide, being especially thin and tall, had the double effect of resembling a streetlamp as he towered over the strange little man beside him.
As for the other man, nobody needed to tell me he was a mad scientist. Everything from his white coat, to his reading glasses, to the giant wormhole currently eating its way though the city’s business district underlined what this man did for a living.
“Snide,” I said, casually inserting myself into the conversation. “I’ll take it from here.”
“Detective Grace!” exclaimed Snide. “Umm, sure, sure. No problem.”
Like some Christmas puppy, Snide hovered for a few moments before being especially helpful somewhere else.
“Einstein, huh? Sounds foreign. Perhaps you’d like to start at the beginning,” I said, looking particularly disinterested. A quick yawn and distant stare added to the effect.
“Well, like I told the other detective… I was in the kitchen baking biscuits, when this happened. I was following the recipe… not sure how…”
“Only following orders, huh? We’ve all heard that before. What sort of biscuits?”
“Chocolate-chip,” he answered. His thick germanic accent slurring over the word.
“With flour, sugar, butter, chocolate chips, and so forth?”
“Ja, err, yes. Mostly.”
The wormhole devoured another city street in a noisy frenzy of activity. According to the science department eggheads, major city streets had been transported to somewhere in the Andromeda galaxy through a tunnel that fractured space-time.
“Mostly,” I said, letting the word hang here.
“Ja, mostly. Except I ran out of those little tiny balls of chocolate.”
“The chocolate chips? You used something other than chocolate chips?”
I must have given him a disinterested look, because he continued talking.
“Ja, and a little sprinkling of… I do not know the english word.”
“Nein, I think the word is quasi-quantum non-electromagnetic neutrino dark matter,” he said slowly. “But it was only a small sprinkling. More for colour than taste really.”
“And then you put these quasi-quantum something something biscuits into an oven?”
“An oven?” he asked, his inflated eyes staring at me from behind thick glasses. “I suppose some people may call it an oven…”
My keen detective skills instantly picked up that there may be more.
I let him continue, “… others call it a subatomic particle accelerator. I use it to bring out a crispness in the pastry. It’s never been a problem before.”
“Wait, subatomic particle accelerator? I’ve seen those on the news. Aren’t they several kilometres long? You can’t possibly have one of those in your kitchen.”
“Oh, apologies detective. My english is not so good. I mean the room under the house.”
“So, are you telling me that you have several kilometres of subatomic particle accelerator machinery under your house?”
“It’s more of a hobby.”
“Mr Einstein, do you think it’s possible that putting quasi-quantum biscuits into a subatomic particle accelerator may have caused the wormhole?”
Einstein stared at the wormhole, tapping his chin in thought.
“Nein,” he started. “Perhaps the banana bread, but I would not have thought the biscuits.”
“And when you say bananas?”
“Ja, ja, gamma radiation.”
“Snide!” I called out, prompting my colleague to hurry over for some validation and possibly a good belly-rub. “Please help Mr Einstein with the rest of his statement.”
Without looking back, I left Einstein and Snide in the shadow of the wormhole and the rapidly diminishing city, strangely wondering if there were bakeries on the far side of the galaxy.