Bees, Red Admirals, Ants and Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Quantum Physics

by Andrew Foote

Chapter 6

"But tea first, I think? In truth, I am reminded to say, that the importance of taking regular periods that allow for sufficient time in which to take refreshment, is of the utmost necessity. And, if I might add, are the choice of the vitailles consumed during those periods."

"Yeah, I mean, very possibly. But may I ask something I meant to ask you yesterday only I completely forgot to ask, like, why have you like, hundreds of photos of kids on the walls?"

"Yes, Rhys, you may."

Mr Gordon didn't continue, in fact he didn't even seem to be breathing, let alone answer my question.

"Um…… well?"

"Well, what exactly."

"I thought you were going to answer my question?"

"I believe I did answer it, Rhys. In fact the memory of the event is remarkably well focused in my head, dear boy!"


"You asked if you could ask a question, and I said, yes, you could ask a question."

"Oh. Yeah. Right! Okay then. Why do you have so many photos of kids on the walls?"

"Well, I simply couldn't think of anywhere else to put them. The walls appeared to need redecorating, – something I'm of a mind not to attempt at my age, so there they are, on the walls. I think they look rather nice hanging there, actually?"

"Look, I mean……

Can I have a glass of water please?"

It was some while later, and definitely after we'd taken tea and scoffed nine parts of the way through the most delicious fairy cakes ever baked, that Mr Gordon admitted that all he had been doing was teasing us, and later he would be absolutely delighted to talk us through the photographs, why they were important to him, and also, their significance.

But first, he explained, it was necessary for us to understand everything we needed to know about the wheels of life, or else the story surrounding the photos would have no meaning for us.

"Right, boys ! As you will, I trust, see in a moment, inside this rather attractive little cupboard, is a dartboard. Not that I play the game very often given I rarely receive visitors who are so inclined to go up against me, but rather, I keep it as a very useful tool for me to use during this particular lesson.

Now, if you would, I would like you to come and stand with me so I can explain everything you need to understand."

This wasn't something that sat very well with me, at all! Alright? I'd done pretty well around Gabriel, but that incident surrounding The Spectator versus The Economist had made me think that I might, somehow, not be totally out of the woods. In short? I didn't need Mr Gordon touching me, even if it was unintentional, just in case I freaked out.

But I had to do it, yeah?

"Now, as you can see, this dartboard isn't secured in a fixed position. I touch it and it spins around its centre point, which for those of you who are dart's aficionados, will recognise it as the bullseye, which should you manage to secure a dart within its circumference, collects you fifty points! Very well done if you do because it's by no means an easy thing to accomplish. Please accept my word, for I have tried to do it, many, many times, and without success.

Now, where was I…… oh yes.

Let us imagine that this dartboard of mine, represents the face of a common timepiece such as a clock, for example. If we place number twenty on my dartboard in the same manner as twelve o'clock appears on our timepiece? And that, dear boys, is how we must think of as being the position of all things, nanoseconds before time began.


Very well? Let us continue.

Gabriel? What pray, is your favourite colour?"

"Orange. Deffo orange!"

"Is deffo, a particular shade of orange?"

"Huh? Oh, sorry! I should've said, definitely orange, not like, um, deffo, right?"

"Well, I have to say that is a comfort, Gabriel. Deffo orange is a shade I don't appear to have anyway, but no matter, dear boy?

So, to continue. Here I have a little orange flag attached to a pin…… is this shade of orange something that appeals to you, Gabriel? If not, do say, and I will exchange it for something that perhaps you'll better appreciate?"

"No. No, it's great…. Actually. Just fine, even!"


Now, I'm going to attach Gabriel's little orange flag, so its position upon the dartboard is square and centre within the outer ring that represents a double twenty. I've even managed to hit that occasionally? Never deliberately, mind? Always when I needed a double one to finish the game.

Odd, that?"

After yet more waffle, Mr Gordon placed my Woodland (not deffo) Green flag next to Gabriel's.

"So, now we have flags for both of you, let us think about your possible life expectancy, which I have to say, is something I'm already aware of, but cannot divulge to you. So in the best interests of simplicity, let us assume that your life expectancy is one hundred years, making one revolution of my dartboard, your lifespan.

Would either of you like to hazard a guess as to how old you might be if the wheel had turned one quarter of one rotation?

"Twenty-five?" Said Gabriel.

"Correct! Now one half of one rotation, and maybe you might care to tell us, Rhys."


"Correct once more. Well done, the pair of you! Oh, and needless to say, three quarters of one revolution would indicate an age of……. Just one moment…… got it! Seventy-five! Well done, Mr Gordon!

Okay? So now we have to think, very carefully, about what might happen once you reach your death point.

The fact is, if you get that far, and there's nothing by way of a substitution, meaning you have reached the point of no longer being a part of that particular timeline, there can be only one outcome. With nothing to take your place, the timeline becomes an irrelevance. It is redundant, and when a timeline becomes redundant, its pre-programming takes over and it takes itself permanently out of service.

There's no need to be too concerned, however, because at some junct ure, and well before you reach your death point, another, absolutely identical, Gabriel and Rhys, are commissioned…… sorry, I did mean, in fact, to say, born.

Sorry if I've caused any upset?"

"No need to apologise, Mr Gordon, none at all. No, this is really fascinating stuff!"

"Thank you, Gabriel. Some of my wonderful students find it hard to accept the idea that there will come a time when they'll be substituted, even if it's only themselves substituting each other."

"Well, I can't say I'm finding it a cake-walk either! And the thought that one day there will be two of me, two of Rhys wandering around the place, well, it's a pretty weird concept to get your head around, yeah?"

"Oh, but they are already two of each of you out there, my boy. Oh, yes indeed there are! Not that you would recognise yourselves, we cannot allow that to happen…… normally?

"Normally? What's that supposed to mean?"

"Later, Rhys, I promise to tell you later, because now I need to show you how this works in practical terms.

I am allowed to tell you, that at the time of your birth, your older selves were fifty-five years of age, so if we look at our dartboard, and pretend that the little flags represent them , let us move the dartboard around until the flags appear to be at or around the fifty-five year marker. Now, at the twelve o'clock position, let us mount two more flags into the corresponding double segment on my dartboard…… like so, and turn the dartboard until we reach the point where those two original flags get to twelve o'clock, and the point at which it is time for your former, or older selves' decommissioning, relaxation time followed by a thorough service, where the firmware is upgraded, together with any improvements to the software, and lastly, all memory banks are erased, and your gaseous consciousness are allowed a period of supreme relaxation and recovery. Oh, I did mean to tell you that there are notes on your files telling the lead technician to stock up on clotted cream. HA! I have i t on good authority, that the latest version of Reverse Virtual Reality where a gaseous consciousness can take the part of any individual of its choice, is the best one they've ever developed!"

Gabriel slept on. He'd looked knackered by the time Mr Gordon had done with explaining about life wheels and how every universe was in a fixed pattern as every given lifecycle rolled over, repeating itself over and over again, with every parallel universe playing its part within the evolutionary process, but the straw that broke the back of the camel, well, for Gabriel at least, was when he failed to miserably to grasp the notion of how it was possible to dig fossils out of the ground, meaning the evolutionary process had to have taken place on this planet, but couldn't have because of all the life wheels in any given parallel universe were in a fixed position, meaning, sort of, like maybe…… time had almost come to a standstill. right?

Wrong, as it turned out.

It was right about here that I decided to switch off. Did I need to know? Was it so important anyway? Not really? Did the Kingfisher need to know all this stuff, or did it just go about its business living in a state of ignorance?

"Leave the poor boy to rest for a spell, Rhys. Come through to the kitchen with me and ask that question, the question that's troubling you, because troubling questions are, by their very nature, troubling."

"Why bother? You already know the question. Well, don't you?"

"Yes, I do. But that isn't to say that you can't ask anyway? Unburden yourself. Rhys. You carry enough on your young shoulders as thing are."

"Right. You, um, know everything about me, don't you? Gabriel as well, yeah? Everything, like I think that you're one of those zillions of gods skulking around the place, and…… that means you know about how me and Gabriel's lives are going to pan out, and …… that means you could tell us all about it, only you're not allowed to, yeah?"

"You are closer to the truth than you realise. N ow, ask me the question, Rhys."

"You know all about me and Gabriel, so you know…… like, how we are?"

Mr Gordon looked thoughtful, then looked and smiled. "You are referring to your status as homosexuals, no doubt."

"Well, I suppose so, but calling us homo's isn't a nice thing to do? We like to, no, not like, because actually, maybe we don't want to be called anything because then everyone will know…… how we are!"

"Forgive me. Let me put it another way. You are referring to your sexuality, no doubt."


"What is it you wish to know?"

"Well, like, is it okay for us be this way?".

"Of course, it is! What on this earth makes you think otherwise?"

"Some people say it's wrong. Some say it's dirty, or immoral, or disgusting, or depraved. But I like being how I am! I have a boyfriend, I have Gabriel. I love him! Why is it some people need to be so cruel when they don't know what I feel inside, don't know how awesome it feels to be in love with him? I feel giddy when I'm around him. He makes me feel alive. Makes me feel,




"I know he does, Rhys. I also know that being the way both of you are, is the way you were always expected to be, in fact I would venture to say, that it's a vital component within your firmware.

What others might think, is immaterial, so just accept that there will always be those who hold views contrary to your own, and rise above it. Alternative sexualities add colour to society There's a place for everyone, whether heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, pansexual, transgender, gender neutral, lesbian, the list goes on. All good. All acceptable, my boy."

"Am I going one step too far if I ask, do Gabriel and I have a future together?"

"I am forbidden to answer that question in a direct way, Rhys. But I think I might be able to think of a way whereby…… yes, I know!

First, I need to receive a solemn promise from you. I cannot tell you what you are promising to do or not do until after I have finished telling you…… that doesn't make any sense, do es it!"

"Most of what you've told us didn't make any sense, well not at first anyway. Yeah! I promise, like really promise, and yeah!"

Me Gordon chuckled to himself. "No, I know it didn't! It will take a while before all the bits and pieces fall into place, but fall they will, you mark my words, Rhys!

Now, let us return to your question. As I mentioned, answering that question directly, is something I cannot and will not do, but this I will say. Any time spent making plans for your futures together, is time well spent, either now or in the distant future. Both of you now understand that wasting time is wasting your lifespan. You cannot buy time, neither can you borrow time, but time spent thinking about your futures is only using time in a productive fashion, never a wasted fashion.

One other matter which, whilst it might not appear to involve you directly, is something that is weighing heavily on Gabriel's mind, and by that, I refer to the question of what he should say to his parents, and when.

Given that he is finding it harder to accept my teachings, it has been decided that, to give him a little more time to organise his thought processes, the responsibility of, as you might phrase it, Coming Out, will be one that will be shared between the two of you."

"How! What am I supposed to do? March down the driveway, knock on the door, and say, 'Hi! Just popped 'round to tell you that your son's a bender, and I'm the kid lifting his shirt, or…… maybe the other way 'round, or…… maybe both, on alternate afternoons, but never on a Sunday, what with it being the Lord's day, except there's no such animal as God, just a figment of your sad imagination?'"

"No. Nothing quite so, er, dramatic. It will happen when you least expect it. Safe to say, his mother has already noticed the signs, and this she discussed with his father. Both his parents like you, especially his father, who recognises you as being a very personable, and intelligent young man. A conversation will take place, during whi ch things will be said by you that finds him looking at his son in a different light, - not a bad light, you understand, just different.

But now it has to be down to Gabriel with you encouraging him to do the right thing."

"Okay. Not too bad then?"

"But again, this is information that will be erased as soon as you depart this room, all understood?"

"Yeah, fine. In truth, I'd rather not know when it might happen."

"Good. You're awake. Do you feel better refreshed for your sleep, Gabriel?"

"Yeah, I feel fine now, thanks for asking. Sorry, I shouldn't have zoned on you like that."

"No. It can only be a good thing. With your consciousness on standby, your subconscious is better placed to concentrate on filing everything away.

I think we've done enough for today, don't you? And as tomorrow is the day of your confirmation, Gabriel, our last little get-together can wait until it's more convenient for you."

"Only one more session?"

"Yes, and perhaps the most vital of them all. I have to tell you about the great catastrophe, and what it is you must never do if it is to be avoided. Also, even though it has no relevance, I did promise to tell you about these photograph on the walls."

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