Last Wednesday, my Chem class was doing a lab experiment involving gas laws, but when my teacher handed out the instructions, there was a glaring apostrophe error smack dab in the middle of the title. I groaned and scribbled the apostrophe out with my pen. However, later on, my lab partner Pat speculated that maybe the worksheet was talking about the actual activities of a person named Gas Law. He then proceeded to draw "Gas Law, Private Eye". I then countered with a drawing of "Miss Charlie Boyle," whose "voluptuous volume made the room grow warmer".
You can probably guess where this is headed.
But wait! There's more! In the style of Garrison Keillor's "Guy Noir," I decided to record myself reciting this story and put some snazzy noir music in the background. You can listen to that recording below and read the actual text of the story under the cut.
Character “Gas Law” created by Pat O'Connor; special thanks to Mrs. Martin for the chemistry, Mr. Morisseau for the “Maximum Entropy” name, and whoever misplaced an apostrophe in “Gas Laws Activities”.
Gas Law's Activities
The name's Law. Gas Law. I'm a private eye. Usually one with a lot of clients. But this winter was cold as a single-digit kelvin and dark as the black of space. Nobody wanted to venture out and get condensed—or worse, solidified. So my business was losing steam, fast. The phone in the office had been gathering dust for weeks. The only things I'd gained recently were more electrons; it became increasingly difficult to stay positive. Suddenly, with a burst of fresh nitrogen and oxygen, a sultry dame stepped through my office door.
She was solid, all right—particles all packed tight into her A-line dress—and pretty as hellium, though probably just as troublesome as she was gorgeous. I knew right away I couldn't trust her. This was Charlie Boyle, high society's 79-proton girl. If there was one thing she wasn't, it was a noble gas.
“What can I do for you, sweetheart?” I asked.
She sauntered over to me. As her voluptuous volume increased, the room grew noticeably warmer. “Oh, Mr. Detective, sir... I need your help. Immediately.”
“Whoa, baby, no need to turn on the pressure,” I said, shrinking a bit but resolute to retain my suavity. “Just give me the details and I'll take the case.”
“Take”? Had I said “take”? I had meant to say “consider.” Oh, shilicon.
Charlie smirked. “Wonderful.” She leaned forward, blowing smoke into my face from her combusting cigarette. “It's about the Maximum Entropy,” she said. “Practically no one knows this, but he's escaped from prison and is starting to experiment again, on a massive scale.”
My eyes narrowed. “How massive?”
“Some of my colleagues have speculated that this unusually frigid winter is all a part of his grand scheme to reach absolute zero.”
It took a moment to process this. Finally, I spoke, as calmly as I could. “Don't worry, darling. That bastarium will have to answer to the law. The Gas Law.”
Charlie raised an eyebrow and let the silence serve as her admonishment for the incredibly lame pun.
“...I'll keep you updated when I get more info,” I added.
In retrospect, I realize I was making some pretty serious mistakes here. Cabin fever had gotten to me. I was preoccupied with the thought of spreading my particles and getting out of this dust bowl of an office. I hadn't thought this through. I didn't realize the gravity of the situation until too late—until this cold front turned into a Cold War.
Not knowing all that, I grinned and winked at Charlie Boyle.
“Sublime,” my femme fatale said, and proceeded to do exactly that.