ysabetwordsmith: Victor Frankenstein in his fancy clothes (Frankenstein)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the June 17, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] siliconshaman and LJ user Moonwolf1988. It also fills the "loss of possessions" square in my 6-10-14 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the series Frankenstein's Family.


"The Nature of His Game"


Victor never had gotten over
his interest in biology and electricity,
even after he discovered how to make Adam.

His latest fascination had to do with
finding ways to make horses go faster.
He had mentioned this premise
to Borbála the alchemist
whilst buying supplies.

"That's a daft idea," she said,
"but then people say the same of mine,
and sometimes even a daft idea may work.
I wish you luck with your experiments!"

Victor obtained bits of horseflesh
and doused them in various chemicals
or clipped wires to their ends
and jolted them with electricity to see
if anything made the muscles twitch faster.

So far all he had to show for his labors
was a laboratory that smelt of roasted horsemeat.

"You should take a break for tea,"
Igor said, shaking his head over the mess.

"Perhaps later," Victor said
as he played with a smoking vial
of virulent green liquid.

Igor went away and finished making tea,
but Victor never showed up.
So Igor put the teapot and sandwiches
onto a covered tray and went back to the lab.

"Put that aside for a moment and come eat,"
Igor insisted, setting Adam on the floor and
the tray on the table. He beckoned to Victor.

"Busy," Victor said without looking up,
so Igor -- who knew all about
getting lost in one's work --
went to collect him.

Then came a resounding crash!

Adam, trying to pull himself up by the table,
had caught the edge of the tray and
somehow catapulted its contents
all over Victor's experiment in progress.
There was tea everywhere, as well as
shards of teapot mixed with shreds of sandwich.

"La-la-la-la," Adam said, blithely ignoring
the wreckage he had made of his father's lab
as he sat on the floor gnawing a pickle.

Victor cursed fervently
as he tried to salvage his notes,
although they were already soaked,
and the petri dishes full of horseflesh
were just hopeless.

The lab table was a disaster area
of broken glass and spilled fluids,
his logbook dripping on the floor
as he held it by one corner.
Despairing, he flung the book aside.

"A week's worth of work, lost!"
Victor said, clenching his fists in his hair.
"How am I meant to do anything like this?"

"I'll help you clean up the mess," Igor said,
trying to console the disdraught scientist.
He put Adam into a wooden packing crate
and then went to survey the table.

"I suppose I should get a dustbin,"
Victor said as he headed for a closet.

"How peculiar," Igor said. "Victor, come look!
This one is moving about like a mad thing."
He pointed at a piece of horseflesh in its petri dish.

Victor hurried over, trailing a dustbin
with a pan and broom clipped to its side.
"What's going on?" he asked.

"You seem to have succeeded," Igor said.
"Can you figure out which formula that was?"

Victor pored over his notes, then said,
"That's just the nutrient fluid, and the dregs
of last week's formula that didn't pan out.
I was going to try adding something new --
it really should not be doing that."

It was doing that, twitching very fast indeed.

"Perhaps it is the tea," Igor mused,
as Victor poked the thing with a glass rod.
"Caffeine and sugar and a twist of lemon
could improve the conductivity ..."

"This looks very promising," Victor said.
"I shall have to experiment further.
First, though, let's finish cleaning up
and then go make some more tea."

"You realize any horse you dope with that
would probably die of a burst heart,"
Igor pointed out as he watched
the lump of meat jittering in the dish.

"That's a stumbling block,"
Victor admitted,
"but this is a start."

* * *

Notes:

La determination de la relation & de la dépendance mutuelle de ces données dans certains cas particuliers, doit être le premier but du Physicien; & pour cet effet, il falloit one mesure exacte qui indiquât d’une manière invariable & égale dans tous les lieux de la terre, le degré de l'électricité au moyen duquel les expéiences ont été faites… Aussi, l'histoire de l'électricité prouve une vérité suffisamment reconnue; c'est que le Physicien sans mesure ne fait que jouer, & qu'il ne diffère en cela des enfans, que par la nature de son jeu & la construction de ses jouets.

The determination of the relationship and mutual dependence of the facts in particular cases must be the first goal of the Physicist; and for this purpose he requires that an exact measurement may be taken in an equally invariable manner anywhere in the world… Also, the history of electricity yields a well-known truth—that the physicist shirking measurement only plays, different from children only in the nature of his game and the construction of his toys.
Franz Karl Achard
'Mémoire sur la mesure de force de l'électricité',Journal de Physique (1782), 21, 191. English version by Google Translate tweaked by Webmaster.

Extracted muscles may be caused to twitch with such things as electricity or salt.

At 13 months, Adam is trying to pull himself up to walk, and is curious about everything his fathers do.

Various things can influence conductivity, such as sugar and acidity.

Lucky, in all senses

Date: 2014-11-23 02:00 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
My boys have made me promise never to tell /those/ stories about their toddlerhood. But I am laughing fit to burst, contrasting my private glee with Victor and Igor's similar predicament.

Just think, someday it'll be Adam insisting that his fathers keep their embarrassing stories to themselves!

This was wonderfully fun to read, despite the risk to the little one and the lab.

Re: Lucky, in all senses

Date: 2014-11-23 04:11 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Give him another year to get some vocabulary and motor control, and they can set aside the playroom as "Adam's laboratory" too. Imagine the kids who get to come up and visit.

Re: Lucky, in all senses

Date: 2014-11-23 04:42 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Multi-age "classrooms" are wonderful. I can see the village kids treating a few hours at the castle like a /huge/ adventure, a treat. But it's not yet ready for both of them.

Something for later, I suppose. I might even be the one to sponsor it.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-11-23 06:05 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
*snerk* I love that tea works, where everything else failed.

However... don't those two know better than to let a child play in a laboratory!?

~AnonyMouse

Thoughts

Date: 2014-11-23 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> *snerk* I love that tea works, where everything else failed. <<

Hee! I had fun with that.

>> However... don't those two know better than to let a child play in a laboratory!? <<

LOL they do now. Victor and Igor are new parents. Childraising is a learning experience for them.

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