Old Tom was a very tall man. He was so tall he didn’t even have a nickname for it. Ned Black, who was at least a head shorter, had been ‘Tower Block’ since the sixth grade, and Jack, the owner of the Hog’s Head Bar, had a sign up over the door saying ‘Mind Your Head, Ned’. But Tom was just Tom. It was like he was so tall it didn’t bear mentioning even for a joke: be a bit like ragging someone for breathing…
“You are accused of stealing the intellectual property of Einstein, Dirac and Heisenberg.” The middle-aged speaker waved his finger at Professor Hillabin, more in the manner of a prosecutor than a judge.
This episode of the Drabblecast illustrates the folly of bureaucracy. In the drabble, one by one an entire classroom of students are promoted to be their own teachers. In the feature, a lost, dimension-hopping scientist is trapped in a world where scientific theories are considered intellectual property. Unable to perform his calculations without them, he finds himself on trial for failure to pay royalties. When he cannot convince the court to take mercy on him, he pulls looses a devastating strategy.
“It was 11 at night, and only a few shouts of men in the lifer block penetrated the concrete walls of death row. My name is Michael Zlocinac, and I am a warden of U.S. Federal Penitentiary at Magdalena, New Mexico…”
On this episode of the Drabblecast, on his last day as warden, the titular protagonist explains his complicated history, and the moral conundrums it presents. A rumination on capital punishment, legacy, and war.