Professor Percival Winston
Professor Percival Winston is more than a household name. There are few world leaders house’s of residence where he has not been the guest of honour. When he talks the world listens, although very few take much notice.
Percy purchased his doctorate from the little known University of Psychic Studies, Gofranmyre, Michigan in nineteen-sixty two. It was the best one hundred dollars he ever invested and when the sacred building burned to the ground in sixty-six, there was nothing or no one left to prove the integrity of Percival’s Doctorate.
He use the qualification to enter the City University for further study in Physics, Nuclear fission and cyroelectronics and by nineteen-seventy-two he had presented a thesis, so complex and unprovable he was hailed as a genius by his fellow professors. There were a few who questioned his work but as there was a possibility the theory was so advanced and so difficult to understand not one was prepared to test the possibility that it was indeed viable.
Many know him as eccentric, a personality trait he explores and develops to the highest degree. He hit the headlines in eight-eight after winning the Nobel Peace Prize for contributions to science for his ‘Theory of Cryogenic Conductivity’. A theory so complex very few have been able to understand the mathematical formula associated with it. In brief the theory indicates that the acceleration of an electron increases as the temperature of the conductor it travels in is lowered. No one really knows where the theory can be applied even though millions of dollars a year are spent on further research. Percival rarely talks about it, although once he was drawn on the subject during a television chat show “Where did the seeds of the theory come from Professor?” Asked the host “From a story in an edition of The Dan Dare comic” the genius answered. How the audience laughed at his wit and humanistic attitude. Little did they know Percival did indeed formulate the whole idea from the children’s science fiction comic he read as a boy. Dan Dare or not he used most of the prize money to buy a detached property in Gofranmyre Sussex. The name Gofranmyre had been good to him. University of Psychic Studies Gofranmyre for his doctorate and a Gofranmyre Sea View for his retirement “How apt” he’d think to himself. Percival thought of the connection between the two names as an important spiritual channel.
It was in the kitchen of this small but beautiful house where the Theory of Uniform Forces had its beginnings. This second theory would put him in the same echelon as Marie Curie, Linus Pauling, John Bardeen and Frederick Sanger who also won the prestigious award twice.
The good Professor based his theory upon a BBC Radio Four science program which explained how a man lighting a match on one side of the universe had an identical twin lighting a match on the other. He listened to this part of the program at the very moment he lit his second cigarette of the day, this coincidence in time was all he needed deciding there was some merit in the idea. For example there were many people born on the same day. The tree was a universal symbol of health and growth. There was a city called Gofranmyre in Britain and another Gofranmyre in America. He did not need any further prompting. He applied and was given a seat at the University of Gofranmyre which would be honoured to have a Nobel Peace prize winner on the campus and it was here that he used the internet and the combined intelligence of the students to formulate another ‘theory’ which was impossible to understand.
When the idea was first published many did indeed voice the opinion it was a joke. There were others who immediately accepted the ideas, insights and potentials of the idea which debunked ‘The Big Bang’ and the ‘Theory of Relativity’. Make no mistake there are many scientists who privately refute big bangs and E=MC2, although they dare not risk highly placed and incredibly well paid academic careers attempting to change the foundations of modern science.
Percival’s Theory of Uniform Forces is based upon the idea that in the original void of the Universe a vacuum imploded upon its self. And the left hand side of the vacuous void crossed over to the right and side of what was in effect no thing. And, in the implosion something became manifest. The something was a carbon atom. And the carbon atom was produced because as nothing passed from one side of nothing to the other it generated heat and when the heat cooled down, it had to become a residue which we know as carbon. The constant see-saw action of the original carbon atom continues to produce carbon and, after millions of years the atoms began to hit each other at incredible speed and when they did explosions of energy occurred. This reaction resulted in the splitting of atoms, causing magnetic and electro-magnetic fields which activated vibrations and as the carbon atoms split the vibrations changed and they became differing atoms of differing atomic weight. Soon one hundred and twenty nine (eleven more will be discovered) elements became free moving and also collided which became the chemistry of the universe. And the collisions became greater, the fusions occurred more often, planets formed, reactions became chains, the masses so great, planets and constellations and the make up of the planetary system of the universe became as it is known.
When he is asked, the scientist explains that his Theory of Uniform Forces can be likened to an infinity symbol. The nothing at the extreme edge of the symbol is catapulted to the extreme edge at the other side and as it passed through the centre the friction of the movement of nothing produces the carbon residue, the process cannot be stopped. As Percival perfected the theory and expanded it into a major thesis many strange things began to happen. The first time he won a substantial sum on the lottery was considered a wonderful financial bonus, the second pure luck, on the third win he began to think about what was happening to him in a different light as each of the wins was over one hundred thousand pounds. Nothing seemed to be a problem if he asked for anything he received a positive answer, his health improved so much he returned to cycling his three speed Raleigh.
One night he woke up during a dream, nothing unusual in this other than the dream continued in his waking state. He could see himself standing above the centre of a huge infinity symbol, below the symbol the Earth. He saw a beautiful house with an observatory in the garden. The image was to the right of the infinity and it was immediately mirrored on the left and instantly the two disappeared. Percival drifted back into a deep sleep waking half an hour or so later than the normal time. After showering and dressing he sat at the breakfast table eating toast and drinking strong breakfast tea. Turning the pages of the local paper he came across an advertisement for a property, the exact same one he’d dreamed of. Should he or shouldn’t he?
The agent asked if Professor Winston had called earlier “No this is my first call” he answered “I’m only asking because I’m half an hour later in the office than I normally arrive, if the traffic had not been so slow you would have missed me. How can I help you professor?” “The property you have with the observatory, can I view it?” Perry Walsgrave only placed the property on the market yesterday, he could not believe his luck “No problem professor, when would you like to view?” “Whenever you can collect me from my home and take me to view the property. I do not drive and you will pass my house as you drive out of the city” “Very good I will collect you at twelve on the dot” “Is the advertisement correct when it describes the sale as complete with its contents?” “Yes, sir, it is, when the previous owner died his will stated it must be sold in this way and as the family have no interest for anything other than the money, its worked out very well” Perry collected Percival at noon and the pair arrived at ‘La Rochelle’ twenty minutes later. The two liked each other, both were in their own way frauds and like seemed to attract like. Normally a viewing would take half an hour when Perry looked at his watch it was three, Percival had explored every room and when walked out into garden he made a bee line for the domed building. He’d never taken too much notice of observatory’s before this moment, even though much of his academic work revolved around the Universe, space and physics. His only certain knowledge was that the moon controlled the tides. Do not think that even though the Professor had bought his original doctorate he had let the illusion perpetuate. Far from it, he’d been associated with the academia long enough to become accepted as possessing a superior intellect, and in any event non would question a Nobel prize winner for fear of being revealed as ignorant themselves.
As the agent unlocked the door of the large round building his client remembered a certain feeling of happiness from somewhere in the past, a warmth like the coal fire burning in the family living room on Christmas mornings. The telescope two meters long and about half a meter wide, made of brass and suspended on a steel frame half the size of the observatory chamber took on the same wonderment as his first book, chemistry set, microscope. As the old man sat on the chair in front of the eyepiece he seemed to be in fear of looking though it, even though the shutters to the sky were closed. “Are you feeling alright Professor?” “Oh! Yes, young man I could not be better.”
After Perry disclosed the asking price he listened to Percival’s request “I will come back to you in the next few days Perry my friend, I ask you not to allow anyone else to view it until I give you an answer” The younger man seemed hypnotised “If I buy this house you will sell the one I live in now, do you understand this my friend?” “I do Professor Winston, I do” Perry could never explain why he held onto the property for the professor. A wait which turned out to be three weeks. He just felt he would in some way lose ‘something’ if he let the house go to anyone else. Later when Perry drove by the property he thought about the weeks after the sale. Old man Leonard dying and leaving the business to him, his mothers miracle of returning to health, his daughter’s illness which prevented her traveling on the ill-fated school trip on which so many of her friends were killed, the University, council and power company contracts. Though out his life Perry’s belief in Professor Percival Winston had never faltered. The old man had asked him for trust, which he’d given and in some way his life changed.
His wife always said “Not that old nonsense again Perry” when he talked about being ‘touched’ by a magician the day he met the professor. He remembered the professors strange words after agreeing to hold on to the house and allow no other viewings “Do you know the shape of an infinity sign Perry?” “I do” The two words were like a bride committing to her spouse. The old man took a piece of blackboard chalk from his pocket and drew the shape on the paving stone “What do you wish for Perry?” “To be happy, healthy and wealthy, the same as anyone else” he replied “Take this chalk and draw a symbol which represents your desire to the right of the infinity” he hesitates “Go on, go on take a chance” The estate agent drew a smiling face over which he wrote the word ‘happy’ “So be it Perry. Whenever you wish for something you now know what to do.”
“If I were to stay on here as full time professor of science would you be prepared to finance a home for me Chancellor Peak?” “How much would we be talking about?” “Eight-hundred thousand and the deeds should be in my name, I would pay half of my salary toward repaying an interest free loan, you’ll get the money back in seven years” He was worth it, the students fee’s could be increased by ten percent with his presence as a resident professor, the university would attract students from all over the world. Yes, this was a deal he could do. “If the board of governors agrees to my request, all aspects of the contract must be disclosed, nothing to be hidden, do you understand?” “Yes, Percival I do.”
The Governors agreed without debate or question. Chancellor Peak remembered thinking in a board room full of ego’s surely there should have been some descent, on that day a unified group of scholars loaned eight hundred thousand pounds interest free, to a professor of science with an original dubious doctorate without a second thought. The board became good friends and worked without hidden agendas after the lesson learned from Percival’s request for transparency of the terms of his contract. A seat on the Board of Governors is highly sought after, each seat is known as ‘A Seat of Gold’. The privileged members all seem to have incredible health, great fortune and success. The University has built kindergartens, preschool centres, public schools with scholarships, specialist schools of higher education. Hundreds of scientists, physicians, humanistic business leaders from this University have discovered wonderful new ways to make the lives of millions of people fulfilling and purposeful. Gofranmyre is recognised as the centre of humanistic excellence in the highest echelons of education. This is not to write every graduate has honoured the University, far from it, there are many who have abused their learning and used the knowledge and wisdom to their own ends.
The Nobel Prize winner moved into ‘La Rochelle’ and from the first evening onward every clear night he studied the sky. When the sky was hidden by cloud he read in the house’s library which contained every imaginable book on astronomy, mathematics, navigation and certain occult texts. Most astronomers begin by watching the moons surface and Captain Hughes the previous owner had left extensive notes about differing eyepieces, angles of measurement, rotation of the observatory. It was almost as if the Captain had anticipated that after his fatal heart attack the new owner would either be or become an astronomer and had left the most incredible records of how to use and look after his telescope. The meticulous sky charts and records were written in such a clear and precise way that even a child who could read would be able to fathom out the secrets of the observatory.
As the years passed Percival became a real expert in the field of astronomy. He began to realise Theory of Uniform Forces was very near to or the certain truth of the creation of the Universe. More startling was the realisation that anyone who began to study this work seemed to enter a world where misfortune and problems disappeared. One evening sitting by the libraries large fire he exhaled the cigarette smoke from his lungs and realised his original Noble prize was not won on a made up idea, the theory was indeed sound. The movement of the electron in a frozen environment represented the thought of the atom moving faster than the speed of light in the Universe. The atom represented a man or woman within the creative vacuum of the void anything could be created. Human being and Universe totally at one, not separated at one.
The Professor is loved by his students, the board of Governors and the people of Gofranmyre. Over the years he has attended many degree, doctorate and higher ceremonies of achievements made by his students. Chancellor Peak, the man who had arranged for the purchase of ‘La Rochelle’ and His old friend Perry Walsgrave the agent who showed him the house have long gone. He remembers Perry’s joy when his daughter Eve was awarded her doctorate, surely that must have been thirty years ago? He thinks of the day he realised he was no longer ageing and he was able to adjust time lines of his existence. The method was discovered when looking at the sky one evening. Upon realising the distance between two planets could be millions of miles in reality, but due to the perspective from where the two points were measured the distance was perceived as only a few inches he formulated his theory known as the ‘The Perspective of Time’ He gave the seed of the idea to Eve Walsgrave who in turn received her Nobel prize for what should have been Percival’s third accolade. For obvious reasons his name appearing three times over a span of seventy years could possibly cause confusion.
Every solid theory he gave to a younger student, would if they were to be combined with each other answer the eternal question of what is the purpose to life. The paradox was a life of ease, happiness and comfort was the way of humans existence. The tragedy of the paradox was that very few could see it. The more the intellectual learned, the more they searched. Percival knew ‘life’ was the answer and even though the ‘enlightened’ Gofranmyre students had an inkling of the truth, most soon forgot the ethos, many believing themselves gods.
He selected one of his students to become a writer. Deciding it would be best if the person chosen were to be rebel, loner, renegade, foolish and experience the difficulties and tragedies of debt, heart-break, loneliness, betrayal and false accusation. These were necessary qualifications which would make him wiser, sharper minded, more worldly than many who possessed the greatest of formal accolades. Percival mentored the prodigy not in the learnings of science or arts. He taught him the way to navigate amongst the stars, look at the world he lived within. When he encouraged him to befriend those less fortunate or of ‘base’ mentality, the writer fell into the traps of alcohol, drugs, addictions and vice. The Professor considered him his greatest triumph although those who knew the writer considered him as a failure. After he left ‘La Rochelle’ the scribe would indeed find life to be hard, cruel and unforgiving. Taking many blind alleys where greed, selfishness and anger waited to be discovered in the shadows, making and losing fortunes, making enemies because of his deceiving ways. It was inevitable he would learn how to rise above all that is conceived as civilisation and wander the Earth as an observer, in poverty.
The writer would become prosperous through a raw style which had its foundation in the hard lessons of life he experienced. It would be nearly four decades before he felt he should settle down. Before doing so he decided to return to see the man who had changed the way he thought and lived. He needed to understand why a man who knew so much, had educated and given the guidance for others to become wealthy beyond their wildest dreams, had seemingly neglected the only man he had taken a personal interest in.
As expected, the grounds and the house were immaculate. Few were allowed to pass through the gates of ‘La Rochelle’. Those who drove by the main gates could see into the gardens and would see the Georgian styled white house, its hard black tarmac drive, the lawns and tree’s and flower bed’s. From the road the traveller saw the grounds in the seasonal conditions, once through the gates the trees were covered in rich green leaves, grass as bright an emerald, the flowers in perpetual bloom for all of the year.
No letters delivered, all bills settled by the University, all correspondence delivered to the Professors lodgings. For as long as the writer could remember the property had been maintained by Gabriel and Michael, two brothers who worked day and night for the Professor. The visitor saw them tending the gardens as he walked toward the house. Gabriel called across from where he was pruning a small apple tree “He expected you today, you will find him in the library.”
In the library Professor Percival Winston sat in his leather chair, coals burned on the fire, he smoked his unfiltered cigarette, half full tumbler of Macallan Malt Whisky rested on the arm of the chair “Help yourself to a glass, fill it to the top and refill mine, sit next to me” The writer did as he was asked and sat on the floor next to the old man. As he gazed into the fire he seemed to imagine imps and small human like images in the flames, the vision made him feel uncomfortable.
“It has been thirty years or more since we were together, I’ve though of you many times what has time taught you?”
“I know we all die. And all is imagined. Everything comes from nothing and nothing is everything. A human will only know what is within his mind and when the mind sleeps there is nothing.”
The old man replies “The body is slave to the mind. The body is content when it is comfortable and without anguish. No amount of repair will evade the finality of death. No theory will overwhelm the inevitable and it is in the interest of those who think they are at the highest echelon of learning to understand this. I am not a creator. I am only a thought, in the same way who ever reads your work should understand that everything they see, think and experience is only within their own mind.”
“Are we nothing?”
The Professor lights another cigarette, drinks half his tumbler of whisky. He seems to hesitate before he answers.
“In the years we were together, I told you all about my life. Buying the doctorate and the using the false document to gain access to the real places of learning. I made up two theories which were later to become accepted as possibilities. You were shown the power of the occult symbol of infinity and still chose to live a life of anguish, causing pain to others and even more to yourself. You are like all human’s you fail to accept and see what is the right way or path. As a result you fight against the tides of life. All humans are in truth lazy, which is why they allow fools to control and ruin their lives. My life is testament to how to succeed, the theories can be used as meditations to find real happiness and peace, although I doubt one man or woman will be able to decipher the words. I created you and the individual who will read these words and the individual who created these words and this story is reading it now.”
When I left the Professor that day I suspected I would never see him again. I still have the lighter he gave me before we said goodbye “The flame of life is soon expired, keep my lighter to remember this my child.” I have it before me now and it is the only proof I have he existed. A few days ago I wish to revisit ‘La Rochelle’ I rode along the coast road on my motorcycle and at the place just past the bend where the house should have been was an apple orchard. On a sign by the gate was written “Windfall”.