Nobel Prize in Physics

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Jan 02

Here is an excerpt from Quantum
Entity | American Spring, Book 2 in my new trilogy. In this part of
the story, Dr. Damien Bell is traveling with his family (circa 2070) to Stockholm to accept his
Nobel Prize in Physics. Accompanying Dr. Bell are his wife, [SPOILER ALERT] Ellen Brooks, and daughter, Naya
Brooks Bell. Naya is five nearly six when trouble finds her on the Monumental
Tower, part of Stockholm’s now 150-year old City Hall.

[This excerpt appears at this time
because I will be teaching Startup DNA (aka Advanced Business Models at the Hyper Island Institute in
 in May 2013.
Thank you to Daniel Beauchamp (
for all his efforts and help with this.] …
Stockholm City
Hall is built in the National Romantic Style on the eastern
tip of Kungsholmen
Island. Damien is there
with his family (minus the twins back in Santa Cruz staying with Daniella and
Micah) waiting as they all are for the Trumpeters cry by the King’s Guard
announcing that the King and Queen of Sweden are arriving. There are two
traditional blue upholstered chairs waiting for the royal pair near the front
of this gigantic Hall. It’s an area exclusively reserved for them. Audience
members are arrayed, Church-style, on either side in this post-religious
society where secularity reigns supreme. After their arrival there will be a
short concert by an artist selected by this year’s recipient of the Nobel Prize
in Physics, Dr. Damien Graham Bell.
This is the venue not only for the awarding of the prize but also for hosting
the Nobel Prize banquet. It’s the banquet that Naya is in a fever to get to.
There will be dancing and JEL will be there. She can’t wait til the boring
stuff is over.
This sombre place took 12 years to build and its massive red brick exterior is
dominated by a Monumental Tower topped by Three Crowns, Sweden’s
national symbol.

and Ellen do matching dressup. They are both wearing near-identical floor
length gowns and silver gloves that cover their forearms up to their elbows.
Their evening dresses are silver beaded mermaid, trumpet darling floor-length
numbers. Ellen’s shoulders are bare and her dress shows an amazing amount of
décolletage. Naya is frustrated that hers includes shoulders and quarter
sleeves. Naya has the cutest beret ever sitting on her wild auburn hair at a
dashing angle. Ellen is wearing her sterling silver Hopi lariat necklace with
pendant shaped into Constantine’s
WE ARE ALL ONE symbol. It’s the first time she’s worn it since her sex tape
experience with Damien in San Quentin, the second last time she was there
before she had the place leveled to the ground. There isn’t a man in the room
that remains unaffected by this pair and a few women as well.
It’s December 10th, the day these prizes (all except the Nobel Peace Prize
which is given out in Oslo
at its own ceremony) are traditionally awarded. It’s exactly two weeks to
Naya’s sixth birthday. She is counting down. Sitting on the other side of her
is Su7e looking a tad awkward in a chair. She is wearing a bright blue robe
that looks rather like an ugly grad gown. It keeps slipping off her practically
non existent shoulders. She has to keep propping it up with her long dexterous
fingers. Pet3r is sitting nearby and Ash3r as well just as awkwardly.

Michaud and his wife, Traian and Dakota, José-Luis (their son), Dafne, Elsu,
Tony Reznik, Nahuel, Sabine, their kids, Damien’s Uncle, Dekka, Javier and Mica
(Dakota’s parents), Mary O’Regan, Caleb and his boy Tane, Aziz, Anthony, Sayed,
Jerom Van Der Hout, Dr. Luis, Sally Thornton, Ellen’s brother, Jon and his
wife, Natalie, Mike Cronkey, Jay, Henry Linnert, Jagad Durai (but not his
wife—Cady is expecting and is on their own personal no-fly list at the moment),
Chuck Wong, Farrar Staubach, Jonesy, Zora (but not Euphony), Salem Bouazizi,
Bob Schultz, Dr. Shelby Zewyki and Evan Salazar are among the 1,300 people in
attendance. It includes 250 science students who bring a lot of energy to this
audience. Attending via media wall are Angelo Keller, Daniella and Micah and
Mr. Owen as well as several hundred thousand human viewers and every QE in the
solar system, now numbering more than five billion.

Everyone stands as Sweden’s King and Queen finally enter. Once they are seated,
everyone else may sit as well. There is a single grand piano on stage and then
he is there. No announcement precedes him. It is Carl Bray come to perform
again for President Brooks (this time she is not in a basement at UBC having
wild sex with Damien and making a baby) as well as the Royal Pair. This is
Damien’s surprise for Ellen. He looks over at her and can see she is captivated
by his music and performance as is every other person in attendance.
For Carl, this is an opportunity to make up for a miss early in his career.
More than 60 years ago, he is asked to play for another Royal Couple, a young
Will and Kate, at a reception to be given in their honour at Rideau Hall in
Ottawa. But he declines! No one says ‘no’ to their Head of State (the GG) but
Carl does—his ethics are involved. He’s already accepted a gig at Toronto’s
Jazz Festival and he always keep his commitments in the order in which he
accepts them so he turns them down, flat. Today he finally gets to play for
His last piece is Talk of Hands—Ellen looks first at Naya, the baby they made
the last time Carl played this (unknowingly) for them, next at Damien and then
she reaches out and gives her husband’s hand a light caress.

Ellen Brooks from the Cover of American

“JEL! JEL! Over here, over here!” José-Luis can’t see Naya but he can hear her.
She is hidden by useless adults taking up valuable, playable real estate in
this humongous banquet hall.
She runs over to where he is, more than a head taller than her. She hugs him so
hard it looks like her beret is gonna come off her head. One long glove is
unraveling too. Her head only comes to his chest. Like most football players,
even nine year old ones, JEL is very lean. He has long lean muscles, long brown
hair, hazel eyes and a light brown complexion like his mother. Naya is the
person who first calls him, JEL. When she is a baby, she has trouble pronouncing
his name so she pronounces him JEL and it sticks. It is a derivative of his
initials J.L. which Naya can read cuz like her brother, Magellan, Naya has
always been able to read. Always. Mind you a mindlink with Su7e since she is a
day old doesn’t hurt because if she ever gets stuck on a word or, for that
matter, any question, she just has to think it and the answer is there in her
mind. So it’s kinda hard to know where Naya ends and Su7e begins and vice
versa. They both like it that way and neither of them can imagine life any
other way. It’s like breathing only way more fun.
JEL is embarrassed by this prolonged hugging thing that Naya is doing. Girls!
But he likes his little friend. She can move like anything and isn’t afraid of
hanging with JEL and his amigos as they tear around every summer either in
Third Mesa or at his family’s farm near Bucharest. JEL speaks English,
Romanian, Spanish, German and some Russian. Naya speaks only English. He’s been
attending every one of Naya’s dance recitals since she was three and she’s been
at all his important football matches also for the last three years—via media
“Hey, Naya, want to get out of here?” he asks.
“In a minute.”
“Why in a minute? What’s wrong with now?”
“I promised Da a dance! Then we’ll go.”
‘Dance? Boring!’ he thinks.
Now that she’s greeted JEL properly like a lady she believes, she looks for
Damien as a student orchestra bolstered by a cadre of professionals strikes up
a nice Swedish waltz—lots of violins and lots of Scandinavian angst.
Naya knew it would be a waltz! She and Su7e checked out this part of the agenda
(the only part other than hanging with JEL that is important). They don’t do a
lot (well any) waltzing at Meeza Elite Danse Academy, so she and Su7e have been
practicing. Naya has to lead because Su7e is, frankly, terrible. But that’s OK
with Miss Bossy Boots because she knows her Da will be even worse with his tin
ear and bad leg and she will have to lead him. She finds him in a huge circle
of adoring fans; she bursts right on through and takes him by a reluctant hand.
He knows what’s coming and been dreading it. “Come on Da, this is our number!”
Then she is on her tippy toes trying to help Damien master a box step. She does
the guy thing—left foot forward, then right foot forward just slightly more
than shoulder width apart, bring feet together, step back with the right, next
back with the left, then bring both feet together. It’s easy! She counts for
Da, it’s a ¾ beat—an international waltz. All he has to do is follow and listen
to her count!
Just about everyone in the room is watching a newly minted Nobel Laureate
perform ineptly but charmingly. But what they are really looking at are
spectacular, smoothly flowing progressive movements by his dance partner, a
tiny girl who is obviously going places. Naya supposes it wouldn’t do to try a
butterfly twist in her long evening gown.

After his dance lesson from Naya, Damien finally has a few minutes to spend
with Traian.
“Long time, Tray.”
“Too long, D. I was hoping you’d bring the twins.” Traian is partial to boys
and takes a huge amount of pride in his son’s success on the field and in
school. He’s José-Luis’ biggest fan after Naya.
“I thought it’d be too much for Ellen given the amount of time I have to spend
on speechifying and PR here.”
“She looks beautiful, Damien.”
“Dakota too.”
“We’re both lucky guys,” Tray says but then realizes he’s had it easy by
comparison—no prison time, no torture and no bankruptcy. “At least you brought
“We couldn’t very well leave her at home, Tray. It’s been JEL this and JEL that
for the last six weeks. He’s her superhero.”
They both smile and are quiet for a moment, contemplating what a marvelous
thing it is to have families that they both adore. They are immediately
comfortable with each other; it’s like they’ve never been separated at all.
Neither of them notices that JEL and Naya are not in the ballroom any longer.
It’s a mistake of colossal proportions.
“I heard about the pressure they put on you. Thanks for not putting me in the
soup.” When Damien says ‘they’ he means the Russian mob and their pet
“Well, I wasn’t going to tell them I didn’t have the Key. But it wasn’t
entirely unselfish of me, Damien.”
“Come again?”
“It was bad enough that you already had the US leaning on you. If I told them
you are the only guy who has the Quantum Key then you’d have every crazy Ruskie
gunning for you and they have people inside San Quentin so that wasn’t going to
work. On the other hand, if I had told them that then they’d have no further use
for me and those guys are capable of anything.”
“Did they threaten your family?”
Traian nods.
“So what did you do?”
“I gave them a counterfeit Key.”
“Yeah, they’ve been working with it for the last two years trying to produce
their own QEs. I gave them a matryoshka doll—there is an endless nest inside
the algorithm—it’ll never work but they don’t know that yet.”
They both laugh but Damien looks at Traian—this is a dangerous game he is
playing. But what Traian’s son is doing right now is worse.

“This is spooky,” one of the kids in their group is saying.
“I think we should turn back,” says another.
JEL is leading, Naya right behind him. They pay no nevermind to any kid who is
“I read it’s 365 steps. One for every day of the year. This part of the
building has been closed for renovations for the last eight years. But the real
reason it’s closed is cuz Swedish people get depressed and come here to die.”
“How do they die, JEL?” Naya asks not a bit afraid to see dead Swedish people.
“Is there someone at the top that like cuts their heads off for them if they
“Naw, they jump. It’s 106 metres. They go splat on their nice steps. It takes
like a week or something to mop them up.”
“How big is 106 metres?” Naya asks.
“It’s like taking one of our football pitches and standing it straight up.”
That’s really big if you are Naya’s current size.
They are headed to the top of the Monumental Tower that is part of this
structure built 150 years ago.
JEL scoped it out earlier in the day. He was inside the stairwell when workers
were here. He sabotages the lock in the simplest way imaginable—he stuffs gum
in the mortise (the recess in a door jamb that interacts with a door lock’s
tongue) so even though the guys think they’ve locked the place tight, a slight
push from a healthy nine year old boy’s shoulder and they’re in.

Naya fully expects they’ll have to fight an ogre when they reach the top of the
tower. She can’t imagine any princess needing rescue there because, well, she’s
the princess.
She’s disappointed to find the balcony at the top is empty. But the view of the
water (Riddarfjärden Bay), the city and the heavens above is spectacular. All
the other kids turn back except Naya and JEL and one tubby kid whose name she
has forgotten. He’s out of breath but Naya and JEL could easily climb another
365 steps and never huff and puff like that.
“What ya doing?”
“You stay here. You’re too little.”
“Am not.”
“Are too. Stay here, Naya, I mean it.”
JEL is climbing over the copper railings onto the bronze metal roof that flares
out from near vertical to a mere 30 degree slope at its edges.
“This is where depressed people come, Naya!” JEL is going to go to the edge to
look down to see where they’ve been hitting the pavement. Maybe there’ll be
some left over remains or something. He’s brought a couple of oranges with him
too. They’ve been in his pants pockets, one on each side, since he swiped them
from the banquet—he’s planning to deploy his own experiment momentarily.
It’s a clear night with a full moon. It’s colder than anything Naya has ever
experienced. She is standing there in her little shear evening gown. It’s worse
even than the Giant’s Garden—which is cold and snowy but this is way, way
colder she thinks and the sun never comes here. No wonder Swedish people all
want to die. It’s horrible here. She wishes she hadn’t taken off her long
silver gloves. Like most dancers, Naya is well organized and neat. She rolls
them up and stuffs one inside the other before shoving them into the tiny
matching purse her Mom gave her for this evening. Only thing is she can’t
remember where she put it or her beret at the moment. Her teeth begin to
Naya decides that she’s not too little. She climbs over the railing. She’s
going to go join JEL but when she gets to the other side, she knows straight
away that he is right. She’s too short to reach the flatter part of the roof.
Her black patent NoNo Bonit dress shoes are slippery too so she can’t get any
purchase to either climb back up or slide safely onto the part of the roof that
is 30 degrees instead of nearly 90.
“Help, JEL, help me!”
JEL turns around and his eyes go wide with fear. He’s a very active guy and he
knows right away that his little friend is in real trouble. If she lets go,
she’s going to fall more than a metre, hit the roof at its steepest point and
nine not six. He knows the score. He lunges for her at the exact moment that
her tiny frozen hands come unstuck from the railing.
He misses her but catches her dress as she goes whizzing past him. But he won’t
let go of her dress. In an instant he knows they are both going over but he’s
not letting go of her.
The fat kid is hysterical. He’s blubbering like a baby.
It’s a good thing that José-Luis is built like he is with unearthly reflexes
because when she goes over the edge pulling him with her he is able to grab one
of the huge lightning rods that are positioned at each of the four corners of
the eaves of this mansard roof. He gets his left arm hooked around the thing;
with his right he’s got her dress in his fist. Little Naya is dangling
horizontal to the ground 106 metres above very cold and very hard street
brickwork below. He hears her dress begin to rip.
“Climb up, Naya! Climb!”
Naya has a terrific power to weight ratio. So she spins about in the air,
rights herself and reaches up; then she shimmies up his arm like she does ropes
at Meeza Elite Danse Academy. She can climb 2 inch diameter hemp ropes, 20 feet
high faster than any girl at the Academy. By the time big girls have boobs and
hips and stuff, they are pretty useless at it—so Naya instinctively knows
there’s an optimum age range for this sort of adventure. She’s right there.
With a final push on her tiny rump, JEL has her back on the 30 degree part of
the roof. He keeps his right hand on her tummy pressing her flat making sure
she can’t go anywhere. With Naya, expect the unexpected. He rests for a few
“Take off your shoes, Naya.”
“No. These are my nicest pair.”
“Naya, please? You can’t get any traction in those. You’ve got to help me get
you over that.” He’s pointing at the railings leading back to safety which,
from this vantage point, do seem kinda huge to Naya.
“OK,” she says.

When Damien gets a look at his half frozen, shoeless daughter with her ripped
dress, his face goes white with fear. He knows what happened to Nell at 16. But
his daughter is two weeks shy of her sixth birthday. This is beyond his worst
nightmare. He’s been looking for Naya and Su7e (who has bugged out for some
reason) for the last half hour. Then Naya just wanders back into the Banquet
Hall. Ellen went back to their hotel earlier. She is tired.
JEL is with Naya. He’s pretty messed up too but nothing like her.
Damien goes over to his daughter.
“Da,” she says and faints into his arms.


Spread The Word

About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.