The man was tall and lean, stooping over slightly from what he called “a childhood case of polio.” His quick wit and intellect were sorely apparent when he spoke. His speech was clear and thoughtful, and always polite. He had a soft jawline with a protruding chin, highlighting his thin lips, which were pervasively drawn up in a lopsided smirk. His hairline was receding, making his tall brow more pronounced. He occasionally adjusted his spectacles as he spoke.
“I’ve worked it all out” he stated confidently.
I was holding his journal gingerly, carefully leafing through the handwritten entries. “Worked it out, you say?” I asked, making smoke monsters with my lit pipe as I skimmed the pages.
“My three laws. The premise that will undergird my novels.” He patiently explained. His smirk worked its way into a smile.
“Ah yes. Your ‘science fiction’ as you call it. Capitol Arthur. I am quite pleased with your progress. Pity I shan’t have the opportunity to read them for a few more centuries. I am sure I would have enjoyed them.”
I closed the journal and handed it back to him, puffing away vigorously.
“Keep it. It’s all up here now.” His smile widened, as he tapped his temple gently with his forefinger.
Tucking the journal under my arm, I stood from the park bench and extended my hand. “Thank you my good man. It has been a pleasure.”
He took my hand and used it to steady himself as he rose to his feet. Shaking my hand with an unusual amount of strength, he said “It has indeed. I have enjoyed our talks and all of your stories immensely. I do hope to see you again.” With that, he turned and walked back toward the cobblestone street. Over the red-rooved buildings I could see the tree line of the Enchanted Wood. He favored one leg slightly, making him almost lope as walked.
He paused and looked back. “Perhaps I’ll get you an advanced copy so you don’t have to wait.” He said with a playful grin. Then he loped back toward the forest.
I sat back down on the bench, refilling my pipe, and opened the journal to an ear-marked page. The following notes were scrawled clearly and with evident purpose:
1) When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
2) The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
3) Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur was going to be quite the novelist, I said to myself. Quite the novelist indeed.