GREEN : Prelude
The cooking at Le Tableau
was legendary. The chef had unusual tastes that only her own dishes could
truly satisfy. She understood herself to be an artist, with all the
attendant responsibilities that the role entails. She was constantly
experimenting with the colors and textures of her specials. Presentation was
prominent. Performance always loomed as a happy possibility.
Why would anyone order anything other than the special?
In the constellation of
Taurus, many centuries ago, a star is exploding. The explosion begins as a
dramatic supernova, and the resulting nebula continues to expand at nearly a
thousand miles per second until it reaches its present day size of ten light
years across. The nebula is located seven thousand light-years away from
Earth in the constellation of Taurus, sign of the bull.
It is damn near impossible to get a drink at Le Tableau as the intense magnetic field whips everything around, acting as a cosmic slingshot. Indignant customers are spun around the room at tremendous speeds. Purses, dentures, cell phones and eating utensils are all sent hurtling into space at close to the speed of light. The maitre 'd barely suppresses a smile.
The green glow in the inner regions of the nebula originates from the Pulsar. Everyone agrees that it is the nicest shade of green. There are many marvelous changes taking place inside here, and they have gradually become apparent in the appearance of the central regions of the nebula. These include cloud-like structures that move outward away from the pulsar at half the speed of light, as well as a mysterious 'halo' which remains in relative position, but vacillates noticeably in brightness over time. Often seen are the enchanting visual effects of two polar jets that shoot out along the spinning side of the pulsar. The most dynamic feature - a small knot of energy that dances around so much that astronomers have taken to calling it a wacky-doodle - is actually a cosmic shock-front wherein the faster moving particles collide with the slower material in the spectacular dynamics of the jet stream...
Lord Rosse and John Bevis are regulars here, and by God they are more than ready for another drink, and what's more, they are in full agreement that once the spinning slows down they'll be having a word or two with the manager. Bevis is anchoring the breadbasket with the crook of his hand while the fine Lord Rosse smoothes his velvet Oxtail jacket and glares around the room. He is trying to catch the eye of today's server, the whimsically named 'Doolie', but Doolie seems to have an instinctive ability to avoid all eye contact. Besides, as Lord Rosse notices, much to his disgust, Doolie and the Maitre 'd are sharing a drink of Chateau Rosella '93 - a drink that should rightly be residing in his glass - drinking it straight from the bottle like a couple of railroad bums.
Long ago Chinese
astrologers recorded the Crab star's strange transformation. Appearing in
the sky above the southern horn of the constellation folks call Taurus was a
star that these learned men described as six or seven times brighter than
Venus. How bright is that? The star's illumination was so brilliant that
people could see it in the sky during the day for almost a month. Chinese
astronomers sketched the star, their renderings showing rays that pointed in
four directions in the manner of a geometric diamond. It had a reddish-white
color, and a startling high-pitched squeal. They affectionately referred to
the nebula as Chow Sin, after Chow Sin the Crab, a popular children's
cartoon character of the time.
To kill the crab you must
either plunge it into a large pot of boiling water for a minute, or
electrocute it, or maybe just place it on its crustaceous back atop a
cutting board and split the body down the middle with one quick blow from a
sharpened Chinese cleaver. If it is your desire to use the upper shell as
the centerpiece for a presentation, the first technique will usually serve
Neutron stars are the only
celestial bodies capable of spinning on their axis at such an incredible
rate of speed without breaking apart. In this manner, the Crab Pulsar acts
as a celestial power station, generating enough energy to keep the entire
nebula radiating over the full electromagnetic spectrum...
Lord Rosse and Bevis have
been literally flung out of Le Tableau and onto the cluttered street. Rosse
has no drink, this is true, but neither does he have a tab. "Not", says
Bevis, rubbing his aching buttocks while trying to maintain a look of quiet
dignity, "that we would have paid one red cent, considering the lackluster
quality of the service."
The street is misty wet
and enormously quiet for a Friday night. Lord Rosse is whistling a fanciful
tune. He is looking smart once again. An old stretch Cadillac, coffee
colored, lights flashing a signal, pulls around the corner.