I made this discovery after spending a day fishing in a dry riverbed on the outskirts of Large Southwestern City. Disappointed by my catch, which consisted of two minnows and a midget frog, I returned to headquarters and, after my dutiful assistant had plucked several bits of cactus that had been attracted to the nether regions of my flesh at the conclusion of a nasty fall, I repaired to our extensive library to sip a carafe of sherry.
While thus engaged, I happened to glance at the top shelf of books. Lewis Carroll’s works caught my eye. I rang for my assistant, who appeared instantly, along with a nurse. I waved off the nurse, protesting that the sherry was the only medicine I required. Then I instructed my lovely young assistant to retrieve the book that had caught my eye. She dutifully moved the available ladder to the appropriate place and climbed it. I noted that she was attired in a short dress, patent-leather shoes, and white anklets, a scene that, together with the carafe of sherry, elicited the unnamed muse that is the inspiration of all great scientists.
My lovely young assistant dutifully retrieved the book that had not five minutes earlier caught my observant eye.
“Thank you, Alice,” I said politely, patting her hand in a fatherly way.
She frowned. “It’s Lolita,” she reminded me.
“Ah yes,” I acknowledged, patting another part of her lovely prepubescent person in a fatherly way. I had forgotten the pet name I had bestowed upon her.
“Will that be all, Sir?” she inquired.
I frowned. “It’s Lewis,” I reminded her. She had forgotten the pet name I had suggested she bestow upon me.
“Whatever,” she said with a shrug of her lovely young shoulders, and left.
I gazed after her and fell into a muse. Shortly thereafter I recalled the book she had delicately placed upon my lap. I opened it to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and began to read the first chapter, “Down the Rabbit-Hole.”
“Here,” I thought in a fit of inspiration, “is the key to the theory of the shrinking universe.”
Delighted by the efficient working of my muse, I promptly fell into a deep sleep, confident that on waking, I would . . .