Now that was the funny part about it. They laughed at Columbus, and Einstein, and Edison, and Marconi. They even laughed at Milton Berle.
But when I came up with the screwiest idea in the world, they didn't laugh at all.
Nobody tried to put me in the asylum. Nobody tapped his forehead and pointed at me. Nobody stoned me in the streets. I get a patent right away. I didn't have to suffer. Eighteen millionaires offered me contracts. Everybody admitted I was a genius. It was all as easy as pie. The newspapers didn't scoff. They printed big headline articles about me.
"FLOYD SCRILCH INVENTS PERPETUAL MOTION MACHINE"
"INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OFFERS SCRILCH BILLIONS FOR RIGHTS TO HIS INVENTION," said the papers.
It was as perfect as that.
So, there I was in my laboratory, with the 97 committee members (it was pretty crowded and they were standing three deep, with the guys from the little countries like Siam and Norway on the bottom) and they were all waiting for me to demonstrate my perpetual motion machine.
I signed the contract, the most tremendous contract in the world, which stated that once I started the machine (it couldn't, of course, ever be turned off) I'd turn it over to all the nations to use in their industries.
Then I stepped over to the gleaming metal platform of my machine and bowed as my voice rand out over 11 networks.
"Gentlemen," I said. "This is the dawn of the Golden Age. I have never tried the machine, because as you know, it can never be stopped; nothing can be changed or removed. But now I've made my deal and I'll pull the switch. Thanks to my years of reading science fiction magazines, I give you -- perpetual motion!"
Some of the scientists yelled, "Yaaaaaay Scrilch!"
I went to the machine. "I just hook this band over my shoulder," I said, doing so. "And this band over my leg. Then I press this here switch and --"
The machine started, just as I'd predicted. I stood there as the cogs revolved. My leg shimmied up and down and my shoulder jiggled. The machine was a success. Perpetual motion worked!
The applause was deafening. I stood jiggling in the machinery. Then workmen stepped forward. "Let's take it away now," they said.
"Hey, wait!" I yelled. "What about me? I'm inside here."
The head of the committee smiled. "Yes," he said. "And you can't stop the machine. But the contract sold the machine to us, and I guess you're part of it. Those two bands on you can't be removed, so you'll just have to stay in there and keep it running. Come on boys -- take it away!"
And that's what they did. Carted me away inside the machine. I've been here ever since, jiggling up and down, 24 hours a day, working like a dog. And they've got a guard with a bayonet to see that I don't stop or get out.
I've got a hundred billion dollars and I'm stuck in this machine for the rest of my life. I don't even get out to go to the movies. Or anywhere else.
You know, sometimes I wish I was crazy.
Data entry by Judy Bemis
Hard copy provided by Geri Sullivan
Data entry by Judy Bemis
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