In addition to the super-massive Black Hole that lurks at the centre of our galaxy, biding its time (ok, let’s, for now, just presume that time does exist) waiting its chance to devour us all, there is, I have worked out, a very tiny Black Hole located somewhere near my left shoulder. It is the only logical explanation I can offer. You see, things disappear. I have them in my hand, I put them down and when I return to them, they have gone. I used to blame mischievous sprites, Imps, borrowers, but this is the age of rational science, I am a grown-up and I need to look for a more reasonable scenario.
Not, I have to admit, that this perceived schema is without its difficulties. Things that disappear do have a tendency to reappear at a different time, in a different place. I’m not entirely sure that happens with Black Holes, whatever the size. I believe that nothing actually ever emerges from a Black Hole – although they must get full eventually I’m sure. (I’m not!) I envision a Black Hole as something like an astral waste disposal unit, sucking up stars instead of leftovers, and we all know what happens when they get full…
Anyway, in the same way that the pull of a full-sized Black Hole is so great that it does not even release light, this tiny one on my shoulder hangs onto my thoughts: what I was just about to do, why I was about to do it. Like my possessions, my thoughts have a habit of reappearing where and when they are least expected. Maybe, as well as being astronomically vital to the equilibrium of the Universe, Black Holes are also major pillars of anarchy – essential to the fundamentals of The Chaos Theory (that is my life). I remember reading that everything that is consumed by a Black Hole is compressed by the gigantic forces of gravity, so that the Earth would be squashed down to the size of a golf ball, but would remain the same weight. Now, I’m uncertain of what, exactly, Black Holes are made of, nor, to that point, have I any idea of why they do not consume themselves, but my word, if they’re doing what the scientists tell us they should be doing, they must be very heavy by now. I can’t quite work out why they don’t all just sink to the bottom of space. Also, forgive my ignorance, why don’t they suck in all the zero-mass space that surrounds them and therefore expand like a balloon, getting less and less black with every inhalation of lighter-than-air?
Perhaps this is what is happening with the tiny Black Hole at my shoulder. Perhaps the sheer vacuity of my daytime thoughts is forcing it to release its grip on some of my actual plans and intentions at a different time (again, if you want to understand how that is even possible, you must talk to someone whose knowledge of the astrophysical extends beyond the mastery of child-proof lids) and a different place. Thus, when I go upstairs intent on doing who-knows-what (certainly not I) do I reach the top with no idea whatsoever of what set me on my way – although it returns to me three hours later when I am on the bus and can do nothing about it. Similarly, it would explain why, when I put down the TV remote after muting some politician or another, I find it three days later in the fridge, under a carton of yoghurt whose Best Before Date preceded the Moon landings. (Incidentally, how does a product that is essentially gone-off milk go off? Is there, perhaps, a fundamental scale of gone-offedness of which I am unaware? Maybe there is some kind of explanation available of how one knows when a Stilton has gone mouldy. Is there, in essence, good bad and bad bad?)
I am (despite what you might believe) an adult and I now realise that I cannot place these disappearances at the feet of The Borrowers. For a start, I have concrete floors – substantial excavations would be required, possibly involving heavy machinery, in order to provide them with a subterranean hide-away in my lounge – and, anyway, there are no mouse-holes in my skirting boards for access. Borrowers are not to blame. What, in any case, would they hope to make with giant keys, a mobile phone and a guitar-shaped bottle-opener? (The bottles do not need to be guitar-shaped, you understand. I think it possible my language skills may have been swallowed, together with my other slipper.)
In fact, it has just occurred to me that CERN spent some considerable time – and doubtless large, but ever-diminishing mountains of lolly – attempting to create a mini Black Hole some time ago. I do not know if they succeeded, but I have heard nothing of the Large Hadron Collider for some time now. Could it, perhaps, have gone the way of all of my astrophysical understanding? I can hear it now, saying (in French, of course) ‘Typical! Bloody typical! You work all your life. Tear your heart out for them. Give birth to them, and what do they do? Swallow you up, that’s what they do. Sacred blue, it’s dark in here. I’m sure I’ve put on weight…’ I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it doesn’t turn up in my sock drawer before the week is out.
Anyway, the point is, I sat down here some time ago, with something very important to relate to you. I am sure that I had it all carefully mapped out in my head, but somehow it has wandered off and is, by now, lost somewhere, staring at trees. I can no longer find it. I have nothing to guide me and, other than the fact that I have just discovered my mojo in an otherwise empty phone case, no clues with which to reconstruct. Sooner or later, I will be forced to go back down the stairs, into the room where I first thought of it and my thread will be waiting for me there. I’ve a bit of a feeling I might have left my Black Hole with it…