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Do you like dark meat?
Do you like dark meat?
My most recent girlfriend had a weight problem. Her body was perfect; she was just very densely put together. She could get on a bathroom scale, as a matter of fact, and flatten it before it could get a weight reading.
None of the various doctors she had been to as a child could tell her or her parents what caused it.
It was a great handicap to her. She could not ride in elevators, or cars, and forget about airplanes, they would fall out of the sky.
After she and I had been together for a few months and ruined four or five mattresses, a couch, and a whatnot shelf (don't ask), I took her to see my friend Mike, a physicist who works at the Fermi Labs at the University of Chicago.
We were there for a solid month while they ran the tests. I spent most of my time hanging around the hotel room or sightseeing around Chicago. Penny (that was her name) insisted that I not come with her to the lab tests because she was afraid that some of the things they might have to do to her would upset me.
After the first week she told me that they had determined her weight to be in the neighborhood of 4 million metric tons by studying her gravitational effect on the moon.
She cried a lot that night as we lay together on the carpet of our first floor room watching Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. I held her very tightly and after a while we made love very carefully as always.
Weeks went by and every day I would walk out to the lake, or visit the parks, or go to the Art Institute during the day and come back in the evening in time to console Penny. Sometimes we would go out to the jazz clubs or the movies but we eventually had to stop. Other people would stare or make rude comments or tell Penny to dump me because they thought that I was the reason she cried wherever we went.
One night she came back to the room happy for a change. One of the lab assistants had noticed a change in her metabolism and suggested a pregnancy test that had come back positive. I was overjoyed and immediately asked her if she wanted to marry me.
At first she hesitated and seemed to resist, but I think she was won over by my enthusiasm and evident love for her. She consented and I called my friend Mike and told him that Penny and I would be shopping for jewelry tomorrow, and could she please have the day off?
"I was just about to call you," he told me. "She needs to be brought in to the lab right away."
"What? Why?" I asked him.
"Nevermind," he said. "Just get over here as fast as you can."
Elation turned to fear as Penny and I quickly walked the seven blocks to the university. I had never been there at night and the campus had an eerie ghost town feel to it as we crossed the cold wet lawns and courtyards to the Physics Building.
Inside the building was brightly lit and bustling with activity. Students, researchers, professors, interns, and lab assistants swirled around us as we came in the door and bustled us up to a room on the second floor in a confusion of voices.
Mike was waiting for us outside the room in a surgical mask and scrubs yelling, "Clean room! Clean room! Nobody goes in without a mask and gloves!"
I yelled his name over the confusion as two nurses, one male, one female, took Penny from me and the rest of the crowd into a room nearby.
He was still yelling various directions now aimed at individual people. "Dave, get the medical staff from Research. Hong, find us a spectrometer, the good one. Paula, wake up Stephen Hawking. Jack, coffee, two sugars and a B.L.T."
When the crowd had dispersed a little he came over to me with an evident change of demeanor. "Look, man," he said, "This is hard for me to tell you, but Penny has to have an abortion right away."
"What?" I screamed. I think I punched him then. I don't remember this part too well.
He went on to explain that our child, mine and Penny's, although at the time only the size of a quarter, was made of the same dense material Penny was. The additional tonnage of its tiny body was drawing other planetary bodies in the solar system towards Earth.
"The moon's already so far out of orbit we're not sure that terminating the pregnancy will help," he said. "But, dude... the kid's already pulling at the asteroid belt and a few comets. If we let the fetus grow any larger, it could start drawing planets too."
Security had to restrain me at that point. I completely lost it. I think I knocked out a couple of teeth and broke somebody's nose before they got me under control.
I never saw Penny again. They say she died under anesthesia. Mike and I aren't talking anymore, and the government has put me on a "watch list" because of some threats I made against the university.
So if you and I ever get into a conversation about science and you ask me about the existence of dark matter in the universe, be prepared for a fight. But I guess I can admit it here that it did exist... for a while.