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14 April 2012 @ 01:51 pm
The Real LJ Idol: "Kickin' It, Particle-Style"  
Kickin' It, Particle-Style
real lj idol | week 23 | 624 words
The weak force


It was a typical day inside the atom. Everyone was going about their business, just maintaining their orbits and trying to keep from getting bored to death with the sameness of it all.

Boson W- and Muon headed to the Quarketerium for lunch, passing by Strange on the next floor down. Strange ignored them and kept working. He was kind of a grind, but he made up for Charm, who was always chasing off after the prettier particles.

The Quarketerium was never very full, and the menu selection was as limited as ever.

"Sandwiches again?" Muon said. "Why don't we ever get anything good around here, like lasagna or pie?" He grabbed something on rye, and found a table.

Boson W- sat down next to him, removing the Swiss cheese from his sandwich and adding more mustard. "You know they don't like to turn the oven on any more than they have to. It heats things up too much."

"This food is terrible." Muon prodded his bread with a spork, but it was so dry the tines didn't even make a dent. "I'm so sick of this place. I could really use a vacation."

"Oh, it's not so bad. I mean, you get used to it. It's kind of fun, really."

Muon glared at him. "Don’t talk as if we're the same," he said. "You, at least, sound halfway exciting, as if you could be a pirate or something. I sound as if I'm descended from bovines."

"Aw, cheer up!" Boson W- slugged Muon casually. "We could get together later, have a few drinks or something."

Muon eyed him warily. "No, thanks. I know your motto—live fast, die young. That doesn't solve anything."

"Fine, have it your way." Boson W- took a bite of his sandwich, chewing thoughtfully. "Who's covering for you while you're down here? Maybe you could work something out for a few million tera-cycles."

"Muon-2. He gets distracted, though, and he works a lot slower than me. I don’t think we could pull off a trade for very long."

"Well, you know. He's changing."

"Changing, my ass. His work ethic sucks."

"Just wait," Boson W- said. "You'll start slowing down too, after you've been here long enough."

"The hell I will!" Muon stood up angrily. "Breaktime's over. I'm going back to work." He stormed out of the Quarketerium in a huff.

Boson Z drifted over to the table. "Gee, he's touchy."

"Yeah." Boson W- gestured for his friend to sit down. "He gets that way, sometimes."

"Not surprising, I guess. Those muons are always so unstable." Boson Z reached for a napkin. "Think he'll go neutrino?"

"I don't know. Too early to tell." Boson W- looked over at Muon's uneaten sandwich. "We hang out a fair amount, so I'm sure he'll hold off for a while."

"I suppose."

"Still, if he does, he'll pull in a Boson W+. I dated one of those once—she was a pistol!"

"She's all yours, pal," Boson Z said. "I've got my eyes on a Gluon in another building."

Boson W- laughed. "You'll never get anywhere with her—she's way out of your league! Gluons always are."

"Yeah, but a guy can dream," Boson Z sighed. "You going to finish that sandwich, or what?"

"Knock yourself out. I've got to get back on the job, start spinning again."

"Hey, you want to meet up tonight, do some street-racing?" Boson Z asked.

"Hell, yeah!" Boson W- picked up his tray. "I know we've been warned, but what's the worst that could happen?"

"Exactly! So, another forty thousand mega-cycles or so?"

"You got it," Boson W- grinned. "All right, see you then."

"Awesome." Boson Z waved a half-salute. "You bring the nuts, and I'll bring the beer."

The basis for this crack story (science, via Wikipedia, not guaranteed to be accurate):
Sub-atomic particles include
  • Six "flavors" of quarks: up, down, bottom, top, strange, and charm.

  • Six types of leptons: electron, electron neutrino, muon, muon neutrino, tau, tau neutrino

  • Thirteen gauge bosons (force carriers): the graviton of gravity, the photon of electromagnetism, the three W and Z bosons of the weak force, and the eight gluons of the strong force.

  • Muons are unstable elementary particles, which decay via the weak interaction (the weak force). A muon transmutes into a muon neutrino by emitting a W−boson. The W−boson subsequently decays into an electron and an electron antineutrino.
    The W and Z bosons (together known as the weak bosons) are the elementary particles that mediate the weak interaction; their symbols are W+, W and Z. All three of these particles are very short-lived.

    If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.

    Myrnamyrna_bird on April 14th, 2012 10:35 pm (UTC)
    This truth is strangely fiction! LOL. How very creative! :)
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 14th, 2012 11:39 pm (UTC)
    I really didn't want to write another non-fiction entry, but I was prepared to. Until I started kicking this idea around, and it ran off on its own! :D
    jacq22jacq22 on April 15th, 2012 03:16 am (UTC)
    You realise you have messed with my head as I try to come to terms with this concept. !!!! Very clever though. Loved it.
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 15th, 2012 04:21 am (UTC)
    I suspect the fictional version of it is summarized more briefly than the pieces I had to absorb for characterization. (I can't believe I'm even saying that)

    This was one of those prompts that led right to the crack for me. I just couldn't resist!
    cindytsuki_no_bara on April 15th, 2012 04:35 am (UTC)
    i'm now picturing atoms in lab coats sitting around a cafeteria bitching about their lunch. hee! you definitely bring the crack.
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 15th, 2012 05:37 am (UTC)
    A cafeteria so crummy, all they get are sporks!

    This is the literal interpretation of this weeks' prompt, but at the same time it's also the way least likely to be used. Crack, though? Is its own reward. :D :D

    Edited at 2012-04-16 05:36 pm (UTC)
    (Deleted comment)
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: heh-hehhalfshellvenus on April 16th, 2012 05:38 pm (UTC)
    Thank you!

    It was fun to form personalities and a "plot" around these particles' traits and how they interact. This might possibly be the most extensive research I've ever done for such a weird reason... :D
    jacq22jacq22 on April 17th, 2012 12:54 am (UTC)
    Cute bringing to life such a hard subject! great entry.
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 17th, 2012 02:47 am (UTC)
    Thank you! But not memorable? Or did it sink in better the second time around?

    I'm kind of wondering if I should direct people to the blurb below-- factoids and cast of characters! Well, as close as it comes, anyway. :D

    I'm loving all these new pictures of you in your icons. I can't keep up!
    beldarzfixonbeldarzfixon on April 17th, 2012 02:35 am (UTC)
    Nice! I'm diggin' the subatomic sporks.
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 17th, 2012 02:48 am (UTC)
    Thank you!

    If you have a crap-cafeteria, you know there've got to be sporks. Just to increase the aggravation of the whole thing. :D
    Vice Captain of the Universesweeny_todd on April 17th, 2012 02:40 am (UTC)
    To be honest? I loved it! I have been snorting and giggling the whole way through. Particle physics isn't my thing, but I so knew all the terms!!!
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 17th, 2012 02:49 am (UTC)
    Hee! I'm glad!

    I was hoping that at least the basics would be familiar to you, and not horribly wrong. You know, other than the Quarketerium and the particles taking breaks and speed-racing around the atom. ;)

    Thanks so much for reading!
    A Sentient Being: Libraryalien_infinity on April 17th, 2012 02:50 am (UTC)
    Very clever! ^_^
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 17th, 2012 03:20 am (UTC)
    Thank you!

    It's funny how certain prompts slant toward nonfiction that I really don't want to write, and that Crack is the solution that appeals most. That's what happened with the K-Tel Wordmaster entry, too. I didn't want to write the nonfiction version!
    whipchickwhipchick on April 17th, 2012 03:03 am (UTC)
    I really like this! I knew the names of particles but not what they were like, but your dialogue and characterization made me come up with some good guesses, and it was cool to check in with the descriptions at the end.

    The idea that they have the same joe-jobs and joe-probs that we all have is so funny and original, too :) Love the heat reference. And your dialogue makes it easy to tell who's who, even without a lot of tags. I think you handled the dialogue tags very skillfully, with most of them serving the action and not just identifying the speaker.

    Fun read, solid writing :)
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 18th, 2012 03:44 am (UTC)
    Your comments are always so awesome. :)

    I like that you guessed the particle "roles/properties" based on the dialogue and characterization. I feel for poor Muon, who's kind of in denial about his eventual decay. :)

    I think you handled the dialogue tags very skillfully, with most of them serving the action and not just identifying the speaker.
    High praise, indeed! When I first started writing (fanfic), I was afraid of dialogue, but over the years I've gotten to the point where I'll sometimes write all-dialogue stories (well, not for Idol).

    Glad you had such fun reading this. It was sure fun to write, though there was a fair amount of research. ;)
    m_malcontentm_malcontent on April 18th, 2012 01:50 am (UTC)
    What a clever reaction to the prompt. Leave it to you to put your own unique spin on it.

    Very amusing.
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: heh-hehhalfshellvenus on April 18th, 2012 04:23 am (UTC)
    Thank you!

    Sometimes, the prompts just beg to be turned into crack, and this was one of them. I considered the non-fiction route, but as soon as I envisioned Muon and Boson in the Quarketerium, the die was cast. ;)

    Thanks for reading and commenting!
    MamaCheshirecheshire23 on April 18th, 2012 03:49 am (UTC)
    Quarketerium. I LOVE IT. :)
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 18th, 2012 04:24 am (UTC)
    It was the instigator for this whole thing, I swear. :D
    Ellakiteellakite on April 18th, 2012 04:18 am (UTC)
    A Sodium Atom and a Chlorine Atom bump into each other on a crowded sidewalk.

    SODIUM: Hey, You just took one of my electrons.

    CHLORINE: Are you sure?



    A fun little take on the theme. Thanks for sharing.
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 18th, 2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
    Re: *CHUCKLE*
    Science puns! Not that I've avoided that myself. :D

    Glad you liked it. The crack stories are usually the most fun to write, both original fiction or fan-fiction. I get such a kick out of them. :)
    Jemima Paulerjem0000000 on April 18th, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
    How nice! I love the characterization. :)
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 18th, 2012 07:15 pm (UTC)
    Thank you! They just can't help themselves, can they? And denial won't change their basic natures. :D
    A Karmic Sandbox: Candid Teasekarmasoup on April 18th, 2012 10:40 pm (UTC)
    The "descended from cows" line totally cracked me up. Very cute concept!
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 18th, 2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
    Ha! Finally someone noticed that line!

    Glad you enjoyed it-- happy to give you a laugh! :)
    (no subject) - n3m3sis42 on April 19th, 2012 03:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - halfshellvenus on April 19th, 2012 04:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
    similiesslipsimiliesslip on April 19th, 2012 03:07 am (UTC)
    Wow, you managed to make the "real" meaning both funny and interesting.

    Very skillful writing! Whether you win this thing or not, you're definitely a writer who is one of MY Idols!:)
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 19th, 2012 05:09 pm (UTC)
    Awww. *blushes* I don't see myself making it that far, but I'm sure enjoying the ride.

    My first reaction to this prompt was mild dread, especially after I read your piece that thought, "Yes! That's the way to approach it!" and then thought, "But how would I make mine different from this one?"

    The crack idea came to me kind of randomly (as they do), and as soon as it started forming a couple of details and dialogue, it ran off on its own. I suspect crack is risky, but what do I know? I don't write it often, but I love it when it happens!