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."
"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
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.