Equivalent Gods

An essay by Professor George Newhouse, as provided by Domenic diCiacca
Art by Dawn Vogel


The bartender interrupted my contemplation. I looked up from my second beer and waved him off. “I’m good, Tiny.”

“That’s not it, Prof. Could you give me a hand? I’ve got a bit of a problem.” Tiny is six four, arms thick as old oak, and he carries more brain power than his countenance suggests. There isn’t much he can’t handle.

I grunted and slid off my stool. “Course, Tiny. What’s kicking? Or should I say who?”

“Who. Friends of yours.” He led the way to a back table where two drunks slouched. “Could you see them safely home?”

Neither of the two drunks drank, which was a certain puzzle. One was Sergei, an astrophysicist and theoretical mathematician, a cosmologist so brilliant only a handful of people can follow his work. He’s a dour little man who usually drinks cranberry juice. Three empty shot glasses sat before him.

The other drunk was James Meredith Smith, a large expansive happy man, a philosophy professor who teaches comparative religion and applied logic. He’s a Deacon in the local church, for God’s sake. I’d never seen him lift more than a beer, but right now the man was ploughed. Both of them were drooling, giggle faced, piss in your boots drunk.

I rubbed my forehead and turned to Tiny. “What brought this on?”

He shrugged and beckoned to the waitress. She came over to shrug in turn. “They were toasting the Hubble telescope.”

The Deacon rose to his feet like a walrus surging ashore. “To Hubble,” he declared, and toasted with half a glass. “Now we know what infinity means! Everything possible is probable.”

“No,” Sergei spoke up, slurred and insistent. “Everything possible is certain! See?” He waved a fistful of ink-scribbled napkins about. “Infinity guarantees statistical certainty.”

“Your wife called,” I lied, “She wants you to get on home.”

Deacon Smith tugged on my sleeve. “Everything possible is certain! Do you know what that means?”

I can hold my own. “It means a thousand monkeys will eventually write Gone with the Wind.”

“No!” Sergei protested. “That’s too event specific. The best you can do is a thousand equivalent monkeys writing an equivalent Gone with the Wind.” He grinned. It was frightening. I didn’t even know he could smile.

I turned to Tiny again. “Okay. I’ll round ’em up and get ’em home.”

“Thanks.”

Equivalent Gods

Good night to us all, I thought to myself, and wondered if those napkin scribbles would mean anything to Sergei in the morning.


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2015 collection.


Professor George Newhouse was born in London, England.  He grew up in South Africa, where he gained prominence as a silk screen artist. His most notable financial and critical success is the ‘Pink Cow’ series, recognizable around the world and famously parodied by nearly everyone. He now teaches color theory and graphic composition at the University of Missouri in Columbia, anatomy classes across town at Columbia College, and Tai Chi in his back yard. His hobby is comparative religion. His wife rides a Harley and they go to Sturgis every year.


Domenic diCiacca is a native of Edinburgh, Scotland; lived his formative years in South Porcupine, Ontario; and went to college at UMC in Columbia, Missouri, where he studied philosophy, which of course led him to become an illustrator. One of the recent highlights of his life was meeting Sergei Kopeikin who, along with Ed Fomalont, measured the speed of gravity. Domenic wrote “Equivalent Gods” soon after meeting Kopeikin. Domenic lives with his wife on a farm with a dozen horses and too many damn cats. He claims his illustrated kid’s book Dragon Stew is now on every continent.


Dawn Vogel has been published as a short fiction author and an editor of both fiction and non-fiction. Although art is not her strongest suit, she’s happy to contribute occasional art to Mad Scientist Journal. By day, she edits reports for and manages an office of historians and archaeologists. In her alleged spare time, she runs a craft business and tries to find time for writing. She lives in Seattle with her awesome husband (and fellow author), Jeremy Zimmerman, and their herd of cats. For more of Dawn’s work visit http://historythatneverwas.com/

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1 Response to Equivalent Gods

  1. Domenic says:

    For those who haven’t read the story yet — those are equations at the bottom of the glass.

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