Tinman’s weekly camera-less attempt at the WordPress Photo Challenge…
It came from above, descending at tremendous speed through the Earth’s atmosphere.
It would have hit the ground with force had it not instead hit Newton, who was asleep under the tree from which it had fallen, straight on the top of the head.
He sat up with a start and stared at the apple, now rocking gently beside him on the grass.
“Gravity!” he said, which is an Olde English word meaning “bloody hell, that hurt.”
He went to see his friend James Watt, who was absent-mindedly watching a kettle boil.
“I’ve invented gravity!” shouted Newton.
“What’s gravity?” asked Watt.
“It’s what makes all things fall to earth.”
“Um, you may not have actually invented that,” said Watt. “I rather think that God did.”
“Really?” said Newton. “Well, I discovered it.”
“Don’t think you can even claim that,” said Watt. “I think that anyone who has, for example, dropped their toast buttered side down, or dropped a hammer onto their foot, or even been very heavily rained upon, would feel that they already know all about gravity. Or downfall, as we call it.”
“Er, I think your downfall means something else,” said Newton. “It’s something to do with meeting your doom.”
“Ever dropped a hammer onto your foot?” asked Watt.
“Ok, ok, I didn’t invent it and didn’t discover it,” said Newton, in the same grudging manner in which Hillary would later have to admit that he had neither invented nor discovered Everest, “but I’ve been developing theories about it.”
“Well, I believe that if you dropped a ton of lead and a ton of feathers off a building, they would both hit the ground at the same time.”
“A ton of feathers? The bag would have to be the size of a hot-air balloon. You’d never get it up the stairs to the top of the building.”
“Yes, well that’s not the point, the point is -”
“I’d rather be hit by the ton of feathers, that’s all I can say,” said Watt.
“No, you wouldn’t,” said Newton. “The important part of the phrase is the word “ton”. You’re going to be squashed flat either way.”
“Where are we going to get all this, anyway?”
“All of what?”
“Well, the lead, for example,” said Watt. “We’d have to strip the roof of every church in England. And as for the ton of feathers, we’d be plucking chickens for the next four thousand years.”
“Look, we wouldn’t actually -”
“And we’d be left with thousands of chickens. Perhaps we could open a chain of fried-chicken restaurants.”
“Wouldn’t work,” said Newton. “Who’d go to a place with only one choice on the menu?”
“I suppose so,” said Watt. “Perhaps we could drop the chickens off the building as well.”
“They wouldn’t be dead,” said Newton, “so they’d just fly off.”
“Ah, so your gravity doesn’t work on live things,” said Watt. “That’s good news. If I ever fall off a cliff it will be a great comfort to know that whatever is causing me to plummet to my downfall is not gravity.”
“Look,” said Newton, aware that the conversation had wandered, “there is no lead, nor feathers, nor chickens. None of it’s actually going to happen. It’s a theory.”
“Ah, good idea,” said Watt. “Theories are great, no-one can tell if they’re true or not. Like Einstein’s one about Relativity.”
“What’s that?” asked Newton.
“I think it’s something to do with meeting all of your relatives if you travel at the speed of light.”
“I’d say you have that the wrong way round,” said Newton. “It’s probably that if you hear that your relatives are coming to visit you run away at the speed of light.”
“Maybe so,” admitted Watt. He was still staring at the kettle, from which a cone of steam was now spouting. “Do you know,” he said, “I reckon I could run a train on that.”
“Mmm,” said Newton. “If you used all the boiling water to run the train you wouldn’t be able to make tea for the passengers.“
“Ever tasted the tea on trains? It’s not made with boiling water.”
“Still, you’d need a really big kettle.”
“True,” said Watt. “Perhaps I could buy it in the shop where you buy your bag for the feathers.”