Ernie, recently moved here from nj, finished first. He proudly carried his answer to the professor, whose lips wore their perpetual sneer. Ernie's contraption, built from toothpicks, seaweed, and other everyday objects he collected on his walk to class each day, met the stated requirements. It was not only a perpetual motion machine, but it would provide at least 5 KW of energy beyond that needed for the perpetual motion.
"Well, Ernie," the professor scoffed, "you have overlooked the primary point of this little excersize. Namely, that it is impossible!" The glee in the professor's eyes smote Ernie far more than the simple loss of his good grade. He turned off the project, which collapsed in on itself to form a miniscule black hole, and slunk from the room. He got an F. Ernie spent the rest of his life flipping burgers at the local Burger Doodle.
Rita, sitting on the front row, and trying desperately to get more than 4.5 KW from her nearly complete project, hung her head in despair, and smashed her machine. She got a C. Rita gave up her scolarship and co-op job with a leading-edge medical products company, to produce cheap crystal gryphons and velvet Elvis pictures for street corner salespeople.
Most of the other students gave up, noting that it was impossible, and left. They each got an A. They went on to become typical middle managers and beuracrats, whiling their lives away keeping others from doing anything important or efficiently.
The professor, who longed to get home and watch the tail end of his favorite Soap Opera, walked back to the lone student still working. "Mr. Roberts," he intoned, his voice that of a smog demon in a dark, disreputable cemetary on a Saturday night during tornado season, "your time is up."
Just then, the light energy from the ceiling lights, focused through a small magnifying glass onto a stray match, started the match head smoking. Dave Roberts jumped up with a vicious smile on his face, grabbed the professor by the ear, and bolted for the door. His project was bootstrapping.
The match flared behind them. As they started down the hall, a series of blasts erupted from the room. The shock wave knocked them down just before the entire building caught fire from the explosions.
Very little trace was found of either Dave or the professor of oncology, as both were obliterated in the conflagaration. 80% of the campus burned to the ground. Dave got an A+, posthumously, and went on to found a computer company and get filty rich.
Last updated: 2 Apr 1994
Copyright 1989, 1994 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.
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This copyright may be freely used, distributed and modified subject to the conditions noted above in the preceeding paragraph. Miles O'Neal <roadkills.r.us@XYZZY.gmail.com> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514