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Dark Matter

John W. Pinkerton


“Dark matter.”

“Dark matter?”

“Dark matter.”

“Bobby Joe, what the heck are you talkin' 'bout?”

“…dark matter.”

“Dark matter!  Bobby, you feelin' okay?”



“Well…I went to the doctor today.  You know…for that job.”


“Well, there was a bunch of magazines there.  I picked up one to help pass the time, you know.”


“And…there was this story with some pretty good space pictures.”

“Space pictures?”

“You know, outer space.  Well, I like space, so I started readin' the article about….”

“Dark matter?”

“Yeah, dark matter.”

“Bobby Joe, what's dark matter?”

“Don't know.”

“Don''t know?  Did you read the article or not?”

A sudden shout and movement of the ball players interrupted Earl and Bobby Joe's conversation as they looked to the evening sky to locate the small speck as it arched and began its slow descent pursued by a young fellow seemingly having trouble locating the sphere with his pursuit which contained many zigs and zags as though he were avoiding the land mines in the field.  It must have contained one too many land mines as the young heavyweight crashed to the ground with a grunt just short of the chain link fence where Bobby Joe and Leon were viewing the world at their leisurely pace.  The ball dropped in the well-manicured grass and rolled quietly to the bottom of the fence.

The grass stained youngster slowly lifted himself and walked to the fence and reached down for the ball when Leon in a confidential tone commented, “Nice catch, Butch.”

The boy paused, grinned and turned to heave the allusive pebble toward the second baseman.  Drama over.

After a lull in the conversation, Leon commented, “Butch musta got tangled up with your dark matter.”

“Leon, it's not my dark matter.  It's just, you know, dark matter.”

Another moment of silence as the two old friends watched a youngster slide into second base as twenty or so of the locals let out a whoop.

“Well, Bobby Joe, go ahead and tell me all about dark matter because you will eventually tell me anyway.  Let's get it over.”

Bobby Joe took a long slow sip from his soda can and placed it firmly in the grass next to his lawn chair.


“You can't?”


Another pause.

“Well, there's this stuff.”

“What stuff?”


“Bobby Joe, I'd just as soon be talkin' to Ned Watkins, all the sense you're makin'.

Long pause.

Well, Leon, you know all the stuff in the world we can see and touch, you know, well…there's about four times that much stuff that we can't see or touch.

“You mean like Barbara Anne's undies.”

“No, not like Babara Anne's undies.  I mean like scientists know this stuff is there but can't touch it or see it or hear it, or anything.”


“Leon, the science folks know it's there because of its gravity pulls on real stuff, other stuff, but otherwise it's just…there.”

“Screw the science folks.  If you can't grab ahold of it, it ain't real---like fairy dust.”

“I don't know, Leon, that article kinda bothered me.  I mean not being able to see most of the stuff around us.”

There was another long pause.  The players were heading off the field.  A quick glance at the scoreboard told the story.  The visiting players headed for their yellow bus. Theirs was the victory this evening. The home crew, which seemed a little reluctant to move on, sat in the dugout, faces toward the scoreboard, their minds going toward homework they probably wouldn't do.

“Our guys can't play for nothin'.” 

“No pitchin.”

“No, Bobby Joe, it's that damned dark matter.  I suspect dark matter explains a lot.  It may even explain Barbara Ann's underwear.”