Pynesapp Home | jack-red | Chapter-32

The Adventures of Jack and Red.

This is the thirty-second in a series of blogs chronicling an expedition into 'space' with Jack Pynesapp and his granddaughter Red. To read the entire story (with notes) please see the JackPynesapp web site: [ click here ]


So what was that? 

They all sat quietly for a minute, going over in their minds what had just happened.

Jack sighed and stood up. He began to move towards Billy, who was still slouched over, sitting with his face in his hands. He thought he saw his shoulders shake a little. Was he crying? Maybe he should let him be, he thought, so he turned back towards JJ and Red who were still sitting on the bridge.

"We'd better be heading back." Jack said softly. "I think we've seen all we're going to see for today."

Jack started walking. JJ stood up and Red stood up next to him and sighed as they started after Jack.

Red looked back at Billy and said; "Billy, are you coming?"

Billy shook his head slightly as he raised it out of his hands and turned to look across the bridge in the direction the train had gone.

"Okay, see you later." Red said.

The three of them walked past where the siding had been and studied the ground as they passed - in case they had missed something. JJ looked at the can cover he was still carrying. Maybe a little relieved that it hadn't disappeared along with the train (and everything else related to the train.)

"So Dad, " JJ said finally.  "What were you and Red talking about before? Like this train is in some sort of alternate universe? What's that all about?"

"It's just something that Red and I have been talking about and I wonder if this is somehow related." Jack said.

"So you finally figured out an experiment." Red laughed.

"I'd say the experiment sort of dropped into our laps." Jack said. "Now we have to figure out the parameters while we interpret the results." 

"Sort of an uncontrolled experiment - don't you think?" JJ said.

"Well, I don't know, "Jack said, "we have a control and a test case. It's just that we don't really know how to do the observations properly."

"Too bad Billy couldn't get on the train." JJ laughed. "He could've gathered some observations."

"If he would've ever come back." Red laughed. "I doubt he has anything here he wants to come back to."

"Good point." JJ said. "But if I know Billy, he'd want to come back and tell us all about it. You know, to prove he's not crazy." 

"I believe this train is in another dimension;" Jack continued; "another reality or another universe (to use a term that Red and I have been using.) For some reason this train is 'pushing' us into a forth dimension."

"Grandpa, I thought the forth dimension was time." Red said.

"Well, time is it's own thing," Jack said, "and I'm only talking about physical dimensions here. Time is something else. And, by the way, it looks like that train is in pretty much the same time frame as we are. At least according to Billy."

"How do you know that?" Red asked.

"You said it yourself, Red: by the looks of that train it is apparent that technology has advanced to about the same degree in that world as it has in ours, only in a different direction. Emphasis - and money - have been directed towards rail in that world where in our world has concentrated cars and trucks."

They reached bridge that crossed the road by Jacks house and slid down the bank and started up the road to the house.

"I suppose that makes sense." Red said; "But what is this extra physical dimension - how does that work?"

Jack continued; "Our universe - our existence - is in three dimensional space so we can only sense three dimensional space. At least directly. The presence of this train pushes (for lack of a better word) us into another dimension so we can experience another frame of reference - another layer, if you like, in addition to  our universe." 

"But we were still in our universe when the train was here." JJ said; "It's not like we warped into some other universe and came back. The only thing that changed was that the train was here."

"What about the tractor and wagon." Red protested. "And that force that pushed us away from tracks. We were really there. We weren't just watching. It wasn't like we were in a movie."

"That's right." Jack said; "Not only did we experience the train but we were actually experiencing the whole reality (or universe) in which the train existed. It was like we were really there - but not there at the same time."

"I don't get it. " JJ said; "How can we be in two places at once?"

"That's just it." Jack said, "We can't be in both universes at once- our brains won't let us - so we have to be in one or the other." He stopped walking and turned to face JJ. "Even with the help of the train - this phenomenon - we are still 3 dimensional beings and our minds can only deal with three dimensions. If we were four dimensional beings (if there is such a thing) we would probably be able to experience both of these universes simultaneously (and infinitely more, perhaps) the same way we can experience a ball instead of just a circle."

"What?" JJ asked; "What ball?"

"Imagine we were two-dimensional beings living in a two-dimensional universe. What would a ball look like to us?"

"How could a ball exist in two-dimensional space?" Red asked.

"Right, Dad?" JJ agreed. "Good point dear." He smiled at Red.

"I don't know. This is just a thought experiment." Jack continued. "But for the sake of argument, the ball could exist in two-dimensional space the same way that train can exist in our three dimensional space. The question is 'how would this ball appear to a two-dimensional being?' "

"Like a circle?" Red suggested.

"Yes, that's all it could look like." Jack agreed.

"Okay, " JJ said. "But a sphere is made up of an infinite number of circles. Which one would this two-dimensional being actually see?" 

"Good question. " Jack smiled. "He would see whichever circle happened to exist within the same time and in the same space that this being existed."

"So it's just luck." Red said.

"Maybe, I guess you could say that." Jack smiled.

They had reached the house and Marge was sitting on the front porch and she greeted them as they walked up. "So, did you see the train?"

"Yep, it came." JJ said.

"Did Billy get on it?" She noticed Billy hadn't come back with them.

"No, it didn't stop long enough." Jack said

"Where is he?" Marge asked.

"He stayed out there at the river bridge." Jack said.

"Why? Is it going to come back?"

"Who knows." JJ said; "He's pretty upset that he missed the train."

"I'll bet." Marge said. "Well, I'm glad you three are safe and sound. I was worried. You'd better call Gwen. She called a while ago and wondered where you were."

"She didn't guess"; Red asked.

"I think she did." Marge said. "So you'd better call."

"Okay." JJ said. "But we'd better get going ourselves." He said to Red. "Your Mom wants to go school shopping this afternoon."

"That's right, I forgot." Red said. She skipped up the steps and gave Grandma a big hug. "Don't want to miss that." She laughed and then she stopped and hugged her Grandpa on her way to the car. She dialed her phone as she sat in the passenger seat. "Bye Grandma, Bye Grandpa." She called out the window as JJ got in and started the car.

"Bye Mom, Dad" JJ called out as he backed out of the driveway. "Let me know if Billy stops by."

Jack and Marge waved as they drove away.

"So, " Marge said, "tell me all about this train."

[ Click here to continue to part XXXIII ]