The Vanishing Mediator

Having fun on the internet.

the beverage astronomical

An Easily-Distracted Tale by Chris/0

The substance in the martini glass glistened and sparkled under my workbench’s halogen light.

“Finally,” I whispered to myself.

Over the course of history, humanity has created some legendary alcoholic beverages.

GinBeer.

Four Loko.

Baconated vodka.

But this topped them all.

Not too sweet and not too dry. Sophisticated as hell. Just potent enough to dissolve an olive, which is where it got its name.

Green Sun.

It was the Chernobyl of mixed drinks.

My efforts had paid off after thousands of dollars and almost as many prototypes. Some weren’t strong enough, and some were caustically strong. Some were too bitter, and some were cloying. I’d come close—so close—with a concoction I’d named “Soviet Russia.” Because it contained lots of Smirnoff and drinking it made you feel like it was drinking you.

It was abandoned when I discovered that the sample I’d left out overnight decided to undergo both glasnost and glass-lost. By which I mean that there was a new “openness” in my workbench and the martini glass was nowhere to be found. For all I know, it’s traveled down to the water table by now. If trees start reporting of hangovers, I’ll have my confirmation.

Did you know that Grey Goose vodka was sold for two billion dollars? Two billion.

And it’s just vodka. By definition, it’s colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Now, bad vodka can be bad. Really bad. Really, really bad. However bad the worst vodka you’ve ever drunk was, it could have been worse. Good vodka… There’s simply a level of goodness that even the most Parisian of wheat cannot surpass. Once the nasty-tasting stuff is completely removed, further filtering can’t remove more of it.

But the balance of flavors provided by the Manhattan, the Old Fashioned, or—dare I say—the Green Sun is something entirely different.

They take effort.

They take science.

They take art.

They take love.

I could imagine how I’d sell it now.

“Look here, President of Liquor-Selling Corporation,” I would say. “I have created a drink that will turn your world upside down.”

He would frown slightly and his brow would furrow. “As the President of a Liquor-Selling Corporation, I have become jaded to young upstarts coming in here and trying to win me over with their new mixed drinks. I am skeptical of your claims, and shall upbraid you after my inflated expectations are not met.”

“Oh, I have more than claims, sir.”

I would pull out a Green Sun and he would take a sip.

After I had helped him up off the floor, he would exclaim, “By Whatever Deity I Worship, this is indeed a boffo beverage!”

My smile in response would comfort the old gentleman, loosening both his heartstrings and pursestrings.

“I must know,” he would say while pulling out a novelty-sized checkbook, “what do you call this ambrosia? I do hope it’s not Ambrosia; that name’s taken.”

“Goodness, no, sir. A far classier and more modern name.”

The temperature of the room would decrease by several degrees as my neurons started firing the impulses that would cause my lips and tongue to speak its name. Meteorologists would be left scratching their heads for decades, wondering how the sky had gone from bright and sunny to dramatically stormy in a matter of moments. Babies would stop crying, dogs would stop barking, nations would stop warring.

“Green Sun,” I would intone.

The sound would echo off the walls of the office that knew it would someday be mine and fill the ears of humans everywhere with golden—

“Green Sun?” the President would repeat.

“Uh, yeah.”

“But there can’t be any such thing as a green sun. You can see stars of red, blue, yellow, and orange, but never green. If you have a star at about 6,000 Kelvin, its blackbody curve will peak in the blue-green, sure, but it will look yellow to us. This is because it still puts out light of other wavelengths. The curve is roughly symmetrical in the visible spectrum, so the colors all mix together to look roughly white.

“We humans have photoreceptor cells in our eyes called cones, and these cones come in three kinds: L, M, and S. These respond to peak wavelengths in the vicinity of yellow, green, and violet, respectively. If you tweak the temperature of a yellow star up or down slightly, you’ll simply be stimulating the L or S cones more, and the M cones less.

“So the only way to be able to see a star that’s green would be to narrow the blackbody curve at a constant temperature, which is impossible!”

“It’s true!” I would cry. “I’m a fraud!”

“And a charlatan!” he would add.

My wailing and weeping would provoke the President into summoning security, who would throw me out onto the street. Now suddenly and mysteriously homeless, I would spend the rest of my very few days in cold, pain, anguish, and sobriety.

“No!” I cried.

My reverie crashed to a halt. This would not do. How had it all gotten away from me?

I had to destroy the evidence.

Grabbing the martini glass with trembling hands, I drained it in a single gulp.

“That’s not so bad,” I murmured. “But why is the floor getting—”

I awoke in a closed coffin.