He was arguing with his wife about money, he was depressed about the state of the world, and he wasn’t sleeping. Joseph Zancoe was a minor scientist working for a corporation called The Institute of Mega Science. The institute’s main contracts came from Wall Street, investment bankers and mortgage lenders. The primary work of Mega Science was creative finance. When Joseph was hired he was supposed to have free reign in the Physics Lab. Joseph’s project was going to answer questions about the structure of the physical universe, but after he was hired his work assignment changed to meet the requirements of Wall Street. He was told it was necessary. “After all, Wall Street pays the bills,” his supervisor constantly repeated. Joseph became depressed. His only recourse was to use the equipment in the lab when no one else was around which mean’t staying late at night, never seeing his wife, and getting no sleep. Joseph resorted to methamphetamine in order to stay awake. Sometimes the drug caused unsettling visions, but he knew he was on the right track to making a profound discovery about the nature of reality. No one at the institute was concerned about Joseph using the lab at night as long as he kept computing during the day and kept creating economic models to increase rates of gain and profit. Joseph was essentially hired for his mathematical skills – no one at the institute was interested in scientific inquiry or theoretical physics.
Joseph was run down physically. His wife, jeanine, was angry with him. He was reaching a breaking point and it showed in his work – during the day, he kept computing indicators of economic instability. His supervisor was dismissive and co-workers began to regard Joseph as a total misfit. His days were numbered. At night he had a breakthrough (oddly connected to the results he discovered about the economy). His formulas and experiments all pointed to one conclusion: the molecular binding of the universe was coming apart. After his discovery, Joseph started having flashbacks. He kept returning to the same point in time: sitting in the kitchen with a cup of coffee and listening to the radio. He couldn’t remember the rest of the day – just the morning in the kitchen with his coffee. The experience happened over and over – nothing else remained. He forgot that his wife left after he lost his job. He forgot how or why he was fired. He forgot the time he spent homeless and delusional, high on drugs. He forgot the formula he finally devised that could have fixed everything by stopping the unraveling of reality. All he remembered was sitting alone in the kitchen and listening to the same program on the radio – He forgot that he was dead … and sometimes the dead come back for just a few minutes, again and again until there is nothing left.