Don't you see?

"There's no viable explanation for what happens to the cat after the first hour passes. But the experiment is sufficiently simple that it can actually be performed." He was growing more excited now, talking more quickly, and there was a light in his eyes. I nearly feared he'd do something drasticLike run cackling out of the restaurant. Without paying.. But suddenly the light left his eyes, and he seemed to return to a ground state.

"That's how this all began. I tried the experiment..."

"On a real cat? That's sickI knew he was bonkers.!"

"Yes, on a real cat, my cat, but not the full experiment. I used a water pistol."

"You rigged up a radiation-triggered trigger pull?"

"Yes, one that would activate at the end of every hour. Not particularly difficult."

"Why at the end of ever hour?"

"More dramatically appropriate.Bonkers. Cuckoo for Cuckoo puffs, looney as a stork, rocker, fallen off, etc.

"In any case, I was talking about my experiments with the cat and the water pistol at work when a particular co-worker overheard the story. Unfortunately, this co-worker - and my immediate superior - were both members of a militant animal rights groupI was just making that up. Those sort of things don't really exist, do they? Well, this guy is a nutter... such as you mentioned earlier."

"So the flunky gabs to your boss..."

"And I'm called in for questioning. I'm told my actions are unconscionable and will not be tolerated. I offer to show them my cat. So we ride home. Which is slightly unrelated to the regular work schedule, you know."

"So it's all cleared up.Is this starting to make sense, or is this guy so nuts it's catching?"

"Well, no. The cat wasn't home."

"You mean...

"Gone. Ran off. Disappeared. Nine pee-em, still hasn't come back. Boss and sycophant inform me if I come into work tomorrow I'll be dismissed. Liability to company reputation. Animal cruelty. Best for meBest if you get the hell away from the looney bin you've been working in. You're nuts, but you've got nothing on those guys - unless you're just waiting to surprise me... if I quietly quit.

"I am justifiably distressed.At least you aren't nuts in that regard, boy. So I hit on an idea. I have a Schrödinger's Cat mechanism designed to pull a trigger. I have nowhere to go tomorrow, no job, no future source of income, and, since my cat's gone missing, nobody in the house. I am curious. Meow?. Ha. Ha ha ha. Heh. Hehehehe...Sweet Eris, the boy's gone batshit. I'm done."

"Er, that's a pretty sad story, but I'm sure you'll be all right --"

"Oh, no, I'm more than all right. I'm great. I've never been better. See these notes?" He waves the papers at meHe's acting like he just got back from a more than usually fun visit to the dentist now.... "They've got everything-thing. All of it. All twenty-four impossible hours."

"Twenty-four hours? Twenty-four hours of what?"

"Don't you get it?