graphic by Naomi Dunn

Black hole manifests in US West washing machine

Maintenance called to repair a singularity that materialized in a TU student apartment.

At approximately 0300 hours on Sunday, Sept. 2, the physical plant received a maintenance request. It was filed away automatically from the housing system records, ready to be distributed across campus to the workers that dutifully show up at 0700 hours sharp each morning. Since it was just a little repair slip, no one thought anything much of it.

At a quarter till 0900 hours on Monday morning, a worker was assigned to repair a washing machine that was reported broken in US West. The apartment number will not be revealed for the privacy of the students residing there.

Disregarding the cute (but most likely illegal) kitten that greeted the worker at the door, the apartment appeared deserted. There was the standard mess in the kitchen, an acceptable amount of dishes in the sink and a few crumbs on countertops and tables alike. The furniture in the apartment was a little bit more than minimal but eclectic enough to know it came from various dumpsters around campus. The apartment was like any other, except for one distinctly unique phenomenon.

Upon entering the laundry room, the maintenance worker, who requested his name be redacted from this article, reportedly witnessed the beginning of a singularity.

Indeed, this was not a usual maintenance request. Admittedly, the worker added later, this wasn’t the first time he had come across something slightly out of the ordinary. He recalled that once he had to perform an exorcism when a student became possessed and resisted move-out. He also mentioned that some previous years ago, he had to call the SWAT team when it was revealed that a single room in Fisher West was holding two hundred frat boys for “educational purposes.” It was unclear how they got in, as the international student that last inhabited the room had returned to Australia two years prior. Anyway, it was clear that this was not the worker’s first rodeo.

Further inspection revealed that the singularity had only warped the space time around the washing machine. Turns out, the apartment had not been empty.

“It was interesting,” the worker said, because at first he was confused about the baby being sucked straight into the event horizon. “I only took up to advanced quantum physics in my masters degree in applied physics, so I wasn’t very knowledgeable about these things. It took me a second to remember that an object — in this case, a person’s — ‘time’ was also affected by singularities.”
Once the worker was able to confirm the baby was in fact the student living at the apartment (he had been holding his ID card, apparently), he got down to work.

“Well, the first thing you want to do is al- ways look at the overall state of things. Is anyone bleeding or dying? Is the machine going berserk? I assessed the situation and determined that perhaps I should call at least Campus Security. I mean, I didn’t want to freak out or anything, but the black hole looked a little bit serious.”

It seemed to be the right call. Campus Security listened to the issue, had four shift switches, and then arrived two hours later.

“We took a look at the situation and assessed that the apartment had no threats. We determined that we could not supply additional assistance to the situation. There were no doors to unlock and no marijuana to confiscate. We wished the worker best of luck and confirmed that the baby was indeed a student before taking our leave.”

Of course, the maintenance worker eventually worked out the equation to dissolve the singularity.

We get a variety of work to do as maintenance workers and students come up with the quirkiest ways to break things” He said, chuckling. “When I first graduated from Yale I thought I had a one-way ticket to a life as a professor, but the economy these days is tough. I remembered that E = mc2 and then just went from there.”

The student, who is no longer allowed to use powder laundry detergent, came to us for one last quote.

“I thought I was supposed to put it in the little rectangular compartment where you put the liquid detergent. No one told me to do it otherwise. I really want to stress that I wouldn’t have done it if I knew I would warp space time. I’m just a business major.”

Post Author: Courtney Spivey