Chapter 64 Reminders

On the road today so using the iPad as well so I predict many odd words within this otherwise benign disclaimer that I'm starting now. Where am I at today? About 100 miles north of the California border on I-5. Physically I'm at small park writing instead of eating lunch. I just need to check on the client then head south. I figure I'll get a bite while I'm driving. Some really healthy food product I'm sure. Well it will still beat airport food, shudder. I haven't actually written a real disclaimer for a while so here goes. Unless through the untimely passing of some unknown relative I have no interest TBBT, Warner Brothers, CBS, or that bank in Nigeria I'm waiting for the funds to come through from. I haven't heard from Nigel lately better check my account. I wonder how he got my name and email. Oh well nothing ventured nothing gained. Should I become fabulously rich in the next few hours I'll buy all my readers a drink. Until then you'll have to just be happy with another chapter of this odd and lengthy narrative.

Cooper Conundrum

The Cooper and Hoftstader families were just finishing up their meal. It had consisted of spaghetti for Tyler, Sheldon and Lisel a more refined marinara clam sauce for Leonard, Penny and Amy. Lisel had disappeared with Tyler to play in her room. The adults had put their youngest down for naps and everyone was gathered in the living room.

Leonard sat in his chair with Penny on the arm. Sheldon was in his old familiar spot but on a new couch with Amy next to him. Leonard spoke first.

"Well Sheldon how does it feel to be back in your spot?"

Sheldon frowned at Leonard, "I'm not sure it's right anymore. The couch is different and the airflow is not the same." Sheldon wiggled around on the couch for moment and sighed.

"I guess it will have to do."

Penny chuckled and looked over at Amy. "What did you guys do with the old couch?"

Sheldon got a very sad look on his face as Amy answered. "It's the one in the family room we finally had to have it reupholstered in Cambridge. Sheldon says it's just not right now, he's rather fond of his new armchair though."

Sheldon suddenly go that little grin of his. "Oh yes my new chair is wonderful and I got it sitting in just the right place in the living room. It only took three or four days to get it right then we could put the rest of the furniture in."

Amy rolled her eyes as Penny chuckled again.

Leonard thought there was no time like the present to get to point.

"So you guys have started going through Beverly's research and journals should we give it to someone to finish up?"

Amy was first to answer. "Frankly Leonard we can't agree on that. I'm of the opinion that we should leave it unfinished. Put it with her papers at Princeton after sanitizing it for who the subjects were. But Sheldon has a different view."

Sheldon looked over at his wife rather condescendingly. "Beverly's work is going to be very controversial but I see no need to bury it away in Princeton's archives. I believe there is enough of a conclusion there for it to be put into a least a paper if not a book."

Sheldon looked back at Leonard and smiled a happy smile. "She really did come to some conclusions about things after your work at CERN. She was proud of your accomplishments Leonard in her way. She wrote a journal entry in 2023 and I think her last visit was to confirm to herself that she had been correct. You should read her work Leonard it is fascinating."

Amy nodded in agreement now. "I agree with Sheldon on that Leonard, parts of it may be very upsetting to you but she did draw the right conclusions. You should read it then bury it, then salt the grave."

Sheldon frowned back at her. "There is no such thing as bad knowledge Amy just how it's used."

Leonard sat back in his chair. He felt Penny's arm slide around his shoulder and the warmth of her presence cheered him.

"I'll read the journal entry from 2023 but I'm inclined to agree with Amy on the work's fate. I have everything I need right now." He reached up and rubbed Penny's leg and looked up at her. She smiled at him warm and caring. He turned back to Sheldon and Amy.

"Now on to something entirely new I'm thinking of stepping down from the chair and becoming a professor emeritus at Caltech."

Sheldon looked shocked, Amy's mouth was hanging open.

Leonard smiled at them both. The desired effect having been achieved he patted Penny's leg.

"Hey let's have some dessert."

Changing Out Cogs

Leonard and Penny both stood up and walked toward the kitchen, Leonard talking over his shoulder as he walked. "We have chocolate cake and coffee cheesecake what's your pleasure?"

Sheldon immediately chimed in with chocolate, Amy cheesecake. Penny took the chocolate cake and cut 4 slices. Leonard took the cheesecake and cut two pieces from it. Penny took two of the plates with chocolate cake and headed down the hallway for Tyler and Lisel. Leonard took Amy and Sheldon their dessert and returned to kitchen. He took a bite of the cake waiting for Penny to return. She was back a few seconds later. They took their plates in. This time Penny sat on the couch next to Amy and Leonard reclaimed his chair. Leonard took several more bites then looked over at his friends.

"Well from the look on your faces you seem quite surprised I'm thinking of retiring. Let's hear it, what's your opinion."

Amy went first setting her plate on the coffee table.

"When you first mentioned it I was shocked. I suppose I cannot think of you not being at Caltech any longer. But as I think about it I think I understand. You've done the math about how long you may live and how you want to spend your life. When were you thinking of doing it, soon?"

Leonard nodded, "The end of the year sounds pretty good so right after Christmas. We're going back to Europe for a month or so anyway."

Amy looked at Penny. Penny face was serene a small smile on her lips.

"Penny how are you going to be with Leonard underfoot every day, if Sheldon were home every day I think I'd have to go back to research?"

Penny looked over at Leonard smiling. "He hasn't told me his plans for retirement yet, just that he's considering it. I agree with his reasons but he'll need to find something to keep him busy and happy. That's all I ask."

Leonard raised an eyebrow at her and gave her a slight leer.

Penny laughed and smiled again. "You might even get bored with that after a few weeks."

Sheldon snorted and shook his head.

"Will you two never grow up, coitus and coitus you really should find some deeper activity to pursue."

Now it was Amy who was shaking her head.

Penny just giggled and looked over at Sheldon.

"Well Moonpie we are raising two children, two dogs and a cat so we do have other activities."

Leonard looked back over at Sheldon. "What do you think Sheldon?"

Sheldon looked back at Leonard with a very serious look on his face. "Who do you think your replacement would be Leonard? Probably some bureaucrat who hasn't done any real physics in years we may all be doomed"

Leonard nodded his head at Sheldon. "It would probably be an outsider but you and Raj will be safe for five years at least. I can't think of anyone I would promote from within the department right now. But to be honest I haven't really looked very hard either. It would be the president's call anyway I might get to give my input but little else."

Sheldon suddenly had panic on his face. "What if it's Kripke? Oh Jesus that would be bad."

Leonard laughed loudly and had a moment before he could stop.

"I'm sorry I just got a mental picture of Kripke giving the Physics department's summary to the board of regents and it was too much. No Sheldon it's never going to be Barry Kripke or Leslie Winkle she's happy at CERN. I do know someone who is interested in coming to Caltech though. She was away for a few years but she's back now you may remember her Sheldon. Dr. Elizabeth Plimpton from Princeton apparently she's dealt with her nymphomania problems and is back to work. She very interested in Raj and your research. It is her field after all."

Leonard looked over to Penny whose mouth was now hanging open. "You mean Professor Slut Bag. Oh no. You're not going to retire now Leonard. We have to protect Caltech."

Leonard was enjoying this far too much.

"I don't think her past would lend itself to the position but she interested in joining the faculty. I've told her we'd consider it. She really is quite brilliant you know she's just got a few loose bricks in her wall."

Penny still didn't look quite at ease with that but slowly her looked changed. She got it. She knew he was pulling Sheldon's chain and yanking hers was just a benefit. She gave him the wolfish grin and starting eating her cheesecake again. Amy had been quiet this whole time. The entire Dr. Plimpton scenario happened before she met Sheldon. She looked over at Penny questioningly.

"I'll tell you about it later sweetie, children might come in the room" Penny said to her then gave Leonard a sneer.

Leonard looked at them all. He had one more thing to break to them. He hoped it would go over a little better.

"I have been thinking about one other small venture I'd like to do. I was thinking of investing a little capital in a comic and memorabilia store. Seems Stuart as usual is getting strapped for cash and is looking for a couple of not so silent partners. A figured if we helped him clean up and modernize the place. Maybe even advertise it might help. I'm pretty sure we'd never get the investment back but it would help a friend?"

Sheldon was very excited, Amy not so much. He looked over at Penny who just smiled at him and nodded yes.

Sheldon could contain himself no longer. "That would mean we get first pick on all the new releases and anything coming into the store. Goody, it's a wonderful Idea."

Amy nodded her head slowly looking a Leonard. "It's an investment for the loss correct? Then we could write it off over the next few years?"

Leonard smiled at the neurobiologist and nodded yes.

Amy smiled and looked at Sheldon. "I guess were in then, how much?"

"You tell me what you want to put in. I'll talk to Howard and Raj then we'll put together some kind of partnership for it. The lawyers and accountants can figure out the details and let us know."

It's not the Words

The Coopers headed out when it was close to 8:00PM after talking more about the comic book store. At 8:30PM Leonard had got Lisel off to bed while Penny fed Matisse. It was close to 9:00PM when Leonard sat down on the couch with a scotch and his mother's laptop. Penny emerged from the hallway as he opened the laptop. She could see he was hesitant.

Penny sat next to him on the couch and put her arm around him for change.

"You want to read it together? "

Leonard nodded and opened the document and went to the journal entry Sheldon had recommended.

August 2023

Subject LH has returned from Europe. The loss of his spouse has not made him reach out to his family for comfort or assurance as predicted. This would bode badly for the level of trust he has within his own extended family unit. The protocol most likely is the deciding factor in this behavior. The subject has no trust in his own family for emotional structure. His siblings treated similarly have shown the same reluctance. In this regard the protocol is a failure though some further research is required.

The subject did successfully maintain and apparently flourish in a relationship with his deceased spouse. He has though regressed from aggressively pursuing his career and field of expertise. The subject's new position is a department chairman at a large technical university on the west coast. He also now has a child from the marriage to support and care for. This may well prevent him from making further strides in his field.

The subject excelled before the death of his wife in his field of endeavor. This is easily explained though he was always the most gifted of the three subjects and the favorite of his parents when he was young. It is remarkable that all the bonds of that relationship have been broken and strained. The subject's mother is quite over wrought considering that the protocol has produced this result. We shall see if the subject can again form a loving relationship with another spouse.

In the opinion of the researcher the protocol should end upon the subject's next marriage or permanent attachment.

Penny sat back and looked over at Leonard.

"She was here to end it. Beverly was here to talk to you about it and end it. She never got the chance."

Leonard leaned forward and put the laptop on the coffee table. He leaned back and away from Penny so he could see her face.

He looked sad but not teary or angry.

"She couldn't end it Penny. The experiment she chose destroyed the sample. Amy's right this is going to get buried in the archives but this entry is going to be the first thing in the catalog summary. The sad part is it's not the words she wrote but how she wrote, so detached even when she spoke of herself."

Penny leaned over and hugged him. She couldn't think of what to say to him. In the end she just held him.

He pulled back and smiled at her. "Well at least were going to be part owners of a comic book store."

She stood and offered her hand to him. "Come on caped crusader let's go to the bat cave for some us time. I'll see if I can channel Professor Plimpton for you."

"Tish night time lighting"

"Yes Leonard"

It's an odd little chapter, resolutions, new questions and a couple of new places to go.

Reviews comments and snide remarks are most welcome.