Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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A few slices short of a loaf.

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Meissner-Effect Salt-Shaker

For impractically-long gothic dining-room tables
  [vote for,

Emma tentatively pushed open the enormous, heavy oak door. It seemed to lament its age with a moan as it revealed Professor Rust's grand dining room. She lifted her cream-white skirt and ventured inside.

The stained-glass windows thundered under the weight of the rain, which shook the frames from floor to ceiling, reaching 20 feet above her head. The chandelier rocked to and fro, its crystals tinkling, reflecting the candlelight in shimmering patterns around the room – like a ghostly fire engulfing the walls.

"Please," came a hollow voice. She shivered, as its deep vibrato came again: "Sit down."

Emma hesitated, but at last she sat at the head of the table, in a gothic wooden throne. Her innocent, glistening eyes darted about, searching for her host. No one was to be seen.

With a flash of lightning, he appeared; his face shrouded in shadow; his gaunt fingers tapping the arms of his chair; his breath thick, palpable.

"I invited you here, Miss Cobblepot, because I have seen you from my tower." His spindly finger pointed skyward. "You, living down there, in the valley; I... wanted to discuss something with you over supper." A clap of thunder. Emma felt an apparition stroke her from the bass of her spine to the top of her head, and she froze.

A ghastly, monstrous contorted face appeared at her side and wailed in torment: "Sooooouuup?!"

She nodded in fear at the creature, who placed a bowl of pea-green mush in front of her, waddled awkwardly the 12 yards to the other end of the table, and placed another in front of the Professor. They traded words briefly – inaudible to Emma. The beast left, disappearing into the gloom.

Emma took the silver soup spoon and, shaking, tasted the green slop in front of her.

"You see, Miss Cobblepot, I have no heir to my…"

"I'm terribly sorry, but, may you pass the salt please?" she squeaked.

"I beg your pardon?" he boomed.

She took a breath, lifted her chest a little. A little louder: "The salt? May I have some salt please? For the soup I mean."

The Professor's fingers once again rapped the arm of his chair. Emma could swear he was growling. But then: "Of course, my pretty."

His robed body leaned forward to grab the crystal salt- shaker. Emma had ne'er seen the like. Smoke was billowing from it. The Professor carefully held it above a rail on the table, then let go, where it hung, suspended in the air, as though held by an invisible waiter. He flicked it. The shaker glided over the table in silence, leaving a trail of smoke as it flew. All the way across, it never halted, jilted, shook. All the way into Emma's pale, trembling hands. It was as cold as a corpse. She gingerly shook its contents into her soup then replaced it over the rail, where once again it hovered, stock still.

"Now, my sweet, as I was saying… I have no Earthly-born son…"

theleopard, Oct 18 2011

Meissner Effect http://www.youtube....watch?v=Ws6AAhTw7RA
Also known as quantum levitation. [theleopard, Oct 18 2011]

Halfbakery Halloween Story Halfbakery_20Halloween_20Story
Shameless elf-promotion [8th of 7, Oct 18 2011]

Diamagnetic Table Hockey
[xaviergisz, Oct 21 2011]

(?) Alvin's Hat http://beta.booksie...d51short/alvins-hat
That Emma Cobblepot certainly gets around, don't she! [DrBob, Oct 21 2011]

(?) I take it all back [marklar] http://pulse.me/s/2BdvJ
Hoverboard! [theleopard, Oct 28 2011]


       Dark, evocative, brilliant, overcomplicated. An instant classic.   

       I like the bit about the salt-shaker, too.
Alterother, Oct 18 2011

       <sings>There's a light/Over at the Frankenstein place...</sings>
hippo, Oct 18 2011


MikeD, Oct 18 2011

       Care for a game of shuffleboard?
RayfordSteele, Oct 18 2011

       // She lifted her cream-white skirt and ventured inside //   

       She ventured inside her own skirt ? Is she some sort of contortionist ?
8th of 7, Oct 18 2011

       She wasn't necessarily wearing it at the time.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 18 2011

       Is //ventured// some sort of Gothic euphemism?
mouseposture, Oct 18 2011

       "It was a dork and a stormy night..." Seriously, it is a pretty neat effect and the most worthwhile implementation of its benefits possible. [+]
AusCan531, Oct 18 2011

       //the most worthwhile implementation of its benefits// ... //just seems limited in scope//   

       [21], the idea started out as an attempt to implement the meissner effect into an actual product that people might use, but it became increasingly clear that, at present, the technology doesn't really have many practical benefits – other than looking really freakin' cool.   

       The joke was (as I think [AusCan] nudged on) to make something out of it that isn't terribly needed, but would look cool, however only really in a niche market, ie gothic mansions.   

       The point may have been obfuscated somewhat when I realised it was Halloween coming up and embellished the yarn for dramatic effect. (Actually, I just enjoy writing this shit.)   

       [8th] Touché on the skirt front. Skirt ventures – sounds like my life. Not so many /ad/ventures, but still.
theleopard, Oct 19 2011

       Howcome this gets the croissant and my very own tale of how to sneak a gingerbread house with a large oven through the planning regs only got the fishbones </envy>
not_morrison_rm, Oct 19 2011

       What was it called?
theleopard, Oct 19 2011

       How about a Meissner-Effect waiter's tray that you could place things on? Then it would look more like an invisible waiter. And have sensors in the track linked to speakers under the table that play footsteps and floorboard creaks and heavy groaning breath.
marklar, Oct 19 2011

       //How about a Meissner-Effect waiter's tray //   

       Well, therein lies the rub [marklar]; I don't think an object suspended by flux tubes can carry much weight. Hence, choosing a bit of salt to carry.   

       Otherwise, I'd suggest some sort of Yo!Sushi / ice- cream parlour amalgamation, at which patrons grab their floating, super-conductedly-cooled desserts as they float past over a magnetic rail...
theleopard, Oct 19 2011

       (+) Got swept up in it very quickly. You have a gift.
Now you have to finish the story though, for Pete's sake.
My mind's going to spin off like fifty off-shoots and each of those will have their own off-shoots and there won't be room for anything else until they play themselves out, and Aaauuurrrrrgh.

       Could you just, like on your profile page or something, just, finish it.
Please. I've never asked you for anything else, ever, have I?



       A Jedi must learn to control his thoughts.
RayfordSteele, Oct 21 2011

       [2 fries], Hint: An angry torch-carrying mob gets involved, but not before Professor Rust seeds his diabolical heir.
theleopard, Oct 24 2011

       Check out the <linky>. Apparently the meissner effect can be powerful enough to carry objects [marklar]. Your tray of an invisible waiter could well become a reality...
theleopard, Oct 28 2011

       + Nice to read a well written idea!
xandram, Dec 28 2020

       I’d forgotten about this one. Funnily enough, earlier I was thinking about the practicalities of a Chladni plate salt cellar and if it were possible to harness the vibrations from the table and conversation to create the Chladni patterns.
hippo, Dec 31 2020

       Depends; the plate would have to be very thin and resonant (like a drum skin) and the conversation may have to be amplified. Not sure of an actual drumskin would give the patterns. You could have speaking trumpets at each place setting into which you bellow "CAN YOU PASS THE SALT PLEASE".
pocmloc, Dec 31 2020

       [poc] ideally, the act of asking for the salt would cause a Chladni pattern to be formed on the (resonant) tabletop which caused a pile of salt to accumulate in front of you
hippo, Dec 31 2020

       I always want the Peltier effect to be more efficient so you can actually use it for something. I think a butter dish at the table could work, whether you like your real butter soft and spreadable, or have a thing about germs and want to leave it on the table but have it stay cold the peltier effect might just barely do it.   

       Dr. Rust's tablecloth could have many fine lines of conductive polymers running through it as thread, and whenever anyone set any of the electrified accoutrements down, and wherever they set them down they would get power from the threads in the tablecloth.   

       A computer at the edge of the tablecloth would poll all the lines on the tablecloth at computer speed to see (and instantiate) which elegant lines of conductor should be on, and which should be off, for resting hands.
beanangel, Jan 01 2021

       Emma Cobblepot: where is she now? And how is the diabolical heir getting along in primary school?
pertinax, Jan 02 2021


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