Eugene and Clarence, laboratory technicians at the university research center, sat silently before professor Bernard, who had called an emergency meeting. Bernard paced the room.
“Gentlemen,” he began. “On the projector before you is a photograph of a smashed window.” The professor spoke with care, as if fearful of his own words. ”The two-foot gash in that window was made by a basketball, from a botched pass in a neighborhood pickup game in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago, I need not remind you, is the home of Wilson Sporting Goods, which manufactures the official basketballs used by the NCAA. This photo is two years old.” Eugene and Clarence shifted uncomfortably in their seats.
“Now,” Bernard continued, producing another photograph, “look at this photo. Another smashed window—only this time, as you see, the damage is much more severe. The gash has a five-foot diameter.
“This second window was also smashed by a Wilson basketball, again in Chicago, just four months ago,” the professor continued. He then switched to a third picture, showing an even larger breakage. “And this slide, gentlemen, was taken only yesterday. This most recent hole is nine feet in diameter. Gentlemen, do you understand what this means?”
“The damage caused by the basketballs is growing at an alarming rate,” Clarence murmured.
“It is,” agreed the professor, transfixing them with an intense gaze. “I’ve spent all night analyzing the numbers, and the conclusion is terrifying. At the rate that Wilson basketball technology is progressing—“
“My God!” gasped Eugene. “Surely you don’t mean…”
“That’s right,” professor Bernard intoned gravely. “Before the year is over, Wilson Sporting Goods will possess a doomsday basketball capable of destroying the entire Earth!”