A Boron Chemical Mystery
                            Daniel B. Murphy
                      Reprinted Without Permission
 
        Florence Flask was in the middle of dressing for the opera when she
turned to her husband and screamed, "Erlenmeyer!  My joules!  Someone has
stolen my joules!"  "Now, now, my dear," replied her husband.  "Keep your
balance and reflux a moment.  Perhaps they're mislead."  "No, I know they're
stolen," cried Florence.  "I remember putting them in my burette just this
afternoon.  We must call a copper."
        Running to the phone precipitately, Erlenmeyer struggled to regain his
equilibrium as he dialled the atomic number.  Soon, a rubber policeman appeared
at the door.  "My name is Sherlock Ohms," said the officer.  "Tell me what
happened."  Reacting vigorously, Florence began a rambling account of the
theft."I don't care a nickel for this boron story," said the officer.  "Get to
the end point!"
        "Whoever stole the joules must be a real base character," Erlenmeyer
indicated acidly.  "Yes, a real helium," replied the copper, nobly, "but we'll
soon reach a normal solution.  This looks like the work of that arch-criminal
Lawrence Ium, who just flew in from Californium last week.  We must be careful,
he's a free radical, ultraviolet and dangerous.  His girl friend is a chlorine
at the Palladium.  Maybe I can catch him there."  With that, he jumped on his
carbon cycle in an activated state and sped off along the reaction pathway.
     At the Palladium, a spectral figure crouched in the shadows, looking about
at high frequency.  "Come out with your hands up!" shouted Ohms.  "Nernst to
you, copper!" came the reply, as Lawrence Ium excitedly rose from the ground
state and threw his cigarette litre at Ohms, knocking out the policeman's one
molar.  "Uranium's not bad, you cadmium," cried Ohms, firing his cathode-ray
gun.  Completely dissociated, the crook surrendered.
        In court the next day, the judge told Ohms the trial would be held
after the electrons.  "Currently, I'm too busy.  Put the thief in a dry cell."
Ionically, the trial was never held.  Offering resistance, the thief broke free
from Ohms' law, but just as he reached escape velocity, he tripped, fell
against an energy barrier, and expired.
         Later, as Ohms returned the large quantum of joules to Florence, he
told her of the crook's fate.  "Oh, dear," she said, "what will you do now?"
"The only thing we can do, ma'am," replied Ohms.  "Barium."