I want to propose a quite different bet...
(At that moment, Teller enters, wearing a
loosened tie and a not-very-clean, creased suit. He hasn’t shaved properly and
tonight—because of the desert sand of Los Alamos—his orthopedic leg has a terrible
tendency to jam. When this happens, he’s immobilized in a determined position
putting his balance at risk. It’s quite clear that Teller
has also drunk quite a lot.)
(Who is the first one to notice his arrival.) Hello, Edward!
Hello to everybody!
How are you?
Where is Oppie?
Is everything all right?
Yes, where have you left Oppie?
...In the dining room.
Nobody. Everybody’s gone back to Los Alamos.
Is he with anybody?
Not exactly. He’s with the waiter! He’s arguing with the waiter!
What about, if we may ask?
He promised me he’d come soon.
But, what does he have to talk to the waiter about?
I couldn’t stand it anymore. I told him: “Oppie, you’re making him dizzy”.
What are they talking about?
A prize for Gölam. Exactly: martinis. What’s exactly the right quantity of gin
and what’s exactly the right quantity of martini? For Oppie that’s a physics
problem of prime importance. I think he feels prouder of his thesis on martini
cocktails than making the Bomb.
He’ll be dazzling him.
The waiter doesn’t dare to say a word. He’s impressed! Do you remember when the
hotel manager wanted to kick us out? Then Oppie goes and says: “I’ll speak to
The President! HARRY TRUMAN.
And did he do it? Did he call the President just for that?
Of course he did! He rang the White House and talked to the President JUST FOR
THAT: “Listen, we want to carry on drinking, what do you say?”.
Are you serious?
...And the good old Harry talks to the manager and tells him: “Let my boys
drink till they burst”. Do you understand? In a certain way, we’re already
free: the Bomb is not a secret anymore, but SOMETHING REAL. And for the same
reason we are also REAL. We don’t have to be hiding ourselves anymore and
changing our identities as if we were MAFIA RATS.
So the waiter hasn’t got the balls to contradict a man who can wake the
President up in the middle of his dreams because of a whim.
A whim? We have spent more than three years devoted to the Bomb in body and
soul. Three years of reclusion, with endless problems and headaches, isolated
from the majority of our friends and family. And at last we’ve finished making
it, and a few hours ago the device was dropped and everything has gone well.
Much more than well: FUCKING WELL. It’s very probable that RIGHT NOW the bloody
Japanese Emperor will be sitting in the golden seat of his imperial toilet,
very constipated, seriously thinking about sending the President a post card by
express post saying: “WE FUCKING SURRENDER”. I’m not joking: the Bomb won’t
only finish off this war, it’s also the most important technical achievement in
the history of humanity. And it’s been us, ALL OF US, who have made it. How
should we feel? I think great, don’t you?, fucking great. So great that I don’t
think that it’s asking too much for them to let us drink a couple or three more
drinks, is it? It would be INHUMAN for them to turn off the martini tap tonight
after what we’ve done.
Bush, this is just the beginning. At the moment we have made the fission bomb,
but this is just the first step to...the Super. Now, Bush...
What Teller says is completely true. The hydrogen bomb in no less real than the
atomic bomb. It’s not a daydream. It’s possible. You only have to want it.
I don’t doubt it but, what for? The fact that there are no limits to the
destructive capacity of the new arm you propose, that H bomb, makes it
something necessarily PERVERSE. What worries me is not the technical problem,
although of course I’m not as convinced as you that that horrible thing could
ever work, or could reach any target unless it’s dropped by a Ukrainian ox
cart. What I don’t like and I don’t understand is that that thing seems to have
captivated the imagination of some of you; what I don’t understand is how can
you talk about this when not even six hours have passed since Hiroshima was
Bush isn’t off base when he says that, after tonight, war hasn’t got any
meaning. Hirohito must be crazy if he doesn’t come down from his golden toilet.
What use would that other bomb be?
You speaks as if…as if you weren’t a real scientist.
What is a real scientist?
Somebody who looks for the truth, as simple as that.
And what, is Truth like that, with capital letters? The H Bomb?