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The Biography of

Mervin Bonavich


 by Jezza Jones  23 December 1998.

This is the life story of Mervin Bonavich

(If anyone has any more relevant information about Mervin Bonavich then please tell us.)

Mervin Bonavich was born at a very young age in mid-1934. The event happened relatively unreported in a remote valley on the Baltic Coast, west of Kretingo in Russia (present Lithuania). His family consisted of a clan of Danish nomads who were for reasons yet unknown exiled from Scandinavia eight years earlier. Mervin was brought up by the elders during the first of his infant years, and was settled him down into a nearly gorge living off wild berries and pigs. Mervin was kept secure in a shady glen with several other infants and some domesticated goats (which were used for milking) until the age of three.

At the turn of his third birthday, in 1937 Mervin Bonavich was transferred to a special hut where three old women (who actually spoke) cared for him. What happened during this time period and up till September 1939, when the Germans overran this valley is an unsolved mystery, but speculation indicates that a primitive schooling system was used to teach the children essential skills, which includes the kosak, in a barren cave. Recent evidence supports this theory, as primitive paintings have been found on the cave walls, along with complex mathematical calculations.

Records of Mervin Bonavich were resumed when a German general called Heinz Schwartsberg reported 'recruiting' a desolate and distanced boy of seven years during the blitzkrieg on Poland in 1939. This boy understood little German, but was fluent in Danish and a dialect of Bohemian, the local language of the region. According to his diary "the boy was a small innocent little tot... but his eyes were something different. When you looked at them you could see the incredible intelligence behind them, and the power it can do to the mind..." The general then ordered the boy be chained up and placed under a twenty-four hour heavy guard. He did not want the boy to escape his clutches.

Soldiers questioned the general's compulsion for such a heavy guard to protect such a small and helpless child to such extremes. They believed their superior had too much to worry about. And rightly so. One night in 1940 on the way to concentration camp, Mervin Bonavich and a slingshot from the general's office vanished from the convoy despite being shackled and having a twenty-strong guard being in place that night. Extensive searches failed to find any trace of the boy, although some similar shackles were found on the roadside some twenty kilometres away mangled as though chewed up by a wild pig.

After watching the soldiers move away after discovering the shackles, Mervin Bonavich went on his way south, riding on one of his pet wild pigs. He travelled like this for two weeks, living off truffles and apples the pig found until he hit the now-Polish town of Königsberg (now known as Kaliningrad) which is 400 kilometres north of Warszawa (Warsaw). He farewelled is pig into the wild and it was never seen again. Then Mervin Bonavich appeared to the villagers as an abandoned orphan and was housed by an orphanage called Näst Rova in the fringes of the town. There Mervin Bonavich stayed throughout the freezing winter and the thawing spring until an elderly doctor came looking around for a poor homeless orphan to adopt and care for. While browsing through the pickings, the doctor caught Mervin's eye. Mervin fixed his gaze on the doctor and the doctor saw the great things Mervin was capable of doing and being. And the doctor was not going to deny the small boy with dark gazing eyes the opportunities that awaited him. Doctor Schzp adopted Mervin Bonavich that very day.

Doctor Schzp apparently was on tour in Eastern Europe looking for what a dream had told him about. One night he recalled a daydream vision telling him to go East and look for a "small dark diamond worth his weight in gold", and he leapt out of bed, ready to catch the first train to Berlin, ready to look for a special orphan. After many months he had found Mervin, and Doctor Schzp took his find onto a train bound for Strasbourg in Germany/France (at that time, Germany) to his farm a few kilometres from the fringes of the town.

Mervin spent two long years with the doctor on the farm, although at times Mervin was scared by the planes and bombings around the city as the French and Germans and everyone else fought over the land. He stayed there until the violence became too great to be safe any longer in 1942 and Doctor Schzp set Mervin on a train to Holland (the Netherlands) where he boarded a boat to go and stay with the doctor's relatives in New York, America. The doctor did not go, as he had casualties to care for in the province, and he knew the boats were only for women and children anyway.

The fact that Mervin had no guardian with him on the way to the coast was no problem. Doctor Schzp knew a woman who was also going on her way to New York, and she opted to care for Mervin on the long journey.

On the boat ride, Mervin was happy, although he disliked the rolling motion of the boat in the heavy swells. He also feared that the boat might sink on its way to New York; it was after all mid-April. But he calmed his fears and prevented boredom by reading books on physics that the doctor had given him before he left. The only problem about that was reading the words Mervin knew the Russian alphabet well, probably due to his schooling in the valley and the help of the orphanage, but the French words the doctor's book was written in was something different altogether. The only way for Mervin to get through the books was to get a Russian woman who incidentally understood French to help him learn the new language, and help him understand the book. It only took Mervin a few weeks to learn the language enough to understand it, and by then the boat had landed so Mervin and the woman didn't have the chance to get bored on the journey.

In America, the woman Dr Schzp knew ensured Mervin was transferred to the doctor's relatives' place as quickly as possible. She found a taxi for Mervin to ride in, searched her pocket for the note written by the doctor of where Mervin was supposed to go and handed the driver a scrap of paper. The driver read it and froze in mid-sentence, and then proceeded to slowly and carefully ask the woman why Mervin had to go to the local poison centre. Startled, the woman realised she had given the driver a receipt from a French fishmarket (called a poissonerie) and rummaged around in her pocket for the proper note of paper, along with an envelope that it was attached to. Good, the driver said when he read the address on the piece of paper, and collected the fare from the envelope supplied. He told the woman he would get Mervin there quicker than a rocket. So the driver revved up the engine to the delight of Mervin for about five minutes (preparing for lift-off), did a U-turn and drove kamikaze for forty minutes around the busy New York until he screeched to a halt outside a desolate house with peeling paint and a rotten roof next door to a large butchery.

After Mervin arrived at the house in 1942 he had to undergo a quick initiation ceremony which involved running up to the roof of the house and jumping down the two stories onto a bale of hay. Naturally, Mervin passed the ceremony (the doctor had been telling him about it earlier and so he had practised jumping long distances on the boat) and became one of the 'family'. But the oldest of them, the parents, were less than impressed by Mervin's presence than he was of them. Of the eight European children, all orphans, living under their roof, Mervin did the least to push his own weight with helping the others. Instead, he preferred to settle down and read books and do complex calculations.

Fortunately the relatives were quick to figure out the reason for Mervin's indifference to household duties: Mervin knew Danish, a dialect of Bohemian and French, but had little knowledge of English. This proved a problem in communicating with Mervin, but the family would not give up on him easily. As soon as they could, the family registered Mervin as an abandoned European orphan in their clutches and sent Mervin to the local school to be immersed in English as much as possible.

Mervin quickly absorbed the new language from his peers and the additional classes that were given to him every day. Being multilingual in three languages helped Mervin adjust to the new structures and complexities of the language, and within eighteen months Mervin had learned enough English to be classified as a 'typical' American with a New York accent.

He took some time in finding his niche in school. For a long time the teacher shunted Mervin down the back of the classroom and believed him to be another drop-out lingering like a bad smell at the back of the classroom. But she was a little wrong. The reason for Mervin's low output in mathematics was not the maths, but the way it was taught. Mervin was short-sighted and could not see the work that the teacher placed on the blackboard, hence his low marks in the simple Friday tests. Then the teacher discovered that Mervin had a visual impairment and was short-sighted and got him some glasses. She acted quickly to send him to the front seat of the classroom, along with all the other strainers. However it was a great surprise for her to find out just how much of a genius Mervin Bonavich actually was in mathematics. He appeared to have a maths ability far beyond that of any other student she had taught, and even challenged her own ability. Mervin was able to deviate, do all known basic equations and calculate any root up to the twelfth in instants, while it took the teacher a great deal of seconds to program the calculations into her calculation machine and get the same answer, usually to an equal accuracy to that which Mervin gave.

At the discovery of Mervin's incredible brilliance in 1944, the teacher naturally asked her superior, Principal Lomes, his advice over the matter. Mervin was making the teacher feel paranoid that she was no longer viewed as the smartest person in the classroom. Principal Lomes thought long and hard over the matter, and finally decided to check over Mervin's entrance test, where his intelligence quotium was established. Surprisingly, Mervin only had a recorded IQ of 93, but when the principal looked over the papers, the reason became very clear: Mervin's English comprehension was minimal at the time of the test. But even more surprising was the mathematics ability of Mervin. He had successfully completed every one of the mathematical questions, some of them extremely difficult indeed, to an amazing level of accuracy. This boy is a compact computing machine, Principal Lomes breathed.

Mervin was immediately retested for his IQ, and he scored significantly higher this time. For one point, Mervin had a much better comprehension of English and could understand all the questions, and for another he knew much more about maths due to some hard study in the last year. Consequently, Mervin received an IQ score of 211.

Following this revelation about Mervin's brilliance, he was immediately transferred to the New York university for testing by senior professors. They were amazed by the brain-power of the boy, and made good friends with him. They quickly found out the secret intentions and life-long wishes of him (or to be more precise, wish of him), and promised to keep it a secret: his ambition in life was solely to lead a dedicated life working in physics.

Mervin was offered a choice of degrees to work towards, as it was obvious that simple primary and secondary schooling would only hinder his knowledge in mathematics. He could study towards engineering, calculus, physics, and so on. Amazed at the selection of lives that he could choose, Mervin chose them all, and after being advised to choose his very very favourite, he chose to study a PhD in physics, to be a doctor in nuclear physics. Mervin went to work immediately for his PhD and achieved it in record time for the New York university, in three short and enjoyable years. Incidentally he received several awards for diligence, dux and a few other awards in a foreign language that he didn't really understand.

As soon as Mervin had graduated as a doctor at the age of thirteen he was approached by the US Army in 1947. They offered him a deal too good to be true: he would sleep in one of their bedrooms and eat their food, and in return Mervin would be able to work in a prestigious physics laboratory called Area 44. He was even given an allowance of pocket money, just for being able to work on what they called a 'major project'. Thrilled, Mervin accepted their offer and began his four years of work for the US army, helping to do experiments and develop the hydrogen bomb. In addition to the generosity of the army, Mervin found out that the senior people allowed (or rather insisted) that he worked on the major project an extra two hours after dinner until 8.00 pm when he retired to bed and read books for thirty minutes until he turned out the light a few times (Mervin was fascinated by electricity) and went to sleep.

Time flies when you enjoy yourself and before he knew it, the last year 1951 with the US army began to get closer and closer. And unwilling to appear greedy and ambitious in the eyes of his superiors, Mervin turned down the offer to stay an additional four years, as he felt there were many other deserving young people who could easily do what he had done in helping develop the H-bomb. So with his pocket money and books, Mervin left the US army and returned to New York, where he went back to his 'family' for 1952.

Things had changed a lot since Mervin had left. All but two of the children he had lived with had left, and the parents had won lotto three times and had bought out a house next door. Now they had adopted eleven more young homeless children exiled from around the globe and again were getting financially stretched, but not by too much. They all were delighted at the return of Mervin, and they introduced him to two Eastern European children who only spoke dialects of Bulgarian and Czech. Mervin had great fun pretending he did not know their languages at all, and then to their surprise suddenly broke into a fluent conversation with them, and he found much joy in teaching the kosak along with them to the rest of the family. This proved very worthwhile, especially in celebrating Mervin's return to his family.

His return also prompted Mervin to slowly break away from all the old habits which he had been brought up with. In the two years Mervin spent with his family he learned a lot of new things. this began by the two remnants of the family began to show Mervin what the world was like beyond 8.30 pm when he turned his light off and went to sleep. Some people did not have good books to read, so they chose to go to public houses (called 'pubs' for short) and some went to big empty halls where everybody performed a deranged version of the kosak to very loud noise which they labelled 'music'. All this intrigued Mervin and he committed himself to find out more about it, even if it meant he had to skip reading his books for a night or two to uncover the answer.

In his investigations Mervin met a few guys who introduced Mervin to a group of other guys. He joined them on the streets by day and in the buildings where it was warmer by night. And he had lots of fun! Some days they would get him to sing for the passer-byers to listen to and even throw money into an old battered hat owned by a guy called Neal. On other days (and nights) they would all carry boxes of goods out from warehouses and drove them to another place on the other side of town and sell them at very cheap prices. And then on Saturdays they would all go down to the racecourse and sit very close to rich people in top hats. Just where they all got their money from at the racecourses Mervin didn't get.

Mervin even took a risk during his time in the park. He made a bet with a guy called Mat Smith (Mat was short for Maths) that if the Americans got into space at least two years before their scheduled time of 1989, then Mervin would stop smoking for good. Mervin felt that this was a good bet, as he never really liked smoked salmon anyway, and he felt sure that the Americans would be a little ahead of schedule, meaning he would win the bet.

Life was good, but again the goodness didn't last for eternity. About a year after Mervin had first met his friends, in 1954, Mervin saw his mates' faces on the front page of the morning newspaper. Surprised at this, Mervin went down to the local police station to ask why the cops wanted to meet his friends. He was meeting them at noon at Central park and didn't want their rendez-vous to clash. The policeman in reply assured that their meetings wouldn't clash, and Mervin went off happy he had avoided any problems. Later in the day, at ten past noon Mervin rambled down to Central Park to meet his friends, ashamed he was a little late. But not one of them was there. Mervin waited there for the rest of the day, but they did not turn up. Mystified at their sudden disappearance, Mervin asked a local at the park where they had vanished to. Ah, said the man, I saw the police take them for a ride just after noon. Mervin waited for three weeks for his friends to return, but they did not come back. Mervin thought it was pretty impolite of them for going on such a long ride without telling him first. He liked taking rides too.

Without his friends, money became a bigger problem than Mervin had earlier realised. Since he couldn't sing or dance the kosak without his friends encouragement, Mervin sat down to think. But this didn't help, so he went and bought an evening newspaper. He knew the superman cartoon would soothe his worried nerves. But Mervin never reached the superman page. On the front of the paper was a huge article about the progress of the National Aerodynamics and Space Administration of the USA (NASA for short). Apparently some brainy physicists had developed something important... and Mervin set down the paper to think again.

If NASA had physicists in their labs then they might just want another one to do a few calculations. They might just let him work in their labs and if Mervin was especially lucky they might even give him some pocket money here and there. It was a great idea but Mervin's smile fell when he opened his eyes again. Somebody had taken his newspaper.

The manager of NASA rose slowly as Mervin Bonavich entered his large office and carefully shook Mervin's hand before introducing himself. Ralph Robinson had heard in the waterworks that Mervin Bonavich the had gone into oblivion whilst looking for another job. And here he was, the megabrainbox himself, a whole two years after his army dismissal at the end of 1951 asking humbly for a job at NASA. Ralph Robinson knew he must not let such a brilliance slip through his fingers like the army had and planned to offer Mervin the very best and nothing but the best. Why, with a man like Mervin Bonavich, the USA could put men into space up to twenty years before the scheduled date of 1989, he relished in his mind.

Mervin entered the office and explained how he wanted a position, preferably in physics, some time soon. And he was blown over to find how enthusiastic Mr Robinson was at his offer, leaping out of his chair, hurdling over his desk and offering Mervin the best job in the land. Of course, Mervin tried to tell the manager that what he was offering was far too much money, but the stubborn manager wouldn't hear of it. He told Mervin that he would have enough money to burn for his services, but thinking about it later Mervin didn't agree with him. He preferred to use it as wallpaper.

In total Mervin worked at NASA for fifteen years and he found every minute of it nothing but fun. The professors there let him watch many amazing and often downright crazy things. They did experiments with helium, watching it climb up the walls of its container at a few degrees above absolute zero, he observed the decay of radioactive substances in a cloud chamber and tried to perfect cold fusion. Of course the last experiment did not work, but the professors never listened to Mervin's reasoning that they were doing it all the wrong way around. They knew from experience what it was like when Mervin opened up into one of his many long explanations, and tried to all ends to avoid admitting that he was smarter than they were. Mervin however could never understand what was so hard to comprehend about his explanations. It was so easy explaining the principles directly to them, and was far simpler than writing it down waiting for them to understand it all.

And so it went until a little after Mervin's fourth year of 'doing a few calculations' at NASA, in 1958 that the manager asked Mervin if he wanted to tour Europe for a year, all expenses paid for by NASA. Stunned, Mervin asked the manager why he wanted to send him into temporary exile, away from the world of physics and fun. Was there a conspiracy against him? he wondered. But the manager was very reassuring. Mervin could do all the physics he could eat in Europe, and he even had special permission to work in labs east of the 'Iron Curtain'. This made Mervin feel better, although he wondered why he needed permission to go to his homeland. But this didn't make him lose any sleep at night. The fact that he was going to work at a lab where his old playmate, Dobre Vëcha, also worked was fine with him, and he was glad his friend still remembered him after all the years. Lots of developments had happened in Europe, like for example Britain and Spain had been discovered and all the soldiers and tanks had vanished from the fields. There still were many planes around, except they were bigger and weren't so busy at shooting each other down. Germany had the biggest change of all. It had split into two parts, the East and the West, and the West was on the left of Germany while the East was on the right of Germany. This was downright confusing for Mervin, as he thought that in politics the left was the socialist and the right was the capitalist side. But maybe there was a bigger reason for the split, he reasoned. The Europeans probably knew where north and south were and wanted to establish where the west and east were. But then again, this didn't make much sense either. For France the West of Germany was in their east, while for Russia the East of Germany was in their west. Mervin even went to the trouble of asking a Frenchman why they did this, and if the Iron Curtain (whatever that was) was used to find the east and west directions. Naturally, he got a look of derangement and realised he was speaking in Danish and Bohemian to the gentleman.

Mervin also wondered why they had put up such a long iron fence between the West and East, as it slowed his journey through Europe. But he supposed it was again something for directions. It could, he imagined, be for the compasses, because if they magnetised it the ends of it the fence would form poles just like the earth and they could tell where the directions of where the north and south poles were. But then again, the 'Iron Curtain' only stretched as far as the north and south of the European continent, so people in Finland would find their north was in their south and Italians would find their south in their east.

Once Mervin got through the hole in the fence, he went on to the Ogörky Laboratories in West Russia. There, he met his old friend Dobre Vëcha and proceeded to work in the lab on the latest developments like velcro and computers. The people in charge welcomed him briefly, but surprisingly did not offer him a lot of money for working there, and he decided not to mention that he preferred this tendency to what his American bosses at NASA were like. Having so much money was at times a hassle. But Mervin noticed that the people in Russia did not like receiving pocket money anyway and that they had a common fixation against the 'oppressed (western) world' anyway. He decided to not mention that he was actually touring on behalf of NASA, as he felt they might be jealous of his prestigious job.

On his return to America in 1959 Mervin scolded his bosses for their 'lack of commitment' to their physics labs. The USA, he said, did not have nearly as many labs as in Russia, they didn't have as advanced equipment and he told his bosses that if they wanted to keep Mervin working in America they would have to give him a lot of work to do. Mervin said he thoroughly enjoyed working in Russia, as they let him work until 8.37 pm each night, an extra thirty-seven minutes each day that he cherished in the lab. And it was this unprecedented outburst that made Mervin not just become the leader of the physics work team but the head of the entire physics department of NASA. In return for the privilege the managers forced Mervin to receive even more money every Thursday evening in his pocket money pay packet. And at this, Mervin decided not only to rewallpaper the walls and ceiling, but to varnish the thick wads of notes and use them to retile the roof of his family's houses. It was just a pity that Mervin did not like the colour green on the roof, but he felt that it was all he could afford.

Looking at the calendar, Mr Robinson felt increasingly confident that the USA could not only get its astronauts into space twenty years ahead of its schedule of 1989, but even get astronauts onto the Moon by then. It was a fantastic idea, and he decided to put the proposal over to Mervin, to see how he reacted. Naturally, Mervin was thrilled about having a few more calculations to do (it wasn't that hard if you put your mind to it, he told himself) and gladly took up the challenge.

And as all this happened the many years flew by like a steady wind and Mervin continued doing his 'few calculations', the manager Ralph Robinson continued doing his managing and NASA continued developing its space technology at full speed, thanks to the untiring efforts of Mervin Bonavich.

And finally the time came. NASA had done all the necessary calculations and was constructing a rocket powerful enough to send men into space in the August of 1961. And progress was going smoothly when Mervin woke up one lovely morning on the 12th April 1961 to read the morning newspaper for the Superman cartoon. But just like the time so many years ago, Mervin never saw the cartoon. On the front of the newspaper was a huge article about the Russians that caught his eye. The Russians had allegedly sent a cosmonaut named Yuri Gagarin to space in a space rocket called Vostok 1 and he had stayed in space for 108 minutes before plummeting to Earth again. And so the Russians have done it before the Americans, Mervin thought. I told 'em they would but did they listen to me? No. For the first time in his life Mervin began to feel a sense of anger and jealousy. But he quickly relaxed again. He had done all the calculations for sending an American into space, and by golly there were a lot of them, but he had done his work and it was up the shipbuilders and rocket fuellers to do their job now. Anyway, Mervin was doing a project far more superior. NASA wasn't sending astronaut to space any longer, they were skipping space. NASA was sending astronauts to have a meal on the Moon.

1962 came and went, so did 1963, 1964 and all the other years up till 1969. Funnily enough, 1964 and 1968 had an extra day each, which made them seem much longer than the others for Mervin, but he didn't care about that much. Then came 1969. Mervin had called the Russian lab he worked in while touring Europe and asked them how they were going with their space research. Mervin told them his progress was going along 'just fine' and he was just doing a few calculations for his lab. He told his friend Dobre Vëcha told him that they were scheduled to land on the Moon in 1989, and he was doing a few necessary calculations to help them out, and Mervin found the Russians were actually a little ahead of the American schedule. Dobre was in charge of the entire space division at the Russian lab. And Dobre told Mervin a top-secret secret that the Russians were preparing to send up cosmonauts in 1980, and wasn't Mervin proud that the Russians had got in space first? Mervin took that to mean the Russians were letting him do it first this time and hung up.

1969 came and Mervin watched on the 21st July 1969 as the almighty Saturn V rocket took off and sent Apollo 11 to the Moon with three astronauts. Three days after the mission had ended and the astronauts were back on Earth Mervin rang up his friend Dobre and with pride billowing from his tongue told his colleague of the great achievement of the last week-and-a-bit and he, Mervin was in charge of the entire operation's calculations. Startled at Dobre's aggression Mervin explained that his lab, NASA, was a little ahead of schedule for some forsaken reason and listen blankly as the phone went dead halfway through his sentence.

The Moon mission gave Mervin the prestige that he needed to be recognised on sight by anyone in their right mind in the USA. He was a national hero, and felt it was a new experience that he hadn't had a lot of practice in. About a dozen prestigious labs from all over America and Europe asked Mervin if he could work for them, and offered very large levels of pocket money, some with more than six American digits per year. It was a great time for Mervin, but he felt he a sense of uneasiness come over him. He really wanted to prove once and for all how the Big Bang really occurred and the proper way to do Cold Fusion, but he also felt the need for a break. He was getting much too much money for working at the lab, and he could no longer afford to hire the three warehouses ion New York where he stored his pocket money. Strange as it may seem, Mervin wanted to travel.

Mervin went to the local library just after Christmas 1969 and looked at one of the spherical globes. There wasn't really that much room on the planet, as most of it was taken up by this stuff called dihydrogen monoxide (or seawater for short). Mervin knew that in nearly every place he would be recognised as the famous Mervin Bonavich, and he wanted to get away from it all and live a life in solitude or at least privacy for a while. Frustrated at the terrible writer's block (or to be more exact, traveller's block) he was experiencing, Mervin asked a member of his family where he could go to get away for a break. But his family member staggered and gagged and threw up all over Mervin, spewing up white foamy bits which looked as disgusting as Mervin could ever describe. When the family member recovered, Mervin repeated the question. Where can I go to get away from America? he asked her. Thinking, the member remembered she had an aunt in Australia who sent her a Christmas card for Christmas. So she told Mervin that she had an aunt in Australia who she had never seen because it was so far away from the rest of the world. Mervin had never heard where Australia, and he thought it was some mystical place like the Land of Oz until he remembered that a rocket had crashed into Australia a few years back. Neat, he thought, I'll go to Australia. He just hoped that that rocket didn't hit the aunt, as he didn't want her a lawsuit or two on his hands.

Mervin took a plane from New York to LA and then caught a boat to Sydney. Mervin hadn't been on a real boat since his childhood, but he had been on aeroplanes on his way to and from Europe so he was fine about that. He just wondered why after so long boats were still so slow. Planes had sped up heaps, like Concorde, but it seemed that boats were still slow like snails. Interesting things happened on the boat trip though. It was a Monday before Mervin's birthday in 1970 when he went to sleep at 8.50 pm, but when he woke up the next day it had turned into the Wednesday after his birthday. It seemed that Mervin had lost his birthday because he had crossed from the right to the left of the International Date Line, meaning the time had to be adjusted by jumping a day ahead. And so Mervin had lost a day, his birthday. He voiced his complaint to the captain, but was only told that the next time he went back the other way over the International Date Line he should do it on his birthday so that he got two birthdays.

In Australia Mervin realised he had forgotten to empty his warehouses and take some of the money with him. All he had with him was what he carried in his wallet, the money used for his pillow stuffing and the money in his toilet bag as toilet paper. All this amounted to a few million, but it didn't help Mervin when he tried to use it at the shops. The cashiers simply told Mervin that that was American money and not legal tender in Australia, and this made Mervin very confused. Mervin decided to ask a guy sleeping on a park bench how he could turn a few million American dollars into Australian tender, and the bloke with long hair and a raggedy unshaven face got up and told him it would cost a few hundred thousand for his advice. Sure, said Mervin, seeing the fairness in the offer. The guy was going to help him, so Mervin would pay him for his services. The guy told Mervin to take them in a luxury taxi to the airport and catch them both a plane to New Zealand. That's where you get the best prices for Aussie dough, he said. My family's got a ripper banking business there and they'll give you good prices if you bring me along with you.

Mervin and the unshaven guy waited around for eleven hours before a plane to Auckland left for New Zealand, and although the flight took three hours on Mervin's watch, when they arrived the clocks said it was five hours later than when they left. Mervin made a mental note to one day try and figure out why this happened. According to the flight attendant Auckland was supposed to be New Zealand's largest city, but it only had a population of about a million, and the entire population of New Zealand was smaller than New York, at about three million. This pleased Mervin, as he knew there would be a lesser chance of him being recognised in a smaller city by people who he hoped couldn't care less about what happened in America. Mervin and the park bloke who introduced himself as Fred went through a series of busy escalators and crowds and took a taxi to the house of Fred's relatives. But Mervin felt a wave of uneasiness through the journey and couldn't figure out what it was until he realised that his wallet had gone, along with a million American dollars in it. Even more extraordinary was the fact that such a poor guy like Fred had two wallets, one in his right pocket, and a newer, fatter one in his left pocket that Mervin hadn't noticed earlier. It looked quite similar to Mervin's lost wallet, but didn't they all? Mervin thought.

Mervin spent three weeks and two days at the residences of Fred's relatives. Fred had a younger brother, a father and a blond sister who quite amazingly had an American accent just like Mervin's . Fred explained that his sister used to live in New York with their mother, but the mother had died in a construction accident in America, so his sister had to return to the next of kin, her father, in New Zealand.

It didn't take long for Mervin to become good friends with Fred's sister, Alice. And they got on well together too. Mervin would have preferred to have stayed longer, but after he had exchanged his money she insisted that they drive the both of them away from Fred and his family. Driving north didn't do much good, because they soon found the road ended at the top of the north island and there were no bridges going off it. So they went south instead and drove down the main windey state highway. It took about three days of driving in the daytime for them to reach Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, and found that there were no bridges between the two islands. But they were lucky to find a boat that could take them south to the South Island in a few short and turbulent hours. It was nightfall by the time that the boat landed and Mervin and Alice decided to sleep the night away in the car so that they would be bright and fresh in the morning to drive away. They slept until daybreak and voted unanimously to drive to a very religious city called Christchurch where they would find some accommodation and figure out what to do next.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on the point of view) Mervin and Alice never made it to Christchurch. They took a wrong turn somewhere and then their car ran out of petrol at the top of a hill in the remotest wopwops, many many miles away from the nearest point of civilisation, which was Nelson. At this Mervin and Alice got out and pondered what they should do. The shadows grew longer and the wind started to blow more strongly on the hilltop when an idea with the force of a sledgehammer hit Mervin on the head. Groaning in agony Mervin told Alice that they should set the car rolling down the hill and see how far they could get and if they passed a farmhouse on the way they would stop the car there. Then Alice had an inspiration of her own, except it was a less violent idea than Mervin's one. She got up and looked over the edge of the hill for a farmhouse, if there were any nearby. Look, she cried at Mervin, there's a cottage at the other side of the valley down there. Let's see if we can get the car over there. Mervin agreed it was an equally brilliant idea and they set the car rolling down the road on the hill. Mervin had great fun driving the car down the hill, and as their speed went up past forty, over ninety and up to one-twenty miles an hour Mervin felt a surge of excitement in his tummy. But the farmhouse was still far away and it wasn't that much closer when the car ground to a halt halfway up the valley wall on the other side. Now what? asked Alice. They were stranded now. There was no petrol in the car, and it was ages by foot to the farmhouse. Calm down, Mervin soothed, and he outlined another idea in which one of them would push the car while the other drove the car. Great, exclaimed Alice, I'll drive for the first hundred miles, then you can push for the next hundred. That sounded fair to Mervin, so he agreed to push the car. Mervin got out of the car and told Alice to fasten her seatbelt for the ride to end all rides.

It took Mervin two hours to push the car the last few miles to the farmhouse. But at least the crisp evening air cooled his heavy sweat and stopped him from overheating. Then they were there. Together they knocked on the door and were greeted by a frugal-looking couple in their sixties, who had a peculiar country accent where they rolled their 'rrr's. Mervin asked them if the two of them could stay the night as their car had run out of petrol at the top of the hill yonder. And looking at the old car parked across the road Mervin and Alice came from the couple slammed the door in the face. They knew the youngsters were out for mischief, and they wouldn't have any of it. Stunned, Mervin and Alice looked at each other in the fading light and walked slowly back to their car. Mervin took out his pillow and went back to the door to knock on it. The couple answered the door again while Mervin pulled out a thick wad of notes, and waving it in front of their face he asked if they could stay the night. Amazingly, the couple turned into the nicest old dears that could ever exist, welcoming the Americans into their house with the utmost respect. They offered them the best beds in the house, and after a seventy mile trip and pushing a car up a steep hill Mervin and Alice slept soundly until the rooster awakened them at noon the next day.

Mervin woke up and stared at the ceiling while he marvelled at the quietness of the farm. Why, he thought he could even hear the grass grow. Upon getting up Mervin went around to see exactly what the house looked like in broad daylight. And it didn't take long for him to wish he hadn't bothered. The cottage looked like a converted old ramshackle backpacker's hut that was built before the Outbreak of the Spanish 'Flu. In the 1910s. The floorboards were rotten, the rungs them were worn down to the scrim and smelled of decay decades old and half the windows and walls had holes in them. Good thing I don't live here, Mervin thought. Then be began to look exactly where he left the pillowcase and a few other things the night before. He found a pile of gear that had been offloaded from the car in the living room. They even emptied our car, Mervin marvelled, appreciating the generosity of the old folks. And then he remembered he had left the pillow on the table. It wasn't there now, so he searched the pile, which didn't take long because the pile was small. Too small. Alarm bells began to ring in Mervin's head when he realised the old couple had taken the money, and especially when he saw his car was gone too. Great, he lumbered in his brain, some old yuppies have gone off with our money, we're stuck here in the middle of nowhere and what's this? On the bench Mervin found a note handwritten by the old man. It said the farm and everything on it was Mervin and Alice's now, and they had taken the pillow, its money and the car as a form as payment. Good luck, it said, you'll need it.

Farming turned out to be fun for Mervin and Alice. Mervin had always wondered what it would be like living on the verge of civilisation like a hermit, and here was his chance. And his first task was of rehabilitating the farm so that it was up and running, rather than overgrown and desolate as the old couple had left it. But Mervin decided to leave that for a while. The farm had waited for many years for Mervin and Alice, so a few days wouldn't matter. Mervin began first of all by walking to Nelson and telling the property office of the purchase of the farm. Then he went and bought an old battered ute and some petrol. This made it easier and far quicker to get into town, three hours instead of three days, and Mervin drove back to the farm, and he got lost on the road only once on this journey. This was pretty good for Mervin as it was a straight road without any major turnoffs or intersections, and he felt very proud. Then one Sunday about a month after this they hired a minister and Mervin and Alice married each other, to live happily ever after.

Once all the minor details like this were done, Mervin and Alice could finally get down to fix up the farm. It was a rather large property, a 640 000 hectare estate eight kilometres long and eight kilometres wide (which was about five miles by five miles in Mervin's terms). And Mervin amused himself for a very long time doing all the maintenance chores that a farm needs to be up to scratch. Mervin spent seven whole years doing things like building a new house to live in with a tool set he bought from town, making fences so the animals would stop running amok with a fencemaker he brought from town, and digging out new farmroads with a bulldozer he bought from town. He also enjoyed scooting around the many hills in a ute (which he called his beloved 'pickuptruck') which he bought from town and he picked up sheep and cows with a tow-truck towing-part on the back which he salvaged from an old tow-truck that he bought from town at an auction. Mervin and Alice ended up having three kids of their very own and enjoyed passing their long boring Sundays with the kids by racing around the hills in the pickuptruck and shooting cows in the head with a semi-automatic '44. Life was joyous and fruitful, despite the fact that Mervin always forgot to get more petrol for the engines. He would drive the fifty kilometres to town, make a carpark for himself by pretending to tow away a car and grabbing its gap while the car was left in the middle of the road blocking the half the traffic; he would race the local teens in their equally broken-down bombs at the intersections and occasionally succeed; he would buy milk and eggs for the cows and chickens to marvel at; he would even pick up his kids from school, but Mervin would always forget to refuel at the petrol station. Mervin blamed this on the petrol fumes that lingered around the station. They made him absent-minded, Mervin told the head-shaking people. He was human he could forget things every now and then. But everybody knew better than to listen to his excuses. They all knew that Mervin truly could not undo the seatbelt in his ute without the help of Alice, so they ended up doing a favour to Mervin. Every day when Mervin would pick up his kid and set off to go back home the community would get someone to stand in the middle of the road and wave a cowbell in front of Mervin. This worked very well because Mervin thought that the person was a cow, would swerve to hit the person, would skid in two full 720 circles and would end up seeing the petrol station ahead of him. Then the petrol station attendants would stretch the nozzles over to Mervin's ute, fill him up and send him on his way back home all topped up.

But before Mervin knew it, another good thing came to its end. In 1979 problems started to arise. The first problem was that Mervin was too successful a farmer. He made millions of dollars by producing cow meat from cows, eggs from chickens and kiwifruit from kiwifruit trees, and the entire community which imitated his ideas made many millions too. Secondly, Mervin began to run out of sheds to store all the money he was making in. And if that was not bad enough, the worst thing of all happened he began to run out of cows to shoot on his Sunday rampages in the foothills on his farm. Mervin tried to rent and buy cows from other farms around, but the market was not strong enough. There were too many people becoming serious in the sport of shooting cows in the head with a semi-automatic '44, and the sport lost Mervin's appeal after all, it just wasn't the same shooting someone else's cows was it? Mervin told his friends. And so as the bite of boredom began to nip deeper into Mervin's head, he felt the need for change. He and his family had to do something else.

Alice sensed Mervin's feelings and talked at lengths with him while the locals begged him to stay, but Mervin told them he simply had to 'move on some place else'. Mervin felt the urge to do physics again after his long break, and he knew what he had to do. He had to move to Wellington. He wanted to go there for two reasons. First, he wasn't Christian or even religious and so felt no need to go to Christchurch, and secondly he knew that the capital of New Zealand would be the prime place in the country to find a physics job. That's the way to go, he reminded himself.

After a long and eventful week of good-bye celebrations in 1980 (and a week to recover from it), Alice and Mervin went on their way back up to Picton, where they were going to catch the Interislander Ferry back to Wellington. They were especially lucky at the timing of their departure because a young couple who had gotten lost and had run out of petrol had stopped at their place on the night before they left and had asked for a bed or two. Mervin, feeling compassion for them, had then offered them the best beds in the house (the old house that is which had been done up into a five-star hotel suite) and the following morning they had left silently, leaving the house to the young couple as stated on a note they put on the kitchen table. How lovely, Mervin thought in a fit of tear-jerking compassion.

When they got over the strait in with its ten-foot swells and southerly gale Mervin and Alice went straight into looking for somewhere to stay the night in. Mervin had brought as much money as he could fit into a trunk in the boot of the ute and they found a lovely house in a rich northern neighbourhood to stay in. So how much can you afford to pay? the man asked Mervin at the house. Mervin led him to his ute and opened his trunk and told him how that much. And by the end of the day both Mervin and the landlord were very happy people, each having thought they came across a beaut deal, and one of them was truly right.

But the nagging voice in Mervin's head did not subside for long after the purchase of Mervin and Alice's house. Mervin still felt the need to do some intensive calculations and so a week after their arrival Mervin set out to look at the laboratories in Wellington. To Mervin's surprise, this took a much longer time than he anticipated. This was not because the Wellington scientists had not heard of him and were unaware of his capabilities, and it wasn't because there was a lot of congestion which slowed his travel. (Well, it was partly due to this but the problem was much more than that.) Mervin's main problem about the physics labs in Wellington was that there were none. Sure, he heard a rumour about one on the other side of the harbour under construction, and of the earthquake research station somewhere, but there were no hard-core physics labs that specialised in nuclear physics or anything similar to that around. Not one at all.

This made Mervin worried. With each passing day the pressure in his brain got stronger and he would have exploded into a big pool of splush had he not found another line of work that relieved the tension. Mervin was sitting in a pub in Courtney Place one Friday night that year talking with a fellow countryman and competing with the old clock loudly striking seven when suddenly Mervin began to hear his own voice so loudly that it seemed nobody was talking at all. Then he jumped in his seat. Nobody was talking and a hand (not his own) suddenly went up to his mouth and covered his mouth before he could ask what in the name of a bleeding cow was happening. Honestly, he couldn't get a grip on some of their customs like putting on seat belts and driving on the left side of the road sometimes. Some things in New Zealand were just so crazy. When the clock struck seven the pubs went quiet like the streets in an air raid alert drill. The pub was so quiet Mervin felt he could hear the fleas on the floor squeaking and Mervin wondered if this meant sinister was about to happen when an old hunched man with a walking stick hobbled into the bar. He knobbled across the wooden floor like a stuffed puppet and watched him take a beer off the counter where the bar tender had placed it. Then he gulped it in an almighty swig and jumped up on his toes and danced like a ballerina out the door like a flash of wind. And as the fellow ran out of sight around the street corner the pub rebounded back into its unpenetratable din of babble and chatter. Mystified at what he had seen Mervin Bonavich asked the guy next to his what on earth had just been going on. He used to be of our school teacher and we learned that be likes to live in pure silence. Man, if that didn't happen he would go crazy, and so whenever he comes around we give him his few minutes of silence. That keeps the peace in the town. But Mervin wasn't listening to the last bit of the conversation. A teacher. Did you do physics at school? Mervin asked the guy next to him. Sure, the guy said, I was top of the class until I left school at fifteen. And with that Mervin got up, put his glass on the table and rushed out the door, eager to train to be a physics teacher at teacher's college.

It took Mervin three years to train as a teacher. And he found it heaps of fun. From mid-1980 until mid-1984 Mervin went around to many different schools and went through three stages of training at each one. First, he would sit at the back with the students for a while. Then the teacher would introduce him to the class after a few weeks and finally he was allowed to do a little teaching of his own. As time went on he got to do more and more of the teaching bit. And Mervin was incredibly popular with the students. He would teach them calculations, formulas and physics in such a way that it actually seemed interesting to the entire class. And his favourite thing was to get a formula like the normal distribution probability formula, Z = (X m) ÷ s , and start singing it like a chant to the intrigued students. Everyone liked Mervin and there was much celebration when he visited each school.

Finally the three years ended and Mervin was then a fully qualified teacher. And he got down to business again. He went around looking for a job. Just where he should go he couldn't figure out. So Mervin found a list of all the schools in the Wellington region and decided to go door-knocking. The first one he went to was an interesting experience. Mervin went into the office seeking a position and was being led out the door when the principal opened the door and asked who was there to see him. Annoyed, the office person told Mervin to go away and responded that some lout called Mervin Bonavich was looking for a job and was leaving. But the principal froze. Who was that? he asked the office person. Oh Some American, was the response, someone called Mervin Sandwich or Bonavich or something. But nothing warned the office person for what happened next. In a mad frenzy the principal cried out, Then bring him back. Don't let him escape! Wait Mr Bonavich!

The principal had heard of Mervin Bonavich whilst touring Europe, and he vividly remembered the mission to the Moon, which was attributed in all the magazines to Mervin Bonavich. Then Mervin had disappeared for many years without a trace and almost everyone forgot about him while rumour had it he had gone bush somewhere in Australasia. And he was. The almighty brainiac himself wanting a job as a simple physics teacher at his school. The principal ensured that Mervin would get the best job in the school, and nothing but the best. But he warned about the pay. We aren't made of money, so please that our wages are the best in the land, although they don't compare to other professions. Mervin didn't mind. He told the principal he had enough money already and just wanted to teach. So they both were left pleased with themselves.

So in 1984 Mervin ended up being the Head of Physics and was pleased there were capitals in his title again. He ended up with a lab of his very own, a whiteboard to teach on and a class to talk to. This cured Mervin's lethargy as he was able to dig deep into the world of physics and do millions of calculations all over the whiteboard. But about an hour after his first day began a bell rang and the class abruptly stampeded out of the classroom. Stunned by this action, Mervin wondered why they had left in such a rush and went to the back room to read up in the teacher trainee's handbook to see what he should do next. It took him about fifteen minutes to find the book and another ten to discover what happened next apparently he was teaching another class junior physics. But they were nowhere to be seen in the lab. Mervin checked under the lab benches, behind the curtains and in the cupboards to see where they could be, then he remembered the door locked automatically when it was closed. Nobody could come in if they tried. Mervin want outside to see if the class was waiting and lo and behold there they were, lined up and patiently waiting for their new teacher to appear. Hi, Mervin said, I'm your new teacher. You wanna learn physics? I bet you do. And he told them to come into his new lab just as the door slammed shut in his face.

Mervin ended up teaching six classes full-time with a morning tea break and a lunch break every day. He taught five classes per day and found that they all had different comprehension levels. The younger classes learned a less advanced sort of work and they tended to try to understand what he taught they didn't know enough to be able to understand it properly, on the other hand the older classes knew they could understand it, but just didn't try. Either way, Mervin was pleased with the setup. He could teach but he couldn't learn for them. He remained the smartest in the classroom and it made him very proud to be in charge of them all. Mervin felt he was having nearly as much fun as they did.

Time flies when you're having fun and the days turned into weeks and then months. But there were hidden problems Mervin didn't anticipate for. In teacher's college there were times that they would not go to schools for weeks on end and they would analyse what they had taught and Mervin had wondered what the schools did in this time when there were no teacher trainees. And now he found out that the schools just shut down and nothing happened at all. But that didn't worry Mervin too much. He just prepared more songs for formulas and calculations to do in the weeks that would follow.

And so this regular cycle of full-school for ages and then no-school for a little while continued until there was a hugely long break of school in which Mervin ran out of calculations and preparation to do. But Mervin didn't despair he went to the public place and after getting advice from his mate spent his six weeks over Christmas riding a bike up and down the North Island with a tent to sleep in, eating cows he shot in the head. Funnily enough there were news reports at the time about a mysterious disease hitting cows which gave them unexplained holes in their head. The only thing that the reports could not explain was why there were no bullets in the cows. But Mervin knew better than to waste bullets. He had used the same bullets for ten years and wasn't going to give it up on them yet.

But before he knew it school was back again just a month into 1985 and another intense year passed with Mervin using the opportunity to release the incredible brainpower stored inside his noggin. The years passed by just as fast and before he fully knew it the need to change started to ease into his brain yet again. This boredom factor annoyed him and to cure the problem in 1990 Mervin asked if he could end his seven-year reign over his physics lab and next year move to one of the maths rooms. Naturally, the entire school was astounded by this revelation that Mervin was faltering a little in his enthusiasm towards physics, but Mervin reassured them all that he would still be teaching just as much as ever and that he would just like to teach some hard-core maths instead of a few physics classes.

This change was but a beginning to Mervin's imminent downfall. A few years later in 1995 Mervin started to tire of shooting cows around the North Island, just as the farmers began to hire security guards to protect their disappearing cows. So instead Mervin and Alice decided to go on holiday overseas. According to the tourist centres, Hawaii was a rad place to go on a holiday in the winter of 1995, as it was summer all year round there. Funny, Mervin thought, Australia and New Zealand are supposed to have summer all year round too, but I'll give Hawaii a try for luck. So that's what he and his wife did. And they found it great fun there. No snow, no blizzards, hardly any lightning, but there was electricity. They spent the winter holidays in Hawaii and Mervin enjoyed it so much that he promised the guy at the bar that no sweat he would be back same time next year to recount the grains of sand on the island.

But this could not last forever either. After two weeks of staying at the hotel overlooking the sea Mervin had to return to New Zealand to go back to teaching. Mervin came back happy and refreshed, but not everyone was feeling as joyous. It was a hard winter that Mervin returned to and it didn't help that in November 1996 the USA released secret papers about the work of its scientists in the 1950s and 1960s. The papers outlined how scientists at the US Army and at NASA had been subject to experiments in which the patients had been unsuspecting employees of the institutions. Apparently a highly radioactive isotope called Rothium-299 had been created and its effects on human life had been documented on a number of scientists in their food over a period of twenty years. The conclusion of the experiment was that the chemical caused incredible fluctuations in the level of brainpower available to the subject. And the toxins had a radioactivity strong enough to infect people 5 metres away. Once infected, the person's concentration spans would be slowly changing over the years, so there would be times of intense urges to do some hard-core mental work at times, while at other times the person would feel sick of working and would just want to relax for a while. There was also a list of people who were affected by the resting, but privacy laws only permitted people who had since died to be named. This release had little notice from New Zealand, as its people were not subject to any of the testing, but of course somebody else had to put two and two together.

A Russian scientist called Dobre Vëcha had moved to Australia since the collapse of the Soviet Union (it was the nineties by now) and he was still feeling sore that a certain person named Mervin Bonavich had stolen the fame he could have had for co-ordinating the first mission to the Moon. And incidentally he heard about the release and read about it over the internet. This, he thought in Russian, sounds like Mervin, my ex-friend, and I have a sneaking suspicion he mentioned he had worked there during that time. His secret service colleagues were able to track down the censored names of the persons affected by the testing and just as he suspected Mervin Bonavich was mentioned as a guinea pig in the experiment. And thus began the conspiracy against Mervin Bonavich.

Dobre Vëcha first of all wrote to the USA to ask for information on Mervin Bonavich, posing as an important official of the FBI. He also asked for information on the whereabouts of Mervin Bonavich. Three months later the information arrived in full and Dobre was surprised to find that his ex-colleague was living across the Tasman Sea in New Zealand. At this the Russian scientist wrote to the New Zealand government and waited about six months for the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) to investigate the claim. Then he contacted them again as an 'FBI official' and found out Mervin was living north of Wellington and worked for a school as a teacher. At this, he contacted the USA who ordered that Mervin Bonavich be extradited to the USA within twelve months for the benefit of the people of New Zealand. And the kiwi officials listened intently to the USA's recommendations; New Zealand was a nuclear-free country and contaminating nuclear radiation at such high levels was strictly prohibited. And anyway, New Zealand had to bow down to America or else.

The New Zealand government quietly informed the school Mervin was working at and advised them about the crisis. Naturally, they were distraught about the revelation, and they realised finally why Mervin was such a great teacher he couldn't go without mental straining or else he would go into a coma. That also explained why Mervin had faded in his dedication to work in recent times (he was at a low point) and why he had switched to a low-level job teaching simple maths and no more physics to the students. They agreed to the government's demands but told them that since they had a year to extradite Mervin Bonavich, they would continue to employ him as a teacher until the departure date and would make a cover-up story to 'explain' why he had to leave the school.

At the same time Mervin was in contact with the New Zealand government and the USA. They told him he had to be exiled to the USA within one year and that they had negotiated with the school to keep him in New Zealand for as long as possible, although they were not happy at the idea of him being in contact with ordinary citizens so close for such a long time. At this revelation, Mervin began to fall into an ebb of low concentration ability. His work began to disinterest him, he felt lethargic and he only taught because his school depended on him. The school noticed Mervin's lack of enthusiasm in his work and tried to revitalise him, but nothing could get Mervin's mind off the prospect of his exile in August 1998.

And then in early 1998 Mervin announced his resignation to the school. He told them that he was leaving the school in August 1998 for health reasons and the school confirmed his claim that he was retiring. In the anguish and tear-stricken confusion that followed the announcement Mervin and much of he school got lost in a tunnel with only a faint light at the end. While they tried to reach the end of this tunnel to reach the light the school became victim to an incredible conspiracy theory which was no doubt initiated in some form by Dobre Vëcha and his army of colleagues who no longer agreed with the living existence of Mervin Bonavich. The was no way back for Mervin now.

As the time of Mervin's departure approached at an ever-increasing rate Mervin somehow managed to get a hold of himself and looked outside of the dark tunnel that enveloped his world and tried in a last-ditch attempt to prevent his extradition. But his attempts went to no avail. The New Zealand government, pressured by the threats of the USA, which was no doubt pressurised in turn by the Dobre Vëcha conspiracy theory, was no longer interested in listening to Mervin. His pleas for refugee status, his begging for a reprieve and even the establishment of police protection before his L-day (L stood for last) were turned down abruptly. Nothing could help him now.

And defeated, Mervin gave up his attempts to avoid the direction destiny told him he would go. Mervin looked at the school and his students and everything around him and realised it was too late. The tears were wept and all that mushy stuff had happened, and the world was ready for him to go on in life just like he always had, into somebody else's world where he would again work miracles. But Mervin felt run-down and it wasn't the right time or place for all the action to finally start happening. However, Mervin was reassured when he again was speaking to his mate Bruce one Friday night. The conspiracy theory and the evils that had brought it would soon fade away, Bruce reassured him. Sure, Dobre was probably monitoring him, eager for revenge on Mervin spilling the fizz on the Moon mission, but Mervin knew it was unwise to confront his foe in such a peaceful part of the world, New Zealand. Such battles belonged away from Godzone, in the battlelines of America where real action happened. So Mervin accepted the challenge that he read between the lines. Mervin left the school amid great sorrow, shock and despair in the fourth week of August 1998 without his students having even finished their school year.

Mervin vanished entirely from that day on. Nobody heard sight or sound of him, his house was demolished and it seemed that the entire nation mourned the loss of Mervin from their shores. On the 26th October a national holiday was declared and celebrated, and it was informally dedicated for the wellbeing of Mervin Bonavich. But the disappearance of Mervin from New Zealand did not stop the conspiracy theory from grabbing hold. Dobre Vëcha was obviously obsessed at destroying the reputation of Mervin Bonavich while he was vulnerable in the front of the public's minds without Mervin to defend himself. The theory declared that everything, the slightly poor results of Mervin's classes, the problems the school was experiencing and indeed all the problem that the country and world were experiencing were directly due to the evil influence of Mervin Bonavich. The mess left was all his fault and his name should be tarnished like rusted cars at the tip, the theory announced. Of course, it was wrong. Mervin was like a food that powered his students along. And the demise of the radioactive isotope Rothium-299 from the school was the cause of a great imbalance in the chemical equilibrium of the school and was one of the primary causes of the madness that followed. Other influences such as the loss of Mervin's jolly accented laughter in the staff room and his assertions that 'he never worked for NASA he just did a few calculations' were sorely missed. Other things happened too. The neighbours became very unhappy about a sudden upsurge of cows invading their neighbourhood. Mervin had always been a good controller of the local mutant cow population which doubled every two weeks if left unchecked, and without him the cows began to over-run the surrounding suburbs. They began to run wild in the streets and they developed a likening to trumpeting down the deserted streets at the dead of night in the hope that they could find a hunter to chase them around the hills in a beaten-up old ute.

So that is what happened when Mervin Bonavich left the shores of New Zealand and was sent to the USA to confront the evil forces of the dark Dobre Vëcha. What happened to him during the flight or after he landed is heavily shrouded in mystery, possibly even secrecy, although rumour has it that the American FBI and the Russian KGB sent the both of them to Korea to start the roots of Cold War II. But it certainly has been quiet over there recently. Documents left in his old maths classroom outlining exactly how to perform Cold Fusion, and the reasoning for the Grand Unified Theory are rumoured to have been found by a young five year old with deep dark eyes, but SIS agents who entered the school quietly through the side windows one night could find no evidence to support this rumour and they have closed their file on the life and doings of Mervin Bonavich. But there still is hope in the big wide world that Mervin Bonavich will one day return to the world physics. He deserves nothing less.

Please help us.

If anybody has information about the whereabouts of Mervin Bonavich from August 1998 to the present their contribution to the biography of Mervin Bonavich will be made very welcome. The dealings and fate of this great man are so honourable that to keep them a secret would be terrible thing.

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