Climbing Mount Makalu

by Cliff Pickover

The very short story that everyone's been talking about... Show your friends. Write to me if you have enjoyed this story or have enjoyed watching your friends read it. Dream.

My friend and I were nearing the peak of Mount Makalu, approximately 100 miles north of the Bay of Bengal in Nepal. Most people think that Mount Everest is the highest mountain peak in the world, but they are wrong: Mount Makalu is 2,050 feet higher than Mount Everest.

We were about one thousand feet from the summit of Mount Makalu when we decided to take a few minutes' rest and enjoy the pleasure of our surroundings. Securing the ropes about our waists, we looked upon white, fluffy clouds. The air had become exceeding thin, but we hardly noticed. We experienced the thrill of excitement that all mountain climbers feel as they near the peak of the mountain.

My friend brought out a slightly soiled slip of paper from his pocket. On it were two circles:

"Which circle is larger?" he asked me.

I looked at them for a few seconds and then replied that both circles seemed to be of the same size. He smiled and seemed somewhat pleased with my answer. He then brought out a second slip of paper. On this paper were two circles, but they were obviously not the same size:

"Now which circle is larger?" he asked me. I told him that the one on the left of course was larger.

He nodded. "How much larger would you say it is?"

I estimated that the circle on the right was about half the diameter of the circle on the left. He nodded and brought out a third piece of paper looking something like this:

He asked me again which circle was larger. I told him that the figure on the right was not a circle, that it was a square. He stared at me in utter amazement, brought out his knife, and killed me.

- The End -

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