Carl's place was almost Hollywood cliché. It was in the old warehouse district and occupied the entire third floor of a building fit for a mad scientist. The cavernous room that comprised his work space was filled from floor to twelve-foot ceiling with blinking and beeping electronic equipment. The big warehouse windows were mostly blacked out and the crumbly brick walls between them were covered with posters from old monster movies as well as blown up newspaper photos and eyewitness drawings of Yetis and Chupacabras and the like. There was also a colorful and nicely framed picture of Chessie the Chesapeake Bay sea monster painted on velvet.
And Carl himself fit the movie role, too. A diminutive creature with a shiny cue-ball head, large protruding ears and a thin blonde pony tail wriggling down between his shoulder blades representing the last few hair follicles remaining in his cranial area.
“You're the daughter of Senator McGill, right?” Carl said looking at Ms. McGill with some suspicion. “I've seen your picture. Am I under some sort of congressional investigation or something?”
Nevada shot a look at Ms. McGill to see if she was offended by Carl's comment and she looked back at him reassuringly.
“I assure you Mr., uhm, Mr. Carl...”, stammered Ms. McGill.
“Pukwudgie, Carl Pukwudgie,” Carl said patiently. He was used to people having trouble with his name.
“Yes, well, I can assure you that I'm not here representing my father or any official government agency of any kind. In fact, it's quite the opposite.”
Carl folded his arms and leaned back against a counter filled with quietly humming equipment. “Well that's good,” he said. “No offense to you, Ms. McGill, but to my mind 'politician' is a position humanity has created so the uncreative and feeble minded amongst us have something to do.”
Ms. McGill rolled her eyes. “Says a man who spends his time chasing vampires!”
“Give me a break, lady,” Carl said indignantly. “I friggin' hate vampires! You do realize that they don't actually exist, right? That they're only to be found in old myths and tacky romance novels?”
Ms. McGill turned away in disgust and shook her head. Nevada knew she was getting ready to bail. “Let me talk to him,” he said to her softly.
Carl had stayed up all night putting his MRI machine together in his workshop. Sparks flew as he tested the gizmo circuits and calibrated the doohickeys. He was pretty, kinda, sorta sure it would work, although he had not had the opportunity to test it on a human being yet. He was equally confident that it was safe and would not harm Senator McGill. As long as the man was still human, that is, and had not been completely taken over by an alien symbiont of some sort. In that case, who knows?
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