This article is part of the Reading Time series.
Man: They also taught us all about the art of disguise. Look at this picture: I managed to sneak out of there with a big bag of cash, and no one even knew I was in the room. You might not spot me at first, but I'm hiding in the corner -- of the aquarium, dressed as a frog.
Man: Now here's one approach you might not think about, Stevie: Naming folks. They say God let Adam name all those animals way back when, and now they still have those names. That's power right there. These talking animals, they might tell you "my name is Jefferson, and I'd prefer if you'd address me as such," but to someone looking at 'em, they're still just "giraffe" or "hippopotamus" or "sand shark." Those smug bastards you see smiling here, they just called people whatever they wanted, real names be damned. You can tell how run-down that big lug is feeling after just a few months of them calling him "Smoot Galewb." I hope you understand why I can't tell you my name yet, Stevie. It's not that I don't trust you, it's just that you can never be too careful about the ol' handle. That's powerful stuff.
Stevie: Smoot Galewb.
Man: Naming people was serious business, but naming gadgets was always fun. This thing was pretty great, it let you see footprints and fingerprints and them so-called "invisible fairies." I mean, it was great for me, because I never had to wear it. For some reason, they made you replace your legs with the lamps; you'd have scope light bulbs where your knees used to be for the rest of your life. Tracy wasn't too happy about it; guess Smoot got the last laugh.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
Cons: causes bad nightmares. I used to have to eat beef until I passed out to have these kind of terrors, but this machine does it for me every time I fall asleep inside it.
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Raised and trained in a mysterious facility, piteous brute Stevie seeks answers.