Chapter 5: Field Work
I knock on the door, and Dr. Perturbia answers it with a napkin tucked into his shirt collar.
"Oh, it's you. Come in," he says. "I was just having dinner."
I pick up my briefcase full of gadgets and step into his foyer where a muscular young guy hits me over the head, and I'm as out as my other nephew who brought his new roommate Bill with him to meet the family last Christmas.
I wake up and I'm tied to one of the dining room chairs. Dr. Petrubia is standing over me, cackling and rubbing his hands together.
"At last I have you in my grasp," he says.
"Sorry about hitting you," says the young guy, who's sitting at the table across from me. "Dad asked me to come over and help him with the housework, and then suddenly he's shouting at me to hide and hit anyone that walks in through the door."
"Dad's always been funny that way," he says.
"Enough," says Dr. Petrubia. "Before I kill you, would you like to hear my evil plan?"
"Sure," I say.
"I'm going to start prescribing slightly incorrect lenses to all my patients, causing mass headaches, and making me a fortune on pain relief stocks," he says, and waves his fist in triumph.
"Oh," I say. I try to sound upset and scared. I don't want to hurt his feelings.
"Now you will die slowly at the hands of my pets," says Dr. Petrubia. He opens the closet door and a couple of small, long-haired dogs come bounding out and start furiously licking my feet. We all watch them for a long moment. The doctor sighs.
"It's not quite like the old days, is it?" he says, and unties me.
Chapter 6: Debriefing
His son leaves soon afterwards, and the Doctor makes some coffee. We sit in his living room, drinking it.
"Remember that time I trapped you on a giant roulette wheel and played a game with a 500 pound roulette ball?" he asks.
"Yeah," I say.
"And that time I made you run through a knife factory covered with magnets?"
"Yep," I say.
"Those were some good times, weren't they?"
"They really were," I say.
"You want to come back tomorrow for lunch?" he asks. "I don't get much company anymore."
"I'd love to," I say. I mean it.
He reaches into my gadget case and pulls out the pack of gum with the kitchen knife glued to it.
"What does this one do?"
"Don't ask," I say.
After years of being misunderstood, I had hoped we finally had "our" story. I was wrong.
He had a yellow inflatable tube around his waist, the kind with a comical duck head. There was a tiny fish in one of his hands, and a trident in the other. In the background a squirrel wearing shades was water skiing.
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