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The AC’s fixed now and I was wondering if I should show the bill it to Harry. But hearing his phone slam down into its cradle in his office made me think the better of it.


I’d already given my thanks to Jake as he packed up and waved goodbye. I’m ashamed to say I’d sort of had to pressure him to come out to NIMR to find the glitch and fix it. So with the bribe of pizza, beer, and two well in advance tickets to the Super Bowl under his belt, he’d acquiesced.


Jake and I had hit it off right away a few weeks prior when I found his name in the Yellow Pages. Chip had drafted me to cat sit for a weekend that he’d be out of town.  I didn’t have to stay overnight, just feed his unappreciative fur balls. Don’t get me wrong. ‘Uncle Lee’ (I’d been made an ‘Uncle’ the moment Chip decided I had ‘sucker’ stamped on my forehead); I just didn’t get all mushy about them like some folks. Oh, while there’s nothing quite like watching cats play, or hear them purr, (that’s been proven to help lower blood pressure) I was not impressed when his furry friends decided that ‘now’ would be a good time to pounce on my lap, when I’d just sat down with a fresh mug of coffee, causing me to spill the hot brew all over my jeans, not to mention splattering Chip’s imported chair.  I could have sworn the kitty culprits were laughing.


Nor was I happy when they yowled like banshees when I removed, (with the claw marks to prove it) killed, and disposed of the snake they’d found in the garage. Garden variety or not, I do not like snakes and was sure Chip wouldn’t want his cats eating one.


Still, when Chip’s AC went out there was no way I was going to leave his feline friends to suffer.  Hence, the Yellow Pages and the ‘emergencies welcome’ repairman.


But I digress. Suffice it to say; when the heat in NIMR got so bad that we were dripping sweat onto its clean polished floors, it was time to call in reinforcements for our ineffective maintenance crew. Namely Jake.


I would have thought the repaired AC would have cooled Harry’s temperament by now. (He’s very grouchy when he’s uncomfortably hot), and I’d had to warn the lingering staff to stay clear) I almost wished we were back in a cold snap. Until I remembered Frederick Cruger.


Now that was a mad scientist we’re well rid of. He cost me the life of one of my men, and God only knows how accidents or exposure to the killer blizzard were fatal due to him.  In a nutshell, he was toying with some new kind of nuclear weaponry. It even altered the Gulf Stream, which made for the weird weather. It was snowing in Florida! In the middle of the summer!


But Nelson figured it out, and with a little help from  me and my  landing party (hey, it’s not pride; there’s no ‘I’ in teamwork), he managed to destroy Crugers’s weapons, which were offshore his uncharted islan, and now the Gulf Stream’s back on course. The weather’s back to normal too.


 “Lee? Lee! Where the devil are you!” the familiar voice hollered.

“Sir?”I responded obediently. I almost always call Harry ‘Sir’ for those special moments.

“The damn AC’s working too well! The lab just called. Its  just ruined all of my tropical specimens!”


Sometimes you just can’t win.