Into the Frying Pan


“Ah, yes” Finklestein nodded “Skellington said you'd need this.” He reached a skinny, black rubber gloved hand out and pulled on a large lever, set in the floor near the end of the bench.

All at once, a thick metal door suddenly crashed closed, barring the exit behind the Dwarfers as a thick, billowing cloud of noxious green gas engulfed them from above.


Just as the noxious cloud began to slither into the room and ooze towards the Dwarfers, a voice from inside the cloud piped up. “What’s this then? A chemical gas leak? Tut tut. Not a nice thing at all, Doctor . . . Finkle was it? I’d say you tick up two marks against for the leak.” The owner of the voice stepped through the gas, coughing into one bare hand, an electronic pen gripped decisively between two fingers.

The voice belonged to a man of about five foot six inches with slicked dark curls, a black metallic ‘H’ on his forehead, and oddly shaped vibrant yellow eyes. His trim, runner’s body was dressed in tight leather pants, a silk-like shirt and red and black pleather jacket. On one hand he sported a white glove with black sequins and his feet were encased in patent leather dance shoes.

Seemingly unaware of the rather odd clothing he sported, the man made a pair of marks on the plasi-sheet clipped firmly to his translucent neon blue clipboard. With a nod, he looked up and blinked, paling considerably upon noticing the condition of Captain Ferrington-Blonde and Justin Pancake. Shuddering, and offering a forced-looking smile, revealing elongated incisors, he spoke again.

“Really, ma’am, now your health check . . . health checks?” he nodded in acknowledgement of Justin, “will have to be completed all over again. I really should be informed when body modifications are to be performed so I might provide the necessary health regulation forms.”

That was when Joribel “Gerbil” Oouga noticed the rest of those standing there. With a frown, he studied their outfits, feeling as if he’d been forgotten in the most recent memo to go ‘round. “Uh, I don’t think I got the memo about the costume party?” he questioned, turning to Jade. He blinked, studying the braided hair, blue gingham dress, and shining silver shoes. “Or is it a surprise?” he added hopefully, smiling wider, but nervously glancing at the strange outfits and make-ups. “I do love surprises after all.” His eyes fell on Jade's bag and its occupant. "Wasn't it a dog not a . . ." he cleared his throat hoping not to hurt her feelings by pointing out her costume error, "a frog, uh, Doctor?"

Finklestein cackled, his voice nearing the sound of hysteria. “Disguises!” He rubbed his gloved hands together. “Of course, they could be permanent, too . . .” he let his voice fade suggestively eyeing the newly transformed lot.

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