Eugene was a wreck – disheveled, bloodshot eyes, tired, hungry and freezing. He had been working in the lab nonstop throughout this sleety and wet January night, frantically perfecting the classified formula. He still had 500 small black-capped vials to fill, hide inside porcelain statues, pack in boxes and deliver to the storage facility before dawn. A TOP SECRET ASSIGNMENT, he was told.          

Just then the harried chemist was startled by a swift scurrying motion across the room. A rat? “Keep going – no time to dilly dally” he muttered to himself, choosing to ignore the unwelcome intruder. 

There it was again .. that scampering scurrying movement! Eugene glanced in the general direction of the noise, then did a double take, squinting. He removed his thick glasses and rubbed his tired eyes. Putting his specs back on, he slowly snuck a peek. On a shelf, partially hidden behind urns and sculptures, sat a leathery-skinned troll with enormous eyes and pointy ears. 

“Great”, Eugene mumbled. “Now I’m hallucinating.” 

“Working too hard, you are. Weebly, I am. Help, I can”, whispered the troll in a raspy voice. 

“What the…? This is insane!”

“Finish, you won’t. My help, you need. Watch.” Raising one scrawny finger, Weebly pointed to the formula and magically poured it into the vial, sealed it, carefully hid it inside a statuette and gently placed it in the box. Eugene was too stunned to move. 

Understand now, you do? Work together, we will. Four hands work better.” 

Despite his incredulity, Eugene realized this clever troll was his only hope to finish in time. Swiftly they got the job done. Eyeing the clock, Eugene saw he had ten minutes to carry the heavy boxes to the warehouse around the corner. 

Weebly’s help, you need. Too heavy, they are. Transport you, I will”, offered the sage intruder, but Eugene ignored him. Straining, he placed the boxes on a hand truck and walked toward the stairs. 

Beware the stairs! Frozen, they are!”

But unwisely he ignored Weebly’s warning. Struggling up the frozen stairs, Eugene’s feet suddenly flew out from under him and he lost his grip on the hand truck. He tumbled backwards, crashed into a shelf and knocked over a basilisk statue which crushed his skull, killing him instantly. The hand truck landed with an incredible THUD, spilling its shattered contents everywhere. 

“Listened, you should have” said the wizardly troll before scurrying away. 

NAR © 2018

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