Eugene was a wreck – disheveled clothes, bloodshot eyes, tired, hungry and freezing. He had been working in the lab nonstop throughout this sleety March night, frantically perfecting a classified formula. He still had 300 small black-capped vials to fill, wrap securely in packing materials and stash inside porcelain statues before he could neatly stack them in crates and deliver them to the transportation facility before dawn. A HIGHLY TOP SECRET ASSIGNMENT, he was told.
The harried chemist was momentarily 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 snuck another peek. On a shelf, partially hidden behind urns and sculptures, sat a leathery-skinned troll with enormous eyes and long, pointy ears.
“Great”, Eugene mumbled. “Now I’m hallucinating.”
“Real, am I. Working too hard, are you. Weebly will help”, whispered the troll in a raspy voice.
“What the…? This is insane!” Eugene rubbed his eyes again and took a swig of his now cold coffee, grimacing at it’s acrid taste.
“Finish, you won’t. My help, you need. Watch.” Raising one gnarled finger, Weebly pointed to the formula and magically poured it into the vial, sealed it, carefully wrapped and hid it inside a statuette and gently placed it in a box. Eugene was too stunned to move.
“Understand now, you do? Work together, we will. Four hands better.” Weebly cocked his head to one side, his long finger rubbing his chin.
Despite his incredulity, Eugene accepted the fact that this clever troll was his only answer if he hoped to finish the project in time or face the deadly wrath of the powerful men in charge. Working together, the duo swiftly got the job done. Eyeing the clock, Eugene saw he had ten minutes to carry the heavy crates to the terminal across the compound.
“Weebly’s help, you need. Too heavy, they are. Transport you, I will”, offered the sage intruder, but Eugene dismissed him. Straining, he placed the boxes on a hand truck and walked toward the stairs.
“Beware the stairs! Frozen, they are!”
Unwisely, Eugene ignored his helper’s warning. Struggling up the frozen stairs, his feet suddenly flew out from under him and he lost his grip on the hand truck. Eugene tumbled backwards, crashed into a shelf and knocked over a hefty basilisk statue which crushed his skull, killing him instantly. The hand truck slid down the stairs and landed with an incredible crash inside Eugene’s laboratory, scattering its shattered contents everywhere.
“Listened, you should have” clucked the wise old troll before scurrying away.
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