“Y’all wanna cup of coffee?” Edison asked. His drawl was a long, slow thing, like a freight train slipping through a busy city. He held a cardboard tray with three steaming cups in his hand, careful not to get it near the stack of paperwork he had come here to research. The records he needed on cobra attacks were obscure at best, and only in what he deemed ‘the lair of the snake people’ could he find his answers. Years of experience had shown him that arriving with several cups of coffee was a quick way to grease the wheels.
Seated at a long table, Doctor Pare looked up through the Coke-bottle spectacles he wore. His eyes were enormous behind the lenses. One thin shock of his greying hair was draped over the right lens, and he brushed it back with an ink-stained finger.
“I don’t drink coffee,” he said. He used the doctoral tone when he answered — the one he reserved for speaking to people who were somehow less important in his view. Having spent the years and effort to become a Professor, that number of people was impressive. The look had proven effective on many people before him, but Edison just grinned. No herpetologist, Professor or otherwise, was going to shake his self-esteem.
“Better’n that glowing green shit over there,” he said, using his own cup as a pointer and indicating the half-empty Mountain Dew bottle at Pare’s elbow.
“I’ll have you know –”
The bottle tumbled from the table as Pare’s wildly swinging arm cast it from the surface. He jumped and reached for it, the plastic bouncing from his fingers twice in a comedic flailing that set Edison to chuckling.
The sound made as the bottle hit the floor was louder and deeper of tone than the clacking of his glasses as they slipped from his nose.
“My glasses!” he shrieked. The tone of superiority was gone, replaced by raw horror at the thought of reaching down to recover a broken pair of glasses.
He dropped to his hands and knees, fumbling about in the floor for a treasure that he could not see.
Edison took pity on the scientist, stepping around the table and retrieving the fallen specs.
“Here ya go,” he said, reaching out to place the glasses in Pare’s hand. “They’re fine.”
Pare let out a sigh of relief as he fitted the thick lenses back over his eyes. He blinked several times.
“Thank you,” he said. “For a moment, I felt like…”
“Velma?” Edison prompted as the Professor’s words trailed off. Pare actually grinned, and a giggle escaped him.
“I loved that show,” he confessed.
Elements: A herpetologist, obscure records, coffee, broken glasses