Enter the Professor

Starting off with a slightly eccentric inventor and we'll see where things go from here

With a eardrum-shattering bang, the device exploded into thousands of metal fragments, sending them rocketing around the cluttered garage.  The shock wave knocked over stacks of materials, threw half-finished models into the air, and shook boxes off of their shelves.  Shrapnel embedded itself into the walls and ceiling and ricocheted off the low-hanging lights.  A light bulb shattered.  A burst of flame scorched the workbench, burning ferociously for a split second, then disappeared, blowing itself out.  The room seemed to pause, holding it's breath at the sudden silence.  The only sound was the drip of oil from a punctured can. Blackened blueprints spun slowly in the air.

     After a long pause, a man rose from behind a stack of heavy crates in the corner, blinking in the thick smoke that filled the room.  "Dear me, dear me, that's the fourth one this week."  He shuffled up to the table, brushing ash off of his black leather jacket and jeans.  His clothes were rumpled and covered with grease and dirt stains, and his short graying hair stuck out at awkward angles.  "This calls for a little more tinkering, I think.  And possibly less C-4."  Pulling a pair of glasses from his jacket pocket, he put them on and examined the device.  Or, more accurately, he examined the little puddle of metal that was all that remained of the device.  He did not seem to be at all disturbed by the explosion that had just survived.  Shrugging nonchalantly, he stood and moved around the cramped garage, straightening racks of tools, gathering scattered blueprints, and sorting out jumbled piles of parts, all the while muttering to himself about pressure release valves and hex nuts. 

     "Uncle Owen, what is going on in here?"  A slender, short woman in a dark blue dress swept into the room.  She made a short, exasperated noise at the mess.  "You were supposed to be cleaning up, not making things worse!" 

     "I know, I know, but I just thought if I added an extra piston that might..."

     "I don't care about the piston, Uncle.  What is that now, five this week?"

    "Only four."  The man sounded almost sullen.

    "Oh, well then, everything's alright!  Heaven forbid it was five exploding models, but four is just fine!"

     "Heather, dear..."

     "Don't 'dear' me, Uncle!"  Heather stood with her arms crossed and head cocked to one side in a way that seemed to add a foot to her height.  "There's a very wealthy man in ten minutes with a project for you.  Says it's very important and I don't need to tell you how much we need the money.  No repeats of last time, you understand?"  The last sentence came out as more of a plea than a question. 

     Only one word of this seemed to register in Owen's mind.  "Project, did you say?"  He eyes lit up.  "Hope it's interesting."  Looking down, he seemed to notice his own disheveled appearance.  "How do I look?" 

     "There's shrapnel in your hair, Uncle."  Heather reached to pull it out.

      "Pardon me."  A short, round man in an expensive suit was peering around the doorway as if trying to hide behind it.  "I'm sorry, is this a bad time?"  The look on his face said he had already made up his mind that it was.

The End

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