Squirrel Conspiracy

Dr. Fraud whistled cheerfully as he came into the building where his office was, walked up the steps to the first floor and past the fireman's pole in front of his secretary's desk.  The building was a converted fire station and still had some of the original features.  He unlocked the frosted door that led into his office proper, lifted his Homburg from his head and dropped it onto the hatstand by the door.

Something moved on the other side of the office.  Dr. Fraud saw a flash of what might have been orangey-brown.  He put his briefcase down by the hatstand, and walked across to his desk, curious.  There was nothing orangey-brown there.

He sat down, smiled at his Hulk egg-timer and checked his diary.  His first patient of the day was due in in ten minutes.  There was another flash of orangey-brown at the corner of one eye, but even as he turned his head, a scream came from the outer office.  Seeing nothing when he turned his head, Dr. Fraud went to his door instead and looked out.  His secretary, a middle-aged lady with a pearl necklace, looked up from her Bakelite typewriter and pointed at the fireman's pole.

"Your patient fell down," she said.

"Very good," said Dr. Fraud refusing to let it dent his good mood.  "Send them in when they climb back up."

Ten minutes later Dr. Fraud had strapped his new patient, a besuited business man, into the couch, and was sat behind his desk tapping a fountain pen against his teeth.

"Well Mr. Milton, what brings you to my office today?"

"Squirrels!" said the business-man dramatically.  He strained against the straps, and tried to look darkly at Dr. Fraud.  "Red squirrels!  They're plotting."

"Surely you mean gray squirrels," said Dr. Fraud.  "I've not eaten red squirrel since I was a teacher in Vienna at the Academy."

"That's it!" shouted the business man, his face going red with effort as he strained against the straps and the couch creaked.  "They're European, that's why they're plotting.  All Europeans plot, it's all they ever do!  I know about all this, I've drawn some photographs and everything!"

"I can assure you, Europeans do not plot," said Dr. Fraud, just a little huffily.  "In fact, I was conversing with my colleagues from Croatia and Macedonia just yesterday--"


Dr. Fraud took a deep breath and looked down, then looked sharply back up as a flash of orangey-red darted across his desk.  Was it possible that that streak of colour was a red squirrel?  No, he was letting his patient get to him now, and that would never do.

"Mr. Milton, I do not plot, and nor do my colleagues.  We must try to uncover why you have this irrational fear of squirrels, and then see how this is related to Europeans.  I think this could be a very profitable relationship for both of us."

Something in the corner of the room fell over, and when Dr. Fraud looked, he saw a blur of orangey-red leap away from Mr. Milton's umbrella. He swallowed hard.

"Aaah... how many squirrels do you think are plotting against you?" he said.

Before the businessman could answer the Hulk egg-timer on Dr Fraud's desk suddenly roared "HULK SMASH!" and a little green fist swung out and punched the Newton's Cradle.  Silver ball-bearings rocketed into the air and disappeared around the office.

"Time's up!" said Dr. Fraud brightly, and stood up to release Mr. Milton from the restraining straps.  Then he halted.  There, on the floor behind the couch, was a red squirrel, clearly concussed by a silver ball-bearing on the carpet beside it.


The End

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