Sam barely looked at the man as he pulled himself from the water, his rippling pecs and six-pack excising the rest of his body free with surgical precision. He strolled to the bar along the edge of the pool area and produced a bottle of very expensive scotch, which he tipped into two heavy crystal glasses. These he picked up and walked to where Doanan stood, then he extended one to the stranger.
Doanan accepted the glass with a fair bit of disgust. Was this oaf trying to impress him with scotch? The buffoon! Doanan had once sipped two-hundred year-old Absinthe from the skull of a damned Templar Knight, and this idiot thought he could impress him with scotch?! This tactic might work well with high school girls Barnes might be trying to seduce, but to Doanan it was laughable. He locked eyes with Barnes and pointedly poured the scotch to the ground.
Sam, for his part, watched Doanan's response with a curious smile, and after Doanan's glass was completely empty he gave a shake of his head and a rueful smile, "Boy, that's really too bad."
"Oh, I see," Doanan sneered, "it's a shame to waste good alcohol, is that it?"
Sam took a sip of his own scotch and shook his head as he swallowed, "Uh-uh. It's a shame because the antidote was in that scotch."
"Antidote? Antidote to what?"
"See, that's not the question you should be asking right now. The real question is: how did I know who you were, Mr. Ruggles?"
The mention of Doanan's real last name caused his smugness to disappear.
Sam held up a finger, to silence his guest should he think about opening his mouth again, "And even more important here, I think, is how I knew you are highly allergic to latex."
"What?" Doanan's heart lurched. No, had to be a lie, a bluff, a load of bull to throw him off his game. Even if this amateur had known about Doanan's latex allergy, Doanan was fine. He hadn't touched any latex at all. What kind of game was this?
Sam gave him nothing. Just that sideways smile. At last, Sam asked, "Curious?"
"How's your breathing?" Sam asked casually, still smiling, "is your throat starting to close up? Gosh, I think you're already beginning to turn red. I hope I don't have to call the paramedics; that would be embarrassing."
ButSam was right. Suddenly Doanan's head began to swirl as his throat constricted and cut off his supply of oxygen to his brain. He opened his mouth as wide as he could but it made no difference. His throat was closed. His eyes bulged with terror and his hands went reflexively to his neck as sweat poured from his hairline. He worked his mouth but no words came out, save for a brief wheeze, "How?"
"There it is!" Sam joyously called out, then set his drink on the rail behind him. Doanan had fallen to the ground in a breathless panic, and Sam squatted before the struggling man with a wide smile on his face. He studied Doanan for a moment, then said, "The chair you were sitting in oh so smartly for about ten minutes is coated in an ultra-thin latex polymer. I even coated that stuff all over the outside of that glass I handed you! Priceless, huh?"
Then a somber look passed over Sam's face, "Oh, I guess the question really was: how did I know, hm? Well, that's interesting too."