Hamm looked like an overgrown child dodging the slaps of the little girl whose pigtails he had just yanked. He laughed, delighted, as the pieces of the cattle prod bounced off his shoulder and hit the floor. The rent-a-cop laughed too.
“Least he ain’t a monkey!” Hamm said as he laughed. “Monkeys throw shit!”
The voice caused Hamm to stop laughing. It made Maribelle jump. Even the creature seemed to react.
Maribelle turned. Judith Mocker, wearing a sweatshirt and jeans instead of a lab coat, marched over. Her expression was fierce in its own right, even lacking the four-inch fangs.
“Shit,” Hamm muttered.
“I have warned you, sir, about your boorish and unprofessional behavior. I made it very clear that such would not be tolerated.”
“Aw, lighten up, doc,” Hamm said. “I was just escortin’ your friend, here.”
“I saw very well what you were doing,” Judith said. “Unless you profess to be questioning the reliability of my eyes? No, I think not. You, sir, have disregarded my warnings for the very last time.”
“While in the field it was made clear to me that yours was the final word,” Judith continued. “But you are going to discover to your detriment that here, in this laboratory, mine is the supreme will. I assure you, Mr. Hamm, I am capable of making things very unpleasant for you here. Most unpleasant indeed. Though I may lack the clout to get you terminated, I have no doubts that I can turn up the heat, so to speak, until your pudgy fingers begin to blister and you are only too happy to remove yourself from employment.”
“Now look here!” Hamm said.
“Your best course of action, if I were to suggest it, should be to make yourself scarce, a regular persona non grata, if you will, in the hopes that the old axiom ‘out of sight, out of mind’ should prove true and that I might, in the course of my day-to-day business, forget about you, at least until my blood has cooled.”
Hamm didn’t reply, just stared.
“Let me translate,” Maribelle said. “Make your ass disappear.”
“And do not return to this laboratory,” Judith said.
With an ugly glare, Hamm turned and stomped away.
“Holy shit,” Maribelle said. “I don’t know about him, but you sure scared me.”
“Oh, and young man,” Judith said to the security guard, “you may wish to request a transfer. You are no longer needed on my team.”
The guard blinked. “Huh?”
“She said get to steppin’,” Maribelle translated.
Judith went to the cage. “Are you alright, Adam?”
The creature watched her.
“Adam?” Maribelle said.
“He needed a name, after all,” Judith said. “Didn’t you, Adam?”
“Why’d you pick ‘Adam?'” Maribelle asked.
“I didn’t, dear,” Judith said. “He did.”