The Real Growlerville 17: Professor Growler's Project..... What Is It?
(A first hand account by investigative journalist, Mr. E)
Who Knew! I'm Infatuated!
Bebe was introduced in my last post: Petty Crimes & The Bottomless Bag. I never realized how hard the work is for the conscientious police men and women of Growlerville really are. Bebe opened my eyes and it turns out my heart!
I am very excited about the prospect of meeting Prof. Growler. He is a resident genius and dean of the post graduate research group at the School of Magic. He is best known as the creator of the Magic Qualification Examination, recently adapted by the new Licensing Commission in an effort to regulate some really dangerous stuff. He is one of the rare old timers who supports the anti-magic candidacy of Growler Fred for a seat on the Huhu Authority, even though the professor is an expert practitioner. As we get closer, I recognize the fleet of white trucks parked on the lot, and hanging around drinking coffee are the big guys with mirrored sunglasses and visors who chased me away from the industrial lot just outside of town. The large loading dock has "1A" in huge letters.
"Hey, Bebe! You're the champ! But watch out for that media man! Can't be trusted." These guys are very friendly with her, and very hostile towards me.
"Gotta see the Professor," is all she says. We get taken through a door on the loading platform, through a storage area with huge boxes and machines, and into the main lab.
Prof. Growler is standing in the hallway.
"Bebe, so nice of you to visit." He is extremely polite in a scary way.
He looks at me suspiciously, and Bebe asks if he would rather I leave. "I don't mind, as long as he reports the truth. It's him spreading harmful, false rumors - that's the only problem I could have with him."
I am introduced, but he only refers to me in the third person, even as he makes eye contact with me.
Bebe gets down to business, "I'm investigating complaints of insects..." The professor cuts her off, "Of course, you are! Hahahaaaaw!"
He looks directly at me and adds, "All those nosey busybodies out there poking around in the affairs of others... They're freaking out on bugs now?"
I am getting very creeped out by this treatment. Does he know me? Did I do something to insult him?
Bebe steps in, "I'm supposed to make sure there is no danger of infestation..."
Again he cuts her off, "Hahahahahaha! Danger of infestation! Hahahaha!"
His laugh give me chills. I just want out of here.
Then he points to a doorway labeled Temporal Vortex.
I remember that term from the museum, but not its context. We enter another lab area - it's full of researchers and equipment.
Walking all the way back to the loading docks, we enter a construction lab, and an assistant motions for the workers to stop.
I can hear crickets chirping madly in the next room. Prof. Growler has a smirk on his face, looks me directly in the eye and says, "So I guess he thinks he knows what's going on from this little bit of knowledge, or does he think it's evidence?
Some of his people think they saw some bugs, now he thinks he hears them, and bang!
We're guilty of bug a boo environmental crimes..."
Saved again by Bebe, "You do realize that if you're doing research involving insects, you have to apply for permission, and there is no record of such a filing..."
He opens the door and inside we can see a floor covered with crickets, glistening and moving all over each other. Their sound is deafening.
This looks bad for Prof. Growler. Guess someone on his staff just forgot to file those papers. And it's definitely not the kind of thing you want to see in your neighborhood.
But as we get closer, he hits a switch and suddenly it's quiet. He shut off the crickets!
"You see, Bebe. As you probably suspected, no danger of infestation!"
Now he's glaring at me and there is no escape,
"Let this be a lesson to him who is so eager to jump to a bad conclusion about the business of others, in the name of selling stories! He will hopefully report it properly this time!
I'm counting on you, Bebe, to not allow anyone to snoop around in here too much and learn our research secrets. I risk losing my competitive edge by being so open, but I don't want anyone to think we are breaking laws.
Now... I am a busy man... Thank you for your visit, my lovely. Perhaps next time you will not be burdened so."
And he is gone.
What a relief. We walk over to get close to the bugs. It's amazing. Thousands, maybe millions of fake crickets, just like the one in my pocket. Not only does the sound seem genuine, but every bug is mounted on a frame that moves to make them look incredibly real.
I give myself a dope slap. This one happened right before my eyes, and I missed it completely. These are the bugs in the crate I saw outside town.
The question is: What is he doing with massive amounts of rubber crickets and all this equipment to make them appear real?
Some Time Later..........
After much persuading, Bebe is allowing me to buy her lunch. We're sitting at an outdoor table at Elma's Munch. She has no idea what kind of research the professor is doing.
"The only ones I know who try to make fake bugs look real are fishermen. Perhaps he's going fishing." Bebe is brilliant.
Of course he's going fishing.................. For Timefish.
I'm sitting at a window table in Elma's Munch with my new hero, the policewoman named Bebe.
We're relaxing before heading back into the fray for the last half of her shift.
I ask her to tell me a little about herself.
She can trace her ancestors back to the time of the Parents of Antiquity. They were practitioner/merchants, and although she trained to follow in their footsteps, a magic tragedy caused her to change course.
Our waitress is a good friend, and it's obvious they go way back. On her advice, we get a double order of something called "fried ladyslippers." It's fantastic! A local delicacy, Ladyslippers grow wild in the surrounding forests.
As we eat, I finally get a chance to ask her about the antique handbag.