Her first few days were in the books and Julep was ready for the weekend. This was going to be a good Friday.
So involved in a new serum she was working on, it was nearly noon before Julep’s eyes fell on an unfamiliar face. Thinking it might be the colleague that had just returned from an arctic expedition, Julep hoped that Joaquin hadn’t yet poisoned him against her.
She made her way over for an introduction as he got up from the microscope. But how to introduce herself? Do I go friendly and professional or let my personality shine with humor? Oh, he was looking at her…better decide quick. “Do you come here often?” she blurted. I guess we went with humor…way to go, brain. Seriously.
“What?” he asked with shocked amusement.
Red faced, she answered, “I have no idea why I said that. Can I start over?” She held out her hand and tried to put on her best got-it-together face. “I’m Julep Soto.”
He shook her hand as he asked, “Not doctor?”
“Oh, uh…not yet. That comes next. It was nice to meet you. I’ll let you get back to your work.” She had turned to go when she heard him speak.
“I’m Dr. Hofstadter, by the way. You must have done something really impressive to be hired here without your doctorate.”
And just like that the red cheeks were back. “Oh I don’t know…”
“What’s your field?”
A light bulb seemed to go off over his head. “Wait. THE Julep Soto? Of course…I’m an idiot! Man, we are really glad to have you here.”
Julep heard Joaquin choke on something nearby. “Not everyone,” she said with a smile.
A smile stretched across the doctor’s handsome face. He leaned closer to her. “Joaquin doesn’t count,” he said, conspiratorially. He seemed about to say something more when Simon interrupted.
“Julep. Are you going to take your time on the Inventor today? If not, I’d be happy to cut in line.”
A tad put off by his attitude and embarrassed, again, in front of Dr. Hofstadter, she answered. “My apologies. Of course I want the time that I signed up for. I was under the impression that if I signed up for a time that the time would be mine regardless of whether I was on the machine or not.” She tried to remain as saccharine as possible. She didn’t want to cause trouble, but she was not going to be afraid to speak her mind.
She side-stepped him and made her way to the machine, ready to get to work. Not long into her work she spotted something strange…it almost looked like some sort of gateway. That would definitely require some investigation later.
For now, she had other things on her mind. She had begun work on a special Sim Ray that may, or may not, have the fantastical ability to turn an annoying co-worker into a pillar of ice. She couldn’t wait to try it out.
* * *
Complete. Now to test it out its transformation abilities…
Now for the real test. Her findings had been correct – there WAS a freeze setting and she knew just the person to try it on. She had put up with a week of his snorts, whispers and disapproving glances. When she saw that he was working late she found some more work to do around the office and waited for that golden moment when he decided to leave for the night.
He clocked out.
She followed him out the door.
“Oh JoaQUinnn!” she sang. He turned and she flipped the switch.
…and laughed so hard she could barely contain herself.
Not wanting to actually kill him, she quickly flipped the lever to ‘thaw’ and got to work. Though his skin had a blue tinge, he seemed to be ok….I mean….he wasn’t dead…so there’s that.