Aleph wakes up in a strange place strapped to a table, only to learn he’s earned the ire of a mad scientist who is about to take revenge for the wrongs Aleph committed.
Mad Scientist Gonna Mad
“Ugh…” Aleph woke up in a dimly lit room. His memories of what had happened were kind of hazy. The light blue furred wolf was dressed in his normal attire, a summer button up shirt and jeans. So… Whatever was happening he probably hadn’t been abducted by aliens in his sleep if he was dressed in his day-to-day attire. But what had happened? He tried to move, and found his arms and legs were both locked in restrains penning him to a table. There was a large light above him shining on him, but it did more to hinder his vision than let him make out his surroundings.
“So… It seems you finally woke up at least.” A sinister voice spoke from somewhere in the room. “Did you really think you would get away with your crimes? That there would be no consequences? FOOL! The day of reckoning has come!”
“I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about.” Aleph knew he should logically be scared. But he was too confused to be bothered with fear right now.
“Oh really… You don’t remember what you did… To me!?” The light shining on Aleph swiveled around and showed a middle-aged skunk with a scar over one eye wearing a lab coat, goggles over his eyes and nothing else.
“Uh… I don’t actually know who you are…” Aleph muttered.
“Of course not! Why bother to learn the name of your victims! But you! You have committed unspeakable crimes against me! So allow me to speak about them allowed at now. It all started last Tuesday.” The skunk started.
“Oh that was the day I went grocery shopping.” Aleph chimed in.
“Hey! This is my time to backstory! Not yours!” The skunk shouted. “If you wanted to monologue about what you did in the past weeks you should have planned time for it in advance.”
“Plan time?” Aleph let out a small laugh. “How? I don’t even know where I am or how I got here! How was I supposed to plan anything for this? Come to think of it… Where am I and how did you get me here?”
“If you would stop talking I could get to all of that.” The skunk sighed. “Ugh, it’s a torture to be the greatest intellect in the entire world and be surrounded by such fools.”
“Uh huh.” Aleph had his doubts about the skunk’s ‘great intellect.’
“Now then! Right! Last Tuesday! And your unspeakable crime. Back to talking about it.” The skunk cleared his throat. “Yes, as you remember you were going about to get groceries one day. And you may recall it was raining that day.”
“Oh yeah I had to take an umbrella.” Aleph would have nodded were he not strapped to a chair.
“Right! I too went grocery shopping that day! I entered the store five minutes before you!” The skunk went on. “But it took me time to put my umbrella away. It’s this new high-tech umbrella I’m working on that actually creates a barrier to keep rain out. It actually works pretty well, but it’s a pain to fold up. Not the point. While I was folding up my umbrella, you walked into the store, collapsed your plain normal umbrella and grabbed the shopping cart I was going to take! I was there first it was rightfully mine!”
“Uhhhhh.” Alphen tried to think. He might have vaguely remembered a skunk at the grocery store. But it wasn’t like he could remember every stranger he ran into. “Sorry? It’s not like I tried to steal your cart… And… Weren’t there like thirty other shopping cards, why does it matter which one I took that one?”
“Because you set me up!” The skunk screamed. “Oh, you took the shopping cart intended for me, so I had to take the next one in line. And it had a broken wheel that didn’t turn right. It made pushing it around the store a huge pain.”
“Why didn’t you just use a different cart?” Aleph asked.
“Why didn’t I just…” The skunk stuttered. “Do you not know basic etiquette? When you go into the grocery store you take the next cart available. You don’t dig through looking for the perfect cart! I had no choice but to use the wobbly wheel!”
“Okay… But taking the next cart is exactly what I did and you’re-“ Aleph tried.
“It’s different when the cart is claimed by someone else!” The skunk huffed. “As a result of your careless lack of etiquette, grocery shopping took me exactly 5.6 minutes longer than normal having to deal with the wobbly card. I had a package coming that day, and it was delivered 3.4 minutes before I got home. Don’t you see? Thanks to your carelessness the package was left sitting in the rain for 2.2 minutes!” The box got wet because of you.”
“Uh well, I’m sorry about that but I really don’t think you can blame that on me… And… Shouldn’t it have shipped in a box and been safe?” Aleph asked. The wolf swished his tail as he talked, trying to see if he could find any release mechanism for the table. His tail was the only limb not died down.
“It was safe, but it might not have been! And for that scare of what could have been you made a powerful enemy that day! For I… Doctor Stripenfluff would never forgive you.” The skunk screamed.
“Uh huh…” Aleph had a name for his captor. “Well… Doctor Stripenfluff, this seems like a lot of overreaction especially since nothing was damaged… So how about you just let me go now and we’ll forget things never happened.”
“Oh you’d like that wouldn’t you?” Doctor Stripenfluff would.
“Yes, a lot, that’s why I asked.” Aleph had to roll his eyes. “And you still haven’t explained where I am and how you got me here.”
“I am getting to that!” Doctor Stipenfluff snorted. “Let me tell the whole story… Now where was I… Oh right!” He took a deep breath. But you don’t know! You don’t know the true risk of what you could have caused! See, this all started forty years ago when I was a young lad just beginning to gain an interest in science. One day, my father told me I was supposed to wait at the door all day for a package to come. But… I was so caught up in the theories of science! I spent all day reading books and diagrams in my room and never even heard the doorbell ring! It stormed that day! The box was soaking wet! And it turned out, inside it was one of the world’s rarest sponges.” Dr. Stripenfluff slowed down. “The type you clean with not the kind that live in the sea. My dad was really big on collecting rare sponges.”
“Why?” Aleph asked staring at the skunk blankly.
“You know, I have no idea.” Doctor Stripenfluff shrugged. “But the water leaked through to the sponge, causing it to expand and make the box burst! Being exposed to the rain only made it grow bigger and by the time my father got home it was too big to move into the house let alone put in the glass display case he had prepared for it.”
“Seriously, a sponge?” Aleph asked.
“Yes now stop interrupting or we’ll never get to the revenge part of this story.” Doctor Stripenfluff snapped before returning to his story. “My father was furious. As punishment, he threw all my science books out into the rain so I would have to watch them be ruined. But… One of them had a metal key shaped bookmark in it that I got after reading about an old experiment and so the pile of books got struck by lightning setting them ablaze. They were not only burnt up but burnt the entire house down. Don’t you see? Wet packages lead to destroyed homes! Luckily my dad was rich, which was weird because he made me wear old hand me down clothes from the 1800s saying there wasn’t enough money to buy new stuff. So we got a new house! But… He said he would never allow my mistake to repeat itself! From that day forward! Every day I was forced to dress up as a mailbox and wait out front our house till the mail was delivered.”
“Alright, that’s really messed up, but it seems like your dad is the villain here not me.” Aleph tried.
“What are you talking about? My dad can’t be a villain. He’s rich. Haven’t you read the Bill of Rights?” Dr. Stripenfluff asked.
“I don’t think that’s what the Bill of Ri-“ Aleph started.
“Anyway, after many cold days of standing outside in the rain waiting for mail… I swore I would never let a package stand out in the rain again! And for forty years I kept my promise! Until you made me waste over five minutes in the grocery store! Now, that my promise has been broken, all my childhood suffering is meaningless. So, I learned who you were, tracked down where you lived. And shot you with a blow dart full of sleeping potion. I actually would have had you here earlier but I accidentally inhaled the first dart I tried, put myself to sleep and lost even more time when yet another package was delivered while I slept. Count yourself lucky it wasn’t raining that day.”
“Okay… Seriously, I feel like there’s a lot of projection here, and that you might want to talk to a therapist or something instead of kidnapping random people.” Aleph tried.
“Kidnapping random people is cheaper. And I get a tax credit!” Doctor Stripenfluff clapped his hands. “Now, after putting you to sleep I dragged you to my secret lab, put on the table and now you’ll be the subject of my next experiment!” The skunk snapped his fingers, and the area lit up while the blinding light turned off. There were a few tables with science looking things on them, such as beakers and test tubes, as well as some tools. But the walls were gray and there was a staircase in the corner
“Wait… Is this just your basement?” Aleph asked.
“No!” The skunk scowled. “It’s a top-secret lab that just happens to be located directly underneath my house.”
“So… a basement.” Aleph repeated. Meanwhile, he had failed to find any way to escape using his tail. He might be in actual trouble.
“It’s lab and I’ll prove it!” The doctor ran off before returning with a ridiculously large laser gun on wheels. The thing was so big it looked like it should have been launched into space instead of sitting on a rolling cart in a basement. “BEHOLD! THE SCIENCE RAY!”
“Uhhh…” Aleph had started to get scared, but this brought him back to confusion. “A science ray?”
“Not a science ray, THE Science Ray!” Dr. Stripenfluff insisted. “My greatest invention! For when you enter the right commands and press the right buttons… It can do science! Of any kind! And now for my revenge! I’ve invented a new renewable power source. Squirrel Power. Basically, we put squirrels inside little wheels inside machines hang an acorn in front of them and let them run till they die of exhaustion before putting new squirrels in. Since squirrels are so plentiful, we’ll never run out.”
“You… Might have a hard time getting people to pick up that energy source…” Aleph sighed. “Pretty sure most people aren’t going to want to shove a squirrel into their car battery then wait for it to die. Also, squirrels can’t run for days straight so wouldn’t they need to be swapped out like every our or two? Also, this is… a little insane and bound to end in failure no matter what you do.”
“Oh you say that now! But you’ll be the first test subject!” Doctor Stripenfluff rubbed his hands.
“You’re going to make me drive a squirrel powered car?” Aleph asked questionably.
“No! If I was doing to do that, why would I need the Science Ray.” Doctor Stripenfluff talked in the condescending tone most adults reserved for children they assumed were too dumb to understand basic concepts. “I am going to use the Science Ray to turn you into a squirrel and then make you power a compatible electronic device! We’re starting with a lightbulb and working up from there. I need to get an idea of how many squirrels will be needed to power different devices.”
“Honestly, I’m not even mad or afraid right now.” Aleph spoke up. “Your logic is so completely insane my brain is too occupied trying to figure out how you got form point A to point B.”
“You will be, prepare to live the rest of your day as a squirrel powered battery!” Doctor Stripenfluff shouted. “Wait no that’s not right. You’re the squirrel who powers the battery not the… It doesn’t matter! It’s time to do science and get vengeance!” Doctor Stripenfluff moved behind the giant lasers and pressed a bunch of buttons. The edge of the laser began to rotate like a drill as it lit up. And then a green like struck out engulfing Aleph.
“Squeak!” Aleph gave a shout as his body shrank, his tail became much fluffier, his paws more adept for climbing and his ears shorter and rounder. The blue wolf was now a blue squirrel buried under his own shirt. He quickly climbed out under it and had an immediate realization. He hadn’t just shrunken out of his clothes when he turned into a squirrel! He had shrunken out of his restraints! He was free! “Squeeeak!” Aleph dove off the table and ran for the stairs in the corner.
“Gah! Why didn’t I think to include tiny squirrel sized restraints to kick in after the transformation! You stay away from the stairs!” The skunk grabbed a broom and swung it at the ground where Aleph was. He quickly darted across the room avoiding the broom. Squirrels were well… Squirrely. Fast agile little things that were hard. He climbed onto another table and ran across it having to dodging several random remotes with various colored buttons on the table.
“H-hey watch where you’re running! You nearly hit the self-destruct button for the lab!”
“Squeak?” Aleph paused and grinned. A self-destruct button? Aleph could make being a squirrel work. But this guy had a few screws loose and who knew how many other people he’d kidnap and what he’d do to them. As he looked around the lab, or basement, he saw a possible quick escape route that he didn’t think the doctor could stop him from making. If he hit the self-destruct button it’d not only make a good distraction for him to escape but also likely solve a lot of future problems this scientist would make. He quickly pressed his paws down on a green button on a remote looking device.
“Ha! If you were trying to destroy the lab you failed! That just activates the cappuccino robot!” As he spoke, a small round robot on wheels rolled in, opened up its top half and showed off a perfectly prepared cup of cappuccino. “Thanks, but I think I’ll have it later after the situation is resolved.”
“Squeak.” Aleph sighed and reached for a blue button.
“Ha go ahead and press that one!” Doctor Stripenfluff laughed. “All it does it turn on the upstairs vacuum.” The skunk watched as Aleph reached for a red button next. “That one just turns the lighthouse on and off.” He paused. “Not sure why I built that… Pretty sure it had something to do with revenge on the HOA. Now it just really runs up my electric bill.”
“Squeak squeak…” Aleph slapped his face. There were so many remotes with buttons up here how was he supposed to find the self-destruct one? Maybe he should just run across them all? For now he reached for a remote with a silver button on it.
“Wait don’t press that!” Doctor Stripenfluff panicked. Then he quickly tried to calm himself down. “It uh… Controls the sound system. Yes, it’ll blast noise so loud it’ll blow out both our eardrums. We wouldn’t want that. But you know nothing will explode so you should just leave that one alone.”
“Squeak.” Aleph grinned and pressed the white button.
“Oh poop.” Doctor Stripenfluff ran for the table. “You fool you’ve doomed us both!”
“Attention.” A robotic voice rang throughout the basement. “Lab will self-destruct in ten seconds. This will also damage the structural integrity of the actual house and likely cause it to burn down.”
“No! No! Abort!” Doctor Stripenfluff shouted. “Why the heck did I not make a failsafe for it? Come to think of it why do I even need a self-destruct button!”
“Squeak!” Aleph gave a little salute then rant to one of the basement walls, climbed straight up it to where there was a window that was just above ground. He pushed on the window till it was open, and ran out into the grass and freedom.
“Hey that’s cheating!” Doctor Stripenfluff complained. “Wait what am I saying about I need to get out of here!” He started to run for the front door.
“Squeak!” Aleph enjoyed the sense of freedom even if he was the wrong species as he ran through the grass and got to the sidewalk in front of the houdr. He took a look back at the house. And at that point the entire thing went up in flames. As he quickly remembered it was cooler to not look at explosions he turned his back so the explosion was behind him. Shame he didn’t have any squirrel sized sunglasses.
“GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” Doctor Stripenfluff’s scream could be heard as he was blown into the sky by the explosion before landing on the sidewalk close to Aleph leaving a small crater. Somehow, he was still alive, though the tip of his hair was on fire. “My lab… All my work. The Science Ray… Also… Ow.”
“Squeak.” Aleph ran down into the crater and quickly blew on Doctor Stripenfluff’s hair to put out the fire before it could spread. He had blown up the guy’s lab and house, but he wasn’t going to leave him to burn alive.
“You!” Doctor Stripenfluff managed to stand to his feet and point down at the squirrel. “All of this, from the cart to the soggy box to the lab explosion! You planned all of this out!”
“Squeak…” Even if Aleph could speak right now, he was sure the mad scientist wouldn’t listen to him. He had no idea what world the guy lived in. But it wasn’t this one. So instead, with the danger passed and the fire on the skunk put out, he decided it was time to go home and just quickly scampered down the sidewalk.
“You win this round Aleph!” The skunk shook his fist. “But Doctor Stripenfluff always has the last laugh! Maybe not today! Maybe not tomorrow! But someday I will have my revenge and!-“
The cup containing the cappuccino from the earlier robot fell from the sky and landed on the doctor’s head and spilled down his face.
“What? And now my coffee is cold too? Is there no end to your menace!?” He dropped to his knees. “I WILL HAVE VENGEAAAAAAAAAAAANCE!”
Aleph was far away by this point, but his ears could still make out the skyward scream. Still, he wasn’t exactly too concerned. He supposed the scientist had to be brilliant on some levels to build those things. But… He wasn’t very wise. He was pretty sure if they ever crossed paths again, he could easily outfox him. Or outsquirrel him. Outwolf? How long was he going to stay a squirrel anyway? Would this even even wear off? Problems for Future Aleph to figure out. Right now he wanted to get home and take a nice long nap. Blowing up evil lairs really took it out of a little guy.