Mikron O’Jeneus sat on the high stool in front of his workbench. Goggles protected his eyes as he used a miniature welding torch to connect two pieces of metal. On the bench in front of him sat a vacuum cleaner, a portable cassette player, and a television remote-control unit, all with their cases open and their internal parts in various stages of disarray. The inventive genius known as Gizmo looked up when he heard a knock on the open doorway of his workroom.
“Hi, Giz,” Lydia Anastasios said as she walked into the room. She carried a lidless cardboard box crammed with various items. “Where do you want these?”
“Lydia, do you have to call me ‘Giz’?” the dwarf asked. “Aren’t I diminutive enough with you shortening my name, too?” He waved a tiny hand in a dismissive way at an open patch on the work table. “Set it down there, please.”
“Sorry, Gizmo,” Lydia said, setting the box down. She understood how touchy the brilliant dwarf could be; it must be awful, that superior brain trapped in that joke of a body.
“Did you get everything on my list?” Mikron asked, turning off the welding torch.
“Everything but the headpiece from a salon hair dryer,” Lydia said. “I went to four different places, and nothing.”
“Did you try the beautician’s supply house on South Euclid?” Mikron asked.
“They are not open to the public,” Lydia pointed out.
“Well, of course not,” Mikron sneered. “They can’t let just anybody dry hair, can they? I still don’t see why we have to buy these things I need. I mean, we’re criminals, aren’t we? Why can’t we steal them?”
“You heard Mirror Master,” Lydia said. “We cannot call attention to ourselves. We cannot afford to get arrested for simple burglary.”
“I think I’ll have a talk with Scudder about that,” Mikron said purposefully. “After he’s done with Flashman.”
“Flashman?” Lydia repeated, indignantly. “That hairy huckster? Do not tell me Mirror Master is seriously considering another of his moronic schemes!”
“I certainly hope not,” the brilliant dwarf said with a shrug. He marveled at how quickly Lydia had picked up American slang. Then again, hanging around Funky Flashman, one learned words like “huckster” and “moronic” quickly. “But Sam does seem to have a soft spot for hard cases.” Mikron chuckled mirthlessly. “After all, he took us in, didn’t he?”
Lydia declined to comment on that.