“I don’t trust him,” Allen said. “But I’m not the human around here, so I’ll leave it to you since you’ll do exactly what you want anyway. Stubborn!”
Shelly felt she had little choice but to believe Dr. Lasker if she wanted his help. If anyone could help her, it had to be this strange, irascible professor. “Please, can we start now? Whatever you want I’m willing to do?”
“Hey, do you know how that sounds?” Allen barked. “You never know what he might want? He’s probably a letch like Dodo bird.”
“Will you please shut up?” Shelly was really getting annoyed. “He’s a professor for goodness sake. They don’t think like that!”
“He’s a man, you naïve idiot! We all think like that. Hey, I’m even thinking like that? Do ghosts do that?”
“I refuse to discuss this with you any further,” Shelly said. “You piss me off!”
Dr. Lasker was staring at her like she was crazy so Shelly decided to relate what Allen had said. He says, “I have to be more careful around you about what I say.”
Dr. Lasker looked uncomfortable. “I’m not sure we should start this tonight? Perhaps tomorrow morning would be more suitable since I will have my assistants with me to verify the results?” And to make sure this looney doesn’t charge with molestation or worse, he thought, regretting his offer.
“Not another delay? Please? I have to know I’m not crazy,” Shelly said. “I trust you even if he doesn’t.”
Dr. Lasker frowned. The girl was somehow burrowing into a side of him he didn’t often show his students or assistants. What was it about her? He suddenly felt protective, as if she was his own daughter. I don’t have a daughter anymore, he said, angry at his confused feelings. “You should trust no one. Have you told anyone else about this?”
“No. There is one girl in the dorm who I almost told. She is very trustworthy.”
“You must tell no one else! This must be our secret…at least for now.” Dr. Lasker wondered who the other girl was and how much Shelly had already told her? He tried to master a smile, but felt uneasy. “I’m sorry. I know you understand the need for secrecy…at least until we know more.” He made a mental note to get the other girl’s name and decide later what had to be done. “Truly, we must preserve the special nature of this research at this time. You understand?”
“Okay, I guess,” Shelly said. “I really don’t want anyone else to think I’m crazy.”
Dr. Lasker was lost in thought. “I admit I still have misgivings, but I would like to help
“Right out of your panties,” Allen grumbled. “Stop it,” Shelly barked.
“You wish me to stop?” Dr. Lasker had gotten off his stool and was walking toward a locked cabinet.
“No, Dr., not you. I’m sorry. He keeps warning me about trusting you.” She looked sheepish. “It’s hard to ignore him. He has a big mouth!”
“Forgive me for living,” Allen said and added, “That’s funny.”
Shelly gave him an annoyed scowl. “I wish you’d stop it already? I am trying to help
Dr. Lasker unlocked the cabinet and extracted a rectangular metal box. “Do you know about ESP?”
Shelly nodded. “Extra Sensory Perception. I’ve seen it on enough television shows—“
“Well, most of what you see is fiction, but I’ve seen examples enough to know it exists in a rare chosen few. What you may be experiencing is a variant of ESP we call Personalized ESP, the random perceptions are somehow perceived as embodied human-like voices and shapes.
Often people think they are ghosts, also called spirits, but really these are just a series of random images that cannot be explained…at least not yet.”
“I think he has ‘Extra Stupid Perception’ if he believes that,” Allen grumbled. “I am not just a collection of random glimpses into the future.”
“Stop it. I need to concentrate.” Shelly said. “Don’t you want his help?” Allen sighed. “Okay, I’ll be a good boy…for now.”
Dr. Lasker pulled a metal rolling table between him and the girl. He unlocked the box. “Inside this box is a simple test we do for ESP. It is very rudimentary, but indicative.”
“Will it hurt,” Shelly asked, noting all the exotic equipment situated in various parts of the laboratory. It looked like a torture chamber, she thought, wondering if that was what Dodd had in mind when he brought her here. She had a flashback of her open blouse. Had Dodd done that too? She remembered how immobile he had been as she had tried to kiss him in her dorm room…what was his secret? Why did this strange creature known only to her as Dodd seem to turn her on?
The Doctor had been watching her. She looked distracted. Suddenly he laughed. To Shelly it was the sinister laugh of the mad scientist from a horror movie.