Davy looked closer at the lizard standing in front of him. He was scaly and brownish-green colored. He wore the top half of a sky blue medical scrub with loose-fitting black rubber gloves. Over the scrubs was a black medical apron. He was not wearing pants.
Davy found himself feeling uncomfortable at the sight of the lizard’s face. His mouth was wide open in a toothless, unnervingly wide smile. His eyes were large and round, almost looking like they belonged to a cartoon character.
Steve was similarly perturbed by the lizard. He didn’t look like the short lizards that ambushed them the day Davy first received word of his quest. This lizard had a shorter snout, and scales on the top of his head gave the appearance of small horns.
Steve sidled up to Lady Gut Possum. “What kind of lizard is that?” he whispered.
“The kind that can shoot blood from behind his eyes,” Lady Gut Possum snapped back. “So I suggest you remain silent and allow me to do the talking.”
The lizard spoke to them in a declarative voice that was accompanied by an unusual static sound, as if he was speaking from an old radio. As he spoke, his unnerving smile never faltered.
“This is the Institute of Mind,” he said. “What is your purpose?”
His gaze turned to Davy, who didn’t immediately respond.
“I am Consecration Tony,” the lizard continued in the same declarative voice. “Explain your presence.”
Lady Gut Possum came up to him and gave him a thwack on the head with her parasol. “What did I tell you?” she said angrily. “I said we need to keep a low profile while we’re in this world. And you go and open an ice cream establishment that surreptitiously serves your mind drugs or who-knows-what to the human populous!?”
“But no trip to Sangre Dios is complete without a visit to the Very Dairy Ice Cream Factory,” Davy, Steve, Olivia, and Connie chimed in simultaneously.
Lady Gut Possum looked at them then glared back at Consecration Tony. “What were you thinking? This is the Steward and his companions that you are drugging!” she exclaimed.
Consecration Tony looked back with his smile. “Their minds are untapped and ice cream is a magic food. It is an after-hours moonbeam in a corporeal state.”
Lady Gut Possum sighed. “That doesn’t make any sort of sense,” she replied. “You will stop drugging these people,” she declared. “I do not care if you continue serving food, but it shall not be laced with anything nefarious.”
Consecration Tony tilted his head. “I accept with reluctance,” he said.” You deplorable hard-boiled egg tart.”
Lady Gut Possum seemed too frustrated to pay any heed to Consecration Tony’s insult. She looked at Davy.
“Davy, this is Consecration Tony,” she said in a considerably softer tone. “He is going to help you.”
“Um,” Davy answered. He was already feeling some reservations about this.
“I am aware of your trepidation,” Lady Gut Possum acknowledged. “Consecration Tony is a constant source of consternation. But his methods have a knack for bringing about epiphanies in his subjects. Perhaps he can help you four come to discover what is needed to defeat your current foe.”
“So Tony will help us find out how to defeat the Iron League?” Connie asked. “Sounds good to me.”
Davy still wasn’t quite convinced. “Is there any downside here?” he asked.
“There is a small chance his methods will drive you to incurable madness,” Lady Gut Possum admitted.
“I like those odds,” Olivia chirped.
Davy looked at the rest of the group. “Are you all okay with this?”
Connie shrugged with a laid back grin. “I have a tendency to just go with whatever if presented to me, and it usually turns out just fine. Besides, you’re a sharp individual,” you can probably handle whatever Tony can throw at you,” she answered. “I wouldn’t worry.”
“Yeah,” Steve added. “Besides, my mind is an impenetrable fortress. I’ve never gone mad in my life, so that means it’s, like, statistically impossible for me to go mad today.”
“I mean, yeah, the brain lizard guy who drives people mad should be a giant red flag,” Olivia chimed in. “But look at his face! It’s so goofy and happy. I kind of want a stuffed toy of him that I can make my best friend.”
Davy looked back at Consecration Tony’s face. Maybe he was still in a good mood from the delicious Franklin Del-Mango RooseveltTM ice cream he had just eaten, but the adorable smile and wide, cartoony eyes put Davy at ease.
“Okay, I guess we can try this,” Davy relented. He turned to Lady Gut Possum. “But please don’t let us go insane.”
Lady Gut Possum nodded then glared at Consecration Tony. “Go ahead and prepare them for your mind therapy,” she said. “But you heard the Steward,” she continued. “If any one of them descends into insanity because of you, I swear I will raze your institute to the ground with my bare hands.”
Consecration Tony blinked then held his left hand in the air. “I swear to unlock the secrets in their brain space,” he said. “And that no one will be intentionally driven to madness. This time.”
Lady Gut Possum appeared to find this acceptable, she looked at Davy and the others. “Go on with Consecration Tony, he will get you ready for his therapy,” she said. “And remember if any of you goes insane, I will still love you.”
“Huh?” Steve interjected.
“Nothing,” Lady Gut Possum immediately replied. “Go on with Tony. I will wait for you here.”
The smiling lizard beckoned them to follow him down the hallway leading out of the entry area.
“I have a good feeling about this!” Olivia declared as they followed him down the hall. “Mind therapy sounds exciting!”
Consecration Tony beamed as he led them down to the therapy room. “Prepare for the opening of your mind!” he exclaimed. “Endeavor your brain might! Fail to be a cretin!”