2311 North Los Robles Avenue, Apartment 4A, Pasadena, California, 91101 - 2003
"The trick is to mix it into Tovex in order to create a combustible gel that will generate over 8,000 kilonewtons of thrust!"
"Isn't it? I've been working on this for a long time. If I've done the conversion calculations correctly - oh. Uh oh. Oh no."
He cut himself off when the container started to smoke.
Howard, voice soft, asked, "What's happening?"
Leonard started to panic. "A bad thing. A very bad thing. Get the door. Get the door! Get the door! Get the door! Get the door!"
He hit the button for the elevator and stood waiting like an idiot. He started to go down the stairs, but the elevator opened. It would be much quicker than the stairs. He wasn't quite sure what he was going to do with the container of volatile rocket fuel, but he figured everything would be safer outside.
The door closed and he set the container down, pushed the button for the ground floor.
Sheldon had gone to the convenience store on the corner to purchase a Yoohoo in a fit of whimsy and returned to see his apartment building swarming with police, an ambulance quietly driving away. A crime scene van pulled up to the curb and people in dark windbreakers and matching hats dragged bags of equipment through the glass doors.
A uniformed officer stopped Sheldon from entering and asked him questions like who he was, which apartment was his, et cetera. He answered all of their questions and finally got to ask his own: What had happened?
"There was an explosion in the elevator. It appears as though someone set off a bomb while they were inside. We're investigating a North Korean spy named Joyce Kim regarding military rocket fuel. She was seen here a few days ago. Do you know anything about this?"
Sheldon nodded. "Yes, my roommate, Dr. Leonard Hofstadter, was researching a new fuel. He also brought one Joyce Kim home with him to engage in coitus after having known her for less than twelve hours. He failed to give me notice and when I complained, she left. Neither I nor Leonard have seen her since."
"Doctor Cooper," the officer paused, unsure how this twitchy young man would take the news. "The investigation is on-going, of course, and we cannot be completely sure until the DNA results confirm, but we believe your roommate Doctor Hofstadter was the one in the elevator when it exploded. There was no one on the scene, but your neighbor Louis heard the commotion and called us first. I'm sorry for your loss."
Sheldon, entirely too uncomfortable with the amount of people in the lobby around him, was unable to maintain eye contact for long. "It is my loss insomuch as I lost yet another roommate. The previous man had been unable to handle the structure I impose over my domicile. Leonard has - had - only lived with me for a week. I did not have time to form an attachment of any kind. May I return to my apartment?"
The officer looked hard at the scientist and found only the discomfort of one out of his element. He nodded and Sheldon sighed in relief and took the stairs quickly.
2311 North Los Robles Avenue, Hallway between Apartments 4A and 4B, Pasadena, California, 91101 - 2007
Sheldon stepped up to his apartment door and saw a flicker of movement from the corner of his eye.
It appears that Louie/Louise's apartment has been rented.
The sound of him unlocking his door drew her attention.
He turned around, halfway through the door, Indian food clutched close to his chest. Eye contact was out of the question, but he paid very close attention peripherally. "Hello." Unsure of himself in this new context, he hovered in his doorway.
She crossed the hallway and held out her hand. "I'm Penny, I just moved in. What's your name?"
Shifting his weight from one foot to another, he said, "Dr. Sheldon Cooper. If you don't mind, I do not like to shake hands. One never knows what someone else has touched, or when they last washed their hands."
Penny pulled her hand back. "Oh. Uh, okay. Well it was nice to meet you Sheldon. Maybe we could get coffee sometime."
"Doubtful," he said. "I don't drink coffee. Coffee is a stimulant and I promised my mother I wouldn't do drugs."
"Oh," she said again. This was an odd duck, but cute. "Well, you wouldn't have to get coffee. They have tea and other stuff."
He still didn't make eye contact, but his little smile was adorable. "I do like tea."
Penny smiled and swayed a little. "Well, those boxes aren't going to unpack themselves, so I better get back to it. It was nice meeting you, Sheldon."
"Likewise, Penny." Sheldon hurriedly closed his door.
When she turned Penny got a whif of herself and wondered how her new neighbor managed to talk to her without gagging. Too bad her shower was broken. Except...maybe Sheldon new a good plumber? She turned back around and knocked on his door.
"Yes?" he answered.
"Hi there again."
Penny grinned hopefully and asked, "So, my shower doesn't work and I'm all gross from moving. Would you happen to know a plumber I could call up on short notice?"
He dithered for a moment before opening the door wider, gesturing her to come in. "I do not, but a short Google search should yield positive results."
"Oh, thank you so much, sweetie! You're a life saver."
Sheldon scoffed. "Hardly. I'm Googling a plumber, not rescuing you from a burning building."
"Well I appreciate it anyway," she said. "And you're kind of rescuing me from smelling like a hobo, which is kind of the same thing to me."
"Your appreciation has been noted," he said, writing down a phone number. "Based on the reviews of numerous plumbers, this one seems to be the most reliable, while also remaining within the budget of someone who has just likely spent most of their money on a security deposit and first month's rent."
"Thank you so much for your help, sweetie. I'll go call him right now." She raised up on her tip toes and kissed him on the cheek, rushing back to her own apartment.
Sheldon stood alone in his apartment, hand on his cheek, eyes wide.