The office of Hargrove Stevens was very spacious, with oak paneled walls and a large, wooden desk in the center. Files and papers were arranged in neat little piles on said desk, giving the room an air of almost anal organization. Behind the desk stood Hargrove Stevens himself, owner of the Stevens Private Healthcare clinic, looking very prim in his crisp, dark suit. An impatient scowl was scrawled across his face, directed at the dark haired, middle aged woman in front of him. Her name was Agatha Hermine. She wore a modest but expensive looking black dress with a smallish white shawl, and her face was a mask of concern.

"Madam," Mr. Stevens began, "we've been waiting here nearly two hours and your great neurosurgeon has still not arrived. I'm beginning to seriously doubt whether he intends to come at all. What's more, I'm calling into question the things you've told me about his abilities as a member of the medical profession."

"I don't understand..." Mrs. Hermine flustered, "Arthur C. Penknife has never been late before." Something in her expression and tone suggested this was not only an exaggeration, but a bald-faced lie.

"Mrs. Hermine," Hargrove said with a note of sloppy romanticism, "You know I have nothing but respect for you as an investor, and I'm normally happy to take on your recommendations" the sweetness in his voice abruptly ended. "But if I have to wait here even one more second-"

He was suddenly cut off by the sharp banging of a door being flung open. Into the office walked an unusual looking man with a large, dark mustache and a pair of wire spectacles. Following him was a man whose appearance was much less striking, but who wore an expression suggesting looks can be deceiving.

"...Positively the worst hotel I ever stayed at!" Dr. Penknife said, turning to the other man. "Not even a swimming pool. And do they call that fossilized Jell-O room service?" He turned to the other two as if just noticing they were there. "Are you the manager of this crummy joint?" He asked Mr. Sevens.

Hargrove Stevens looked peeved. He'd probably have been much angrier if his rage hadn't been tempered by confusion. "I am Hargrove Stevens," he said, with the air of a man who is used to his name carrying weight "and I am the owner of this hospital." he finished, putting emphasis on the word 'hospital.'

"Rest assured, you have my deepest sympathies" replied Dr. Penknife.

Mrs.Hermine took this opportunity to speak. "Mr. Stevens, this is the man I've been telling you about, Dr. Arthur C. Penknife."

"Say, just what is it you're implying?" Dr. Penknife said, turning to Mrs. Hermine. "Are you accusing me of being Arthur C. Penknife? Why, I once beat a man within an inch of his life for less than that. I also beat a wife within an inch of her man one time." Mrs. Stevens opened her mouth to say something, but was cut off. "I beat her in a game of checkers. She was pretty cross, I can tell her, losing to me right in front of her husband like that. If you want proof, I can show you the checkers." He paused to take a cigar out of his coat pocket, putting it in his mouth without lighting it.

Mr. Stevens looked outraged. "This is your world-famous neurosurgeon, Mrs. Hermine?" He asked in disbelief.

Attempting to diffuse the situation, Mrs. Hermine tactfully changed the subject. "Em, tell me Doctor, who is this gentleman with you?" She indicated the man who had been standing quietly by the door since entry.

"Him?" Dr. Penknife turned, "Why, I've never seen that man before in my life."

Mrs. Hermine was confused. "But ... you came in together."

"Of course we came in together." Dr. Penknife replied, "That's Harrison, the med student with a heart of gold, and a couple of other organs as well. Speaking of organs, who do I have to call to get this guy removed?" he gestured to Mr. Stevens with his cigar.

Harrison waited patiently for him to finish, then spoke. "I'm studying under Dr. Penknife." he explained.

"Oh," Mrs. Hermine said pleasantly. "You must be learning quite a lot."

"Oh yes, more than you'd suspect," Harrison grinned. "Why just the other day-"

"Not in mixed company, Harrison." Dr. Penknife advised. Harrison nodded.

Desperately, Mrs. Hermine tried to turn the conversation around. "Well, Dr. Penknife, as you must already know, the ambassador to Indonesia is dreadfully ill, and in desperate need of your medical expertise."

"Well, tell him he can borrow it, but I'll need it back within the week."

"The ambassador's health is failing," Mrs. Hermine continued in a high, warbling voice, her melodrama a sharp contrast to Dr. Penknife, who had apparently noticed that he had something on his shoe, and was trying to remove it by scraping it off on Mr. Stevens's desk, in a very unbalanced position. "His life is in your hands. I do not need to tell you how important this man is-"

"Don't you? Well then why are you telling me? Why am I even here? Tell you what, I'll leave, and you can stay and tell it to the judge. If that dosen't work you can tell it to the marines. I think the marines would have a thing or two to tell you as well. Say, does this look like gum to you?" As Dr. Penknife spoke, he had given up on the desk and propelled himself away from it, nearly crashing into Mrs. Hermine as he did so. He then held up his foot for her to examine. She tried to ignore it.

"Were you able to cure him," she elaborated with an air of impatience, "You would earn the respect and admiration of the entire medical community.

"Never mind that, how much does it pay?" asked Dr. Penknife, now trying to scrape his shoe off against the wall, hopping on one foot to do so.

Perhaps sobered by Mrs. Hermine's speech, Mr. Stevens's voice lost it's note of anger, which was replaced by a quiet contempt. "Under the current circumstances, and considering the complexity of a procedure like this, the hospital is prepared to offer you... thirty thousand dollars."

"Thirty thous- THIRTY thousand DOLLARS!?" Dr. Penknife's eyes lit up as he flew away from the wall. He quickly adopted a skeptical expression. "How about forty?"

"Excuse me!?"

"All right, thirty-five, but I'm losing on the deal."

Mr. Stevens looked dumbstruck. Eager to end the conversation, he noncommittally said "I will ... consider it."

Dr. Penknife turned and shook Mrs. Hermine's hand enthusiastically. "Ladies and gentlemen, you have yourselves a neurosurgeon! Come on Harrison, let's get out of this dump before we're noticed." Without anything further he dashed out the door in a crouch, followed closely by Harrison. Mrs. Hermine giggled slightly, while Mr. Stevens rubbed his head and moaned.