Two weeks later, an overnight package arrives for Roxanne. There's a card lying on top of the packing peanuts inside – it has a little old man with flyaway hair and scorched eyebrows holding a smoking test tube. She grins and opens it. The handwriting is tiny and legible only to those who know how to read it, and the letter takes up the entirety of the inside of the card. It is also written in a giant spiral, so that Roxanne has to keep turning the card around and around and around in order to be able to read it.
Hello sister dear,
Here's my first attempt at that pill you wanted. I tested it on myself before sending it to you, and noticed absolutely no effect whatsoever, but it's definitely caffeine-based and that's what you wanted. Maybe sometime you'll let me in on the joke? I could just as easily send you some sugar pills. I hear they work miracles and they're a lot cheaper to make. Anyway, let me know if the pill does what you want it to. There's sixty in that bottle, and they're twelve-hour pills, so you should have enough for a month or so. But then I don't actually know if they work or not.
I hear you have rain, something about a freak storm off the lake. Could you send some my way? The weather here is beastly, we haven't had so much as a cloud in two weeks and the sun is having a grand old time beating the stuffing out of everyone down here.
Here's a riddle for you, let me know if you figure it out. I gave you an easy one, you can thank me later. You know the rules. No Googling, and if you ask for help you have to tell where you got it. Oh, and Mom thinks you're dating a Professor J. Johnston, at Metro University, but my money's on Dr. Weinstein. You did say ivy-covered.
"What did the bartender say when oxygen, hydrogen, sulfur, sodium, and phosphorous walked into his bar?"
Good luck! I'm sending you a big, sweaty hug.
She laughs. She has no idea what the joke is, but Drew's jokes are always like that – chemistry-related and amusing to nobody but him. She puts the card down on the coffee table. A quick rummage through the packing peanuts, and she pulls out a small, unlabeled white bottle. It is full of white, oval pills, also unlabeled. Highly suspicious.
She picks up her phone, already smiling. It goes to voicemail straightaway: Hi, you've reached W. Pavel Chudakov, I'm not in, leave a message and I'll call you back. …What? Wait, which button is—
"Hey love, it's Roxanne. It's about 5 pm. I have something for you. A surprise. You should stop by my apartment later if the storm's not too bad."
She hangs up the phone and pulls the curtains concealing her French double doors to the side. Dark clouds are boiling in off the lake. "You should go to San Francisco," Roxanne tells them. "Where you're wanted."
"Oh snap," says a voice, very quietly, behind her. She spins, heart pounding.
"Megamind, good lord…"
His shoulders shake with silent laughter. "I was already on my way over. Had your door open when you called."
She presses her lips together in mock severity. "Did you break my lock?"
He puts her brother's card down carefully back where he found it, takes off his cape and collar and drapes them neatly over the back of her sofa, then moves over to her and kisses her softly on the mouth. "I never break locks," he murmurs.
Roxanne chuckles and knocks her forehead against his. Outside, thunder rumbles long and low. "Did you drive here?"
"I'm afraid I walked." He looks over her shoulder, out of the glass doors that lead to her balcony. Sheets of summer rain course down the panes.
Roxanne smiles. "Pity. I guess you'll have to stay here until the rain lets up."
"I guess I will." He moves away, presses his nose and both hands flat against the glass and peers out. "Trouble is this weather isn't natural," he admits sheepishly. "I may have sat on the remote for the storm generator yesterday."
He'll probably always be like this – breaking and entering and entirely cool about it, then goofy thirty seconds later. He really isn't all that predictable. "How long will it last?"
He looks up for a moment, frowning. "Well, I sat on it for three hours, so…twelve. Twelve hours, more or less."
She looks at him, unsure whether to laugh or shake her head despairingly. "Megamind…"
"Don't worry, I got all the ships in off the lake, and it's a fairly localized storm. We'll be all right. And it'll be good for the late-summer crops." He leans harder against the glass. Roxanne is tempted to lift the latch on her door and send him tumbling out onto her balcony as a joke. But she remembers him standing in a downpour once before, and wonders if maybe that particular joke would send the wrong message.
She comes up behind him and wraps her arms around his waist, and he smiles and leans back against her, leaving two handprints and a mushroom-shaped nose-print on the glass. "You remember the last time it rained like this?" she asks. He doesn't reply,
They watch the rain together in silence for a moment, and then Roxanne presses a kiss to the skin behind his ear. He shivers a little, then laughs. "Don't do that," he scolds. "You're so distracting."
She grins. "It's better than what happened last time," she says, and Megamind turns his head and looks at her.
Then he smiles. "It is, that," he replies quietly, and kisses her. Outside, the thunder rolls again, followed by lightning. The storm is getting worse.
Neither of them notices.
The pills work wonderfully, and thank you. I'll let you in on the joke a little bit after Christmas, I think – in the meantime, please either keep sending the pills or send me instructions on how to make them. I have access to a fairly extensive lab, and I'm not all that bothered by legal.
Tell Mom to keep guessing. You should keep guessing too. You're not even close.
The answer to your riddle is OH SNaP, courtesy of my boyfriend, who would like to request a more difficult puzzle next time. And you can have all the rain you want; we have plenty!
Ew, you're gross, don't touch me.