"Perfection is essentially impossible," the scientist said in a monotonous tone, staring down at the chart of data.
"Is it?" Cecil asked, clasping his hands behind his back and leaning forward. "I'd say I've seen perfection, oh, a few times at least."
Still lost in his findings, Carlos set down the papers he had been looking through and turned to a drawer at the end of the desk. Cecil continued smiling to himself, and took the opportunity to look around the cluttered room that he had only recently been invited into. Carlos's office. It was a small room with a single window and two desks crammed into it. Papers were strewn on every surface and pinned up in groups on the walls, and there was a collection of empty coffee mugs at one corner of the closest desk. A single outdated computer sat untouched by anything else, as if it and the space around it were regarded sacred. For a scientist as meticulous as Carlos, Cecil thought to himself, he sure was a slob in the work place.
"What was that?" Cecil prompted when he caught a hint of Carlos's distracted voice. The radio broadcaster had started to notice this habit when his companion was right on the trail of some new find, too immersed in his work to notice anything else.
"These temperatures don't make sense," Carlos repeated.
Cecil sighed and leaned against the wall, standing because Carlos was in the only chair and he didn't want to disturb any of the papers on the desks. "Ever since you moved here," he points out, "it's always been 'This isn't right' or 'That doesn't make sense.' That's why I think we should go bowling! Okay, maybe it's not 'perfect,' but can you think of anything better to do on a snowy Tuesday afternoon like today? Even scientists need to stop working sometimes."
"Snowy?" Carlos repeated, finally drawing back from the drawer with an old thermometer in hand. He peered up through the window and said, "Cecil, when did it start snowing?"
"Oh, let me see." Cecil pretended to forget for a second because he knew it would draw in Carlos's attention. "About a minute ago."
"The national news report predicted a heat wave for today." The scientist turned back to his chart of data from earlier, holding it close to his face to pour over the numbers again.
"What does the national news know about Night Vale?" Cecil scoffed. Getting no reply, he checked the watch that sat on his wrist. It was later in the afternoon than he had thought; the radio show would be starting in three hours, and he still had to feed Khoshekh – or rather, tell intern Tasha to feed Khoshekh. Either way, there wasn't much time for bowling. "Do you want me to mention the temperatures in the show tonight?"
"You don't have to," Carlos mumbled.
Cecil sighed quietly and shuffled his feet. "I guess radio broadcast isn't quite so interesting to a scientist like you."
"I said I have to go to work." Cecil stood up straight and adjusted his tie as he turned for the door to the small room.
"I thought you wanted to go bowling?" Carlos questioned quickly, sounding somewhat more alert than before.
"No time," Cecil said glumly. "Guess if you get bored you could try listening to the show for once." He had one hand on the doorknob when the slightest resistance at his sleeve halted him. He turned slowly.
Carlos had wheeled his office chair across the room, leaving the thermometer and data chart behind. "Cecil," he said seriously, looking up with his soft brown eyes. "I listen to your show. The whole show. Every night."
Cecil frowned slightly, but out of embarrassment, feeling his face heat up uncomfortably. "Really?"
"Really," Carlos answered seriously. "It's . . . nice. And very, ah, informative."
"So . . . What you're saying is," Cecil attempted to translate, voice wavering just a bit, "is that you like listening to my voice?"
Carlos's mouth curved up in just the tiniest hint of a smile as he answered evenly, "Yes." He let go of Cecil's sleeve carefully before continuing, "I'm sorry I made you wait. You should go to work. We can go bowling later this week, alright?"
Cecil grinned like a child and walked backwards slowly with a slight bounce in his step. "I'll hold you to that, Mr. Scientist."