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       Dr. Leafhead: Story of a Mad Scientist (Part One), p.1

           Zack Mitchell
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Dr. Leafhead: Story of a Mad Scientist (Part One)

  A Novel in Three Parts By: Zack Mitchell

  Part One: Red Cape Man and the Purple-Robed Freak

  Mitchell Mendlow

  Copyright 2013 Zack Mitchell & Danny Mendlow

  DBA: “Mitchell Mendlow”

  All Rights Reserved

  Short Stories by Mitchell Mendlow available at

  Discover other titles by Mitchell Mendlow at

  Including Their Debut, Full-Length Novel "Greegs & Ladders"

  Available in multiple formats at

  What Is a Dr. Leafhead?

  Dr. Voracious K. Leafhead was not just another mad scientist.  Granted, he was mad.  Also he was a scientist.  It's just that he was probably madder and more scientific than anyone who had ever been given such a label.

  Since birth Dr. Leafhead was obsessively interested in scientific knowledge.  There was a time when his brain was unable to observe or communicate about anything in life outside of the context of science without developing a slight headache. Sometimes when he tried to read any sort of pulp novel he first had to have all the words translated into whatever algebraic equations were thought to be best suited for the author's intended emotional response.  In restaurants he occasionally ordered elaborate dishes by listing off all the chemical and hardest-to-pronounce ingredients in order of their relative weight when processed through a Dark-Matter Cube.  Every motion, from the dribbling of a basketball to the crawl of an earthworm was to him a kaleidoscope of physics that appeared like charts and graphs of impossible angles darting across his field of vision.  Some say his eyes actually contained computer implants that indeed converted all sights into charts and graphs of impossible angles.

  Some say he went too far.  I wouldn't say that.

  Like all great mad scientists, Dr. Leafhead was also a great inventor.  Within the confines of Chateau Leafhead (the sprawling, secluded mansion that we will invariably arrive at in short time), were a number of extraordinary discoveries.

  How It All Began...

  ...was that I saw a cryptic newspaper ad seeking a lab intern.  The ad boasted not only cash payment but the chance to be a part of "historical breakthrough events that will tear down all that we think we know about the inner-workings of Earth and the Universe."  I wasn't very interested in nutty prospects of discovery and infamy, but I needed the cash so I left a message.  His reply (by way of hand-written letter) didn't appear for a week and a half:

  Dear Jonathan,

  Your message was a welcome sign.  We have been short on interns as of late.  Come at once to Chateau Leafhead.  On your way stop at whichever stores or locations you need to and pick up the following items (Leafhead Inc. will reimburse you at a later time):

  3 dozen live jellyfish in a tank of sea-water

  1 satchel crystallized Zirconium

  1 Matter Re-arranger, with spare battery

  2 sets of glass vials, crafted from unbreakable Jardian mega-prisms

  1/2 pound of Beryllium

  1 flask of Liquid Nitrogen, chilled

  an ounce of dried Ergonovine

  1 loaf rye bread, perfectly fresh

  a chunk of asteroid (if they don't have it then a satchel of fresh moon-dust)


  Dr. Leafhead

  The impossible shopping list explained why Leafhead had been short of interns.  I began making realistic plans to gather every item.

  Four Years Later I Arrived...

  ...on the grounds of Chateau Leafhead (driving a truck large enough to move the jellyfish tank) and the first thing I noticed was the Universe-Interpreter.  It just looked like a totally weird telescope to me. Most people would have thought it was a visual decoration with no practicality whatsoever.

  The house looked as if it had countless rooms.  Nobody was around so I rang the bell.  After a moment I heard someone through an intercom.

  "Who are you?" asked a voice that I was sure belonged to Dr. Leafhead.  "Collection agency about the spiders?"

  "What?  No.  I'm Jonathan Farquharson.  You sent me a letter about coming here to work as an intern."

  "Yes, I remember it well," said Dr. Leafhead as he lapsed into a nostalgic coma.  "It was late spring.  I was busy converting some of the household plants into carnivorous reptiles through a very complicated alchemical process involving spleen-cells and shredded parsnips.  Later that evening the television said something I didn't like about hurricane trends so I invented a new weather channel.  I also told you to come at once.  That was four years ago."

  "Some of the items on your list were hard to find.  I thought it better to be late and have everything then to show up right away empty handed."

  "I did hire somebody else," explained Leafhead.

  "You did?"

  "Yes.  Melvin was a good Intern.  Unfortunately he didn't outlive your tardiness.  If you just look to your left you'll see I have his grave next to a few of the other Interns who have passed away while living here."

  I turned and saw there was in fact a small gathering of markers on the far lawn.

  "I should mention that none of them died in connection with any experiments of mine," said Leafhead.  "Those Interns are secretly incinerated," he added with a whisper.


  "I said their devotion is exceedingly unmitigated."


  "Wait right there.  I'll be down within three orbital rotations of the microscopic universe Jaladrome as it is affected by an Earth leap year when passing through the fifth quadrant of Cygnus."

  In five minutes the front door creaked open.  Dr. Leafhead didn't quite look like your usual mad scientist.  He wasn't very old and didn't wear glasses or an immaculate white lab-coat.  He did wear a lab-coat, mind you, it was just that any trace of cleanliness had been wiped out by a psychedelic splatter-painting of past experiments.  One cliche he did fall under was the shock of grey hair.  It was electrified by a manic indifference towards grooming.  He rather looked how Steve Martin would look if he dropped a ton of acid and got struck by lightning.  

  Suddenly his wristwatch crawled off his arm and scurried into the gardens.

  "It's gotta get some fresh air and unwind," explained Leafhead casually.  "No bother.  I have a bunch more.  Do you want one?"

  He reached into a pocket and produced two wristwatches.  He handed one to me.  It was clear I was dubious about whether or not I wanted a miniature robot clinging to my arm.

  "Don't worry.  They're harmless."

  I put the watch on.  It took a minute to calibrate itself to my state of mind before displaying a time that was not correct, but instead the time I would have guessed it was had I been queried by a random passerby.  

  "I thought we'd tour the grounds first," suggested Leafhead.  "They are much more interesting than the house."

  I doubted this was true, but didn't argue for I was anxious to see the Universe-Interpreter.  As we walked across the lawn I slowly steered our path towards the device.  I had to know what it was.

  "I can't help but notice that our once firmly established walking direction has gradually shifted to the south-west at a rate of about 3.2 centimetres per every alternate footstep," mused Dr. Leafhead.

  "Has it?"

  "Yes.  It has.  Do you know what that means?"

  "No," I answered.

  "It means that you are curious about the Universe-Interpreter.  Which is the exact reason why I chose to tour the grounds."

  "Universe-Interpreter?"  I puzzled.  It did s
ound like something I would be interested in. 

  "The machine is calibrated to have perfect perception.  Whatever is looked at through the Universe-Interpreter is seen how it truly exists in space and time, as opposed to how the brain might see fit to incorrectly decipher it.  Sort of like a rotten eggplant on new year's eve."

  "Uh... right."

  "Here it is," motioned Leafhead to the strangest looking thing I had ever seen.  "One of my greater inventions.  I keep it out here on the lawn because it is solar powered."

  Somewhere at the heart of the machine was an ordinary telescope.  Emanating from this heart were many adornments that weaved together through baffling methods of connectivity.  For brief moments it appeared to make sense, like the part where computer cables connected to a simple monitor screen. These moments of clarity gave way to stuff like a rotary-dial telephone attached to a bubbling vial of Magnesium via strands of police ribbon and spaghetti.

  "What are the dream-catchers for?"  I asked, noticing several had been thrown into the mix.

  "They catch the dreams."

  "Fair enough."

  "Have a try," suggested Leafhead.  "See what I look like."

  I re-adjusted the Universe-Interpreter.  I was amazed to find when I looked through it that Dr. Leafhead had not changed appearance but had simply vanished entirely.  Everything else remained the same... the trees, the house in the background was all there.

  "You're gone!" I exclaimed.

  "Fascinating," replied Leafhead.  "The universe doesn't see me today.  That or your adjustments were unwarranted to the temperamental nature of the
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