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THE

MAN WHO COULDNT BE SEEN


Charles Coiro

Copyright Charles Coiro 2012 This edition is available free of charge from www.obooko.com. Although you do not have to pay for this digital copy, the book nevertheless remains protected by international Copyright law and must not be offered for sale in digital or printed form.
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CHAPTER ONE Arpad Lep was really an intelligent young man. He was tall, fair skinned and rather handsome. His jet black hair he combed straight back and the brilliantine he used gave him an aspect of always being well groomed. When Arpad walked by, the brilliantine always gave off a fragrance that lingered for a few moments. His very deep blue eyes were shielded behind the thick, horn-rimmed eyeglasses he always wore. As a child, he was always in the top 10% of his class; was congratulated for his efforts and enjoyed the praise of all who knew him. Arpad was gifted with a photogenic mind and could recall entire pages of books he read, but, that was not quite enough for Arpad, he felt that these gifts should have made him the best in his class, , not a part of the best. He suffered enraged outbursts when he was alone and was in general resentful and hated those students who received better grades than he when he knew instinctively that he was smarter and was more clever than the rest. So why did he always have to suffer the others being ahead of him in class? The lack of an appropriate answer enraged him even more and he grew up with this suppressed sense of failure always within him. Arpad had been born in Serbia and raised by a maiden aunt after his parents were killed in an automobile accident. He had a special gift for the Croatian/Serbian language but could also speak Greek, French, Italian and Spanish. Very often when he wanted to write something private, he would use the Cyrillic script to confuse anyone wanting to pry into his personal business. Arpad eventually found himself fascinated in entomology and the medical research involved in reptile and lizard species with their ability to make chemical changes in body color. In particular, Arpad was interested in the Chamaeleonidae family. He went back to even basics such as the Belousov Zhodotinsky reactions and to the Briggs-Rauscher Oscillating color reactions using liquid chemicals. He could work hours on end in the testing and resolving of solutions in research and seemed to be tireless. Arpad was hired by one of the most prestigious experimental laboratories in the City, the Peralta/Molina/LaBesette Laboratory, where his efforts were always praised. He was very proud of the praise given him and felt at long last that he was reaching his goal. Unknown to his employers, Arpad Lep was conducting research that he hoped would bring wealth to his firm and then recognition for him. And then it happened; a recently hired researcher was selected over him to head an extremely interesting challenge in a research project; one of major importance that could have led Arpad to fame had he been entrusted with heading the project. The new interloper as Arpad called him, not only received a substantial raise in salary but was given a private office as well. He was treated with all the deference and respect that Arpad felt should have been his, Arpads. Arpad was in a black rage. Feigning sickness, he asked and received a week off to recover. It was during this week that Arpad planned his revenge on his company and his bosses. He would not make what he felt were his secret experiments known to them. Arpad had been given permission to work on his own experiments with the agreement that any work produced by him in the lab would belong to the lab. At the present time, Arpad had been working on an experiment that would make temporary changes to the pigmentation and coloration on humans so that their images would melt
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into whatever background they were against. It was directly related to his work on chameleons and other sub types of the Chamaeleonidae species. Arpad saw the U.S. Armed Forces as the ideal organization to sell his experiment and in his mind saw that price would be no problem for the Government or if not the Government any other agency that needed the protection of invisibility, No, he would profit and gain fame on his own for his pioneering work. He must continue at the lab as though nothing had happened. He was too clever to do anything that might throw suspicion on himself and so he decided to take his hatred out on anything the same as we take out our frustrations and anger by slamming the door behind us or throwing a vase against the wall. Arpads anger needed an outlet. It did not matter against what or whom, he just needed to get this anger out of his system. He thought, How can I make this a perfect way to perfect my experiments and get back at the lab; something that is not connected to me or to the firm? And so he decided he would randomly select some innocent victim preferably a victim that would not be able to trace him or accuse him of being his guinea pig to complete his experimental work His thinking led him to select a patient in the local hospital who might be unconscious perhaps; or someone who would never be able to accuse him. After all, what would Arpads motive be? Yes, a perfect crime since neither the perpetrator nor the victim would ever even have seen each other before. As he roamed the halls of the hospital, he looked into the many rooms as he passed by and finally decided on a young man who appeared to be 30 or 35 years old; the approximate age of the usurper who took my promotion away from me. What Arpad had in mind was to continue with his experiments by using this patient as his guinea pig. Arpad had often wondered what the reactions would be if some of the color changing experiments were performed on human beings and now he could satisfy those questions. Also, there were the many side experiments that he did not reveal to his laboratory because they would have been considered too radical. The lab would never have condoned the extra costs and the use of animals for the experiments. But now, Arpad had a living being and only he, Arpad would know about the experiments and the results. It was going to be tricky. He would not want to make himself too well known at the hospital so that he could be identified and so he checked on the rooms on either side where he passed himself off as a distant relative of an elderly man who had been in a comatose for the past few months. So each time Arpad visited, he made certain that he spent time in the room of the man with the coma while he made a short visit to inject some of his experimental formulae into the selected victim. Arpad used the methodologies of the laboratory marking down changes, reactions, dosages etc. This was to be his very own research and who knew what would come out of all this. If the patient succumbed, it would be lamentable but without knowing anything about the victim, he felt he would be able to keep his personal feelings at bay.

CHAPTER TWO Through hearsay, Arpad learned that the young man that he had selected to be his subject had been in a seminary and aside from his breaking away from his order because of reasons of the flesh, he had been a worthy servant of his Church. The loss for the Church was great for not once had the young seminarian committed any deed nor had he ever questioned the teachings of the Order. He was morally immaculate. What was so interesting was the name of the man. His name was Ethan Blume. Born of an Orthodox Ashkenazy Jewish family, he was orphaned at the age of two. He was taken and raised by the Brothers of the Jesuit Order, The Society of Jesus which was founded by Saint Ignatius Loyola. He had spent his entire life in the field of teaching. Then, an amazing occurrence took place, he befriended a woman who attended his lectures, fell in love with her and decided to leave the Order to remain with the woman. Gilda La Araigne, the woman alluded to, was a friendly, buxom woman of 28. She had red hair, was a hard worker and was a homebody. She had previously lived with a farmer and had bore him three sons. After the death of the man she was living with, she remained on the farm doing a mans work and raising her three sons, aged two, five and seven. All this had taken place in Vezelay, a small town in France surrounded by a beautiful countryside. Ethan Blume had been posted to the town and taught the local children the basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills plus a good dose of church teaching. When Blume was approached by Gilda La Araigne for help in placing her two oldest sons so that they could learn the ways of the Church, she also showed her appreciation by bringing Blume fresh vegetables from her farm as well as an occasional jar of fruit preserves. Soon, he was dropping by the farm to eat a small meal and so the bonding of the two commenced and culminating in Blumes finally taking up residence in the La Araigne farmhouse. His moving in with the widow caused great consternation among some of the community and Blume was reported to the governing Jesuit Order. It was never mentioned that those who reported him felt his Jewish birth was not appropriate for teaching the young children. The Jesuits finally ordered him to resume his teaching activities in another town, some distance from Vezelay. In his refusal to relocate, he was temporarily relieved of his teaching duties and put on retreat. After being given the time to rethink his decision (on this he did not repent) he was recalled to the United States where he was accidently struck by a truck; moved to a hospital and where he remained until he regained consciousness and became the experimental subject of Arpad Lep. That sixth week when Blume awakened from his coma, was the beginning of an event that would shake the world had it known the facts. A nurse, entered Blumes room to take a blood sample, (he was still being tested to see if his coma was the result of some brain injury). As the nurse approached the bed with the necessary syringe, she was stopped in her tracks. What stopped her was the water glass, the wrist bracelet all hospital patients are required to wear and the peripheral cannula dangling nearby. The three objects were floating in space. They were not connected to the patient but isolated with no visible support. The nurse had not even imagined that the glass was in the hand of the patient nor that the identity

bracelet was on his wrist. What had happened was that an entire arm of Blume was invisible IT JUST WASNT THERE! Without asking Blume how he felt, she turned and raced down the corridor to get the doctor handling the patient. The doctor arrived, being certain that the nurse was obviously exaggerating the situation but never the less, his curiosity was piqued. By the time of the doctors arrival, the water glass had been put on the side table and the invisible arm was resting at the side of Blume. We seem to have a little surprise with your arm the doctor said. He then noticed that the identity wrist tag was not resting on the bed but was suspended some two inches above the blanket along with the peripheral cannula. Can you raise your right arm for me he asked? Upon raising the invisible arm, the doctor was so amazed that he looked at the patients chart to ascertain that there was no amputation or other anomaly listed. Surprise and curiosity would be mild words to describe the reaction of the physician. After gaining some control over his surprise, he stretched his arm to touch the supposed missing limb. Upon touching the limb his hand was stopped as it pressed against the invisible right arm. The doctor traced the unseen arm to the armpit and satisfied himself that it was attached to Blumes body. Feeling along in the opposite direction he came to Blumes hand and had he closed his eyes, would have felt exactly what he felt a hand with fingers. There was a look of excitement on the doctors face, the fact being that neither he nor any other doctor was witness to what he was now seeing; an invisible arm. The physician had a thousand questions to ask Blume and asked the nurse to get a pad and pencil and write down the answers Blume gave. Before starting the questioning of Blume, the doctor, his name was Dr. Arthur Bass, took the nurse aside and told her, I must sit down and talk to you privately after work. When the nurse looked at him oddly, Dr . Bass said, Dont worry, I am not attempting to seduce you or trying to stain your reputation. What I want to talk to you about could bring you a great deal of money. Legitimately! We Can stop at the corner coffee shop and talk. O.K.? Now write down everything I ask our patient and especially take care to write down his answers leave nothing out. Dr. Arthur Bass had his head in the clouds. His thoughts were on the answers he would receive but also on the glory that would be his when he presented his findings to the leading medical journals; (the most prestigious, of course) plus, his findings and conclusions on examining the first known case of invisibleness in the human species or for that matter, any other species as well. He saw himself invited to the most prestigious world meetings on medicine; his name written up in all the famous and respected medical journals, listed on the internet and who knows, a possible candidate for the Nobel Prize. His fathers relatives in Bavaria would trumpet his name to all the surrounding villages and the media would do stories on them just like Obamas relatives in Africa. He would be on all the important talk shows like CNN and interviewers like Piers Morgan on CNN. Just as he was about to start, his mind raced before him. There must be absolute secrecy, he thought. I cant take a chance of either the nurse or Blume talking to anyone else so he addressed himself to Blume. You know, I am the doctor whose O.K. you need before you can be released. What I would like to do is follow your case more thoroughly. I know that you belong to the Society of Jesus

religious order. What I would like to do is put you up in a private clinic, provide food and medication plus all expenses for sundries, etc. at absolutely no cost to you or your Order. I will tell your religious order that you still need extensive care and that since I am interested in your case, I will relieve them of all costs and responsibilities. You will be free to visit the Order but you must give your word that you will not speak to any other doctor or clinic until I have been able to make a thorough examination of your case. Think about it and I can order your immediate release. The same goes for you Nurse, think carefully and remember that this could be more than worth your while. CHAPTER THREE When Arpad Lep arrived at the hospital that day, he somehow felt a strange premonition. Upon arriving first to visit the patient that was j a comatose state, he sat for a while and then arose to look in at his real patient. The door to the room was closed and he thought that the staff was probably giving him a bath or other therapeutic treatment since his not being able to move around required therapy to keep his muscles active. After a short while, he listened again at the door and heard no sounds. It was then that he cautiously opened the door, expecting to see his subject. The room was empty and the bed stripped of all sheets. There were no medical apparatus fixtures. He suddenly went cold. Did the patient die and was the cause of his death the injections and serums Arpad had been administering? Leaving the room, he walked casually to the Nurses Station and asked, I was going to drop in on Mr.Blume to see if there was any progress in awakening from his coma. But, I found the room empty and Mr.Blume gone. Did he have a turn for the worse? No, the nurse answered, he made such a remarkable recovery that he was discharged and moved to have therapy administered elsewhere. Can I find out where he was taken, its not that I am a personal friend or anything but ever since I have been visiting my uncle (his room is next to Mr. Blume ), I have been looking in and in a way, I have taken a great interest in Mr. Blumes welfare. I would certainly appreciate knowing where he is taking therapy. Im really sorry the nurse said, You would have to get in touch with the doctor assigned to Mr. Blume, besides, I couldnt give you that information even if I had it. As I said, the only person who could give you that information would be Dr. Arthur Bass. Could you be so kind as to give me Dr. Basss telephone number so that I can contact him? Of course the nurse replied, I think that you should call him at his beeper number hes sure to get the message. Sometimes, its difficult to reach the doctors on their office phones. The small clinic that Dr. Bass had planned for Blumes therapy was actually a small apartment Dr. Bass had acquired at the time of his renting his office, he thought it would be a good investment should he ever need to expand his office space. While not fancy, it had a small bedroom and a larger

room both served by a bathroom. The rest of the apartment was one long space, with a tiny kitchen behind some folding doors. The room was light and airy and although it was plain, it served. At present, the room had a small sofa/bed, a small TV, and a small table with 4 chairs. The kitchen had the usual appliances, an under counter refrigerator and a microwave oven. A few pots and pans and some dishes left by the previous tenants as well as an oddly matched set of knives, spoons and forks. Its plain thought Bass, but then, what did Blume have at the Jesuit Order. The Church is not known for providing luxury accommodations for their people. Excepting of course for the higher ranking clergy Im sure they do alright. Receiving the phone call from Arpad Lep, Arpad had used a pseudo name (John Pell) not wanting Dr. Bass to feel uncomfortable or suspicious. But the strange circumstances at the hospital had Dr. Bass skeptical. Besides, why would Pell call at all? It was somewhat strange. Supposedly Blume had not had any visitors and was in a coma. Why would some stranger find it important to know about what his condition was now and whether or not his awakening from the coma brought any personality changes along with the waking up. Personality changes? Why not even he, Dr. Bass knew anything about Blumes personality and certainly, John Pell knew even less since the only time (or was it times) Pell had seen him he was in a coma. With his antennae now searching for the reasons this person was so interested was that it had something to do with Blumes invisibleness. Dr. Bass explained that although Blume was released from the hospital, he had assumed all responsibility for his recovery. Bass mentioned that if something of importance should occur with regard to Blumes health, he would be in touch. Arpad Leps phone call had been too strange for Arthur Bass. He would check further at the hospital to see whether Blume had visitors, or whether any other physicians looked in. Often, in teaching hospitals, the new Interns would be brought to visit patients and see a hands on experience with the attending doctor. His first task was to look at the after-visiting-hours sheet. There were times when special visits were permitted such as when the family of the patient lived out of town or when there were special circumstances involved. After checking all sheets on visitors, he also reviewed whether any other physician had looked in at Blume. He called the head nurses on the different shifts to ascertain whether any other physicians or people visited the patient. The only interesting fact he discovered that there were times, during the normal visiting hours when a fragrance or perfume could be detected. No one gave this any thought except one young intern nurse said that she had smelled the fragrance and that it always reminded her of her grandfather when he went to have his hair cut. She was only 4 years old at the time but the persistence of fragrances and odors colors, red, yellow and green and if you asked real hard, the morning. Then the final brushing of your neck with a very soft brush dipped in talc was the end of the haircutting session. Forget about the fact that you smelled like a whore, besides, who knew what a whore was. (Funny, he thought, I still dont know). Dr. Bass checked and then rechecked the clipboards on the end of the beds No nothing suspicious. By this time, the nurses and interns started to wonder about Dr. Bass. Why is he so interested who came to visit; what nurses looked in or what doctors were checking out anything. And

then, why was the patient released so quickly and why is the patient staying at Dr. Basss office. Dr. Bass was becoming a concern to the entire staff. Dr. Arthur Bass decided that this was too big an issue to let things slide and where a slip of the tongue would deprive him of this opportunity to become world known. He then asked and received a months leave of absence from his duties. Rounding up several of the Hospital staff, he was able to adequately cover his patients and their needs. Now he had to work in earnest to get to some of the answers. The first thing he did after settling in at the office was to have a series of tests made performed by an excellent laboratory. He would check and test every functioning part of Blume and oh yes, it was going to cost a fortune but he could do nothing without understanding the performance of all the patients organs. For his choice of Laboratory, he chose the Peralta/Molina/LaBessete lab. It was considered the best and most thorough of all the laboratories around and their thoroughness and skills were reflected in their fees they charged. The nurse was asked to take samples for all the departments; Hematology, Microbiology, Urine and Feces analysis, Hormone analysis, PSA, Parasitological tests, Clinical chemistry, Microbiology, The doctor also asked for information on skin pigment studies so that he could read about the studies. Finally, he asked for advice on any studies the Laboratory knew about on chameleons and lizards. When the lab received the various secretion samples of the patients organs they looked at the rather queer requests on chameleons and lizards, One of them quipped, I wonder why he didnt ask if the green cheese the moon is made of was Gorgonzola or Danish Blue. They all laughed but they knew that the extent of the testing that would be required would need an individual to keep the project coordinated. Everyone knew of Arpads work on chameleons and that he would be the obvious person to head the study. Arpad Leps superiors called him into the main office on that following Monday. They had him sit down and explained that they had a project that would be of interest to him. It would involve not only analysis work in the lab but also touch on some of his work with reptiles. He was told that the work would be very difficult but that they knew his abilities for dealing with difficult problems. It will require a great deal of your time and we feel that with the results of your work thus far, a small increase in salary would also accompany the work that would be required. If it is necessary, you may be required to work at the doctors clinic. Arpad was thrilled. To think that some of his original research on reptiles would finally be appreciated. When Arpad asked who the client was, he was floored. Could it be that Dr. Arthur Bass was asking him, Arpad Lep, to continue with his own studies on Ethan Blume. He thanked his lucky stars that he had not given his real name at the hospital or when he called asking about Blume. When it was time to start the work, Dr. Bass asked that Arpad sign an agreement that he was not to discuss any aspect of the work with his office or with anyone else. The work was highly secretive and Dr. Bass wanted to make sure that Arpad followed the same procedures as the nurse and Blume himself. As far as Blume was concerned, the Jesuits were only too happy to abide by secrecy agreement since they would be absolved of any expense in the treatment of one of their people.

CHAPTER FOUR Arpad Lep had no idea what he would find when he was asked to start his work in Dr. Basss office. Were his injections changing the color of Blumes skin or were the injections bringing on some secondary effects in the patient? Arpad did not have any idea what he would find and his curiosity was at peak level since there was so much secrecy involved. He figured that some observed effects had taken place to justify so many of the lab tests. Dr. Bass was literally testing the function of every organ in Blumes body. Lep had never been witness to so many intricate tests probably not even the Astronauts were tested and checked so thoroughly. When the day arrived for Arpad Lep to go to the doctors office to meet the subject, he was so excited that he could not sleep that night. He awakened at 4:00 A.M. and could not get back to sleep. Eating breakfast was impossible, Lep just wanted the time to fly so that he could make his first visit. Again he said aloud, What will I find? When he was met at the door of the doctors office, a clearly excited Dr. Bass told him to be prepared for something miraculous. Bass told Arpad to withhold his comments until Dr. Bass had outlined the results of his examinations. The patient had undergone some rare changes since he was first observed and these were the changes Dr. Bass wanted to explore first. Standing at the door that interconnected the two spaces, Dr. Bass announced that he had taken a leave of absence from the Hospital so that he could be close to the patient in case there was an emergency and that he could be reached here at the office almost 24 hours per day. Blume was sitting at the window facing the street and so he appeared in silhouette. The strong light from the window made his silhouette appear hazy and unclear. When he turned around to see who was visiting, Blume had a vague feeling that he had been in the presence of this person before but could not identify him from any time in his life. Blume simply felt that the man and himself were not total strangers to each other. Perhaps it was the fragrance, (not altogether unpleasant) that was the connection but it was something. Since Arpad was so excited, he was perspiring causing the brilliantine to be more pronounced. Dr. Bass wrinkled his nose in disgust for the fragrance was rather overwhelming, but Bass dismissed it from his mind as being too unimportant. He would talk to Lep in the morning to get him to use less brilliantine in his hair. When Dr. Bass asked Blume to turn to the right, Arpad saw that the results of his injections had made part of Blume invisible. Arpad turned toward Dr. Bass in wonder. Had this been the result of his serum? Arpad Lep had thought that possibly he would find some sort of skin change in color or texture but to find Blume partly invisible was something he could not account for. Touch his right arm, the one you cant see and tell me what you feel said Bass. Arpad cautiously reached over and felt the shape of an arm where his eyes saw none. What we are trying to determine is why only one part of his body is invisible and if or when it will return to visibility. Also, we would like to find out why and how this phenomenon took place. Your lab told me you have been working on and experimenting with color changes, especially those that take place in chameleons and other lizards. I thought that maybe there was some connection between the two or at least a place to start investigating.

Did any of the tests the lab made show any abnormal findings, asked Arpad? That the funny part responded Bass, none of the numbers were out of range of the norms, so we have to assume it is something else. Including hormonal levels asked Arpad? No, repeated Bass, That was one of the first things I thought of, and see, the line between visible flesh and unseen flesh is not straight, it moves in a seemingly, random way. One of the first things I want to investigate is the difference between the line of visible and invisible tissue. How long has this phenomena been taking place? asked Arpad. It happened from the night (the last time I checked him out) to the next morning when the nurse called me to come quick, She said the patient was out of his coma but also that there was something very strange. She didnt want to say it, but she saw that his arm was not visible and that the patients name tag was floating in the air. He continued, Im glad to have someone with me because maybe there are questions I have not asked and its always better to have someone to exchange ideas with. All that day, both men examined in minute detail every part of Blumes physiognomy pointing out anything unusual such as a blemish, or a skin tone that was different. It was Arpad who noted that in places where there was a thickening of skin tissue, that there were very slight skin tone changes, That first day for Arpad Lep was, in his mind, the most exciting day of his life. It was his serum that was causing the invisibility, he was sure of that. Now it was necessary to know how much of the serum to inject; how long it took the process to take hold and was there a way to reverse the procedure so that the person could regain visibleness. Dr. Bass said, We have had a very busy day of discovery and I am sure you would like to go home and get a good nights sleep and a rest. Come in early tomorrow and lets see if we can resolve how to start on this investigation. Arpad left the office in a state of euphoria and fear. This invisibleness was something out of fairy tales; this was not real life. But with the euphoria he also felt a strange sense of power. It was he that created this phenomenon and even though he did not set out to do something so unimaginable, it was still his. There had to be some fast thinking for Arpad. In his original contract with Peralta, Molina, LaBesette, he had to sign an agreement that any discoveries made while he was working on their projects would automatically belong to the firm. Of course, he reasoned, I would have been required to turn over the rights to the Lab but I received permission to conduct my personal experiments as long as it did not conflict or duplicate any work I was involved in for the Lab. The percentage I would receive if the experiment could be sold would have been very small. I am going to have to get a good lawyer; explain the reason I was given permission to work since I did not have the equipment to conduct experiments and see whether the lab was trying to swindle me. What had the experimenting or discovery of a chameleons color have to do with the lab experiments.? Also, I had to pay for all materials used. The lab saw that I was a good worker and so they tried to repay my efforts with the use of the lab on my own time and with my own expenses. With my letter of agreement, I have hopes that I can win that case.
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But now, with Dr. Arthur Bass, I had to sign another agreement that I could not claim any rights to the work I was contracted to do with him. I will have to think about that situation. Arpad started to feel the beginnings of a black rage coming over him and justified the feelings by saying, Besides, they are both using me. My work with either of the two is worth more that they are paying me. When the Lab said there would be a small increase in my salary, they were not exaggerating; the increase could hardly be called an increase since they agreed to have Bass pay my insurance and vacation time. Some increase that was. Anyway, everybody uses everybody else in this world. It Is only if you are the owner of the business that you get the full share of what others do for you. So Im not going to feel too badly if I look out for number one in this case me to get my share of the credit and the profit. I have also got to look at this chance with as unemotional a perspective as I can. My thinking must be objective. Now this chap Blume seems a nice enough person; he never complains, is cooperative and above all for me, is giving me the chance to work on a human being and not some lab animal where the results can only be interpreted as a possible answer and must then wait until the experiment can be tried on people. But, in order to bring my work and association with Dr. Arthur Bass to an end, I am afraid I shall have end Dr. Basss work on Bloume. Luckily, the peripheral cannula is still in his arm. There would be no sense if Bass noticed that there are arm piercings from some syringe. This project and the possibilities are too great to think in terms other than objective terms. Besides, Dr. Bass is really responsible for the safekeeping and health of Blume. Blume would have to be sacrificed at some point in the future and before Bass could get anything in writing. If there was no body, there would be no proof of anything. Having satisfied himself with the course his ethics must take, he remembered that he had neither eaten breakfast nor lunch; the excitement had been too great to think of food but he now found he was famished. He ordered an egg salad sandwich with a cup of coffee and only nibbled on the sandwich; his mind was racing ahead too fast for him to think of food. It was of course, another sleepless night for Arpad. He knew he had to be alert for the next days work but he simply could not quiet his nerves or his excitement. Finally, he took two pills and his brain did get a chance to rest, His working with Bass would only be a cover-up for his own interests in the subject. Arpad would formulate his own questions and then try to solve the problems. He knew how much, at what intervals and what the serum was that he injected in Blume so now he must test with either higher doses or more frequent doses . He would have to also evaluate how long the serum was retained by the body and whether or not any secondary or adverse effects were taking place. Yes, He would be his own guinea pig. He was also seeking answers as to how long the injections had to be given before the subjects defense system eliminated the effects of the serum. So many questions to be answered and now Arpad felt that Bass was in the way and preventing Arpads real testing. As of this time, no word leaked to any source or medical journal and it would soon be time to say something. Arpad had to prepare himself for that moment so that he did not lose out on the publicity and fame that the person reporting this strange but exciting phenomena would receive. There would be no second chances. The discoverer would be the winner, not the reason or the possible cure.

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That would come down the line after the many laboratories, medical schools or scientists could devote their time, money and resources to solve the problem. Arpad Lep decided that he could not wait longer to solve the problem. Dr. Bass was starting to panic that the word would get out and that he would be losing in the end. So. Lep felt he must increase the dosage and hope for the best. If Blume pulled through, he would at least know his doubling the serum dose was not so dangerous. At that point, Bass and Lep had only been able to observe the advance of the visible on isolated parts of the body. Of course, Bass knew nothing of the serum Blume was receiving and simply thought that whatever the cause of changing the body from solid to invisible was a thing yet to be studied and determined. Now Bass was preparing to make his disclosure to the Medical Journals. He had started to write up his findings so far and it would not be long before he would make known what he had discovered. So Arpad decided he would make himself the subject. It would mean unfortunately, that Blume would have to be wasted . Such a pity because things were starting to go along really well and because of Basss determination to be first with the news, they would lose this valuable subject. Arpad reluctantly had to apply a non detectable poison to Blumes body after which Blume simply no longer existed. This put a stop to Bass who would then have to answer questions as to why Blume was not admitted to a hospital nor were the fears that Blume could die made known. Arpad, sympathizing with Bass, hinted that perhaps they could avoid a great deal of trouble including the ousting of Bass from the medical profession for neglect of duty by having Blume cremated and stating on the death certificate that the reason for the immediate cremation was because the patient was discovered to have bacterial meningitis a highly contagious, deadly virus. Bass pondered the ethics of doing such a thing but reasoned that the death could have come at any time and that he, Bass still had many years of providing service to the sick. He agreed that there would be no mention made of the invisibleness and the body of Blume was immediately cremated so as to prevent any outbreak of his sickness spreading to the people of the city. The newspapers lauded Dr. Arthur Bass for his service to the community and his professionalism in handling the case. Note: This is a free digital edition from www.obooko.com. If you paid for this book please return to the retailer and demand a refund because this will be a pirated copy.
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CHAPTER FIVE With his services no longer needed by Dr. Bass, Arpad returned to his office to explain that the patient died and the research being provided by Dr. Bass was at an end. He was told that since Dr. Arthur Bass was paying his increase in salary and other costs such as insurance and vacation pay, the lab would have to with the prior continue with the arrangements they had with Arpad before Arpads move to Dr. Bass. Again, Arpad thought, this firm does not warrant my faithfulness or my skills. I shall make my arrangements and quit that should justify my not sharing any of my original work with the Lab. Arpad knew that he would have to make himself the subject to be treated with the serum. First, he thankfully noted that Blume had not contracted any unusual side effects, had not suffered any disorders and that his mental capacities were not affected to his knowledge. He also noted that there were no visible changes in personality except for an increase in libido and an increase in appetite. Strange, he thought, the nurse complained that the patient was often disrespectful and had made both verbal and physical advances towards her. When Dr. Bass told him that the nurse no longer wanted to work at the clinic, Arpad thought that perhaps she felt too isolated since there were no other personnel except Dr. Bass and himself. He felt reasonably sure that his experimenting on himself would not be detrimental to his health, physical or mental. Arpad also wanted to change the form of the serum from liquid to pill form. Pills would be easier to carry and administer and unlike liquids, would not require syringes or bottles. Calling his lab, Arpad indicated that he had a flu and that he would not be coming to work for at least a week or ten days. He then locked his door, placed the phone on answering machine mode and prepared for his experiment. Throwing caution to the winds, Arpad doubled the dosage that he gave Blume and waited in calmness to see what would result.. For the first two days, he only noticed a pronounced dryness in his mouth, but nothing more except an increase in appetite and a strange sensation in his groin. On the third day, he awakened after a refreshing sleep; looked in the mirror and discovered that his image was not reflected in the mirror. He had achieved the same condition as Blume but in Arpads case, his entire body was invisible. He quickly removed his pajamas and there was nothing to be seen. Arpad thought to himself, I am not going to be hasty, because this affect might change at any moment so he tried going through the day, in as normal a way as possible. His temperature was normal as was his blood pressure. He felt no discomfort but a great hunger but he decided to consume large quantities of water and to eat as much as he could. Arpad wanted to test out the bodys elimination systems and test himself for fever all of which could have an effect on general health. Arpad was anxious to go outdoors; the idea of walking around naked left him feeling giddy but it would have to be done sooner or later. He checked his anxiety because the day was rather cool and with drizzle. It would be a good test to see if rain has any effect on the system but it was also cold and
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Arpad had always been the first one to catch a cold. So, he practiced prudence and waited. He stood in front of his window facing the tiny court and tried to see if anyone was looking at his nude body. His immediate neighbor, an unwedded, unattractive female who seemed to scowl at lifes unjust treatment of her looked out but without the slightest perceived gesture that she was seeing anything unusual. Arpad was delighted because this unhappy lady would have made the loudest noises if she had seen something. Arpad was really anxious to know if he was really invisible to others. He opened his door, stepped out into the hall hoping someone would pass. He had his bathrobe draped over the railing just in case. Unfortunately, no one was around and he had to hold his anxiety until the weather was warmer and rain had stopped. He experimented in as many ways as possible. He sat in front of his computer and tried to see if he could take his picture. Only the chair was seen. Good! Then he thought seriously, what about infra red light, could I be detected with infra red? Arpad had an infrared camera that he used to see color changes in his lizards. When he turned the camera on himself, he was able to make out his image. So, the heat from his body could still be detected. I must remember that. He also had to determine if the infrared could cause de-pigmentation or in any manner have an effect on his serum. Later that evening, the drizzle had stopped and the temperatures became comfortable. Arpad was so anxious to test himself that he decided to at least go out. He would wear rubber-soled shoes, dark socks, jeans and a hooded jacket, the type used for inclement weather and gloves. He would also use a ski mask and dark glasses. This first test would only be to test his courage and his experiment. Even if you know you are invisible, the idea of going out before people without clothing is a challenge. As Arpad walked on the sidewalks, the light was just enough to be able to make out a persons silhouette. Arpad received some strange looks, not because of anything strange but because of his dress. Who needed a hooded jacket and a ski mask? But a city has all types of people and so we mainly ignore what we see as one more thing or person that makes life so strange; perhaps even interesting. Finally, Arpad had to take the bit in his mouth and test his invisibility. To do this, Arpad selected a lonely street, with only a few people traversing its length. Arpad had rolled up his clothing and was standing next to a trash basket. When the next person was approaching, he would simply stand there at the trash basket, his clothes rolled into a small bundle and if he was detected, he would run for all he was worth in a preselected route of escape. A young couple started to approach Arpad, but he stood his ground. The young couple did not even notice that Arpad was standing there, four feet away from them. The couple passed, their attentions only on each other while Arpad shivered in the cool night air. He gave an inward and silent whoop of joy, dumped his bundle in the trash basket and walked nonchalantly home. Taking the key from its hiding place, Arpad let himself in, poured a small glass of wine for himself and gave himself a mighty pat on the back. Now he thought, what are some of the things I can do without being seen. The first thing I am going to need is money and a lot of it. Where do I find great amounts of money and how do I spirit it into my hands. How about banks? he thought. They deal with a great
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amount of money ; are always filled with people and the Tellers cash is always there. Problem is that while you can get at the money, how do you move it. A stack of bills cant suddenly move across the open floor and out the door without everybody seeing it. If somehow it can be hidden until closing time, but then, the accounting of all money would reveal the cash misplaced and nobody would be able to leave until they could account for the missing cash. Each Teller would be responsible for the amount missing and the process would never end. What if you wait until the bank closes and all the Tellers have tallied up and turned in their money? You would have at least two things to take care of, (1), You would need the combination of the safe and ( 2), You would have to contend with the infra red alarm system which all banks have. Having checked out that system, the infrared would get you. ATMs? too risky and too little money. So, maybe banks are not too good a source of money, Gambling joints?? There too, infra red plus difficult to hide places for the money. Besides, you dont want to get on the wrong side of the mob. Somehow, they have a long reach and they play for keeps. How about food at the finest, most expensive restaurants. If you dont exist, they dont have a table for you and no waiter will wait on you, besides, it takes at least 2 hours for food to be digested and while that is going on, the clientele see spoons, forks and wine glasses moving on their own. Travel, now theres an idea. Book an expensive suite on a luxury liner and tour the world. Same thing, You would have to carefully sidestep every waiter and then only be able to eat mouthfuls at a time when no one was looking. Also, you would never get your bunk made up or the cabin cleaned especially if someone else was occupying it. Airlines, trains, or busses? You would never have a seat nor would you be able to get in line for the toilet. Forget it! Private automobile; maybe a great Maserati. The only thing is that when people were admiring the car and looking to see who the lucky guy was driving it, they wouldnt see anybody. They would call the police and a Maserati is too easy to spot. Maybe you should think of a Toyota. At least no one would be looking at you. At first the riddle was amusing but as he thought more, what advantages do I have being invisible became a reality. What were his advantages? He couldnt even have access to the most beautiful women. What woman would be seduced by a non-existing male? The first thing he would do though was to go to his lab; he had the keys to the door and the alarms; find his file in the main office and remove the sheet he signed giving the lab all rights to whatever discoveries he made while in the employ of the lab. The small amusing riddle of what advantages would I have being invisible started to penetrate his mind In an invidious way. He was joking around wasnt he about the difficulties he would encounter. Wasnt he? Then the reality started to move in. Right now, he thought, I would like a great, rare steak with a blue cheese dressing on my salad, a baked potato with sour cream and chives and a lovely glass of an expensive red wine. Lets see how and where I am going to get the steak. First of all, I am still invisible so even if I had the money, how
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and where am I going to get that steak? I am going to have to have more information and precise information as to how long it will take to return to my former visible state. Even with Blume, he was only partially back to his visible state and I was not able to wait long enough to observe the return. Will the return to visibility happen all at once or will it be a patch at a time? Will visibility, when it takes place suddenly reverse itself and become invisible again? Sitting down at the edge of the bed, he thought, I have a great deal of work and experimentation to do before I make any long range plans and I will need the resources of the lab to provide me with the equipment and chemicals I will need so I had better not try to quit my job just yet. As long as I can use the lab at night when nobody is there, I will at least have a place to work. A disheartened Arpad, reined in by a series of truths no longer saw himself as having conquered life and lifes problems. His immediate problem was finding out when he would return to visibility. He thought, I dont even know whether I can go shopping for food and I will soon be running out. So, from the mountaintop of arrogance and joy, to the lowest levels of wondering where and how he would be able to feed himself, Arpad, with the gift of Morpheus, slept until the next morning. Fortunately, the day was warm so he did not have to worry about being cold. He awaked very hungry and discovering that he had very little in the way of food, he decided to go out into the marketplace and eat. Hiding his key above the door frame, he swiftly moved down the stairs and fortunately avoided a very heavy resident by pressing himself in the doorframe of another apartment. Making a mental note, he thought I must gage my moves in anticipation. When he got out on the street, there was the usual Saturday bustle of people buying supplies for the coming week and a sense of freedom on having the day free from work. It seemed that it would have to be fruit that would make up his breakfast and so he sidled over to a fruit stand, pulled two bananas off a hand and threw them under the stand. He had to do this after assuring that neither the fruit stand owner nor any customers could see his quick movements. Crawling under the fruit stand, Arpad gorged down the two bananas. It was rather a painful sight here was a man who was invisible, something every person onetime wished he could be at some fantasy state of mind and here was such a man, hiding under a fruit stand eating two bananas. Arpad then had to wait until the bananas were digested so that he could continue on his way. Sitting crouched under the fruit stand and waiting for his body to digest the fruit, he thought, I was too anxious to apply the serum. I really need to prepare much better and plan for my invisible state of being. I am no better off than a dog, trying to get a few scraps of food to survive. He felt an inward tug of shame when he thought of his having to eat a half finished donut someone had left on the ground. Tonight he would have to dress with the ski mask, buy as much as he could (there was a 7-11 market that was open all night) and plan diligently and intelligently his next moves. The genius of his discovery was not going to be minimized simply because of his poor planning. The following evening, he decided to make his visit to the lab where he worked. Again, using the keys to open the doors and to disconnect the alarms, he entered. First though, he would take the agreement he signed with the lab giving them the rights to all discoveries made in the lab. After finding his file, he removed the sheet he had signed and thought, let me see what else the file folder contained.
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He read the reports submitted every six months by his superiors and was livid when he discovered that the reports of his work were solid and praised his work, but the reports also indicated that his lack of gumption and assertiveness could keep him on a minimal salary since he was not inclined to complain. He was considered an ideal employee- worked hard and long hours and did not demand compensation as other employees would. So he thought, they feel I am man without gumption in other words, an easy mark. All they had to do was throw me a few bones and I would go on working my heart out for them. Well, we shall see about that. There was a lot he could do to either destroy experiments in progress or completely create findings on some of the experiments that were false, thereby destroying their reputation as the thorough lab; the highly thought of institution in the medical field. He would deal with Peralta/Molina/LaBesette in his own time. Right now he must concentrate on his own real work. He would need to work with laboratory animals to test the length of time it took to change from visible to invisible states; then he would want to measure the time it took to return to the visible state; and further, to observe how the return took place. Did one simply go from invisible to visible or did it work in parts or patches as he felt had happened to Blume. If it were not for that fool Basss wanting to rush his name as the discoverer of the only recorded case of invisibility in living species, he could have learned a great deal and not have had to work on animals where the results could not be reliable until they were tried on human subjects such as prison volunteers who were interested in reducing their prison terms. Arpad gathered together a number of mice that were without any kinds of disease, a series of samples of chemicals (the chemicals he would take from some of the other workers so as not to put the disappearance from his supplies as a possible point of suspicion. He also gathered foods from the vending machines since he needed all the supplies he could get. He was not going to forget having to hide under the fruit stand eating bananas or the half eaten donut he was forced to eat. At 2:30 A.M. ,Arpad packed the supplies that he needed , closed the doors, set the alarms and headed for home. At that hour, very few people were about and with his hooded jacket, he could cross the street if he saw anyone up ahead of him. Locking his door, he thought, this is a good beginning. And as for the lab, I will show them some gumption on my part, little by little until I can destroy their good name and their reliability. Reading that file was a revelation for me; it makes me know how right I was in believing that everyone uses everyone for his own goals. Honor among men does not exist.
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CHAPTER SIX Surprisingly, it took about six weeks for Arpad to notice the first signs of returning to visibility; it corroborated the approximate time for Blume to start showing invisibility. He studied his notes as to dosages, times of dosage and effects and he was gratified that the six week period seemed to come up as the time needed for the serum to either work or regress. It meant that there was at least some time period that he could extrapolate; some point from which he could measure the results of his experiments. Using the mice, he was able to see results much faster and the times of being visible and invisible pretty much coincided with the mass of the mice as opposed to his mass meant that he could come within a practicable time table. One of the interesting phenomena was that the mice seemed to need much greater quantities of food. He too was always hungry so it meant that a great deal of energy was being used by being invisible. It was another point of study to find which of the organs required the extra energy. There was so much exciting work ahead he thought with pleasure. He also noticed that the fecundity of the mice increased almost 50%. While they could not see each other, they could perceive the pheromones that each emitted. Was there something in the seeing of your partner that brought the sexual urge to only 50% of its potential? That will be a pleasant item to research, he mused. Arpad was most interested to observe the manner in which the mice returned to normal. (normal being visible) He observed that mostly the changes took place in the night time when there was very little light. He recalled that with Blume, that had also been the case. It seemed that Dr. Bass saw Blume at night but it was in the morning that the nurse reported something strange had happened to the patient. What had the light to do with it all? The questions to be answered and the variety of things to be studied was a lifetimes work for more than one man. He wanted to be the man to direct those studies. Often, he would work so late that he was too tired to remove his clothing and he simply threw himself on the bed and went into an almost trancelike sleep. He would wake up famished and eat any and everything he could. He ate sugar by the teaspoon full and milk by the liter. His mice were now almost too many for his experiments and many of the mice had to be destroyed. That too was a problem, since he could not buy food for the mice at the local pet shop,(being invisible, he had to make special trips in the middle of the night to raid the lab for food for his mice. He thought, if mankind decides to go invisible, we will need to discover ways to feed ourselves or we shall simply follow Natures way and cease to be when there are too many of a species. He laughed, I can give work to many fields of study. The population experts could have real fun with that aspect. And so could plant biologists, seeking ways to feed a zealously mating population. I dont think I will be around for that study though. I wonder how they will solve that? I wonder, if this thing I discovered is going to change mankind? By and large, Arpad went along well but he still had to be very careful. It took only one mistake to destroy all he had been working. It was Like the time he went to the lab to borrow food for his mice. Being dark, he made his usual visit, avoiding anything that would give suspicion to either the lab or
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himself. After letting himself into the lab he momentarily forgot to turn off the alarm. He thought he had caught the alarm by immediately turning the alarm off and assumed it would be O.K. to enter. Since he was only going to resupply his mice, he did not take off his hooded cape or his other clothing. (He let down his caution) Leaving the lab after locking up and resetting the alarm, he was confronted by a policeman who had been alerted to the alarms silent recording. Hey you, what are you doing there asked the officer in a loud voice. The police officer had his gun out and was moving toward Arpad. They were about 75 feet away from each other. Arpad quickly reacted by throwing off his hooded cape, his shoes and his trousers. Leaving the package of mice food, he ran off a ways to see what the reaction would be. The police officer ran to where Arpad had been standing; saw the clothes bunched up on the ground and the plastic bag of mice food. He scratched his head, picked up the clothing and the mice food and kept looking around with his flash light. After a while of searching, he used his phone to call into headquarters that he had seen the perpetrator, watched him undress and then simply disappear. He reported that the stolen merchandise was food for rodents. Gathering up the clothing and the food, the officer returned to the station house to file out his report. The Sergeant on duty asked the police officer to go through the rodent food to see if the sack contained any drugs or hidden arms . The Sergeant also asked that some of the rodent food be broken up to see whether it contained Crack or other drug. When the report came in that there was nothing but rodent food and some rather ratty looking clothes, he too scratched his head and wondered why anyone would try to break in to a laboratory to steal rodent food. The next day, the event was reported to the lab about the break-In and together with the evidence of the clothing and the bag of rodent food and the case was closed with everyone except one of the owners. In trying to decipher the strangeness of the event, (he was, after all a researcher), the suspicious principal by the name of Alfredo Peralta asked whether there were any anomalies concerning the mice used in experiments and in the amounts of rodent food being consumed. He was told that there had been some mice missing, not many, maybe six or so and it was assumed they had somehow escaped and no more thought was given to the event. Upon checking of the mice food, however, there was a substantial difference in the amounts used for some short time. The principal asked that they formulate the increase in purchasing the rodent food with some approximate date. That date coincided with the time of Arpads leave of absence for sickness. Being a thorough researcher, Peralta then asked that the clothing of the thief be brought to him from which he extracted a few hairs. A DNA test was made and Alfredo Peralta now had to find something of Arpads to try to make the match. Over and over in his mind, he could not make a connection as to why the thief only took rodent food and how the thief was able to get into the premises. If it was Arpad, he thought, what are a few mice and certainly he could have purchased the food at any pet food shop. It was not a matter that the food was inexpensive, it was more, why come to the lab to steal rodent food? Peraltas suspicious nature led him to the conclusion that Arpad was working on something experimental and was trying to hide the fact that he was doing so. He, Peralta ,
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would make a call on Arpad, to see how he was feeling, etc. and that while there, he would find something of Arpads so that they could discern whether there was a match with the clothing and Arpad. Ringing the bell and knocking at the door, he finally gathered there was no one at home. Peralta decided to make inquiries at the neighboring apartments. Knocking at one of the doors, an elderly woman of about 85 years of age, cracked open her door to see who was calling at her door. She had the chain bolted to the door so that she could see since the hallway was dark . After Peralta politely begged her pardon for disturbing her, he simply had to ask after his very good friend, Arpad Lep. Peralta said that he was not at his usual job and was afraid that something might have happened to him. Peralta mentioned that he had tried ringing the bell and then knocking but all seemed silent. Did she have any knowledge as to his whereabouts or had she any idea if he was well or not. Oh that one, she whispered. He is a very strange man {not meaning any disrespect for your friend) but he has really odd hours. Hes locked in his room everyday and only seems to go out at night. And you should smell the way he keeps his apartment - it smells like a zoo. He really should get someone in to clean once in a while. You know, Im not one to complain but he even keeps his broom and trashcan in the hall and they smell too. If you are a good friend, try to make him understand that he should respect his neighbors. I am really sorry to hear that and as soon as I can contact him, I will tell him to be a little cleaner. Oh no, I wont tell him you mentioned anything but thank you for explaining everything to me. I wont disturb you anymore and please forgive my barging ahead and asking. So, thought Peralta, it smells like a zoo. I am sure its the mice making the place smell and if Arpad keeps his broom and trashcan in the hallway, Im sure I can find some hairs or something to test. Examining the broom Peralta extracted a number of strands of hair and also some white hairs. Were they the hairs of his laboratory mice or even his own? So, an angry Arpad Lep said to himself. They have the hooded cape I was wearing and Peralta will probably take a DNA test from a hair sample in the cape. And so, he wanted a verifying sample from me, here in my apartment. I wonder though, what he will find if my hair is invisible. But, he reasoned, the DNA test is chemical and so he would probably be able to make a comparison. But thank goodness for nosy neighbors, I would never have thought of the DNA. That poor fool Peralta doesnt realize it but he just signed his own death warrant. I am going to have to work fast, today is Friday; its too late to have any of the staff at the lab start the tests and since the lab is closed over the weekend, I shall have to make plans for destroying the samples and for that matter, the entire lab since it was one of my objectives after I learned how much they misused me. Just on a hunch, Peralta had sat on the staircase, wrote a short note to Arpad telling him that they knew he was the one who had broken into the lab and that he had stolen some mice and rodent food. The firm would not press charges against him but he must come in and tell the firm what his intentions were and why was he holed up like a criminal? He continued, I shall expect to hear from you in the next few days or if not, I shall press charges against you for theft. Peralta slipped the note
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under Arpads door and left satisfied that he had at least discovered who the thief was. It was the why that intrigued him. What was he hiding? Unknown to Peralta, a frightened but angry Arpad waited silently until Peralta had left. A short while later, he heard his neighbor, the 85 year old woman who lived next door open her door and then heard a knock on another apartment door. When the door to the second apartment was opened, he heard his neighbor ask. Did you hear the conversation that my neighbors friend had with me? He was looking for Mr. Lep who apparently is not at home as usual. He was a very decent, kind and respectful man; he sort of reminded me of a doctor, and he said he was worried about Mr. Lep. How the two could have been friends is beyond me but it seems that Lep (what kind of a name is that- this country is going down the drain with all these foreigners coming here) has been missing for some time. But I told him, you can bet on that, I told him that I didnt know where he was and that he left his apartment in the night and in such a mess that even in the hallway, it smelled like a barn. I told him he should tell his friend that there are other people living here. I showed him; look, he even leaves his broom, dust shovel and trash can out here in the hall and that smells even worse. Then you will never guess what he did. As he was leaving, I kept my door open a crack to be sure he left, well, he picks up that filthy broom, pulls some threads or something and places them in his clean, folded handkerchief. Wasnt that weird? And thats not all, this elegantly dressed gentleman sits on the stair landing and writes a note to Lep. I would give my new shoes to know what was in that note. Then he left. I thought you should know since you are living on the same floor and all. Arpad Lep smarted under his neighbors opinion of him and he resolved to get even with the old witch in good time. No affront would ever leave Arpads mind he had to find some form of revenge. After returning to the lab, Peralta who was by now, highly excited decide to go through Arpads file to see if he could gain any knowledge. After receiving the file from the secretary, Peralta locked himself in his office and started going through the information in the folder. There was the usual information, names, addresses, social security number, etc. and so Peralta started to read up on the general reports and comments made by himself and the other two principals. Everything seemed to be in order and just as he was about to close the file, he said aloud, Aha, where is his signed agreement stating that any experiments and conclusions made by the employee would be the exclusive property of the lab? So thats it, he is working on something that in reality belongs to us. Now we really have him, he stole the agreement. This was now a serious matter. We are not talking about a few mice and rodent feed. This may be something big. Arpad Lep made plans to go do his destructive handiwork that evening at the latest. He also had to figure whether the lab would have a chance to change the lock and the security code. Chances are they would wait until Monday and so Arpad had to act tonight. He wondered if Peralta had made his deductions to his partners or would he follow his usual inclinations of being more thorough before making any disclosures. Up to now, all the evidence had been circumstantial but it seemed so solidly grounded that Peralta would surely follow through on Monday. Arpad felt he would assume that his plan for action that very night was the correct way to go.
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First he must think of all the things he wanted to accomplish and keep his goals intact. This was not the time to be sloppy in his thinking and he must be as objective as he was when he decided to counter Basss plans to publish findings in the major medical journals. The night was pleasantly warm with just a slight breeze blowing from the West. Since it was not yet dark, Arpad would go to the Peralta/Molina/LaBesette laboratory early. He needed to ascertain the surroundings of the building more precisely; doors of access or exit and the surrounding area. The lab faced the major avenue and took up a good third of the block. On the East side of the lab facing the Avenue there was an empty lot. It was closed off by a six foot wire fence. On the North side, the lab backed onto a one story brick building that manufactured solar panels; there was a common access for delivery to both buildings. The lab had an emergency exit and was operable by a push bar from the inside since it could not be locked and was a required means of safety. It faced onto the small courtyard which was sometimes used by the lab for the storage of miscellaneous equipment. Also facing the small courtyard was a fireproof room where the lab stored its flammable materials and liquids needed for its experiments. Since the lab was a one story building, the only access to the roof was an internal stair. This access was always securely closed off and protected by an alarm. After ascertaining the situation, Arpad held his breath and disarmed the alarm. He was right he thought, they will not do anything until Monday when they can have the alarm people and the locksmiths make the changes. So, thought Arpad, I will do what I came for with a reasonable amount of freedom and most probably without interference. He felt that he could be luxuriant with his time, work efficiently and put an end to Peralta/Molina/LaBesette Laboratories in a fitting way. He would also provide himself with the untraceable poison that he used on Blume for his next assignment; the three principals of the firm. Then, he felt, he would be home free. All was to be finished this weekend. His first task was to release the caged animals that were used for experiments. Mostly they were white mice but they were small enough to scurry away. Then, he would make sure all the files were out of their cabinets and could be burned quickly. His only concern was the safe. It was too large and heavy to carry and he could not open the safe to see what it contained. Win some- lose some he thought. I can only do what I can do. Whoa, he said, there is an oxy/acetylene torch in the loading dock area. If I can use a hydraulic dolly to get the safe into the loading area, I can in all probability burn off the hinges or at any rate, burn a large enough hole in the back of the safe to bring out what is in it. I must remember to fill some buckets with water so that if the safe gets too hot, I can cool off the metal. Getting into the safe will also throw off the scent that anyone can have as to the motive of the operation. He looked longingly at the microscope he could really use that but when I am finished here, I will be able to get a dozen just like it. Thinking about the electronic microscope, and his need for the instrument, he told himself; do what you must do and do not be distracted by foolish thoughts like the one you just entertained. Be objective! He rolled the hydraulic dolly close to the safe; found two large planks and levered the safe onto the dolly. Its like taking a stroll in the park. He changed the head of the torch for the cutting head, then opened the acetylene valve with a good size flame and then gently opened the oxy head so that
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he could get the proper flame. He thought he would try to burn off the hinges first since he knew that trying to burn through the back would produce a great deal of heat and might burn whatever the safe contained. When he had heated the one hinge until it glowed a deep red, he released the oxygen control until he could see small drops of molten metal falling onto the floor. After melting off the hinges, he discovered that the safe had a series of metal tongues that fit into slots. Looking around, he found a steel crowbar that was used for unpacking the crates of equipment and supplies the laboratory used. He struggled but was finally able to open the door enough to get his hand inside. He withdrew all the papers and the contents of the safe and happily noted that there were large amounts of cash .Without examining anything further, he placed the contents in a large, black plastic bag. He would go over the contents later. Then he sought out the chemicals and poisons; selected a few dozen hypodermic syringes and the bottles of poison, these he placed with the contents of the safe in the black plastic bag. Next, he pulled the hydraulic dolly to where the greatest number of animal cages were located. He loaded as much as he could and then pulled the dolly back to the loading area where he could open the cages and release the small animals. Satisfied that everything was ready, he dollied four, fifty five gallon drums of flammable liquid and starting from the front, methodically splashed down all the ignitable materials. When he reached the loading area, he released the animals and set a flame to the materials that had been impregnated with the flammable liquids. He escaped without incidence. Since it was dark, he quickly donned the clothing and especially the shoes and made for home. The sky was bright with flame and the black smoke was darker yet. Wouldnt it have been great if this was Guy Fawkes Night, November 5, 1605, It would have been a fitting tribute, except that he got caught and I didnt. Looking back, he saw the flames going higher in the sky and then, a huge explosion where the flammable materials blew up in a blast of glory. He would always remember this night. It was his release from those who thought little enough about him to try to push his worth down so that they could pay him less. Elated, he now had the serious task of eliminating the one partner who had recommended that the lab pay him less since he was so gutless. Of the three partners, Molina had been retired and only came by the lab once in a while to show that he was still interested. Actually, Molina was more interested in playing bridge, which he did with some old friends. Arpad knew that he was not involved with the lab and felt that Peralta would not have even told him of his thoughts about the break-in. Molina was therefore not on Arpads list. LaBessete had been out of town working on obtaining a very lucrative contract and would also not be aware of Peraltas suspicions and so LaBesette was not going to be on Arpads list of people to be punished. Arpad knew where Peralta lived and more or less his habits, Peralta was the most conservative, the most arrogant and the most unlikable of the three principals. Peralta lived within walking distance of the lab (lab, he mused, you mean ashes of the lab). He would probably be there now waving his arms in frustrating attempts to direct the firefighters.

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Later that evening he would settle his final scores. And now, home to read the little tidbits the safes papers contained. When he arrived home, he could still hear the sirens of the fire trucks as they raced to put out the fire. Arpad was sure that they would be too late since he had taken every burnable item and placed them on the floor so they could have enough oxygen to burn quickly. As he passed his neighbors door, he muttered to himself, You will get whats coming to you too, dont you worry. The next morning, Arpad raced down to take one of the newspapers that was delivered each morning to another resident of the building. The headlines blared, telling of the complete destruction of the Peralta/Molina/LaBesette laboratory and how police were trying to determine what the motive was. Of course, the burned, empty safe made it appear that robbery was the motive but the fact that the entire laboratory was burned down indicated that there were some suspicions. The article also noted that one of the principals of the lab had suffered a stroke; it was assumed it was a result of the complete loss of the building and its contents. The patient had been sent to the City Hospital where he is now under treatment and care. Good, thought Arpad. At least I will not have to break into his apartment to get to him. The hospital is always open to the public. Arpad then called the hospital to ask about the patient named Alfredo Peralta. He indicated that he was a relative who had just travelled from out of town and that he wanted to send a bouquet of flowers to his uncle. Could you please give me his room number so that I can tell the florist where to deliver the flowers? Having obtained the room number, Arpad now knew where to go. Preparing his syringe and the poison he was going to inject into Peralta, Arpad walked through the mostly empty streets. He felt cold since he was walking invisibly and could not put on any clothing. Since it was dark, he could carry the hypodermic needle close to the building he was walking past. If someone came by, he could simply bend down and hide the syringe next to the building. Walking to the hospital, he located the emergency door leading from the building to the street; he hid the syringe in some bushes and promptly proceeded to enter the hospital. Walking to the exit stair, he cut the wire to the alarm and then opened the door and placed a very small block of wood to keep the door opened while doing a surveillance of the stair and the nearby elevator. Finally he climbed to the floor of Peralta. It was nighttime and after normal visiting hours so that the halls were quiet and empty. When he arrived at Peraltas floor, he hid the syringe just inside the door and went to look for the room. He was being careful not to create any situation that would have interfered with his mission. Peralta was alone in a private room. So far, so good. The lights were low and the door to his room was open; also good, since he would not want to arouse attention by a door opening and closing. Peraltas room was just in front of the Nurses Station; not so good. He would have to be extra careful. Peralta had his eyes closed, had an oxygen tube in his nose and most fortunate for Arpad, there was a peripheral cannula with an intravenous solution being dripped into his arm. Now he would not have to make a puncture with his needle. Forensics could be very observant .

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Backing out of the room, he quietly walked to the emergency stair door. He selected some places along the way to hide the syringe should someone suddenly walk by and then quickly entered Peraltas room. He removed the tube with the intravenous solution; emptied his syringe into Peraltas arm, returned the intravenous solution and then left. He had wanted Peralta to see who was doing this to him but since that was not possible, he retreated the same way as he entered. Arpad emerged from the stairway on the floor below, threw the syringe into a waste can labeled (contaminated) and then left the hospital. He could hardly suppress his anxiety to see if the morning newspaper would announce the death of the owner of the lab that had burned down the night before. Strange, thought Arpad. I didnt even feel pity for Peralta. But then, why would I, he is the one who was taking advantage of my talent and my labor. He thought he could simply use me and be free and clear of all responsibility. Im afraid we must live and learn. Back in his apartment, he went over the events of the last 24 hours to see if he had slipped up on anything that could be incriminating. He decided that he had taken the necessary precautions and could now go on with his new life. The only other little problem to settle was the one with the old witch next door. He had already formulated his plan for her. So she thinks my apartment smells like a barn. Well, lets see what she thinks after I get through with her. Arpad had decided to take his white mice; he had about 40 of them now. And since they were still invisible, they had enormous appetites and were breeding twice as fast as normal mice. Arpads thought was; he would introduce the mice into his neighbors apartment by way of the glass transom over her door and since they were still invisible, she would never see them. Then, he thought, 40 voracious mice will make a short time of any food supplies she has and with their increased breeding, she will soon be host to hundreds of white, furry creatures. That should keep her busy for a while, lets see if her apartment doesnt smell a little like a barn. Arpad would attend to his neighbor very shortly since he had decided to leave his quarters as soon as he could establish his return to visibility. Arpad now turned to the contents of the safe. There were mostly agreements with firms for services performed, results of experiments and other papers. These papers were not of interest to Arpad but there was one thing that interested him enormously; that was some neatly stacked packets of money. There was a little more than $600,000.00 dollars cash. Arpad was dizzy with delight. This amount of money would allow him to utilize his discovery of invisibleness at a leisurely pace, What a piece of luck he thought, now I can really make my plans. First though, he would take a well earned vacation. His thoughts were to take an expensive cruise, first class of course. He would buy an all new wardrobe, shoes and an expensive watch or maybe he would just liberate a Rolex on one of his invisible visits in the city. Anyway, he would be elegantly attired and even though the $600,000.00 wouldnt last forever, he was sure that he could always augment the supply of money as he needed it. There was of course the need to know with certainty, the cycle of the serum; how long it lasted and how it disappeared. He had only the example of Blume and so he could only guess what the time
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would be for a complete return to visibility. Meantime, he would make his plans. On Monday morning, Arpad took a copy of the Yellow Pages and looked up Travel Agencies and Cruises. Selecting an ad at random that didnt seem to offer too much, he called. He told the woman who picked up the phone that he was looking for a very exclusive cruise. He did not want a cruise that was offered to the general public ; one that was 12 stories high and where all the guests dressed in Hawaiian style shirts and colored shorts. He was looking for something more exclusive; a small cruise ship with an excellent cuisine, and with a passenger list of more elderly people rather than younger passengers. He indicated that cost was not a major factor and that he would require a suite, looking out on the ocean. He would be travelling alone. The cruise he wanted should last about two months and land mostly on little known ports. When you have a selection of cruises with their itineraries and prices, send them to me at the following address.Arpad gave his name, address and telephone number. In the meantime, Arpad continued with his experiments with the mice hoping to interpolate dosages to size and times in each state of being, i.e., visible and/or invisible. With the available cash, he could order food from one of the markets, have the food delivered and pay cash. Usually, he would put on a sweater, and just ask the delivery boy to put the groceries on the floor inside the door. He would then give the young man an envelope with the cost of groceries and a large tip for the delivery. Thus Arpad spent his time experimenting on his mice and being observant as to his own condition. He tried to gage his feelings as to his well being and tried to note if he felt any differences in his body. After about a week, Arpad received in the mail a large manila envelope. It was from the Cruise and Travel Agency he had called. There were so many different cruises with their ports of call that he had to get a book from the local bookstore that described the many countries, islands and exotic lands that he left off his experiments for a short while as he interestedly read the cruise ports of call and the descriptions of the ports of call. He was astounded that so many places existed, places that he had never heard of before and his excitement grew with each new land he read about. Little by little, he separated the different cruises from each other and started to focus in on the one or two that interested him most. There was one in particular that interested him. It was a cruise to Papeete, Huahine, Moorea, Raitea, Bora Bora, Christmas Island, Hawaii and San Francisco. It was for 32 days and its cost was some $28,500.00, just the amount of time and enough out of the way to not attract Mr. & Mrs. Average. Being together for 32 days was also ample time to get to know your neighbors a little better than the normal exchange of pleasantries that a shorter trip might engender. He would read up on his ports of call so that he would appear knowledgeable and interesting. The quote included a first class suite with views of the ocean. The weather would mostly be warm and so he would not have to have a change of winter and summer clothing. The trip definitely required a dinner jacket for special dinners. In reality, the trip would cost some $898.62/day. That would be enough to discourage most people who saved all year for a trip where one could gorge oneself on the very average, poorly cooked buffet offerings four or so times a day. To eat as much as they can is what really interests people ,quantity counted , not well prepared dishes.
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Actually, what Arpad had in mind was to appear as a wealthy, conservative man with time to afford to take a vacation of 32 days and sophisticated enough not to want to see Rome, Paris, London or Madrid again. Arpad wanted to meet a wealthy woman. She need not be too young or too pretty but she did need to be rich. Trying to break into the type of society in which she would usually have travelled would be almost impossible since the extremely wealthy tend to insulate themselves and are not too interested in meeting anyone outside their social circle. When and if Arpad found some suitable woman to fit his requirements, he would purchase an elegant townhouse, an expensive but not flashy automobile (say a Bentley, no Rolls Royce) and would be able to present his fianc with the most beautiful, costly jewelry (at no cost to himself of course) and, he would be very patient- No shotgun weddings. He would appear as a conservative, well bred man who needed a stable , sensible woman as a mate. To make himself more presentable, Arpad would learn to ride and play golf sufficiently well so as to appear polished. He spoke Serb (he was born there and had learned Spanish , Italian and French. He had not used French in so many years he considered that he had only a smattering of the language, but he could learn very quickly . He already was an avid reader and so he was not lacking in that discipline. It would be difficult but he felt he was a fast learner, more than sufficiently intelligent and had the dexterity to become smooth in his riding, golf and dancing and in his comportment in general. While waiting for his change back into visibility, Arpad felt that he least had a plan of action and so in addition to the experiments with the mice, he could start learning the things he wished to master. As time passed, Arpad could discern within himself a certain excitement. Not only was he elated by his discovery of the serum he used for achieving invisibleness but also felt the yearnings of starting a new life. Each morning, he would stand before the mirror in his bedroom to search for any positive signs for the normal visibility of his body. Finally, one morning, he reached out to turn off the alarm of his bedside clock and lo and behold, there was a normal, five fingered hand. His body had started to throw off the effects of the serum. During the day, Arpad kept returning to the mirror to see if anymore of his body was visible. It seemed he could not rush the situation, but at least he was returning to normalcy. Arpad made notes of any and all changes; was his appetite the same?; were there problems of elimination or any other bodily function differ?; did he feel strong, energetic; was the coloring of the hand the same as he remembered? Arpad was as thorough as a scientist should be. He noted how long he slept, what he had eaten; how were his hearing and sight; did he have any unusual cravings for food (yes) or drink (no) or sex (yes); just like his laboratory animals. His only observation that merited consideration was that he was anxious. This condition he put down to the normal feeling when anticipation was present. So yes, he was anxious. It took about two weeks for him to return to normal and then he waited for another week to be sure he was not in some stage of remission. He left the apartment more these days but always with his hooded jacket and a pocket mirror so that he could examine his face. He could now start preparing for his cruise. He located a small tailor shop in an exclusive part of town and proceeded to order six suits, three sports jackets plus eight pairs of slacks and 4 pairs of
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walking shorts. He paid 50% down and was told to come back in two weeks for fittings. Next he ordered shoes from Churchs Shoe store; both dress and casual. Nothing was to be less than the conservative styling and fit that was the earmark of Churchs shoes. Included in the order were two pairs of Chukkas. After that he went to a haberdashery shop where he selected two dozen dress shirts plus 36 neckties, neck scarves to harmonize with his sports jackets, initialed pocket handkerchiefs, one or two yachting caps and silk monogrammed underwear and various pairs of hosiery. The haberdasher said yes, he would be able to special order some Guyot braces but that they would be special ordered from France and it would probably require a few weeks for delivery. He called and obtained the name of the store carrying legitimate Louis Vuitton luggage, went there and ordered various pieces of luggage in various sizes, very discreetly initialed in gold. While he was out shopping, he thought he would visit the site where the lab used to be. Upon arriving, the area had been fenced off and all that remained were blackened concrete and bricks and charred large pieces of timber. Satisfied with his work, he bought several newspapers and walked back to his flat to read. The laboratory was totally destroyed and the motives given was a robbery. What was not understood however was why the entire laboratory was burned down. Equally confusing to the police was the fact that all the experimental animal cages appeared to have been opened allowing the animals to escape. There already was a call to the ASPCA to halt an outbreak of white mice in the surrounding area. Oh, Oh thought Arpad, that might have been a mistake. I should not have released all those animals and especially not have taken them all to the loading/unloading area. A little shaken because of his risking so much by releasing the mice he then realized that there had been some commotion by his neighbor and her call to the Health Department to exterminate rodents which she couldnt see because of her poor eyesight. But these vermin were everywhere, They had devastated her dry goods that were stored in cardboard boxes and any other food that was left out. They made her apartment smell like a barn, she said. I hope the Health Department doesnt put two and two together and determine that the escape of white mice at the lab and here could somehow be tied together. Arpad was going to have to get rid of the mice cages because they would surely tie the rodents in his neighbors apartment with him and possibly to the escape of the rodents in the lab. That night, Arpad flattened out the folding cages and took them with him to dump some distance from his apartment. He was getting too careless in his concern for the animals and for his wanting to get back at those people who criticized him. It would be difficult to ignore the temptation, since he received such satisfaction in punishing those who disagreed or criticized him. Thumbing through the obituary pages, he noted that the funeral being held for Peralta was to be postponed until the following day to allow for the arrival of his relatives from Ribera del Duero in Spain. He wondered, Should I attend, since Peralta was my boss and it might be suspicious to be

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missing. He felt it was wise to go and be seen at the funeral it would throw off any possible suspicions. At the funeral parlor, he met and commiserated with his fellow workers and then sat down while a small eulogy was pronounced by Molina, one of the partners. Arpad, uninterested looked around at the visitors and then at Peraltas family. They appeared to be quite wealthy by the appearance of their dress but not overly distraught at the death of their relative. After the funeral, Arpad walked to his apartment to think about his next steps. He wondered whether he should move to a hotel until his departure (the cruise was scheduled to leave in two months) but thought again that any kind of movement on his part might bring suspicion. Also, the costs of moving into a decent hotel might be remarked upon; there was still the question of the $600,000.00 that the partners had reported stolen. No, he decided, he would keep a low profile. During the intervening two months until the cruise departed, he went for his fittings, read up on the places he would be visiting and packing the clothes he would be taking with him on the trip. As far as the things in his apartment, he would give his clothes to some agency who would then distribute his belongings to poor men. He had very little in the way of furniture but there were some books he wanted to keep. These he boxed and had stored with a moving/storage company. He still had a great deal of work to do on his experiments but that could wait until he had a vacation. He dined at some of the more expensive restaurants, noted the wines and asked the sommelier for suggestions and advice as to what books he could find to help him learn more about fine wines. He liberally tipped the sommelier for his friendly advice and so he had a basis for another source of study and learning. He was, after all, now going to be living like an informed gentleman who had knowledge of all the finer things in life. He had to wean himself away from pizzas, hamburgers, hot dogs and fries. They were fine when he had no desire to prepare himself a meal; besides, he knew they were not the healthiest choices of food. CHAPTER SEVEN When it was time to leave for his trip, Arpad had his newly bought clothing and luggage delivered to the airport where he expected to fly to the ships point of departure. With everything taken care of, Arpad boarded the cruise liner and walked about on the deck. He was assuring himself of the layout of the cruise ship just in case a problem should arise and he had to remain hidden. Since he was not sure whether the effects of the serum might suddenly create a condition, he checked and ascertained that he would be able to have all his meals in his suite. He could not afford to go hungry. Also, he checked on hotels in the ports of call that the cruise ship would make so that he would be able to have his luggage and clothing moved to a hotel if needed. At least, he thought, I will be in a warm climate if I have to remain invisible. There were so many facets to think about and he thought, who ever thought being invisible would bring so many problems and require one to anticipate how
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he would be able to solve these problems? One other thought was that he had to decide how he would pass himself off. Research scientists were not poorly paid but they were generally employed by large companies or hospitals. He felt that he had to appear as someone who was positioned in the higher spheres of the economy. He finally decided to say that his family was connected with very small but very private banks who dealt with the super rich and powerful. He would base his banks in San Marino. In reality, part of Arpads family had lived in San Marino since the mid 1500s and they were involved in the transaction of money. A distant relative called Musetto was a Jewish money lender to the powerful. So in one respect, there was a connection with banking. The other country he would include in his familys banking interest was Andorra. Andorra and Lichtenstein however were starting to divulge banking secrecy rules. Arpad was trying to investigate whether countries like Panama could replace their banks in Andorra. He read thoroughly about the private banking business and the ways in which they operated and where the ideal locations of the banks would be. So, that would be his background. He had a series of very expensive looking cards printed so that he could introduce himself. The cards discreetly omitted addresses, telephone numbers and were only used as introductions. The passengers were starting to board at about 4:00 P.M. The weather was moderately warm and the excitement of luggage and people filling the passage ways left many of the passengers a little tired. Many opted to allow the confusion of boarding pass by simply going to the cocktail lounge and to sit, undisturbed with an afternoon drink. After the horrible first class meal served on the airline, Arpad decided he would have a healthy slice of Gascony foie gras accompanied with a still warm, freshly baked French bread and a glass of sparkling Moelleux 2001 Vouvray that would both satisfy his hunger and yet be light enough so that would be able to sleep. Not wanting to start unpacking and having to dress for dinner, he asked that the aperitif be served in his suite. After a leisurely repast of the bread and foie gras, he heaved a large sigh and decided to attend to the task of unpacking and of ordering his room. That night, Arpad slept a refreshing, deep sleep and he awakened to the slight roll of the cruise ship and the fragrance of fresh sea air. On this beautiful morning, Arpad was all set to follow his plans. Nattily dressed in a brass buttoned, blue blazer, a small patterned neckerchief, light grey slacks and white kid loafers, he decided to find his table in the dining room. Shown a two chaired table, he chose the chair facing the other diners so that he would be able to assess his new shipmates at leisure without appearing to be actually looking at them. As he scanned the various table, he noted the people occupying them and tried to establish which seemed the most friendly. He knew that very often, people with wealth are not necessarily interested in finding people to be friendly with and in fact, seem more standoffish. He also noted the makeup of the groups; couples he immediately avoided since they obviously wished to remain alone. What he looked for was a small family group with perhaps a marriageable daughter in tow. Suddenly his eyes focused on a table very close to his own and with the utmost surprise he found it was the same family that had been at the funeral of Alfredo Peralta, his ex-employer at the lab. At
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first he could not believe he was seeing the group but as he noted at the funeral, the family did not seem to be overly distressed at the death of don Alfredo. Arpad became very interested. He had heard that the Peralta family had vast acreage in Ribera del Duero in northern Spain and that they were in the wine producing business. More than that, he did not know. Arpad decided then and there that this is the family with which he would make his contacts. Rising from his chair, he headed straight for the table of Javier Peralta. Javier Peralta had inherited a large property at his 18th birthday. His father, was friendly with the owner of an adjoining vineyard and had sought the marriage of his son with the daughter of his friend Maria de los Angeles. The joining of the two properties would establish both families as the largest vineyard in Ribera del Duero. After the arrangements were made and the terms agreed upon the two were married and don Javier immediately took over the running and management of the now one large property. Don Javier was inexhaustible and worked long hours and the result was the largest producer of grapes and wine in the region. Don Javier was a shrewd, careful manager who brooked no nonsense when it came to running the vineyard. He was unrelenting and his workers all respected and feared him. Don Javier was a short man; his physique typical of the Spanish field worker; wide and on the heavy side. His legs were short and were like the stumps of two trees planted in the ground. His short legs enabled him to bend from the waist to inspect the bottoms of the vines without bending his knees and he could remain in that position for long periods of time. He used to say I do my best thinking when I am almost face to face with the soil. After guiding work in the fields, don Javier generally had a light supper and read and studied the markets as to prices for grapes; where the best yields were being harvested and the commercial market in general. He read mostly classics and was in general, highly educated. One of the impressions he enjoyed giving was that he was an uninformed farmer who loved the soil and that he was above all, a simple man with simple needs. He was delighted when the supposedly highly intelligent men tried to take advantage of his simplicity and would soon find themselves bested in the negotiations they had with him. Arpad was ignored until he came within a few feet of the table. Astonished and perhaps a little vexed that anyone would simply invade their privacy, the family all focused on this impertinent stranger. With a barely imperceptible nod of his head, Arpad addressed himself to don Javier. Please let me apologize for intruding on your privacy but I did not have the opportunity of expressing my deepest regrets to you at don Alfredos funeral. You knew my brother, don Alfredo? asked don Javier, somewhat surprised. Yes, we were working on a project together, answered Arpad. that is until his untimely death. Just as Arpad was about to retreat, don Javier got to his feet and extended his hand in greeting. Whew thought Arpad, I was afraid he was just going to let me stand there.

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Forgive me said don Javier, please let me introduce my family and myself. I am Javier Peralta Perez, this is my wife, dna.Maria del los Angeles, my sister Constancia and lastly, my daughter, Veronica. Veronica Peralta del Aribas physionomy was very similar to that of her father. She was now a 32 year old woman whose only real prospects were her fathers money. She was on the short wide side and her hips were often praised by the older people as to what an easy time she would have when she gave birth. To Veronica, however, she would have preferred to be shaped like one of the models she saw in her magazines. Veronica had a pleasant face, more on the round side than the oval and her thick chestnut hair was always pulled back in a tight ponytail. She generally wore jeans, more to hide her thick legs but also because it was more comfortable when she went riding, which she did every day. Accompanied by her two Rottweilers Carlitos and Claudia, Veronica generally rode all morning and returned in time to bathe and have lunch. In truth, Veronica liked being away from people who she felt were always criticizing her looks. In the afternoon, she studied with a private accountant to learn and to eventually take over the financial duties of the vineyard. Don Javier did not trust the divulging of his financial position of the farm to strangers. Veronica was generally under the companionship of her aunt, Coco. Since it was important that a female be accompanied by another woman, Coco was selected. Coco, whose name was Constancia, was a very thin woman of 52. Her legs seemed to be suspended from her skirt like two thin sticks; such a contrast to her brothers. She had never married and considered her companionship with Veronica a duty which she felt proud of and one in which the entire family had trust. A religious woman, she tried to instill the virtues of the Catholic teachings which had guided her life and which she was now trying to pass on to Veronica. She was steadfast in her ways and had Veronicas complete trust. There was nothing that Veronica could not tell her and know that her words would never reach other ears. Bowing slightly at the waist to each Arpad gently shook hands making sure that the handshake with Veronica was very short and barely touched her fingers. He introduced himself as Arpad Lep and presented his card to don Javier. Don Javier read the card noting how expensive the card was and how it was engraved. He also noted the Patek Philipe wrist watch Arpad was wearing. It seemed, nothing escaped him. Unless the watch was a copy, he thought, this young man has lots of money. Little did he know that Arpad fancied the watch in one of the most exclusive jewelers in New York and during one of his invisible modes, liberated the priceless wrist watch.They have many more and besides, I wonder how much profit they make on each watch or piece of jewelry they sell, he reasoned. My original choice of a Rolex is too common. Don Javier then asked, Have you had your breakfast yet, if not and please join us so that we can talk a little. Being from a farming city in the north of Spain, we usually have very simple fare, but you are welcome to join us. We generally have fresh bread, cheese, olives and some Parma ham and chorizo.
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For lunch, we have a more robust meal. But come, he said, while motioning to the waiter to bring another chair and breakfast setup to the table. Arpad was seated next to don Javier and next to him on the other side, sat Constancia called Coco. At Cocos side sat Veronica, and next to Coco sat dna. Maria del los Angeles, Veronicas mother. Since Arpad and Veronica were seated in parallel, they were not able to look at each other without being obvious and so the conversation was mainly with don Javier. Don Javier asked and Arpad answered the many friendly questions put to him. Arpad explained that the family was basically in the private banking business and had been so since the end of the mid 1500s and that Arpad was in the process of trying to establish the opening of a branch of the bank both here in Spain and in Panama. He explained that the bank in Andorra was following Lichtensteins lead and was in the process of divulging the names of private accounts to the EU banking system. Their only other bank that was operating as it had for hundreds of years was The Republic of San Marino, the small republic was located in the eastern part of Italy. Arpad indicated that the banks were very private and rather secretive and so he pointed out that the only way of contacting the banks was through his family. That is why, he smiled, my card has only my name and my cell phone number. Needless to say, don Javier was finding this young man fascinating. Meanwhile, Veronica sat tortured trying to make her presence felt. She made eyes at Coco to ask what she thought and even at her mother but there was no inkling as to what was happening, She only knew that her father was paying much more attention to Arpad than he had with any other young man before. Don Javier was too aware that there were many suitors in Spain who would have loved to marry his daughter and then live in luxury for the rest of their days. Now this young man was different. He hardly looked in Veronicas direction and the conversation was strictly with don Javier. After breakfast, don Javier suggested they take a little stroll on deck to savor the fresh sea air and to digest. He asked Veronica and Coco to join them. Seeing that she was not invited, Veronicas mother read the signs that she was not required to join the group and so after so many years of disciplined awareness of her husbands moods, she politely declined and said she had still to unpack. As the two men strolled and talked, Veronica and her Aunt Coco walked behind at a distance so that Veronica could question Coco without being overheard by her father. Coco whispered, I think your father has some plans he is hatching. If I know my brother, he is seriously considering this young man. As you know, he has never been so attentive to a young man. Do you like him? Oh yes replied Veronica, he is so handsome and he dresses so beautifully. He even has his nails manicured. Let us see said Coco, if I am not right. I can feel it in my bones. As the four were approaching an area with a few benches, don Javier said, I must sit down, I am getting too old for so much exercise. But you three must continue. I shall be going back for my
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morning siesta and I hope we shall see you for lunch don Arpad, I would like to continue our conversation. Arpad was quite pleased. He at last had an opportunity to speak to Veronica. Of course, he knew that questions must pass the litmus test of Coco and so he decided he would focus on Coco and allow her to influence Veronica. With Cocos approval, Veronica would be more likely to also approve of him. Continuing together, Arpad next to Coco and Veronica on the other side of Coco the three walked leisurely while Arpad, recalling the information about the islands spoke eloquently and with authority of the islands that they would be visiting. He explained how they were peopled by natives who had rowed their long boats from distant islands; how they navigated by the stars and by the particular taste of the sea which were part of the currents. He also talked about the people who eventually settled on the islands, the ways in which they prospered and in general, the way they lived. The women were fascinated by this wealth of knowledge and looked forward to their trip with anticipation. Arpad treated the women with the utmost respect and while his comments were in general made to Coco, he made sure that he also spoke to Veronica so that he could direct his eyes to hers. After escorting the women back to their cabin, he expressed his delight in having the chance to meet them and hoped he might have the pleasure of seeing them again. These last remarks he made looking directly at Veronica. When Arpad had at last turned to return to his suite, Veronica squeezed Cocos hand and said, He is beautiful and so intelligent and knowledgeable. Oh Coco, Pray that this is not just a dream. On the last night of the cruise, don Javier asked Arpad to join them in this last feast. He would be ordering a baby lamb to be roasted and served with the same garnishments as they had at home. I will gladly accept if you allow me to select a wine for the dinner. Fine thought don Javier, lets see what his taste is in wine. Arpad asked the sommelier to send the list of the entire stock of wines the ship carried. After studying the wine list, Arpad selected the last two bottles of Vega Sicilia- Unico of the year 1995, an excellent year. In the States, the wine sold for $445.00 per bottle if and when you could get it. He thought, that wine will knock him off his chair and the $890.00 price tag will also stagger him. But, this is our last night and if I want to make the right impression on a wine man, then it has to be the best. The lamb don Javier had special ordered was something he himself advised the chef in cooking. The lamb was a country meal but was superb. It was called Hindquarters of Baby Lamb, Provencal . It would be served with flageolet, a bean especially loved in France. With that were some sauted tomatoes and for dessert, some fruit. The wine would be Arpads surprise. Just prior to the dinner being served, the waiter brought the two bottles of Vega Sicilia Unico to the table so that they could be opened and allowed to breathe. Don Javier, anxious to see what Arpad had ordered asked to see one of the bottles. When his eyes spotted the label and the year, he rose from his chair, and shook Arpads hand and said, drinking this wine will have been worth the entire

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trip to me; but how did you find them he queried? Tell me asked don Javier, if you did not make this excellent choice of the Vega Sicilia, what wine would you have chosen? Let me think, answered Arpad. Since we were having lamb, I think I would have chosen a Leroy Musigny, maybe a 1989. For me, it has a nose that is flanked by rosemary, chervil and mint all excellent herbs and flavors for lamb. And you, don Javier, what would you have chosen as a wine? Don Javier spoke up without hesitating and said, I would have selected a Gevrey-Chambertin, 1er Cru, 2008 , Clos St. Jacque, but I shall be honest with you, I think the Musigny would have been a better choice. I must say, you know your wines for being so young a man ;it is admirable. Arpads gift of total recall did not fail him. The dinner went along with a rather boisterous don Javier speaking with enthusiasm and for him, passion. Veronica looked at her mother and at Coco with uncomprehending eyes. She thought, Is this my father I am hearing or some stranger. I have never seen or heard him so enthusiastic about anyone before. Don Javier, in a gesture of bonhomie, raised his glass and toasted the voyage, the excellent wine and Arpad, saying that this was one of the most exciting trips he had taken and hoped that the meeting with Arpad would only be the beginning. I realize that you will be travelling to Panama to investigate the possibilities of opening a new bank but you must promise that when you arrive in Madrid, you must call me so that I can show you my vineyards as my guest. Arpad countered that don Javier and his family made me feel special and part of his family, not just a single stranger. Saying this, he allowed his eyes to meet Veronicas with a pause held just a little too long not to have conveyed the meaning he hoped to communicate. Since Arpad had no intention of visiting Panama to open a branch of the non-existing bank, he decided that to be safe, he would cancel his flight to New York until the following day. He did not want to take the chance of getting on the same plane as don Javier. While in New York, he would await the change to invisibillty. In the meantime, he opened accounts with two banks that had branches in Europe. He also rented a safety deposit box in each bank both in the U.S. and in the European cities of Rome, Paris and Madrid. Depositing the remaining money into the two banks, he also put cash in each of the safety deposit boxes so that he could have ready cash. Speaking about cash, he had to think about how he could replenish his cash whenever he was in any of the countries where he had his bank accounts. He remembered too well the problems he had when he was in the invisible mode and the problem presented itself about moving about and feeding himself. His experience had been enlightening and he was reminded of the many problems and difficulties he had. Besides, he wanted to be in Madrid before any strange changes might take place concerning the serums unpredictability. One day after he had decided to retire for the night, he turned on the television for some much needed relief. It so happened that the program was showing some modern pantomime. Included was
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a small video on the performance of the French pantomime, Marcel Marceau. Watching the artist in his makeup, he wondered what he really looked like. Then the idea hit him; why not use theatre makeup and wigs to escape detection when he had to go out during his invisible mode? He would use a dark toned makeup, dark glasses, contact lenses that covered the entire eye, a wig and a hat that he could push down over his ears in the event of an accidental return to invisibility. Looking up the various theatre makeup businesses, he decided on Mehron, Inc. a makeup firm located in New York but with branches not only in the U.S. but in many of the major cities of Europe. The company had been in business since 1927, so surely they could recommend and sell him the materials he needed and instruction as to how to use the material. It took a while to experiment on the use of the face paint since he had to blend in areas as shadow and some small lines that looked natural. Also, the wig had to be something that looked normal. I shall grow my natural hair to be longer not so as to look unusual; something in the style of the Beatles hair style. Too bad but I shall have to forego my use of brilliantine but I need the hair to look more natural. When he decided to try out his success or failure, he selected a night when he could roam the very dark and lonely streets where the prostitutes worked on the West sie of New York. He parked the small, unobtrusive car he purchased, on a side street and went looking. He was in dire need of a woman and so with the requirements of testing his makeup and his needs for sex, he discovered success on both counts. He always offered the women a drink of a tainted (there was a sleeping potion mixed with the brandy) and then drove to a small room he had rented that was totally dark and private. He would tell the girl that he had to be especially careful for he was a person who was recognizable and could find himself in all sorts of trouble if it should be discovered that he was involved in an extra marital sex. He also would double the amount asked for by the prostitute and with the double fee, who needed to ask questions? Arpad was getting anxious to get back to visibility and to travel to Madrid. He was also concerned about the fact that he had no sure way of knowing when either of the two modes would come on or disappear. Of course, he could induce the invisible state but he has always to be prepared for the unexpected. He decided that since he had to wait, he might as well liberate some gifts for Veronica and the rest of the family. On his excursions, he decided on a good French watch for don Javier, remembering how he admired his watch. For Veronica, there was a magnificent necklace of emeralds just right for her dark hair and the stones were for her birth date, May. The necklace he chose to liberate had some beautiful diamonds surrounding the emeralds. For Veronicas mother, a lovely three strand necklace of matched pearls; for Coco, a magnificent gold chain necklace holding an enormous pearl. Selecting a time of day when there was the most traffic, he slipped in, (unseen of course), and patiently waited while the salesperson was showing a customer some jewels. Passing the jewels beneath the display counter, he was able to hide the jewels until the store closed. It might mean spending the night in the office where the likelihood of cameras would not be in use. The next day,
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during the heaviest traffic, he would create a diversionary disturbance so that the guard and the salespersons would direct their attention and slip out of the store with the jewels wrapped in newspaper so that small bundle looked like newspapers strewn in the street and being moved by the wind. Two days later, Arpad to his delight found himself whole and visible again. He immediately checked out of the hotel (he had already packed his bags) raced to the airport and flew first class to Madrid. Arpad contacted don Javier and informed him that he had about 3 weeks more to complete his business and told don Javier he would be ready to visit if the invitation was still open. When he finally landed in Madrid, he selected a hotel in an out of the way area where he could fade into the background, so to speak. The idea was to again become invisible so that he could increase his cash supply. Stocking up on foods that needed little refrigeration, he felt he could hold out. Now the plan was to increase his cash supply so that he would not have to worry about money when he needed it. Also, he needed to clothe himself with more formal clothes. He had a great many sports clothes but not too much as far as more formal wear. He also wanted to appear more European in dress. The serum seemed to be holding up and he noticed no changes nor did he feel anything unusual. Giving himself a minimum dose of the serum, he hoped that he could shorten his time between modes since the two to three weeks was uncomfortable as to his plans. There was no need to think further for three days after he wondered how long he would remain visible, he started to note a left foot invisible, an elbow, part of his thigh. Taking notes, he noted all that was happening concerning his starting to need an increase in food, an elevated need to satisfy his sexual requirements ,a slightly higher heart rate and a lower temperature. It took some four days to get himself in a completely invisible mode and he was glad that he had made plans about feeding himself and re-supplying himself with cash. On very dark nights, he applied his colored make-up and could venture into places that were not overly bright. He again bought an inexpensive, older model car that was in no way obtrusive a small apartment that was in a poor section of town and where he could satisfy his unusually increased need for sex and savagely rid himself of his lust. Normally this cycle lasted from two and one half to three weeks. With the decreased injections, Arpad could not be sure of the cycle. He was also aware that he must make some contact with don Javier so that he could then present his proposal to don Javier that Veronica be his wife. For Veronica, the waiting until they heard from Arpad had been an anguish of doubts that Arpad would call, or that he was seriously thinking of her. Her father, while not betraying any emotions, was also feeling a little disappointed that Arpad had not been in touch with them. It had been almost a month since they bid each other farewell in San Francisco and don Javier felt that Arpad could have at least contacted them as to how things were going with his talks in Panama. But, he decided not to stir the still waters as he watched his daughters hopes rise and fall each day.

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Veronica used her time in searching for beautiful fabrics so that she could have a new wardrobe. She started taking dancing lessons as she remembered how smooth and graceful Arpad was on the dance floor and finally, with the help of Coco, she was doing exercises to rid herself of her hips and heavy thighs. Both Carlitos and Claudia, the Rottweilers, constantly looked toward Veronica wondering when they would be resuming their daily runs in the surrounding country side. At long last, don Javier received a short but very proper letter expressing his desire to continue their friendship and indicating the success of his mission in Panama. He hoped that he would be able to see don Javier and his family and expressed his remembered pleasure on knowing the entire family. Giving his address and telephone numbers at the hotel he was staying at, he closed with hopes that he would be seeing them soon. Don Javier could not conceal his joy not only because he genuinely liked the young man but even more because he felt that Arpad would make an ideal husband for Veronica; that someone so knowledgeable about wines would be the ideal person to inherit his vineyard. That evening, don Javier gathered the family after dinner and very innocently indicated that he had a letter from that nice young man we met on the cruise. He paused, sipped his glass of wine, wiped his lips and started to go back to eating his dinner. The entire family, stopped in their tracks awaited the message don Javier had received. Don Javier, smiling inwardly wanted the news to be an even bigger joy to Veronica who he saw was sitting at the edge of her chair. Finally, with a big, pleased smile on his round face, he told of Arpads concluding his business in Panama successfully and that Arpad was now in Madrid and would like to renew his friendship with the entire family. Don Javier looked directly at Veronica when he mentioned the entire family. Veronica could no longer sit still and asked if she might be excused. Her joy was unbridled; she would explode if she could not be by herself. As she left the table, Coco was already ready to accompany her but don Javier raised his hand to halt her. He knew how important it was for Veronica to be alone to get her emotions stabilized. CHAPTER EIGHT Arpad was met at the train station at Ribera del Duero. He was appropriately and conservatively dressed and he had several Louis Vuitton cases which don Javiers man loaded in the back of the station wagon. After a more than friendly abrazo, Arpad was driven to the large holdings of don Javier. Kilometer after kilometer of grape vines (practically all of the Tempranillo variety). The day was filled with the fragrance of green and growing grape vines and the hot atmosphere was heavy with the sweet cloying breath of the vines. Don Javier pointed out his fields and the newer areas where they were experimenting with different grapes. Everything was ordered and neat. No weeds dared show their presence and this was
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due to don Javiers strictly disciplined ways of husbanding his land. There were large, open structures which held the boxes used to harvest the grapes, areas where trucks were parked, rest areas for the men and women where they ate their lunch and supper. Everything was in order and repair. Reaching the hacienda, a large, brooding structure with wide overhangs where Spanish details were everywhere. The large hacienda had one wing which was closed off. In that wing was an enormous ballroom. Crystal chandeliers, cover with large cloths to protect them from dust hung from the high ceiling. The floors were an imported African hardwood, laid in a parquet pattern. Tables and chairs were similarly covered and surrounded the dance floor. There were huge windows, the drapery, obviously stored to prevent fading and attack by insects; the moldings carved and ornate and only now seen with the drapery removed. Off to one side was an enormous , well appointed kitchen with workspace for at least 20 cooks and/or persons preparing the foods. Two large ovens could serve to cook 3 or 4 lambs at the same time while smaller, more manageable ovens were used for the baking of bread and for the general cooking. A large pantry was attached to the kitchen and when a large gathering was assembled to dance and feast, the pantry was filled with all types of foods ready for preparation. Separated from the main house, a long, enclosed corridor led to a guest house. It was neatly appointed and could house six separate guests, each with their own baths and small balconies. It was rarely used but don Javier decided that Arpad would stay in one of the suites. It would not have been correct to have a male guest in the main house, not since there was a single female living there. To don Javier, appearance was paramount. There would be no gossip or whispering among his friends that anything could ever be amiss. The days were spent with Arpad either with don Javier, who enjoyed showing and explaining the running of the vineyard or in the presence of both Veronica and Coco, who were always close by. The days turned into weeks and Arpad was getting nervous about his state of being. One night, after the family had retreated for the night, Arpad sat talking with don Javier. They were having a final drink of brandy before settling in for the night. Arpad decided he would act there and then and would announce his serious intentions for the hand of Veronica. He expressed his deep admiration for the family and the tender love he felt for Veronica. As a proof of his intentions, Arpad presented the gifts he had for the family. Laying the glittering array of jewelry and the expensive watch on a black velvet cloth, Arpad asked if don Javier would seriously consider his proposal. But you have known each other for such a short time, protested don Javier non too forcefully. In business, you never accepted an agreement at first asking. But thinking that this young man was everything he wanted in a son-in-law, he went on. I have never been one for long engagements and if the two young people felt so strongly for each other, he would acquiesce. The two agreed that they would of course have to receive Veronicas consent and if she was in agreement, the wedding could take place in three months. They would need all that time, working at full speed getting the large ballroom in shape, the foods decided upon and the inviting of all the guests. It would be an enormous
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undertaking but they would do it. The two men shook hands and don Javier gave Arpad an enormous abrazo. It was the sealing of the agreement. Giving the beautiful wrist watch to don Javier, Arpad gathered the jewelry together so that he could present them to each of the people personally. On the following morning, Sunday, the day was warm and beautiful. The sun, still not too hot had speckled sunlight and shadow over the grass and the branches of the trees and there was a soft, warm breeze. On Sunday mornings, don Javier liked to dine al fresco if the weather allowed and the fare consisted on large platters of bacon and ham, eggs, special cheese tarts, Spanish omelets, and churros. There were pots of coffee and chocolate for beverages. With the family all seated and enjoying their Sunday breakfast and with the lively talk to make their meal even more pleasant, don Javier rose from his chair. Everyone immediately stopped talking to hear what don Javier had to say. Rising as he did meant that something important would be made known. On this beautiful Sunday morning, I have the privilege of announcing that Sr. Arpad Lep has asked for the hand of Veronica in marriage. And so now, if Veronica, announces her willingness to marry, we can have a wedding, the like of which has not been seen in 50 years. The wedding will take place in 3 months from this date. And so, before saying anything more, let us hear Veronicas answer. The familys eyes shifted from don Javier to Veronica who in an excited voice said, yes, I accept your offer of marriage don Arpad. The entire family burst into an explosion of excitement with tears (of gratitude on the part of Veronica) to the tears of happiness shed by her mother and Coco. Don Javier was very pleased. And so, we must prepare the ballroom and the guest suites and all the celebration which I want to last for three days. Three months is a really short time so we must begin tomorrow. Don Javier said. The high pitched laughter and excitement had the staff wondering what the good news was and so the entire group was called to the table, glasses of champagne served to all and the fervent wishes for a long, happy and child filled home for the two. Now it was Arpads turn. Looking at the entire family and the staff, he spoke with the seriousness of manner and thanked all. To conclude, he indicated that he had some gifts for his bride to be, her mother and aunt and for don Javier as well. These gifts were to seal his love for his bride to be and her family. Approaching Veronica, he said that he was honored to be her forthcoming husband and he presented Veronica with the stunning emerald and diamond necklace. Everyone was astonished and impressed at the beautiful necklace. Arpad, standing behind Veronica, placed the fabulous jewel on Veronicas neck and closed the clasp and said that he hoped he would always be as close to her as this necklace. Everyone applauded and the women again broke out into tears of joy. Arpad then turned to face Veronica and gave her a light embrace and a gentle light kiss on her cheek. Such a gentlemen and so proper and noble they said. Veronica is truly blessed. Turning next to Veronicas mother, he promised that he would always love and protect Veronica and thanked her for the privilege of being chosen to be her husband.
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Clasping the beautiful three strand necklace of pearls, he promised loyalty to his new family till his death. Then he bowed from the waist and shook hands. Again, the group applauded and concurred that this was indeed an unusual man. Coco blushed; she had not expected to receive anything from Arpad and when he presented her with the beautiful gold chain with the enormous pearl hanging from it, Cocos eyes had tears of gratitude and love. She had never before been treated with such feeling. Arpad had just created a devoted and faithful friend. Finally, Arpad presented the very expensive wrist watch to don Javier and said that with this watch, he hoped don Javier would always have time for his new family . A fervent and strong abrazo closed the presentation. Don Javier, raised his hand to ask for quiet and said, My daughters wedding will be in three months. You are all invited to share the joy and happiness of this new family. But I must ask you all to work with us to get everything ready so that our home will be a pride to us all. The women, ever mindful of the enormous amount of preparation necessary immediately started making plans as to what must be done. Don Javier took Arpad aside and said, I am very pleased with the way you conducted yourself this morning; I know you shall be a source of pride to us all. But come, I want you to know every aspect of how we run the vineyard, for someday you will be in charge and we must assure ourselves of always having the best vineyard and the best wine that can be produced. It is not easy but I know that with your intelligence, your quick grasp and your understanding, you will succeed in everything you do. So come, we will let the women organize things for the wedding; in the meanwhile, I want you to know as much as possible. CHAPTER NINE Everyone was busy with one detail or another. With don Javier explaining, elaborating, showing and teaching Arpad, there was little time for the soon to be married couple. They saw each other at meals but not much more. Veronica was spending a great deal of time with the seamstress who would be sewing her wedding gown or she would be selecting fabrics for clothing (they had decided to have their honeymoon in Rio de Janeiro) and so there were a million things to do. Arpad was starting to feel a little nervous. He could not be sure of the serums affect on his state of being and so he thought that to make things a little more certain, he mentioned to don Javier that he would have to be taking about a month off to attend to the new bank in Panama plus having to go over the accounts of the bank in San Marino and Andorra. Also, while he had not been able to conclude any of the business in Madrid, he would still have to work on that aspect of locating a branch in Madrid.

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Veronica was not at all pleased. We have so many decisions to make and I want you to help me make these decisions. Why cant they wait until after the wedding? Arpad tried to explain that he was not the person who could make the decisions for the other people involved. He was sorry but he would need at least a month off. If he left now, he would still have about one month to work with her. Besides, what do I know about what meals to cook and decisions of that type. Surely your mother and Coco would be better equipped to advise you. Veronica complained to her father and told him of Arpads wanting to conclude some business with the banks in Panama, San Marino, Andorra and Madrid. Arpad should put those business trips off until after our wedding; will you talk to him because he just does not listen to me. Don Javier shook his head in consternation. He knew that business is business and that it must be conducted when the time is ripe. Yet, he said, I will try to talk to him but business is sometimes difficult to put off until a convenient time. Besides, why cant you communicate by email and computer? She dared to answer its not the same. How can I show him fabric samples, talk about seating arrangements and attend to the needs of the people who cant eat this or that? Please, talk to him and make him understand my position. Arpad could not be persuaded. He adamantly replied that these meetings were set up months ago. He argued that unhappily he must fulfill these obligations, Giving the address of the hotel he would be staying at and where any messages could be sent, he made ready to leave. A tearful Veronica asked that he call each day so that they could at least be in touch. Veronica explained that she did not want to be insistent but that this was her special day and she wanted everything to be perfect. The next day, Arpad was driven to Madrid to check into the hotel. CHAPTER TEN Arpad was starting to feel a chill of panic. He had been waiting for more than a week now and still there was no sign of change in appearance. The date for the wedding was starting to get too close and the frequent phone calls from Veronica who needed his advice or opinion on the many details of the wedding and reception concerned him more and more .He could sense in her voice the annoyance that he was not making more effort in the ceremony that both were supposedly sharing. Why were his meetings with the bankers so important that he could not hold off for a few days on conducting his business? Since his latest experience with the serum not responding in the ways that it had before, he wondered if there was some instability that had not shown up before. He dared not inject any more of the serum since he felt he did not have control over the serums sequence. Then too, the idea came

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into his head What happens if Veronica becomes pregnant? His experiments with the white mice had some of the litters born invisible while others were born visible. He still had so much more work to do. Would the invisible mices offspring possibly be born visible and vice versa. Maybe, I am rushing things too much with this marriage. How could I ever explain? Would they tie the white mice in the neighbors apartment with me; could I be accused of the death of Blume or even of Peralta? In panic, Arpad wondered if the best of all solutions was just to run away. He was in need of council but there was no one with whom he could share his secret. That secret; the discovery of a serum that could make a man invisible would end up not being a discovery that would astound the world but ironically would prove to be his undoing. Arpad could not think, nor could he reason; his faculties for doing so were eroded by the uncertainty of his life. A phone call from Veronicas father came and demanded an explanation as to why he was not helping Veronica with the arrangements. Veronica, he explained was extremely nervous and had been severely troubled. I am coming to visit you in Madrid so that we can talk about what is happening, I shall be there tomorrow and I shall expect you to accompany me back here for the wedding. Do you realize that I have relatives and friends coming from other countries to attend this wedding. I am afraid that I am beginning to see you in a different way a way that is not good. In the meantime, Veronicas father talked to the owner of the hotel where Arpad was staying. Questioning the owner, Don Javier asked if there were any strange happenings concerning his future son-in-law; was he acting strange or was he receiving people who looked suspicious? Of course, the hotel manager denied anything unusual except that Sr. Lep never seems to leave his room and he has his meals served each day by telling the waiter to just leave the serving cart inside the door. Since the request is not unusual many people are in bathrobes and do not wish to be disturbed. But that is all. Oh the manager remembered, Sr. Lep always says he cannot be seen at this time. Veronicas father, Don Javier asked to be admitted to the room, but was told that the hotel could not admit anyone if the occupier of the room did not wish to be disturbed. What about the maid who cleans the room he asked . She must see him when she cleans his room? Let me at least speak to her. Don Javier then met and spoke to the maid but all she could contribute was that she never saw Sr. Lep and when she knocked at the door to tell him she was coming in, she remembered him calling through the door that at the moment, he could not be seen and that she should come back in 10 minutes and let herself in to do her work. Both the hotel manager looked at each other in surprise and then Don Javier asked the maid how long had Sr. Lep been acting in this way. The maid indicated that it had been about two weeks since she saw Mr. Lep. Don Javier wanted to go to the room and asked that the hotel manager accompany him. I will get to the bottom of this nonsense at once. When the two men were outside Arpad Leps room, Don Javier rang the bell and knocked loudly on the door. No sound was heard and Don Javier demanded that the room be opened so that he

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could talk face to face with Arpad Lep. Again, the hotel manager explained that he could not enter the room without permission; he explained that the hotel could be sued. Don Javier then told the manager that he was a very close friend and supporter of the Mayor and was in fact, one of the major supporters of the Mayors campaign. I could find ways to make this hotel suffer, and I am sure you would not want that to happen, would you? Bending under the pressure of Don Javier the manager opened the door to Arpad Leps room. The only thing that could be noticed was that the suit for the wedding was laid out on the bed and was only awaiting the grooms putting them on. No one and nothing could be noticed that would indicate that the room had been occupied. On the dresser, their appeared a letter, addressed to Srta. Veronica Peralta Del Los Angeles. Don Javier opened the letter which read: My very dear Veronica, I wish I could explain the mortal pain I feel in not fulfilling our wedding plans, but matters have arisen that make that course impossible. Please know that my intentions were always honorable and that I had looked forward to our marriage in more ways than I can say. I have left some jewels that I had planned to give you on our wedding day in the hotels safe. Please accept them as part of my anguished failure to not be your husband. Please do not judge me too harshly . It is just that I cannot be seen. With devotion and the begging of your pardon, I am affectionately yours, ARPAD LEP CHAPTER ELEVEN Looking around the room, Don Javier noticed that the food cart that must have been ordered for breakfast was still in the room meaning that someone must have ordered breakfast a short time before since it was 10:00 A.M. He opened the closet door and found Arpads suits hanging in the closet. There were 5 pairs of shoes on the floor of the closet. Opening the bureau drawers, don Javier saw that shirts, underwear, socks and handkerchiefs were all orderly placed. In one of the drawers, however he noted with some interest that the contents contained a wig, a false mustache, makeup or face paints and even a set of contact lenses (the lenses covered the entire eyeball and not just the iris), lightweight cotton gloves and a woolen cap that one could push down over ones ears. In the bathroom the usual array of comb, hairbrush, toothbrush and a small bottle of brilliantine hair dressing. How strange, he thought, could Arpad be some sort of transvestite? But the false beard and mustache would dismiss that thinking. It must mean he is going about in disguise. But why does he need to go about in disguise? There were also some keys on a key ring, one obviously for an automobile and the other a typical house key. There was also a very tiny address book that contained only one entry. Listed from (1) to (7) were four symbols for chemicals or so don Javier guessed. Under,
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in a horizontal line, the same four symbols each followed by a series of dots or periods . Don Javier was truly baffled. He decided that since the string of letters was the only insertion in the small 6 x 8 cm. address book, he would take it with him to ponder its possible meaning later. He placed the small book in his pocket and turning to the hotel manager, he asked that he turn over the contents of the safety deposit box in the hotel that Arpad had said should be turned over. In the small cloth bag, don Javier emptied the contents on the bed and there was a most impressive array of jewelry; rings, unset diamonds, bracelets; all of the items were small. On one of the pieces however, a small tag listed the name of the jewelry store in New York city where the jewels were probably bought. Don Javier decided to check out the store in the hopes that some information might be forthcoming. The jewels were photographed along with the jewels Arpad had given the family and sent by email to the company asking them if they could give any information about the person who purchased the shown items. To don Javiers great surprise, he was visited the following day by members of Interpol, the international police and asked about the photographs of the jewels that were sent to the jewelry store. He was informed that the items were stolen, that there was no break-in and that the employees of the store were free from suspicion. Who, they wanted to know gave the jewels to don Javiers family and where was that person at present? Don Javier answered all the questions asked of him; he had never had any altercations with the law and did not intend to do so now. He told of how Arpad Lep, if that was really his name had worked himself into the good graces of the family and how he was now scheduled to be married to his daughter in less than a week. He mentioned that after many phone calls and pleadings of his daughter, he, don Javier decided to visit the hotel and demand to know what was going on. After telling the Interpol of the finding of the disguises and the requesting of Arpad to turn over the contents of the hotel safe to his family, he noticed the tag with the jewelry stores address in New York City and about how he photographed the pieces and sent the photos of the jewelry so that the store might give him some information of some kind about the person who bought them. Don Javier also learned that his beautiful watch was among the items missing or stolen. A watch that was so expensive was always catalogued by the manufacturer so that if any parts or repairs the place were needed, they had the full specifications at of manufacture. The contents of the hotel suite were turned over to the Interpol so that they could conduct their investigation. Don Javier did not know why he broke the law but he did not give the keys or the small book with the strange figures that were in the drawer to the police. He had an idea that he could discover some facts about the automobile through his friend the mayor. The mayor could establish the ownership of the car and the application for registration would contain the address of the automobiles owner. Don Javier was not his dead brothers brother for nothing. Both had inherited the sense of distrust in others and both had wanted to clear up any mysteries that might be overlooked by the officials.

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His luck held out; after contacting his friend the mayor, Javier, being owed a favor was successful in that he received a copy of the registration in Arpads name with the last known address. With the help of a private detective, Javier located the address and the inexpensive automobile parked nearby. Along with the support of the private detective, Arpad approached the house and Don Javier opened the door to a small, very dark, cheap room in a run down apartment building in a poor section of Madrid. The room was bare except for a bed, a chair and a small dresser. The attached bathroom was grim and dark. To don Javiers great surprise, the small dresser draw had an inordinate number of condoms and creams and what appeared to be pornographic material. What had he saved his daughter from ? he wondered, giving thanks above for his discovery. Although there was no sign of Arpad, another drawer held similar disguise items as did the hotel. What sort of madman was this Arpad? He had the gift to charm those whom he met him and the ability to hide his hideous habits. There was one other favor he needed to ask the Mayor and that was to give him information on those organizations that were making application to open a small, conservative, secretive banking institution. One that serviced few, but very wealthy clients who wished their governments were not aware of their transactions. Also, could that request be made to San Marino and Andorra? Don Javier was aware that the mayors of each locality often did favors for each other, sotto voce and allowed that one hand washes the other at the appropriate time. This information, along with the information on the automobile and the apartment, Don Javier would present to the Interpol at the appropriate time. Don Javier wanted his full revenge. Wanting to investigate even further, don Javier got in touch with his dead brothers partners, La Besette and Molina. He knew that Molina was retired and LaBesette was too old to want to reopen and organize the laboratory again. Still, he wanted to be thorough since Arpads acquaintance came through the lab. Asking about Arpad Lep, he was told that Lep was working for the lab for a number of years and was a good scientist. He was told that Lep also did some private work, using the lab facilities and equipment and chemicals which Lep paid for. In exchange for the using of the facilities, Lep would turn over any discoveries made to the lab but in recompense, would receive a percentage of the profits if the experiment was marketed. Alone, Lep would have had the difficulty of finding sponsors while the lab, with its name and prestige would be able to sell the invention . As LaBesette recalled, Lep worked exclusively for the lab with the exception of a short time when he worked with a Dr. Arthur Bass who was then working at the hospital. If I can recall, Dr. Bass was also looking for someone who had any experience working with chameleons. We at the lab laughed but we recalled that Arpad Lep was doing exactly that; working with experiments involving the chamaeleonidae family (thats lizards and chameleons you know) He was doing some experimenting with the chameleons ability to change skin colors as a means of defense against its enemies. I remember that Dr. Bass paid him and took on the responsibilities of his insurances and so forth since the lab had no idea of how long Lep would be working with Dr.Bass. The patient under Dr. Basss care who was on retreat from his duties when he was hit by a car and was unconscious. I cant exactly remember his name but I think it was Blum or Blume. If you really need
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the full name, I can have the secretary pull the file. Fortunately, after the fire destroyed all our files, we had some discs safely stored in another building so that we are able to reconstruct our business. Without those files though, we would have been hard put to remember them. Was Lep working at the lab when the fire occurred LaBesette was asked? No, he was working with Dr. Bass at that time but he still had a key to the lab since he was still working on his own experiments, LaBesette answered. The police concluded that robbery was the motive since a substantial amount was taken from our safe. There were still lots of questions though; the fire department thought it strange that there were papers and files spread all over the floor and the other odd thing was that all the experimental animal cages were moved to the shipping area which led out to the outside. It seems that all the cages had been opened and the animals released. That fact really puzzled everybody but since we had nothing to go on, the break-in was attributed to the robbery Right after the fire, there was a health department report of a white mouse population explosion in the immediate area of the lab but that died down after a short while. You know, the white mice we use in our experiments are very vulnerable to any kind of disease that normal mice are immune to. Thats why we use the white mice, they come to us almost disease resistant free. Don Javier then asked if he knew Arpad Leps address when he was working at the lab. Why yes, replied LaBesette, he was living quite close to the lab; said it made it convenient to come in and work on his private experiments. If you want, I can give you his address since I used to pass his apartment building every day as I came to work; in fact, we sometimes walked to work together. Repeating Leps address, he turned as though to end the interview but don Javier said, Just one more question, Do you have Dr. Arthur Basss phone number? LaBesette was starting feel irritated at the number of questions being asked but recollected that it was his former partners brother who was asking and simply told him, No, but I am sure you will be able to find it in the phone book, there arent too many Dr. Arthur Basses in medicine. Don Javiers next move was to go to the last address of Arpad Lep. Arriving at the building, he climbed the five stories and knocked at Leps old apartment. A young housewife appeared with a young 4 year old child holding on to her skirt. Forgive my intruding, but can you tell me where the former tenant of this apartment moved? I have some very important news to forward to him and since I am from Spain, I am not too familiar with the procedures for locating the former tenant His name was Arpad Lep. No replied the young woman, we came here from another State and dont know anyone in this city. Perhaps You could ask next door. I understand that the lady living there has been in this building for over 15 years. She should surely know something. Thanking her for her information, don Javier knocked at the door of the woman to which he was directed . That one, huh, I cant tell you where he moved but I can say good riddance. Lep was an unfriendly, uncooperative tenant who kept his apartment like a barn and it smelled like a barn too. Cages of mice or rats he had and he didnt do nothing to keep the poor creatures clean, yea I say,
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good riddance. You have no idea how many mice we had here when that Lep person lived next door; there were so many they almost ate me out of house and home. We finally had to call the Health Department and they came and exterminated the mice. And no, I dont know where he moved, I just pity the poor people who live next to him. Strange, you look a lot like another gentleman who came asking about him you could almost be twins. That was probably my older brother who died not too long ago after the fire at the laboratory. You see, Lep worked for my brother AND I thought that Lep could help by giving me some information about my brother. Poor man, Im sorry to hear about his death; he seemed like such a gentleman. I was telling the neighbor on the other side of my apartment that I had just spoken to a real gentleman and wondered how he could be a friend of Leps. That was a short time ago, just before the fire, I think. Thanking her for her help, don Javier thought, So, he was experimenting here at his apartment as well that is very interesting and with white mice, like the type LaBesette told me about with the large explosion of the rodent population near the lab. I dont know the connection but somehow I feel there is a connection. Next, thought don Javier will be Dr. Arthur Bass. Looking up his name in the phone directory, he thankfully noted that there were only two listings. He tried the first number and voila, Dr. Bass answered. Dr. Bass?, my name is Javier Peralta. I believe you knew my brother Alfredo, who was one of the principals at the Peralta/Molina/LaBesette laboratory. I was talking to Mr. LaBesette and he mentioned that some short time ago, one of the labs researchers, Arpad Lep was working with you on some experimental project. Might you be he? With the hearing of the name Arpad Lep, Dr. Bass suddenly felt a dizzy surge and a sinking feeling in his stomach. Why was someone calling me about Lep? What has he done and why am I being connected with Lep for? Dr. Bass could only make the unhappy and frightening connection as the one that concerned Ethan Blume, the seminarian who belonged to the Society of Jesus; and more importantly, the person upon whom they were investigating; the person who had parts of himself that were invisible; The person who died. Stuttering, Yes, this is Dr. Bass. How can I assist you? The matter is a little sensitive and I believe it would be better if we spoke in person. As soon as possible since I will have to be returning to Spain, where I live. Do you think you might have some free time today or tomorrow so that we can talk? Dr. Bass answered, Can you be a little more explicit in what you want to talk about, my time is very limited as you can imagine? As I said before, the subject matter is very sensitive and I feel it will be to our mutual advantage to talk in person. Dr. Bass, feeling flustered and very nervous saw that he would have to face the subject he had so dreaded to face. He could no longer keep these troubles hidden inside himself. He could not sleep, he
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was frightened, and he never felt entirely secure. Yes, he would have to face things. Lets make it tomorrow at about 4:00 P.M. I should be out of surgery about that time. Lets meet here in the hospital at my office. Don Javier arrived about15 minutes before 4:00 P.M. and reviewed the things he would ask about and even though his agenda was short, he felt he would let the conversation lead to wherever it would. At 4:00 P.M. sharp, Dr. Bass appeared. He looked troubled and agitated and don Javier judged that the talking should start gently until Dr. Bass had a chance to feel some confidence in Javier and not feel he was a foe. Walking to Dr. Basss office, the two were silent until Dr. Bass asked if don Javier would like a cup of coffee or tea. Don Javier said he would enjoy a cup of coffee and Dr. Bass asked his secretary to please bring them some coffee. Rather than sit at his desk where he could have the slight advantage of being in charge, he directed don Javier to sit on a small settee that had a small coffee table in front of it. When the men were settled, don Javier started by telling him a little bit about himself; about his business of being a vintner in Ribera del Duero and about the wedding of his daughter to Arpad Lep. He explained how he had trusted and came to like Arpad very well and also how everything changed when he learned some very disturbing news about the gifts Arpad had bought for the family. He also mentioned Arpads hesitance about returning to Ribera del Duero to finalize the arrangements with his daughter for the wedding. Don Javier never mentioned the problem of the jewels being stolen. I was forced to go to Madrid to bring him to my home so that the wedding could take place at the pre-arranged time. Don Javier explained that they had invited more than 200 guests, many of whom would stay at his guest quarters in the Hacienda. He explained that there were hundreds of gifts, sent by the well wishers and that the festivities would be lasting some three days. At the hotel where Arpad was staying, he was able to gain entrance to Arpads room and upon examining the room and the contents of the closets and dressers, he discovered that the room was being lived in but that there was no sign of Arpad Lep. He explained that Lep had left a letter, addressed to my daughter explaining that he was sorry that he could not consummate their wedding plans even though he wanted to with all his heart. Arpad mentioned that he left some jewelry in the hotel safe as a proof of his feelings. Then he ended the letter with a most peculiar sentence. He said, I simply cannot be seen. Dr. Arthur Bass winced, this was getting too close for comfort. Dr. Bass then asked if that was all don Javier wanted since he could not give any opinion as to Leps behavior. Finding a tag on a piece of the jewelry, I contacted the jewelers where I assumed he purchased the jewelry and I sent some photographs of the jewelry he presented to my family as a token of faith. My family and I met Mr. Lep on a rather expensive cruise and where Arpad Lep introduced himself to us and asked forgiveness for not extending his condolences at my brothers funeral. Since he knew my brother, I invited him to sit at our table and where he charmed the entire family with his intelligence, sense of humor and dancing skills. He also told us of his family being in the banking
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business for hundreds of years and of his holdings in San Marino, Andorra and the two other countries he was interested in forming his private banks; one in Panama and the other in Madrid. I decided to investigate some of his allegations as to his ownership and his application to form a new bank in Madrid. I have some slight political advantages in Madrid and I was able to ascertain that not only was there no record of application but that in Andorra, San Marino and Panama, there were no records either. Further, when I was examining the hotel room where Lep was staying, I discovered two keys, one of which was a car key. The other appeared to be for an apartment. There was also a very small book, similar to an address book that contained some symbols, like chemicals and a formula of some sort. However, the formula had various items that were missing from the formula. I decided to save the small book and study the matter later when I had more leisure. What made you think they were chemical notations and that there appeared to be some sort of formula, an excited Dr. Bass asked? Well, in the wine business, we do quite a bit with chemical composition and as to formulas, many wines are mixed in exact proportions to create a particular flavor, responded don Javier. Anyway, I then asked my powerful political friend if he could do me the favor of checking out anyone applying for a registration and drivers license. I reasoned that any application for an automobile registration or license would have the make and year of the car and also the address of the person requesting the registration or license. With the help of a private detective and the police on the lookout, I was able to locate both the car and the apartment. The car was very old and the apartment. The apartment was in a very poor, rundown neighborhood . Letting myself in, I found it to be a shambles, practically devoid of all amenities and furniture but having instead a room with only sex as its function. There were condoms stuffed in the drawers and sex gadgets, and pornographic literature and pictures, the like of which I neither knew about or to what end they served. I concluded that the young man was obviously sick and in need of care and right there, I said a prayer of thanks that my daughter was to be spared this terrible person. Don Javier shifted in his position and was now facing Dr. Bass almost face to face. Dr. Bass somehow felt that Don Javier was now getting ready to talk about the real reason for wanting to talk to him. This is a crafty man, planning all his moves ahead, just like in chess. I shall have to be on my toes with him thought Dr. Bass. Could you tell me what sort of experiments you were performing with Arpad Lep?. I dont mean to ask as to specifics but just in general? I remember my brothers partner at the laboratory, Mr. LaBesette mentioned that Arpad was working on chameleons and their ability to change color and fade into the background. The lab was quite excited since any discoveries made would belong to them but also, armies all over the world would be interested in such a discover. Mr. LaBesette also mentioned that you were looking for someone who was studying color changes in skin and it just so happened that you both found what you needed as an assistant. Mr. LaBesette mentioned that you had recently released a patient from the hospital and was treating him at your own private clinic. I believe he was connected to The Brothers of the Jesuit Order
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and was returned to the U.S. and was on retreat and that he was being treated first at the hospital where you worked and that he was your patient. Can you tell me what caused his death? My private detective indicated that the Department of Records has no copy of the death certificate nor on further checking does the hospital. The hospital indicated that since he died in your clinic, that you were the one who had to sign the death certificate indicating causing of death. If I am not mistaken, Ethan Blumes body was cremated the very same day because his infirmity was considered highly contagious. May I see the copy of the death certificate, Dr. Bass?asked don Javier. Arthur Bass knew that don Javier had some additional information about the death certificate and the cause of death stated on the document. Dr. Bass had been living a nightmare; not sleeping, not eating, afraid every time the phone rang and went through his mail ever on the lookout from the Department of Health or the Medical Association. He could no longer live like a criminal even though his actions had been criminal. He asked if don Javier would meet him that evening at his clinic where he treated Ethan Blume. He would turn over the death certificate even though it meant that he would probably be barred from practicing medicine and that he could be liable in the State Code on Health on criminal charges. That evening, don Javier went to Dr. Basss private clinic where he was received by a plainly discouraged and frightened Dr. Bass. After a brief exchange of pleasantries, Dr. Bass directed don Javier to a small conference room where he had already placed a folder with Ethan Blumes name. Opening the folder, he handed the death certificate to don Javier. When don Javier noted the date and cause of death, he said: You stated that the cause of death was Bacterial Meningitis which we know is a very deadly virus and yet, the date of your return to your patients at the hospital was the very next day from the date of death. Surely you violated every precaution and placed all the people with whom you were in contact in danger of death. You neither isolated yourself nor informed the Health Department or the Hospital of your diagnosis of deadly virus. To me, that was gross negligence and criminal behavior. Why and how could you do it? At this point, Dr. Bass, his head sunk between his shoulders had given up. He knew if this information was divulged, his practice of medicine for the last 45 years would be at an end. He had disgraced not only himself, and his family and friends but even his very existence. And why,? Because he saw for a moment the possibilities that he would achieve world fame and would have had honors beyond his dreams if he had been able to show himself as the discoverer of something unknown to Mankind; Invisibility. With the death of Blume, one lie compounded itself into an inextricable web of deceit and pomposity on Dr. Basss part. He finally confessed, that he was trying to decipher the reasons that Ethan Blume had parts of his anatomy that were invisible. Yes, he repeated, an Invisible Man. Can you understand what glory I would have achieved? I would have been written up in all the Medical Journals; I would have provided the first steps in a gigantic effort to establish why this phenomenon had occurred and would have given work to thousands of researchers and Universities who would all be trying to solve the riddle.
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It was the inflated sense of ego that crashed around me when Blume died. How could I turn his remains over to autopsy if I claimed on the death certificate that cause of death was Unknown? Now that you know, what will you do? Dr. Bass feebly asked don Javier. I will not or shall not advise you or even state what must now happen. I am only happy that your diagnosis was something you made up and did not expose hundreds of innocent men, women and children to the ravages of the disease. You shall have to decide your own fate. For me, it answers all of the puzzling questions I had about Arpad Lep. In one sense, I am grateful to you for sharing that information with me as to Arpad Leps involvement in the matter. I now wonder whether he had anything to do with my brothers demise. It will be a painful decision for me also. Since I would have to have his body exhumed and an autopsy performed. I will say, however, that all the events that have taken place have already taken their toll. As far as the information you shared with me, that information shall remain hidden from any inquiry since I feel your integrity as a Doctor will make you act in whatever way it must. Don Javier Peralta rose from his chair, extended his hand in friendship and left to return to his family, his vines and his country. He felt more optimistic and had a sense of wonder at how far man had come and what a fabulous potential we have in our people. All we need is to be able to guide ourselves by the rules and laws that man creates but unfortunately sometimes fails to follow. THE END San Jose, Costa Rica March 2011

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