The gentleman waiting in my outer office was up to no good; I could tell it the minute I laid eyes on him. Gloria, with a now-you’re-in-for-it look, waved grandly at the fellow and said, “There’s a Mr. Volpinex here to see you, Mr. Dodge. He wanted either you or your brother Bart.”
Whoops. Mr. Volpinex had apparently been my age when he’d died, several thousand years ago, and in the depths of the pyramid been given this simulacrum of life. The ancient chemists had dyed his flesh a dark unhealthy tan, and painted his teeth with that cheap gloss white enamel used in rent-controlled apartments. His suit was surely some sort of oil by-product, and so was his smile.
“I take it,” this thing said, extending its hand, “I am addressing Mr. Arthur Dodge?”
“That’s right.” His hand was as dry as driftwood.
“I am Ernest Volpinex,” he said, and gave himself away. No real thirty-year-old would have reached into his vest pocket at that juncture and given me his card. So my first guess was right; he was the undead.