Code Drop: Reception by Tempo

Code Drop: Reception


24 March 2015 at 09:38:36 MDT

Code Drop: Reception
By Tempo

Some proof I haven't forgotten Code Drop in my drafting the Adaptation novel. : D

~ ~ ~

Not for the first time, Erik found himself paws-deep in a kitchen appliance.

Tess crossed her arms, leaning against the kitchen doorway. "Tell me you're not making something out of the stove."

"I'm just making it into a stove." He waved a heating element. "The burner isn't working. Could work toward a DeLorean-esque time-stove, but I'd need to strip the enamel…" His claw tapped on the olive surface.

She tensed, ears flicking up. "I'd prefer you not take my stove apart. You remember the fridge dream I told you about."

"I seem to recall you enjoyed that dream." He waggled his eyebrows her way.

The jackal rolled her eyes, unable to rein in a smile.

He shrugged. "We could call the landlord."

"The landlord's a jerk. Just use a different burner."

"But that's the good burner!" With one paw still inside the range, he opened the fridge door. "See? I can swig milk while still stirring things."

"Ugh!" Her pretty muzzle went sour. "You drink straight from the carton?"

He closed the fridge. "Name one person who drinks that milk and doesn't make out with me."


“Hanna’s my best friend.” He rolled his eyes. "She doesn't count."

She crossed her arms. "For which part?"

"The making out. She’s not very good at it." The golden gave her his dumb doggy look.

Tess's ears shot up. "What‽"

"I'm kidding; I'm kidding." Walking over, he lifted her muzzle into a kiss. "Look, I'll go talk to the jerklord."

The jackal took a moment to unfluster herself, then kissed back. "You can try, but he's just going to get his hackles up."

"Just leave it to me." The dog winked. "I'll fix this."

"You don't really need to bother." Rolling her eyes, she grabbed her keys from the hook by the door. "He's a jerk, believe me."

~ ~ ~

Erik sniffed around the building, locating the landlord in the basement hallway. The plump platypus waddled along, shaking his head at the walls and muttering. The canine watched with a head tilt. That must be how it looks when I check for secret doors in video games.

The muttering monotreme glanced askew at him, crossing his arms over his pot belly. "You need somethin'?"

"I wish I had the superpower to smell electricity." The golden offered a wag.

A clucky laugh. "That's outside my expertise, bub."

The retriever smiled. "I can only smell ionization when I've screwed up, and then it's time to take a break anyway." That purple shirt makes him look like an eggplant.

"More of a feelin' than a smell, ya know." The landlord adjusted his tool belt and drew a screwdriver from a second belt, this one on his tail. "You lookin' for one of my tenants?"

"Oh, I already found one—I moved in with my girlfriend here." He extended a paw. "Sorry I didn't introduce myself sooner. I've been calling your office for at least a month."

"I got the message, I'm sure." He unscrewed a light switch plate. "Don't wear a phone because I can't stand the buzzin' in my landing pad." A tap on his bill with the screwdriver. "Anyways, who's the lucky lady?"

"Tess Hurr."

The monotreme froze, then glanced in the direction of her apartment. "Didn't really figure you for her type." He gave Erik his undivided suspicion. "No offense."

"None taken. Neither did she." Erik decided a nervous platypus smelled like an otter. "Have you two had trouble?"

"Trouble? Yeah, that's one way of puttin' it." A quacked sigh, though he kept the venom out of his tone. "You gotta understand: a lotta tenants think, when things quit workin', it's me not doin' my job. Get upset before I even know somethin's wrong!"

"I usually get excited. I like fixing things." The dog perked with remembrance. "Oh! And our stove has a broken burner."

Another gaze of suspicion. "Did it break while you were fixin' it?"

"No." Glad I don't get asked that more often. "So Tess is one of those tenants?"

"Yeah! She throws a fit about the hot water last winter, then about the heater again a month later." He shuddered, tail wobbling. "Ugh, water heaters…"

"Cold does make her grumpy." The retriever shrugged, palms up. "I can just fix it."

"No, no. I'll do it. It's just all those electronics she has. Can hardly walk by without getting a headache." His dark eyes squeezed shut at the thought.

Thoughts percolated in the retriever’s brain. "Maybe we can both help each other…"

~ ~ ~

Smoothing a final strip of duct tape, Erik stepped back to admire the prototype. Sure, it looked like a diving helmet made of aluminum foil and chicken wire, but it had plenty of bill clearance.

Larry the Platylord surveyed the inside of the spherical care with suspicion. "You sure this’ll do it?"

“Dunno.” Erik drew his phone and waved it around the platypus’s head. "Do you still feel electricity?"

He brushed some scraps of aluminum from his gut, blinked his beady eyes, and smiled.

“Excellent!” The canine wagged. “Now for Phase Two.”

~ ~ ~

Hours passed Erik by as he and Larry emptied the apartment and drove across town to pick up as much used chicken wire as a pickup could carry. As it happened, the platypus knew a lot about Australia’s far more stringent electrical wiring standards and got excited about explaining it. Returning to the apartment, they unloaded and unrolled chicken wire rolls, then nailed them to the walls.

The retriever wagged. Hammering walls with your landlord had the advantage of him not showing up to tell you the neighbors had complained. He didn’t want to offend the neighbors, though. Maybe he should include them; the whole community could come together for an old-fashioned electromagnetic-shield raising.

Just as that thought crossed his mind, he realized they’d finished the radiological remodeling. He pulled his tongue back into his muzzle to find it tasted like plaster. Oh well. Well worth it to work on such an interesting experiment.

~ ~ ~

The jackal first caught wind of trouble as she walked in from the parking lot. Her paws wove a path through the furniture stacked across the lawn. Rolls of carpet leaned in the downstairs hallway and commotion echoed from the landlord's unit. With a deep breath, she reminded herself the situation was someone else's problem. Upon coming to her apartment, she found a note which insisted on making it her problem.

At the landlord's.
-Erik \/^_^\/

"Damn it." She growled, trudging back down the stairwell to rescue her doofus boyfriend. I told him to just leave it alone. Now he's bothering the guy while he's laying down carpet—Erik'll be lucky not to get recarpeted too. As she neared, the golden's voice bounced up the stairs. At least he's not getting yelled at.

Turning the corner, she found the retriever and the platypus, both splattered with plaster, grinning. Well, the platypus might have been grinning. Hard to tell with that bill, and with Erik opening and closing the door in front of him. Chicken wire mesh lay everywhere.

Erik's nose poked up at the air, then angled down at her. "Oh, hi!" His tail swished, billowing plaster dust.

Her gaze didn't waver from the door he kept opening and closing on her landlord. "What in the world?"

"It's a Faraday cage!" The dog hopped with pride. Dust rolled out of his entire pelt.

He seems resigned to a life of endless showers. "Couldn't you just cover his apartment in aluminum foil like a normal crazy person?"

"That wouldn't have blocked as much EM radiation." Erik pointed at the closed door. "How're you doing in there, Larry?"

"Great!" The quacky response came muffled from inside the apartment. "It's like being out in the glory of nature or somethin'! 'Cept it's my apartment."

The jackal pulled her boyfriend aside. "Are you trying to get on his good side so he'll fix the stove?"

"The stove? Oh, we fixed that hours ago." His tail scattered dust back and forth. "This part was my idea."

"Of course it was." She brushed a bit of dust from her eye. "I should've known the landlord wasn't into mad science."

The golden beamed, standing a little straighter. "Not everyone can be."

The jackal poked a curl of chicken wire with one shoe. "Where'd you even find this stuff?"

"Parade float graveyard."

Her ears popped up. "What?"

"What?" He stooped, grabbed a pawful of dried flowers from the trail in the hall, and handed them to her. "I dare you to prove that's not a thing."

Flummoxed, she opened the door to see layers of thin mesh stapled to the ceiling, walls, and floor. A bin of fresh plaster sat waiting to hide the metallic chaos webbing the walls. The platypus lay on the wire-strewn concrete, perfect serenity across his bill.

Erik grinned, wagging. "If you’re not busy, we could plaster together as a bonding activity."

The jackal sighed. "Alright. Let me get changed and I'll help you guys."

~ ~ ~

This story was inspired when I read about how platypi in zoos have to be shielded from EM radiation, since that's how they track their prey through muddy water in the wild.

This story was brought to you by my generous Patreon sponsors.

Edits: Carlminez, Eljot001, Slate, Sillyneko, Anakuro, Archaesophilia

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Submission Information

Visual / Other