January 3rd Igor Frankensteen
(from the collection, Stories from The Elk Hotel)
by Bruce Thines
One of our most highly educated residents is Professor Igor Frankensteen. He taught Biology at the University of Rochester until his fall from grace. Professor Frankensteen lost his job at the UofR for his unorthodox teaching methods and failure to follow the school’s teaching curriculum. Professor Frankensteen was heavily addicted to opiates and a user of LSD. What really brought down his career was that we was recommending LSD to his students to enhance their inner consciousness to view the inner workings of the molecular world.
Professor Frankensteen came to us in October of this year, after a five year prison sentence. He was on parole, so he had to check in with his parole officer and behave himself.
Professor Frankensteen would engage me in conversation from time to time. He had told me that he studied at the University of California at Berkeley, and he studied under Dr. Timothy Leary in the sixties. He told me that he had a Doctorate in Biology, a Masters in Physics and he studied Philosophy under LSD which he said opened his mind to new possibilities. This guy also scared the shit out of me. His eyes were strange; his irises were as black as night and his pupils were small and yellow. When talking to you he would look you in the eye as if he was trying to hypnotize you. I would never look into his eyes when talking to him but would watch his mouth and look at an ear. He had invited me to his room to discuss quantum physics and inner workings of the atom but I would always refuse due to my security duties.
One of Professor Frankensteen’s frequent guests was the Indian Yoga instructor that lived on the fourth floor. His name was Chewie Yoofood. I was informed by my anonymous sources that Chewie and the Professor were using LSD while practicing Transcendental Meditation. I really didn’t care as long as they didn’t cause any problems. Whatever they did in the privacy of their rooms was their business. Hell! Seventy five percent of the tenants at the Hotel used one form of drug or another.
Chewie and Frankensteen would frequent Mr. Poo’s little shop of horrors downstairs. The two of them would come back upstairs with bags of stuff they purchased from Mr. Poo’s store. Frnakensteen and Chewie were always cooking up something in their rooms. Strange, pungent smells would drift out of their rooms.
We were having complaints of the odors coming from Frankensteen’s room. They were just awful. I knocked on his door, he opened it a crack. I said, ‘let me in, we have to talk.’ Frankensteen’s room looked like a meth lab. The first thing out of my mouth was, ‘I hope you are not doing anything illegal, because if you are I’m calling your parole officer.’ Frankensteen turned deathly pale at the mention of his parole officer. He said, ‘Oh no, Mr. Boille, nothing illegal, just a biology experiment.’ I told him he would have to end it, the odor was terrible and tenants were complaining. He said he was almost finished and that he would open his window and air the room out.
Stan Chexaboxski was working the day shift on the weekends. On Sunday, I would go down to the Security Office and have coffee with Stan. Stan told me he thought he was going crazy. That maybe it was the stress of the job that was getting to him. I asked Stan why he thought he was going crazy. Stand said he was seeing some strange things lately. I said, ‘like what?’ He said Friday night he saw something which he thought was a mouse, but it walked upright and had a human-like head. Stan said it was watching him in the Security Office and once he turned to look at it, it ran towards the basement gate and disappeared into the basement. He could not understand what was causing the hallucinations. It couldn’t be something in the water. Was it drugs or was it real, and if it was real, what did it mean?
I started checking with the fourth floor residents to see what sort of electrical appliances they were using. We already outlawed space heaters from rooms because they were a fire hazard and they caused the circuit to pop. I cam up with nothing unusual.
Harry Burger lived across the hall from Igor Frankensteen. He worked late as a bartender and would come in late, after midnight. He told me of running into Frankensteen early in the morning. Once he saw Frankensteen at the fourth floor fuse panel. Harry knew he was up to something. He looked inside Frankensteen’s room as he was entering it and said it was extremely bright, that he could make out electrical flashes like an arc welder. He also said he saw strange looking animals emerge from the professor’s room.
Ed, Pete and I had a meeting to review the facts concerning Igor Frankensteen before took any action. Pete said for Frankensteen to trip the fourth floor breaker as often as he was, he had to be using a lot of electricity. And if he was messing with the fuse box this could be a fire hazard. I had brought up the strange rodents that were being seen by more than one resident. Things were going on in Frankensteen’s room! With his background in Biology and Physics, God knows what he was creating in there. It was about time that I went upstairs and paid a visit to Chewie Yoofood. I told Chewie that Ed and I needed to talk to him down in the office.
Ed laid out the facts and our conclusions to Chewie and told him in no uncertain terms that if he did not tell us what Frankensteen was doing, he would be implicated in the same violations. Plus, Ed told Chewie we had video of him associating with a known dealer. Any arrest while being in the country on a Green Card could mean deportation, Chewie. Chewie caved. He said Frankensteen needed huge amounts of voltage for his ‘work.’ He said Frankensteen was even thinking of modifying the circuit panel so he could channel more voltage.
Ed and I went up to Frankensteen’s room. I knocked on the door, there was no reply. I knocked on the door again. Ed said, in his Darth Vader voice, ‘Open up Frankensteen, we need to talk.’ The door finally opened and there stood Frankensteen in his lab coat. He said, ‘What do you want?’ Ed handed him an eviction notice and told him that he wanted him out of the building by the end of the week. Frankensteen protested saying, ‘You can’t do this to me.’ Ed’s reply was, ‘Oh yes I can, read the notice.’
Now all we had to do is was to figure out what to do with the creatures the professor had created. I told Ed that basically they were mice, with some extra features. Ed consulted with his regular exterminator Clive, ‘the Sleaze’, Santa. This guy could kill or trap anything. When Ed told him what he would be dealing with, Clive said, ‘You got to be shitting me.’ Ed said ‘No, I’m not, this is for real.’ Clive said he would take care of the matter even if he had to shoot the bastards.
Bruce Thines is a 73-year-old retired person. He is the author of the collection, Stories from the Elk Hotel.