“My throat is in need of quenching, and I aims to ingest relinquished bicarbonate!” I yelled down the hallway. Gambit looked over his shoulder and held up his hands in an open gesture, indicating he had no idea what I was talking about... or that he was purposely trying to deceive me. Either way, my attempt to initiate a conversation by requesting a soda had failed. As a scientist, the onus was on me to discover why it had failed, and how to prevent future conversations from failing.
“You speak-a da English?” I asked, deciding that perhaps he was having difficulty following my request because we spoke different languages.
“I understood the words that you were saying, but I couldn’t connect zem together for some reason,” he said in a totally fake French accent, eying me suspiciously. “What did you say you wanted, monsieur?”
Yes, he definitely couldn’t comprehend English. Not only that, but he mistakenly assumed I was a nobleman in the service of his beloved French monarchy. It was then that I remembered that while I couldn’t speak French, I knew a little Spanish; the two languages are almost identical, as every credible linguist will tell you.
“¿Como estás?” I laughed in a friendly manner, hoping to break the tension between us. “Me llamo Enriqué Martínez.”
“The name on the envelope says ‘Gyrobo.’ And by the way, I’m from Louisiana.”
Clearly my fake Mexican name wouldn’t work on him.
“I... want... to... come up...” I waved my hands around so he would understand what verb I was talking about. “I want to come up... with you,” and I pointed at him. “I want to come up with a team name.” And I waved my arms in a circular motion. “You and me. Team.”
“I think we should call ourselves ‘Team Trireme.’ I’ve always had a fondness for zailing that the comic books never quite captured.”
“Our... team name... is a reflection...”
“We are now Team Trireme,” he said nonchalantly as he pressed our entry form against my face and filled it out. “I shall hand this to our gracious host.” Then he looked me straight in the eyes. “And if you try to change the team name I sweat I will turn your whole body into kinetic energy.”
As he scowled and walked off, I could only stare at his glowing hands in trepidation, and I spent the night wondering what it was he’d told me.