In the center of the room sat a large vat of melting lard, its smell reminded Darlene of afternoons eating French fries. A red-painted chain hung from a ceiling crane and ended in a large hook that hovered over the vat.
“I don’t suppose I will be able to convince you not to lower me into this here vat?” Darlene asked.
Her captor pushed her forward toward two guards armed with pikes. A third guard pressed a red button on the crane control, and the hook began dropping toward the vat. When it was almost touching the lard, the guard gave the hook a yank, and the arm holding it swung out until the hook rested near the ground.
“Lard, sweet Darlene,” the evil professor began, “is what is in, as you put, ‘this here vat.’ Lard, as you will soon find, has a very high boiling point and produces little in the way of smoke while cooking. It is ideal for cooking the human flesh for that reason. When I’ve tried to fry people in other liquids, the smoke and scents have been awful. Lard produces what most consider a pleasant scent while cooking. Now, for you, since you’ve been such a wonderful student, I’ve developed a bit of a surprise. Instead of dropping you in boiling lard, I will warm up the lard while you bask in it, similar to the lobster dipped into water that is not yet boiling. The lard is now at a comfortable eighty degrees, hot enough to melt, but not hot enough to cook human flesh. Once lowered into the vat...”
“Uh, professor,” Darlene interrupted, raising her hands, which the professor had tied with thick rope.
“Yes, sweet Darlene?”
“What I’d like to know, before you continue, if that is okay with you, since I know this is the part of your speech where you begin to explain the intimate details of my death and everything—where was I? I hate when I start talking and forget where I was heading, oh, yes, the lard. You were talking about the boiling point of lard. What is it?”
The professor was a small man with a large amount of flesh on his body. His wore small, concave spectacles, which enlarged his eyes to almost three times their size. He didn’t have the classic evil laugh, instead going with a gurgling chuckle. “That is an excellent question, sweet Darlene. You were always a good student, have I told you that yet? The boiling point of lard, that is, the point at which it begins to bubble is three-hundred forty degrees Fahrenheit.”
...[discussion of the politics in the dept. of evil]
“You seem well informed for a graduate student in evil studies,” the evil professor said.
“You’d be surprised how well-informed the graduate students are. Not that we would think to usurp the faculty.”
“We wouldn’t think of it.”
“That would be evil,” the evil professor said with a grin.
“Very. But this isn’t about our evil plans, but yours. Do you mind if I ask questions as you go along with your plot? I’m very interested in using this as a learning experience.”
The evil professor pushed his index finger into the bottom of his chin. “I’m not sure how useful this will be as a case study, seeing how at the end there won’t be much left of you, but I’m sure you know what they say about me.”
“That you’re an intolerable bore?”
“No, not that one.”
“That the hairs on your palm outnumber those on your head?”
“Now that one hurts,” the evil professor said. “They say, and I’ve heard this even from freshman in the evil survey class, they say that I never miss an opportunity to edify. So, please, do ask away. I’ll be happy to expound on my thoughts and planning.”
“These henchman, how did you find...
Darlene—rest of the evil faculty. What would they think of him? Methodology.