Climbing out of the Dodge Rigabold the pernicketness was instantly hit by the heat of the Western Australian sun, it had been warm sitting in the car without the air conditioner switched on but his internal heat management system had managed to regular his body temperature to a more normal 57 degrees Celsius.

Even in his human replica body Rigabold needed to keep his Tumcuddulan core temperature close to ideal figures. That core was about twenty degrees above what humans could manage, but the Tumcuddulan body was better designed for all conditions than the human body was. Temperature on Tumcuddula was of course measured in Celsius because it was the recognised unit of temperature throughout all universes having replaced the redundant imperial system of measurement before dinosaurs stopped walking the Earth. Rigabold pitied the poor Tumcuddulans, of which there was currently about a thousand, who were visiting the backwards countries of Earth that still used the archaic system of measurement, it was hard enough remaining inconspicuous without having to use a system that had stopped being used by the vast majority of the universe several million squeelookals earlier.

Despite his higher body temperature the heat of the Aussie sun still hit Rigabold hard, but unlike the human body it took Rigabold less time to adjust given than his core temperature sat normally at about fifteen marks over the ambient outside temperature of forty two degrees, where he stood.

By the time Rigabold got to the rear of the Dodge his internal temperature had adjusted itself sufficiently so that he would not be sweating by the time he walked across the courtyard and back into the air conditioned roadhouse. The downside of such a regulated temperature was that when he stepped into the air conditioning he would momentarily freeze but his internal heat system would fix that quickly.

There was no one at the register where one presumably paid for fuel, which suited Rigabold since he was not looking to pay for fuel of any kind, so strode back into the dining section of the roadhouse and looked for Catherine. Spotting her behind the bae marie, stocking it with more Chiko Rolls, Rigabold walked up to her.

“Hello Catherine.” he said politely. “I’m Ri..” he stopped himself before saying his full name as he normally would when introducing himself. Rigabold was confusing enough to humans but Rigabold the Pernicketness was just too hard for the most humans to comprehend. “…Rick Flair. I’m Rick Flair.” It was a name of an old American TV wrestler that Rigabold was sure Catherine wouldn’t recognise and a name he wouldn’t use again because of how silly it sounded. “I’m not sure if you remember me.”

“Of course I do Rick, I’ve just stocked up the Chiko Rolls, would you like some more?” The comment was spoken with a smile and Rigabold knew Catherine was joking and just making friendly banter.

“Well. Yes. Yes I would actually, I’d also like another one of those green…” For a second time Rigabold stopped himself before he spoke too freely. “…umm, one of those spearmint milkshakes, please.”

“Are you sure?” Catherine asked. “I was actually joking.”

“Well to be honest I did only come in here for some information but as soon as I saw those freshly cooked Chiko Rolls, well…it was so hard to resist. And those milkshakes are to die for!” Rigabold didn’t like the term ‘to die for” because it sounded silly to his Tumcuddulan mind so he hoped he was using it correctly.

Catherine laughed and said nothing about the phrase. “They are good milkshakes.” Catherine replied, “How many Chiko Rolls would you like this time?”

“All of them.” Rigabold answered, not concerned that he’d just ordered another four Chiko Rolls to go with the four he’d already eaten and the three Spring Rolls

“Are you sure? You must really be hungry!” Catherine said as she took a Chiko bag in one hand and the tongs in the other.

For Rigabold such a large order was not out of the ordinary. Tumcuddulans didn’t eat because they were hungry, they never were, they ate to fuel their bodies. They also didn’t have any concerns about cholesterol and such problems humans faced when eating fried foods so the consumption of eleven fried rolls wouldn’t have even caused a glitch in another Tumcuddulan’s thoughts, but Rigabold could see it had caused more than just a glitch in Catherine’s thought patterns.

He thought quickly about his response, he needed something that would stop Catherine having questioning thoughts. A few questioning thoughts but it only took one inquisitive mind to take those thoughts and ruin a good cover story.

“Darn kids!” he said remembering a line from an Earth book he read. “It’s all they will bloody eat when we are on the road. If you didn’t have any I’d have spent the next few hours on the road with constant whining!”

When Catherine laughed and carried on without further discussion about the food Rigabold figured he’d avoided anything too inquisitive.

When Catherine had both the food and the milkshake prepared she stepped up to the register and rang up the total Rigabold needed to pay. For a second time Rigabold reached in his pocket with some hesitation hoping that there would be money to pay for his order. Sure enough there was and as he handed the polymer notes over to Catherine he asked the question he’d come to ask in the first place.

“Where do you get that spearmint flavouring you put in the milk? Is it something you make yourself, or does it come from somewhere else?”

Catherine laughed a little laugh then said. “Oh no we don’t make it, I wouldn’t know where to start. We buy it in bulk from the same place we get all our supplies.”

“Who are these suppliers?” Rigabold asked.

“A company from Port Headland, but they don’t make it either. It comes from some place in Perth. Here look.” Catherine grabbed the big bottle of green juice that sat on the bench near the milkshake maker and showed Rigabold the label. “See here is the company’s address.”

Rigabold memorised the address instantly. “Thank you Catherine, you have been most helpful. I think I shall pay these people a visit and figure out how they make such a wonderful flavouring.”

With that Rigabold bid farewell and left the building leaving Catherine smiling and thinking fondly of such an eccentric man with such strange likes.

Previous Episode here.
First Episode here.