Meet Ralph...


     “May I sit…” Ralph asked in his continued monotone and computerized voice.
     “Yeah, sure,” Steph answered quickly, gesturing to the chair across the table.  “I’m sorry to have not greeted you properly.  Yes, I’m Steph and thank you for joining me today,” she said, offering a handshake.
     “No, that’s okay…  I have a phobia of germs,” Ralph said as he pulled out the chair with leather-gloved hands and then sat down.
     For what seemed longer than the few seconds she spent staring at her next appointment, she finally blurted out the most obvious questions, “Why are you changing your voice?  And how are you doing it?”
     “I’m in disguise,” Ralph answered without blinking.
     “No kidding!” Steph forced a smile - quite sure her unease was evident to the robot-like stranger.  “But how are you changing your voice?”
     “I have a small implant underneath my skin which changes my voice,” Ralph continued in his monotone voice.
     “What do you mean underneath your skin?”
     Ralph smiled slightly while he brought his right hand up to his jawline just below his right ear and gently pinched some skin causing that particular area of his face to stretch and contort.  Then he carefully pulled the small area of pinched skin away from his face, revealing a barely noticeable edge of a mask.
     “Are you wearing a latex mask?”  Steph asked with complete surprise.
     “Yes…” Ralph answered, the smile on his face disappearing.
     “Your hair…  Is that even a real beard, then?” Steph asked.
     “Is this like all of the spy movies?”
     “Yes,” he confirmed.


Kiersten Hall