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Fulfillment of a long time fantasy.

Since she had joined the police department, the percentage of unresolved cases had dropped nearly in half.

That also meant, however, that now that Crystal had turned her attention to my always-gloved hands, I was essentially forced to show her why my hands were always covered with black leather.

"I'm more than willing to show you," I acknowledged, "but this is definitely not the right place to do that. We definitely need someplace private." She seemed a little skeptical, but I was not surprised -- in her position, I would be skeptical as well. "Unless you have other plans, why don't you drop by my place sometime this afternoon. Just come on in -- you have the key."

Crystal would look after my fish when I was traveling on business, so I had no qualms about her coming and going, and she knew that. "Okay," she finally agreed. "My niece's birthday party should end around 4PM, so I'll be there afterward."

"Sounds good." I smiled, trying to reassure her, but I do not believe that it worked.


Crystal wasted no time when she arrived. "Okay, I'm here. Show me."

Her straightforwardness was not entirely surprising, but I was still taken aback somewhat. Nonetheless, I had her sit at the dining room table, and I stood beside her, purposely taking off the gloves.

I knew that Crystal was deathly afraid of tornadoes. She had grown up in Oklahoma, and twice the family home was severely damaged by tornadoes, and her father had lost his auto repair shop due to yet another tornado. Just the mere mention of the word "tornado" would have her visibly shaking with fear unmistakable in her eyes.

Tornadoes were thus the perfect way to show her why my hands were always covered when I was around other people.

Compared to the rest of my summer-tanned body, my hands were incredibly pale in comparison. I suppose one could say I had the hands of a vampire. My friend gasped aloud at the striking contrast between hands and arms.

"This is what happens when wearing gloves 24/7 for almost one's entire life," I explained.

The look in Crystal's eyes was a mixture of disbelief and pity. She clearly had not considered how a prolonged lack of sunlight would affect the hands -- none of the few people who had seen my hands had ever considered it beforehand.

"Now," I said, then paused to take a deep breath before continuing. "Now, I want you to think about something. Tornadoes." As expected, she shuddered visibly, trembling with fear, her eyes widening with such prevalent, negative memories from her time living in Oklahoma.

"Mint chocolate chip ice cream," I said, and she almost instantly calmed and stilled, a slight smile upon her face at hearing the name of her favorite flavor of ice cream.

"Just sit still..." I instructed her, and Crystal looked up at me a little nervously as my too-pale hands approached her. In retrospect, I suppose that it looked like I was doing a mind meld like what has been shown on Star Trek, but at that moment, I was focused solely on what I was about to do to a good friend.

My fingertips pressed to her forehead and down her cheeks, I thought to Crystal: You will never be afraid of tornadoes again. In fact, when you hear anything about tornadoes, especially really large powerful tornadoes in the EF4 or EF5 range, you will actually smile slightly, for now you love tornadoes and you think they're beautiful.

After a few moments, I withdrew my hands, and as my friend watched, I donned the gloves anew.

"What did you just do?" she asked. "I didn't feel or sense anything."

"Tornado," I said flatly, and her lips curled slightly upward. "That is what I did," I replied.

"I don't understand," Crystal lamented.

"Tell me what you think of tornadoes," I prompted her.

"Well... They're a powerful force of nature, beautiful in a rather freaky way. The larger and stronger they are, the better -- at least in my opinion."

"And the damage to your family home when you were younger and the loss of your father's business?"

"An inherent risk in living in Tornado Alley," she replied, her tone

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