An Interview with Nancy Hulligan

an elderly woman sitting on a couch reading a book

You drive up to the address you got from the library. It’s a quaint suburban house in a run down neighborhood. Light yellow painted walls, slightly decrepit front porch. You walk up to the front door and knock.

“Hello is there a Nancy Hulligan home?” you ask.

“If you’re from the Arby’s, I already told you, I’m not selling this place. Go bother someone else!” a woman’s voice called back.

“I’m not from Arby’s, I just want answers. What happened between you and Dr. Smyth in 2009?” you ask.

There’s a pause and then footsteps up to the door. A crack and the face of Nancy Hulligan. “Dr. Elias Goodall Smyth?”

“Yes, I just quit working for him and I want answers.”

“Oh no. You better come in.”

You enter to find an old woman’s home covered in doilies in all directions. An entire cabinet of early 20th century porcelain dolls stare at you as you follow Nancy to a sitting room. You sit down on a plastic covered couch and she offers you some tea. You accept. She pours both of you some tea and sits down in her sitting chair across a dark wooden coffee table.

“What happened? You were at the top of your game back then at CLU and now, Dr. Smyth is running the show completely unchecked.”

“Well, Dr Smyth was always a peculiar fellow. He was incredibly gifted at what he did but he would come up with the most wild and unreasonable hypotheses and we would always have to tell them there was no evidence to back them up. Then sometime in the mid aughties he became obsessed with Ska music,” She explained.

“But Why?”

“I don’t know why, but the man was convinced that he was the secret love child of Jane Goodall and Cathal Joseph “Carl” Smyth who you may know as Chas Smash.”

“The English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with a career spanning more than 40 years, who came to prominence in the late 1970s as the backing vocalist, trumpet player and dancer for the English band Madness, with whom he was associated from their inception until 2014?!?”

“Yes, that Chas Smash. He thought he was ashamed of him and wanted back in his life,” Nancy confirmed. “When I told him we can’t waste research funds on exposing primates to Ska music he just told me I was anti-primatology, anti-ska, and therefore anti-Dr. Smyth. He never let it go.”

“Wow, but what happened to you?”

“He got so sick of me putting down his ideas and limiting the exposure of Chimpanzees to an inhumane amount of Ska music that he accused me of doing something absolutely unthinkable with a Baboon named Peaches. I’m sorry, it brings up too many memories, I’d rather that event just be lost to history.” Nancy’s eyes began to water.

“Wow, was he really the secret love child of Goodall and Chas Smash?” you ask.

“Who knows, it’s all hear-say, but God forbid anyone gives him access to any more Chimpanzees,” she added. “I made sure they would revoke his license when I left.”

“You mean you don’t know?”

“Know what?”

“I gotta go,” you put down your tea and head out the door. “It was very nice meeting you.”

You exit the door in a rush. If no one’s been watching Dr. Smyth and his Ska experiments were so unethical back in the aughties, how bad could they be now?

What do you do?

Give up and go back to your old job

Call the Police

Published by B McGraw

B McGraw has lived a long and successful professional life as a software developer and researcher. After completing his BS in spaghetti coding at the department of the dark arts at Cranberry Lemon in 2005 he wasted no time in getting a masters in debugging by print statement in 2008 and obtaining his PhD with research in screwing up repos on Github in 2014. That's when he could finally get paid. In 2018 B McGraw finally made the big step of defaulting on his student loans and began advancing his career by adding his name on other people's research papers after finding one grammatical mistake in the Peer Review process.

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