||edHelper's suggested reading level:
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||acquisition, aforementioned, aperture, chimera, conclusive, expedient, fraudulent, indebted, indebtedness, phony, pragmatic, profound, she-monster, tallish, washed-out, well-kept
||Gordon Prescott, Xylor Inc, Kimberly Zelina, Della Delaney
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By Brenda B. Covert
1 Gordon Prescott, the president of Xylor Inc., enjoyed a peculiar hobby. He collected unusual antiquities, such as mummified animals and dinosaur skulls. He experienced profound delight at each new acquisition. His inventory was impressive, but few people knew his secret. Most of the collection was locked away in an underground warehouse, while a few pieces were displayed in a secured case in his spacious office. In economical terms, Prescott's habit seemed impractical. However, he viewed it as a clever generator of income. His treasures would sell for far more than they had cost him.
2 Kimberly Zelina was Prescott's accountant. She was a little on the tallish side for a woman, and she often wore loafers to keep from towering over her employer. She knew nothing about Prescott's passion, except that it made him happy. Personally she felt that he should discard the moldy old things and deal in art instead. His persistence in pursuing rare finds gave her a headache.
3 Taking a deep breath to cleanse the nervousness from her psyche, Ms. Zelina began to repeat her concerns regarding Prescott's latest desire. "Mr. Prescott, are you sure --"
4 "Ms. Zelina, give me some credit," Prescott said with a slight hint of irritation in his voice. "I offer conclusive evidence of the chimera's existence."
5 He handed her a photograph. Supposedly it was a photo of the skeletal remains of a fire-breathing she-monster from Greek mythology. Ms. Zelina noted the lion's skull, goat's body, and serpent's tail, although the details were blurry. The photographer had shot the picture with the camera's aperture opened too long. The resulting photograph was overexposed and looked washed-out.
6 Zelina handed the photo back to Prescott. "I'm no expert, but I'm almost certain that mythological creatures never actually existed, no matter what's in this picture. I would surmise that if this were credible evidence, the photograph would enhance the details rather than conceal them." She bit her lip as she waited for his response to her criticism.
7 Suddenly the intercom buzzed, and the voice of Prescott's secretary filled the room. "Mr. Prescott, there's a Della Delaney here to see you. She says that she's an international investigator and that it's urgent that she speaks with you. What shall I do?"
8 "Give me five minutes and then show her in," Prescott said decisively. Then he arose and strode to the wall display case. He flicked off the interior light and slid the concealed doors into place. A loud click signaled that Prescott's treasures were safely locked up.
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