The Stoner Boys got stoned in Stoner Woods, and that was all that anybody figured they would ever do — including the Stoner Boys.
Missy Churmblo would become a psychologist, Joe Maglietti would take over his father’s construction business, and the Stoner Boys would smoke dope in Stoner Woods. Maybe they’d get some poor girl knocked up, work menial jobs, and do a little jail time, just like all the other white trash kids from the Sunset Trailer Park. Not much else was likely to come of them, though.
No, the truth wasn’t pretty, but it was the natural progression…
Read: Part 1
The boys expected to find the hospital in chaos, with nurses and doctors rushing frantically around Grady. Instead, they walked into sterile white indifference. Grady, pale but otherwise looking the same as always, smiled at them from his bed.
Grady’s mother was there too, her enormous girth swallowing the chair beneath her as she held her son’s hand. She turned to smile at the boys, tears glimmering in her eyes.
“I knew you’d be here,” she said. “Such good friends.”
The boys squirmed, awkwardly picking at their clothes or running hands through their hair. Compliments were foreign…
12:05 AM, January 1, 1967.
Lower Haight neighborhood, San Francisco, California.
The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” emanates from a dilapidated house on an otherwise quiet street. The house’s windows glow with soft orange light. Darkness bathes the front porch. A match flame pops into life and illuminates the face of a prostitute named Sunshine as she lights a cigarette while standing on the porch steps.
Sunshine takes a drag, arches her back against the railing and exhales languidly into the night air. She can see herself perfectly in her mind’s eye, the way the curves of her body silhouette against…
The one at the lead, shorter of the two, wiry with unkempt brown hair and a dangerous air about him, stopped a couple feet from Alex. He studied the younger agent with open disdain. His name was Demetrius Roxford, and he was a well-known senior agent with a reputation for violence.
“We’ve got things covered now, Alex. You’re excused.”
Singer pouted in exaggerated grief. “Oh, but I was rather enjoying my conversation with Agent Alex.”
The second newcomer, Amos Whitelaw, was a broad man with a vaguely fishlike face who was rumored to have started his career as a political…
“Funny coincidence, for certain,” Singer said.
Alex nervously watched the old man’s work. Was he really unravelling his own fresh amputation right there in his hospital bed?
“I need to ask you some questions, Doctor Singer. The longer we wait, the better chance the assailant has of getting away.”
Singer nodded in agreement as he slowly peeled the medical wrapping from the stub of his arm.
Huxely didn’t wanted to fall into Singer’s game of provocation, but he couldn’t help himself from asking. “Sir, should you be doing that?”
Singer’s eyes remained fixed on his work as he carefully peeled…
“That you’re a lot like me?”
“Perceptive.” Singer nodded and smiled wider, seeming to genuinely like that answer. “That’s true, yes, but that’s not what I was referring to. See, the truth of the matter is that I’ve been following your career for quite some time. Not moment-by-moment, of course, I’m too busy for that, but enough to have a rough idea of where you were at any given place in time.”
Singer smiled, apparently enjoying the confusion he’d created.
“Care to expand on that, sir?” Alex asked. The revelation had thrown him enough that he’d had to suppress a…
A dozen nurses and doctors surrounded Singer’s hospital bed. One took notes of instrument readings, another pretended to take notes, and the others simply looked on, hoping to get seen by the powerful man lying on the bed before them. One recommendation from Doctor Joshua Singer could take a medical professional’s life to heights they could never otherwise achieve, and everyone in the room knew it. Ambition disguised as compassion filled their collective faces.
Alex watched the scene through a narrow rectangular slit in Singer’s hospital-room door. Being a naturally perceptive person who also happened to be trained in reading…
“It’s okay,” Alex said. “Take your time.”
She took a deep breath and steadied herself.
“So, like, I was walking up to the car saying ‘hello, hello,’ you know, to try to get this guy’s attention because I didn’t want to scare him. He didn’t move. I got up close to the passenger’s seat and just before I got up to the window I heard a branch break real loud in the woods. It was like something big was in there. I thought it had to be a person, but maybe it was a deer.”
It took the forensics team half an hour to get to the crime scene, which was admirably fast considering the fact that they were travelling all the way from Saint Louis. It was still far too slow for Alex’s peace of mind, though. He could practically hear the perp’s footsteps escaping into the distance.
Alex did some preliminary digging while he waited. He found no signs of struggle in the good doctor’s car, but that didn’t mean much. Unless something had enough force to crack a window or break a seat, there wasn’t much that would leave obvious detectable marks…
RED TORTOISE BIOFUEL STATION
OUTSKIRTS of ROLLA, MISSOURI, NORTH AMERICAN TERRITORY, INTERWORLD ALLIANCE
11:12 PM, JULY 4, 2040
“The fuel station attendant found the victim at 1:01 am,” Staples said. “She says the car pulled in sometime around ten, just as she was going in for a bathroom break, so she forgot all about it by the time she came out. Says people park back here at night all the time, kids doing kids’ stuff, so she doesn’t normally think much of it. …