Chris Till

6. The Search

In Amy Carlson, blizzard of ozz, Corey Haim, glen ellyn, glenbard west, grateful dead, led zeppelin, marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, Sean Hayes, Stoner Noir, the clash on April 12, 2010 at 6:35 pm

On June 30, 1985, after a sixteen-day ordeal, the Lebanese hijackers released the remaining 39 Americans hostages from the TWA flight. Soon after, Israel released over 700 Lebanese and Palestinians captured during its occupation of Lebanon.  “Let me further make it plain to the assassins in Beirut and their accomplices, wherever they may be, that America will never make concessions to terrorists,” President Reagan said upon the hostages’ release.[i]   

The Anarchy Center

      “I bet she’s buried out along the railroad tracks somewhere,” Ox said to Weasel, crossing the railroad tracks at the downtown Glen Ellyn train station in the late afternoon. A giant ex-high school football star, Ox wore a cut-off denim vest and black Led Zeppelin t-shirt. Pointy-nosed with stringy long hair, Weasel wore a wrinkled black Black Sabbath t-shirt.

      “Who?” asked Weasel, putting a Tootsie Roll in his mouth and dropping the wrapper.

      “The girl who disappeared? What’s her name? Mary Lou Whatsername?” Ox played air guitar as they walked. Weasel kept his hands in his pockets, his head down, and kept bumping into Ox’s side. Ox punched him in the arm and pushed him away.

      “Watch where you’re going, dill wad,” Ox said.

      “I never seen that chick in my life,” said Weasel. “When I got busted that night at the Bahas, the cops kept asking me about her.”

      “We was in jail on that weed thing that day.”

      “Yup, that’s what I told those fools.” The two boys walked across the train station parking lot toward downtown.

      “I think I saw her around, but I didn’t know her,” said Ox. “Seems like she didn’t have any friends or something.”

      “Tough luck for her,” said Weasel, chewing the candy with his mouth open.

      “Hey man, let’s cruise over to the Anarchy Center.”  

      “Is it still a hang-out place? I thought Teddy was on tour with Slave Revolt.”

      “Yeah, Slave Revolt’s on tour but that weird old dude he was living with still runs a swing-door at the apartment.”

      “Cool.”

      “Hey, I got ten bucks, if you got like five, we can call Ernie and get an eighth. You got a fin?”

      “Guess.”

      “Right. Maybe he’ll sell me a short eighth then. Hey, maybe Angela’s there. I could use a little you-know-what, you know what I’m saying? Dude, check out that car. What is that?” A yellow jacket ’72 Chevelle Malibu rumbled by on Main Street.

      “It’s a Malibu 350, ’72,” said Weasel, squinting at the car. “The timing’s all screwed up. Some hot chick with big hair and a leather mini-skirt drives it.”

      They entered the apartment building just south of Soukup’s Hardware and walked to a door under the stairs. The hallway smelled of weed and dust. Ox knocked on the door of the apartment, known to the local kids as “the Anarchy Center.” Nobody answered, but they could hear music and voices within.

      Finally, an old man with a receding hairline answered the door. “Yes?”

      “Hey man, remember me?” said Ox. “I was here a couple weeks ago, friends with Teddy?”

      Owitz, in his early 40s, stood reluctantly aside and they walked in. The doorway opened into the main room. Amber, Maureen, Rose, and Tommy the Elf sat on the floor around the coffee table smoking and talking. A slightly rotten smell pierced the cigarette smoke.

      “Hey dudes. What’s up, Angela?” said Ox, not looking at Amber. Ox and Weasel plopped down on the old couch and pulled out cigarettes.

      “How long’s Slave Revolt on tour for?” Ox asked Owitz.

      “A month at least. They’re supposedly in Denver or something right now,” the old man replied grumpily, sitting on the sofa as Ox and Weasel moved aside.

      The apartment was two rooms long and narrow.  Really, it was like a hallway that had been split into two rooms. It was also windowless, ill lit, and messy. Graffiti covered the walls. Punk Rock Is Revolution. Smash Capitalism. Destroy the State. Just Say Yes.

      A tape deck played Iggy and the Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” The old man, looking like a dissolute high school science teacher, sat talking about science with tiny red-haired punkish Tommy.

      “What about if three lasers were used?” asked Owitz, overly enunciating his words.

      “Three lasers would mess up the symmetry. Holograms can only use two lasers. It has to do with the refractions created when the…” explained Tommy, sneaking looks at Maureen.

      “So where’s your other half?” Ox asked Rose, borrowing Weasel’s lighter. Though Rose and her best friend Angela looked like twins, skinny shapeless girls with fried fluffy blonde hair, Rose was the dark quiet one and Angela was the sassy one.

      “Angela?” replied Rose quietly. “She’s out looking for you, I thought.”

      “Dude, gimee my lighter back,” said Weasel to Ox.    

      “Hey Rose, you wanna call up Ernie and see if he’ll sell me a short eighth?” asked Ox.

      “Yeah, seriously,” Tommy told Owitz. “Hey, you hear what Reagan said? Like he thinks he’s Rambo? He’s gonna do a Sylvester Stallone on the terrorists next time they capture Americans? What an idiot.”

      “He thinks he’s still making movies,” said Owitz disdainfully.

      “Unless anyone’s got five bucks to go in on an eighth?” Ox begged loudly.

      “Why didn’t you go to the Dead show?” Amber asked Maureen, leaning back on her arms. Whereas Amber was a short and busty hottie, Maureen was a slender beauty. “I thought that guy bought you a ticket.”

      “The nurse dude?” replied Maureen, examining the ends of her hair. “Yeah, he did, but, you know, he just drove me crazy with his talking and, like, always asking me if I was okay.”

      “Yeah? Huh,” said Amber, looking at her watch. “Nick said he was going to be here like forty minutes ago. It’s so predictable. As soon as you give a guy what he wants, he doesn’t want you anymore.”

      “Yeah?” asked Maureen, inquisitively. “So you and Nicky did it, huh?”

      “Of course not,” Amber said, fidgeting. “Hey Owitz, are you going to the liquor store?”

      “Uh no. Why?” replied Owitz, not looking at her.

      “Me and Maureen want some vodka for tonight.” Amber, wearing a ripped jean mini-skirt and tight green t-shirt that read “I’m Up Here” with an arrow pointing to her face, got up from the floor and sat next to Owitz.

      “Please?” she asked, giving him a shy smile.

      “Yeah maybe,” Owitz replied, staring at her chest.

      “Hey everybody. Owitz is going on a run to Malloy’s if anybody wants anything,” Amber said. “I’m getting vodka for the Towers party tonight.”

      “Dude, get me cigarettes,” said Ox, still avoiding acknowledging Amber. “Marlboro Reds. Box. Can I owe you?”

      “Yeah, man,” said Tommy the Elf, reaching into his pocket for money. “How ’bout some Mickeys? I think they’re having a sale on 12-packs. I got five, no, seven bucks.”

      “All right,” said Owitz, collecting the money. “Marlboro Reds dude: no fronts. From each, according to his ability and to each, according to his need. But no credit. I gotta make something off this too if I’m the one walking down there, right?”
      “Yeah, you guys,” said Amber, sticking her chest out. “Don’t be dicks. Make it worth his while. He needs money to help smash the state. Right, Owitz?”

      Iggy and the Stooges “1969” played on the tape deck: “It was 1969, okay? War all over the USA.” Ox, Weasel, and Tommy talked conspiratorially to each other. Tommy looked up at Owitz appraisingly.

      “You ask him,” demanded Ox.

      “What was the date?” asked Tommy.

      “I don’t know,” replied Ox. “What the hell? I can’t even remember her name.”

      “Mary Lou Thorsen,” Tommy told Ox. “You ask him.”

      “He did it. I’m sure,” said Ox. “He’s got the body in his closet in the back room. That’s what that nasty smell is. The smell of death. When he leaves, we’ll check the back room.”

      As Owitz collected the money and left for the liquor store, Rose made a call from Owitz’s telephone.

      “Owitz makes his living off welfare and shaving money off kids’ liquor orders,” snickered Ox. “Hey, Amber, I think he likes you.”

      “Shut up, Oxford,” said Amber. “You know you’re the one he likes.”

      “Did you see the way he was looking at you?” Ox asked. “I think he actually slobbered on himself. He’s gonna ask if he can take your picture.”

      “Gross,” said Amber. “I hate perverts.”

      “Ernie’s not home,” Rose told Ox quietly, hanging up the phone.

      “Hey, let’s look in the back room,” said Ox loudly. “We’re pretty sure he’s got Mary Lou Thorsen’s body in there.”

      “What?” Amber asked, standing up.

      Ox, Weasel, Rose, and Amber poured into the back bedroom. Maureen stayed in the front room.

      “If there’s a body back there, I am seriously going to vomit,” Maureen said to nobody in particular.

      “I’ll stay up here with you, Maureen,” said Tommy in a kind voice.

      “So, you really got a scholarship out in California?” Maureen asked. “You always were like the smartest kid in class.”

      “It’s no big deal,” said Tommy, looking sheepish. “University of California at Berkeley. Berkeley’s supposed to be real cool, though, and, I don’t know, I just really like physics so…”

      “Lucky you. Seriously.”

      “Thanks, Maureen. Hey, I got you a present.” Tommy reached into his pocket and pulled out a small jewelry box.

      “I love presents!” she said. “Why’d you get me a present?”

Taking the box from Tommy, she opened it and found a pair of silver earrings with feathers on the end.

      “I dunno. I saw them and thought they’d look good on you.” Maureen thanked him and went into the bathroom to try them on.

      Owitz’s bedroom was both messy and filthy. Mattress on floor. Bed unmade. Dirty clothes and dirty plates strewn about. Bookshelves with books on science and left wing politics. The kids stood in front of the closed closet door.

      “All right, you guys,” said Ox, smoking a cigarette. “On the count of three. One, two…”

      “Hold on, hold on,” interrupted Amber, arms wrapped tightly around her chest. “It’s his closet. It’s like private. Let’s just leave it alone.”

      “Scared?” asked Ox scornfully.

      “No. Yeah. Shut up,” said Amber. “I’m getting like goose bumps. Let’s just call the police.”

      Rose stood in the back room as far as possible from the closet. She shivered slightly.

      “Open it, dude,” Ox told Weasel, as Ox made a drum roll on his thigh. Weasel paused and looked closely at the closet door. It didn’t fit the jamb properly, standing about three inches above the floor. Nicks and chips laced the well-worn beige paint on the edges of the door as well.

      “Come on, dude,” commanded Ox. Weasel had his hand on the door knob. Rose shuddered and Amber backed up.

      “Hold on, hold on,” said Amber. Weasel paused.

      “What?” asked Ox, frowning at her.

      “Ummmm… Nothing. Just hold on for a sec,” Amber replied, backing up and standing next to Rose.

      “One two… THREE!” shouted Ox.

      In the bathroom, Maureen admired the feathered earrings that Tommy gave her. He stood in the doorway, watching her look in the mirror.

      “Thanks, Tommy,” she said. “That’s really sweet.”

      She kissed him quickly on his cheek and walked out of the bathroom. He watched her walk back into the living room and softly touched his cheek where she had kissed him.

      In the back bedroom, Weasel pulled the closet door open. As a baseball bat fell out with a thud, Rose screamed. A couple dress shirts and pants hung from hangers. On the floor of the closet sat a stack of pornographic magazines, some dirty socks, and an old Kentucky Fried Chicken box.

      “Shut up! God, that’s annoying,” Ox told Rose, who covered her mouth. “Look at the KFC box! It’s got maggots in it!”

      Indeed, the chicken bones in the KFC box crawled with countless pale maggots. With the closet door open, the reeking smell seeped into the room. Amber ran to the front room, over-dramatically gagging and holding her hands over her mouth.

      “Look, it’s the Witzer’s porn stash!” said Ox, grabbing a Penthouse from the floor. “Weas, get that KFC box out of here.”

      Ox took the Penthouse to the front room. It was the February 1985 issue. Grimacing, Weasel gingerly took the KFC box out the back door.

      “Check it out,” said Ox, settling into the front sofa next to Tommy. “It’s got an interview with Henry Lee Lucas in it and an article on serial killers.”

      “Sex and death,” said Tommy. “Jim Morrison would love it.”

      “What?” asked Ox, not understanding.

      “He must have already dumped the body somewhere,” said Weasel, returning to the front room and opening his eyes widely in mock terror.

      At the same time, Nick and Angela stood just outside the front door. As Angela raised her fist to knock, wiry and mohawked Nick squeezed her skinny bottom. Ever the sassy one, she smiled, stuck her rear out, and slapped his hand.

      “You love it,” he said.

      “You wish,” she said, knocking.

      “Come in!” hollered Ox. “Hey! It’s open!”

      “What’s up, my people,” said Nick, striding in and standing in the center of the room. Angela followed, grinning.

      “Hey Nick,” said Ox, smiling. “What’s up, Angela? We was just checking Owitz’s closet for the body of that chick who disappeared.”

      “Yeah?” said Nick, sitting on the couch. “That’s not where the body is.”

      “So where were you?” Amber asked Nick irritably.

      “Hither and yon, you know. I was there and now I’m here. Why?” Nick replied, acting oblivious.

      “You said you were gonna be here almost an hour ago,” accused Amber.

      “What is that nasty smell in here?” asked Angela, screwing up her face.

      Ox shrugged as Tommy kept sneaking glimpses at Maureen. Feeling constricted in the small smoky apartment, Weasel wanted to leave, but felt self-conscious and unable to stand up and excuse himself. Instead, he sat and tried to laugh when the others laughed.

      “Leave the back door open, it reeks in here. So you guys searched Witz’s closet?” asked Angela. “Where’s he at? I want some cigarettes.”

      “He’s on a run to Malloy’s,” said Rose. “Amber’s getting vodka for tonight.”

      “Right on, Amber,” said Angela. Amber looked at Nick darkly.

      “There was some rotten Kentucky Fried Chicken in the closet,” Ox finally told Angela. “Weas, open up that back door to air this place out, huh?”

      “If you wanna keep doing what we’ve been doing, you can’t be running around with other girls,” Amber tersely told Nick, while looking at Angela. Weasel got up and fanned the back door back and forth to air out the rotten smell.

      “I wasn’t hanging out with Angela, if that’s what you’re asking,” said Nick. “We just ran into each other in the hallway as I was just getting here.”

      “Yeah, right,” said Amber, frowning.

      “Look, I don’t have a telephone,” Nick said. “What am I supposed to do? Why you being so possessive all of a sudden?”

      “I am not being possessive,” Amber replied.

      “Hey Amber, check it out, this chick in the magazine looks like you. Christy Canyon,” Ox shoved the magazine in front of Amber to make her see the pictures. She pushed it away.

      “She says, hold on, she says here that she recommends that every woman make an X-rated movie. She says she loves making porno movies. Says every woman should make one. How ’bout that, Am? Check it out, Nick, don’t it look like Amber?” Nick took the magazine and looked.

      “The face is different, but the body is the same.”
      “You guys are both jerks,” said Amber, disgusted.

      “So why you so sure that girl who disappeared’s body ain’t in Owitz’s closet?” asked Ox, leafing through the Penthouse again. 

      “Sure seems like you’re being possessive,” Nick told Amber, ignoring Ox.

      “What are you doing after summer?” Tommy asked Maureen.

      “Maybe go to junior college,” she replied. “Maybe model for a girly magazine if my skin clears up.”

      “Yeah?” Tommy said. “You should come out to California with me.”

      Carrying a brown paper grocery bag, Owitz walked in the front door. Amber jumped up to greet him.

      “Thanks Owitz,” she said, sliding her vodka bottle out of the bag. “Hey, Maureen, let’s take off.”

      “Sure,” Maureen said, standing up.

      “Hey, can I come with you?” Tommy quietly asked Maureen.

      “I guess,” Maureen replied ambivalently, looking at Amber, who nodded her head in affirmation. Slipping the vodka bottle into her purse, Amber walked out the front door without saying goodbye to anyone. Maureen followed, looking back at the others and shrugging.

      “See you guys at the Towers later,” said Tommy, taking the bag with his beer and leaving. “Maybe.”

      “What’s up with Amber?” asked Owitz.

      “She’s all jealous that Nicky was talking to me,” said Angela, smirking. Ox tried to show Weasel some pictures from the Penthouse, but Weasel just scowled.

      “Come on, dude,” said Ox. “Check this chick out. Christy Canyon. ‘Queen of the X-Rated Cinema.’ Naked, she looks just like Amber.”

      “That guy is such a selfish jerk,” said Amber, as she, Maureen, and Tommy walked to Amber’s Mom’s car in the downtown parking lot across the street. “He’s even worse than Ox. Why do I attract such jerks?”

      “Most guys are at least partial jerks,” said Maureen. “Sorry Tommy.”

      Getting into Amber’s Mom’s Chevette, the trio drove towards the railroad tracks. With the bell ringing and red lights blinking, the railroad crossing guards came down.

      “So, has he been messing around with Angela the whole time he’s been supposedly going out with me?” Amber asked Tommy.

      “I really don’t know,” Tommy replied. “I mean, Nick’s probably been with a lot of girls, but not that I know of.”

      “So that means ‘yes’?”

      “No, Amber, I really don’t know,” said Tommy. A freight train passed, heading towards Chicago.

      “Gotcha,” Amber replied. “Hey, you two wanna go see a movie tonight?”

      “What about the party at the Towers?” Maureen asked.

      “I don’t wanna go to the stupid Towers. I’ll buy your ticket. You can come too, Tommy.”

      “Sure, I’ll go,” Tommy said, looking at Maureen hopefully. As the train passed loudly, they sat in silence.

      “Hey, Maureen, you wanna go be an extra in that movie they’re filming at Glenbard this week?” asked Tommy, over the sound of the train. “They need kids for a big crowd scene or something.”

      “Yeah? Maybe,” Maureen replied, rifling her purse for cigarettes.

      “I think it pays like twenty-five bucks or something,” Tommy said. “How ’bout I call you?”

      “Sure, whatever,” Maureen replied, lighting a Camel filter.

      “Hey, you guys wanna see my modeling portfolio? My mom’s boyfriend, I told you, is like a professional-quality photographer and he did it for free. They’re good.” Amber handed Maureen a manila envelope that had been sitting between the front seats.

      “Damn, Amber,” said Maureen, looking at the 8″ by 10″ photos of Amber posing in her black bikini. “These are pretty sexy. Your mom’s boyfriend took these? You said he wasn’t a perv.”

      “He’s not. He was totally professional. Like I said, he says he can get me some modeling jobs in Chicago. Once I turn 18, which is in like two months.”

      “You sure you wanna let Tommy see these? Tommy, you 18 yet?” Maureen laughed and handed the pictures to Tommy. He looked at them quickly and handed them back.

      “So what do you think? They’re good, right?”

      “I can’t believe you modeled in your underwear for your Mom’s boyfriend. Does she know?”

      “It’s not underwear. It’s a bikini. Anyway, my mom wouldn’t care. She was out of town. As usual. Don’t tell her though, okay?”

      “So, where’s her body, Mr. Know-it-all?” Angela asked Nick, back at the Anarchy Center. They sat next to each other on the floor, leaning against the wall.

      “Who?” Nick asked.

      “Nobody,” Angela said.

      “Oh, you mean the girl who disappeared?” Nick asked coolly. “Yeah, her body’s over off St. Charles Road.”

      “What? Are you serious?” Angela exclaimed. “What the hell?”

      “Hey! I didn’t have anything to do with it,” said Nick. “I swear.”

      “Who’s got weed?” pleaded Ox in a faux desperate voice. No one responded.

      Nick pulled a tape out of his pocket and put it in Owitz’s tape deck. JFA’s “Jodie Foster’s Army” blared: “he shot Reagan, he shot the pig, didn’t he?

Maureen and Isaiah

     Stoned and blue, as usual, Isaiah stood in front of a payphone in a Santa Cruz laundromat. Filling the slot with seven quarters, he dialed Maureen’s number.

      “Please leave a message and we’ll call you back as soon as we can,” sounded Maureen’s voice on the answering machine.

      “Hey Maureen,” he said glumly. “Just wanted to say hi. I hope everything’s good out…”

      “Hello Isaiah,” Maureen said sternly, picking up the phone.

      “Hey baby.”

      “I’m ‘baby’ again, huh?”

      “I don’t know. Sure. How you doin’?”

      “Great. It’s been a fun summer out here. Lots of parties. Me and that cute nurse guy I told you about saw the Dead at Alpine last week.” Three girls who looked like sorority girls walked into the laundromat with their baskets, all talking at once.

      “Yeah? Cool.”

      “I miss you.”

      “You miss me or you miss the sex?”

      “You. Both… I don’t know. So, is that nurse guy your new boyfriend or what?” One of the sorority girls eyed Isaiah. She had bleach blonde hair and overly tanned skin.

      “Well, he got a little too frisky after the concert, but it’s casual.”

      “Right. Well. I see. Yeah. Still haven’t seen Uncle Zen out here. It’s weird though. If I’d gotten out here two days earlier, I might have gotten busted with him.”

      “Uh huh.”

      “But I got a job at the Taco Bell so I’m not going broke.”

      “Ambitious of you. A glamour job. You probably look hot in the uniform,” she said sarcastically.

      “Yeah well. It’s money. So you’re okay?”

      “Why does everyone ask me that? I’m fine.” The sorority girls laughed at a private joke. The too-tanned one had stopped looking at Isaiah.

      “Oh, I moved too, so don’t send anything to the St. George. Me and that dude Rhion are subletting this little basement apartment while the guy’s in the county jail.”

      “Are you gonna send me a card with your new address?”

      “Sure.”

      “So, what you wearing?”

      “Up to your old tricks again, huh? I’m wearing super short cut off jeans and a red bandana top.”

      “A red bandana top?”

      “Yeah, you’d like it. Just a red bandana wrapped around like a bikini top.”

      “Wow,” said Isaiah, trying to catch the eye of the bleach blonde sorority girl again. She ignored him.

The Girl Who Disappeared

“I done told you,” said Nick, wearing black jeans and a black Travis Bickle t-shirt. “I didn’t have anything to do with it, but if you promise not tell, I’ll show you where her body is.”

“Nick, you ass,” Angela said. She wore her prized black WLUP FM 98 “The Loop” t-shirt. “You are freaking me out. Just tell us.”

Through the old suburban neighborhood, they walked down Riford Road towards St. Charles Road. As the sky faded into dusk, Rose lagged behind them a step or two.

“What’s up with you chicks, getting all possessive?” asked Nick.

“Dude, if you’re comparing me to Amber-ger…” said Angela.

“Just cause people have sex don’t mean they’re married,” interrupted Nick.

“What do you expect? Going out with cheerleaders, Nicky? I don’t know what’s up with you sometimes,” said Angela.

“Hey, she’s hot,” said Nick defensively.

“She got big boobs, that’s about it. I don’t know why you guys are so into that. Boobs are just fat.”

“If you had anything to do with it, I’m calling…” began Rose, wearing an oversized tie-dye.

“Look,” he interrupted. “I told you I didn’t have anything to do with it. Just shut up and I’ll show you where her body is. If you want. Or not.”

“Let’s just go to the Towers and party,” Rose quietly pleaded.

“Show us the body first,” said Angela grimly. “We can cut over to the Towers on the tracks on the other side of Ackerman Park afterwards.”

“Your wish is my command,” said Nick.
      “If she’s all nasty and decomposed, I’m going to…” said Angela.

“She’s buried,” interrupted Nick, with a bleak look on his face, stopping on the edge of Forest Hill Cemetery. “In here.”

“The cemetery? She has not been buried yet. Her body hasn’t even been found yet, dude. What the…” said Angela

“Quit tripping,” Nick interrupted. “You two are the ones that wanted to know where the body was and I’m showing you. Just relax, all right? Have a cigarette.”

Nick gave each of the girls a Marlboro Red, but didn’t take one for himself. Angela and Rose lit the smokes and the trio stood on the cut grass on the edge of the road, looking into the graveyard.

“I don’t like graveyards,” said Rose, standing apart from the others. “I’ll catch the breath of death, if I breathe in there.”

“Come on, Rose,” said Angela, shaking her head. “Graveyards are cool. It’s destiny, you know? Like some day that’s where we’ll all end up? And, just for the record, I know that you’re just messing with us, Nicholas. But I wanna see what the punch line is.”

“You’ll see. I’m gonna do just what I said,” Nick said.

A yellow-jacket 1972 Chevy Chevelle Malibu 350 with a loud engine drove slowly towards St. Charles Road. Run-D.M.C.’s “King of Rock” played on the car radio. “You can’t touch me with a ten foot pole, and I even made the devil sell me his soul.” The big-haired strawberry blonde driving eyed cooly Nick as she passed.

“Cool car,” said Nick aloud, staring back at her with a hard look. As Rose held her breath, he led the girls through the stone gateway into the cemetery.

“So, where we going, Mr. Scary?” asked Angela. Nick didn’t reply, but walked ahead of the girls, leading them into the middle of the cemetery. They walked in silence. Passing, Rose noticed the epitaph “Peace and Love” on one old gravestone.

“The girl who disappeared is right over there, behind those bushes…” Nick said, trailing off.

“If there is a dead body over there, I swear I am going to scream,” said Rose.

“You are walking on dead bodies right now, you freak,” said Nick. “So start screaming.”

“What’s that Morrison poem?” asked Angela. “Ernie has a book with it, about a cemetery. He can do a killer Morrison imitation. It’s about like tripping in a cemetery at night, it’s like “‘Cemetery cemetery, cool and quiet,’ or something.”

“Creepy,” said Rose, holding her own arms. “I know what we should do! Let’s leave, like right now. I hate doing stuff like this.”

Nick and Angela ignored her. They walked around some bushes. Nick pointed to a gravestone with its back to them.

“There she is,” he said somberly. “The girl who disappeared.”

“Dude, what are you talking about?” asked Angela, annoyed.

The gravestone stood low to the ground, less two feet tall. Its back was unfinished gray granite. Holding her cigarette close to her mouth and taking quick small drags, Rose stood back from the others and looked at her shoes. She wore puffy white sneakers.

As the other two walked around to the front of the gravestone, Rose looked up at the dusk sky. A single cloud floated motionlessly. To her, it looked like a hazy white face with one eye, a Cyclops cloud that stared right at her, judging her harshly. She froze.

Nick and Angela walked around to the front of the gravestone. Reflexively, Angela dropped her cigarette and grabbed his hand. The front of the gravestone was polished smooth. It read:   

Karen Sue Schuchardt

Birth: May 16, 1956

Death: May 13, 1974

Her light shines on.

“This girl died like 10 years ago, numb nuts,” Angela said to Nick. “But she was my age. That’s sad.”

“It’s the girl who disappeared,” said Nick. “In front of the drugstore downtown. You remember that?”

“Are you serious?” said Angela. “That’s freaky. I’m getting goose bumps. I didn’t even live here then…”

“I remember,” said Nick somberly. “Somebody snatched her off the streets of Glen Ellyn in the middle of the day. They found her body in the Fox River or something the next week. Some bad dude… Yeah, so her killer has never been found. Yet.”

“Let’s leave like right now or I am going to totally start screaming,” said Rose. Angela hugged her.

“You said you wanted to know where the body of the girl who disappeared was,” Nick said, smiling evilly. “You didn’t say which girl, though.”

“You are a dick, Nick. Nick the Dick. You better gimme another cigarette right now,” said Angela. As dusk faded away, they all turned and silently walked out of the graveyard. In the distance, the voices of neighborhood children playing summer games filled the air.


[i] Robert Parry, “Colin Powell Being Colin Powell,” New York Times, September 13, 2005.

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  1. A Taurus in 85? Not sure on that one.
    She was alive when we left her, I swear man.

    • Thanks Lou! I’ll correct that. You wanna pick the replacement car?
      “The Ford Taurus is an automobile manufactured by the Ford Motor Company in the United States. Originally introduced in the 1986 model year, it has remained in near-continuous production for more than two decades, making it the fourth oldest nameplate that is currently sold in the North American Ford lineup.”

  2. Great Story! I like how there is so much content in one day, but it’s very realistic for these young peoples lives. It’s extremely readable.

    • Thanks Honey, I sure appreciate it. It’s straight fiction but I am trying to make it real. I’ll have another chapter up next week: Isaiah in California.

  3. “So, what do you think happened?” asked Amber, laying on her back with eyes closed.

    That should be “lying”

    db

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