The UPS Game: Spring 1979 • The Garden: Summer 1979 • Torgus the Angel
Note: This story is being pubbed in serial form. You should probably start with EPISODE 1.
The UPS Game: Spring 1979
That morning had been the best episode yet of The Kids from C.A.P.E.R. (the Civilian Authority for the Protection of Everybody—Regardless). Doc, the cute one; Doomsday, the smart one; Bugs, the strong one; and P.T., the cool one—each Kid had a super power. And, much like those teenaged rock star superheroes, Marissa and I had several—in addition to “code names” lifted from the show. Doc, aka yours truly, could predict the weather and see angels. Doomsday, aka Marissa, possessed powers that changed whenever she got bored. One day, she was a master of disguises; the next, she could vanish at will. Sometimes, she was immortal.
We usually hung out at my house, to avoid Marissa’s dad, Rusty. But on this morning we were plopped on the old corduroy couch as her house, ready to head out and play detectives as soon as our show got over.
Rusty’s current girlfriend (Shonna, or maybe Donna) had chosen the sacred half-hour between nine and nine-thirty reserved for our Saturday morning ritual to switch off the TV and inform us we needed to vacate the house for a few hours because the grownups had company coming over, and kids would just get in the way. As we exited the back screen door with a bang, Marissa had politely informed Shonna or Donna this was not her house and she could fuck right off.
On this particular Saturday morning, we were going to need all the super powers we could muster, for a few minutes later, raised voices from inside the house signaled Rusty had heard about Marissa’s conversation with Shonna or Donna. “M, you get your ass back right now!”
Silently, we hopped our bikes and sped away, the Kelvins’ terrier, Ernie, bounding happily after us. Later, we could claim we’d been too far away to hear. Far behind us, a motor roared to life. There was no outrunning Rusty’s old Ford F-150, so we ditched our bikes behind old Mr. Fogerty’s rose bushes and crouched there, panting. Suddenly, claws clattered up the sidewalk, and a second later, Ernie was dancing around the bushes, barking excitedly at this new game.
“C’mon.” Marissa leaped up and I followed. We cut across several backyards, but the sound of Rusty’s truck was always in our ears, getting ever closer. The alley behind the Brown Bag liquor store was a dead end, but I couldn’t run any farther. “There!” I gasped, pointing at a row of dumpsters. We panted up the alley and threw ourselves behind a dumpster, Ernie squirming in Marissa’s arms as she tried to shush him.
A second later, the tan Ford crept past the mouth of the alley, engine chugging along in low gear. We stared at each other, letting out our breath. I wondered if we should’ve run at all; now Marissa might be in even more trouble when she got home. But with her dad, sometimes it was best to let the storm pass and wait for things to settle.
Just then, Ernie wriggled free and took off up the alley, having recognized the sound of Rusty’s truck. “Ernie!” Marissa hissed, scrambling after him, stopping short at the corner of the dumpster. Seconds later, the sound of the truck, which had been growing fainter, paused. Then, it began to come closer again, gears humming in reverse. We crouched in the shadows, dirty and sweating.
But now another motor was approaching, nearer and louder. A steady grumble that seemed to vibrate my insides from head to toe. It was coming, impossibly, from the dead end of the alley. A second later, a large, brown truck rolled slowly past the dumpster. On its side was a golden shield with the letters UPS.
Before I knew what was happening, Marissa had grabbed my arm and was dragging me around the back end of the truck. At the mouth of the alley, the front of the pickup appeared. Ernie was yapping, running back and forth around the tires.
“What—?” I whispered, and then she was yanking me up the steps into the cab of the moving UPS truck.
The driver had just been shifting gears, one black-gloved hand on the knob. Now, he pressed the brake and sat motionless, looking down at the two of us, the upper half of his face concealed by black sunglasses, except for a single, thick unibrow. Under his hat, his hair gleamed blue-black in the summer sun. His lips twitched with the ghost of a smile. “Hi!” he said, as if prepubescent girls hijacked his truck on a routine basis.
“Can you give us a lift, mister?” Marissa said. “Just a few blocks is all.”
“Hmmm…that’s against company policy, you know,” the driver hedged, rubbing his chin. He lowered his shades a fraction, and wily, dark eyes gleamed out at us.
“Please!” I added, finding my voice at last.
The driver shrugged, tilting his head at the metal door behind his seat just as the Ford pickup gunned up the alley. We pushed through the door and made ourselves very small, scrunching down behind a jumble of boxes. “Move over, Marissa!” I elbowed her.
Marissa elbowed me back even harder. I’d forgotten that in detective mode we didn’t use our real names. Deep cover, man.
“Hey, hold it!” A door slammed, and gravel crunched as our rescuer shifted into first. “Did you see a couple kids around here just a second ago?”
“Not at all,” came the reply, and then Rusty was eating our dust as Marissa and I held on, staring at each other in the gloom. She had a crazy look in her eyes, the ghost of a grin.
“Going anywhere in particular?” the driver asked, shifting into second and picking up speed. “Police station’s only a couple blocks up.”
“What? No!” Marissa stuttered. “We’re just—playing a game.”
“Didn’t look like too much fun,” he remarked, glancing over his shoulder and flashing a strange smile. His teeth were large and very white. We braked to a stop on the side street next to the IGA. “This do ya?”
Marissa and I rose hesitantly. Neither of us wanted to get out. The shadowy world inside that truck with its jumble of boxes, the dark mystery of its driver…I didn’t want this adventure to end, didn’t want Marissa to be in trouble again. But we knew it was time to return to the real world and deal with things. I crawled out and hopped down, turning around to help Marissa. “Thanks, Mr. …UPS…man,” Marissa stammered, clearly smitten.
“It has been an honor!” he replied, and laughed, a weird, nutty laugh.
On impulse, I said: “Are you with the FBI?”
He sobered. In the darkness of the cab, it was hard to tell, but a couple of those long teeth could’ve been pointed. “Maybe so.” Then the truck pulled away, rounded a corner, and was gone.
We raced up the alley to the next street. That UPS truck should have been crossing the intersection there, but there was no sign of it. We ran to the end of the block, looking in every direction. It was as if it had never been there at all. I looked at Marissa. “Don’t mess with the UPS,” I said. Marissa grinned and slapped me five. Then we made our way back to Fogerty’s yard and dragged our bikes out of the rosebushes.
On the way there, Marissa had been unusually quiet. “He was from another world,” she finally said, as if to herself. “Someplace better.” By silent agreement, we headed towards my house instead of hers. We were a few blocks from home when the tan Ford pickup burst from a side street and angled sideways in front of us.
From the window, Rusty gazed down at us, his pale blue eyes as calm as a mountain lake. On his lap, Ernie had his front paws on the sill, his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. Marissa and her dad looked at each other in silence as he absently scratched behind the dog’s ears. Sweat rolled down my back. Then, Rusty gave a chuckle, shaking his head. “Know where I found him?” We didn’t answer. “Somehow he got himself all the way up by the Brown Bag. I wonder what made him do that.” Rusty pursed his lips, clucking at the dog, who wagged himself silly.
I couldn’t stand the silence stretching out between them. “We were just—”
Marissa kicked me, hard.
Rusty widened his eyes, so mild, framed by strawberry-blond hair. Girls at school thought Marissa’s dad was cute. “What’s that? You were just—what? You don’t either of you have any idea how this dog ended up a quarter mile from home?”
Marissa shrugged, saying nothing.
“You’re sure?” Eric Kelvin lifted his eyebrows. “’Cause, if you really don’t know, then I’m going to have to assume he ran away. And in that case, I’m going to have to teach him a lesson. Isn’t that right, Ernie?” He ruffled Ernie’s fur, nuzzling his nose. Marissa gripped her handlebars, rising a little off the seat of her bike. “That’s right! I’m gonna beat you ’til you shit yourself, yes I am!” Ernie barked happily, trying to lick Rusty’s face.
“He followed us!” Marissa burst out. “We were hiding. He was just following us!”
“Get off.” Her father got out of the cab and wrenched her bike away, tossing it into the truck bed with a crash, then opened the passenger door. “Get in.” Climbing behind the wheel, he spared me one freezing glance. Then they were gone.
Usually when Marissa got in trouble, I wouldn’t see her for a couple days. Sometimes when she showed up again, she’d be thinner, paler. This time, a lot of her hair was gone, too. What was left hung in uneven clumps. When I asked what happened to her hair, she said, “They cut it.”
We would spend the rest of that summer following UPS trucks on our bikes, hoping to find the dark, mysterious driver again. Although we kept our codenames, the game was no longer the detective game.
It was now the UPS Game.
We came to the conclusion the UPS trucks were really a cover for the FBI to keep suspects under surveillance. It was now our covert mission to assist the UPS-slash-FBI, never revealing our true identities.
The UPS Game grew to consume our lives for a time. Whenever we spied a big brown truck making its stops in our neighborhood, we’d follow at a safe distance on our bikes and keep a record of where deliveries were made. Saturdays, Marissa would bring her map and binoculars to HQ (Dad’s garden shed), and I’d have my backpack crammed full with notepads (all bearing the dignified letterhead of Edward Marshall, MD), a tape recorder, and peanut butter-and-honey sandwiches. We’d spend most of the day scoping each location on our list, on the lookout for anything suspicious. The tape recorder and notebooks were for the Log—of course. The map was for clocking the coordinates of suspicious activity (street addresses were strictly forbidden in this profession). And I don’t need to tell you detecting is hungry work; hence, the sandwiches. We had a growing catalogue of information, all filed chronologically, with dated references to the corresponding tapes. We stowed all our secret files in old plastic seed sacks behind the mulch pile in a corner of the shed, each bag dated and signed in black Sharpie with the watchwords: DON’T MESS WITH THE UPS.
With Marissa, the UPS fixation would carry over into high school. Whenever we saw a truck parked at the curb or backed up to a dock, she’d make me slow my car, so she could check out the driver if it was a guy. She had this whole fantasy about the brown uniform I won’t even get into. And though we never did solve the mystery of our heroic driver or how he’d vanished into thin air, my own fixation on the UPS was only just beginning, as I would learn in later years.
The Garden: Summer 1979
“I’m gonna be a weatherman.”
“That right?” Uncle Deek downshifted off Coddington, screeching into Pioneers Park, grinning over his shoulder at me. A second later, I was laid flat against the backseat as we zoomed up the steep hill, 4.6 V8 engine bellowing.
In the passenger seat, Marissa shrieked in delight as trees streaked past and our stomachs got left behind. He was actually her uncle—Rusty’s brother—but Marissa went on about him so much that in my mind, “Uncle Deek” was his first name. He lived in the exotic, far-off land of Kansas City, and whenever he came through town, he always snuck us out for a cruise in his beat-up, red ’65 Mustang.
“So, you gonna get up there on the TV and tell everybody when it’s gonna rain?”
I couldn’t answer due to my heart being in my throat as we raced circles around the roundabout at the top of the hill, making the bronze buffalo at its center seem to spin slowly on its pedestal. He was still grinning at me in the rearview, his dark blue eyes lit from within. I just nodded, trying not to decorate the raggedy backseat with the hot dogs and ice cream we’d had for lunch. Coming out of the curve, we shot down the other side of the hill.
He’d started this conversation by asking us what we were going to be when we grew up. I already knew and had my answer ready any time someone asked. Marissa, on the other hand, never answered the same way twice.
“I’m gonna be the sheriff,” she said.
Uncle Deek did a mock double-take, staring back at her with his eyes wide, making us giggle, my queasy stomach suddenly forgotten. “You’re not gonna throw your poor old unk in the clink, are ya?”
“No!” Her face was shining. “Why would I do that?”
“Well…” He sat up straight behind the wheel, eyes shifting left to right, making us giggle even more. “’Cause sometimes I’m a bad boy.” He flinched, peeking fearfully over at his niece. My gut had started to hurt from laughing. “I been…” He lowered his voice to just above a whisper. “On the wrong side of the law. Now I gotta watch out for the Effing BI!”
Marissa was laughing so hard tears squeezed out of the corners of her eyes. “But you’re not bad. I’m only gonna arrest bad guys. ‘Cause being against the law doesn’t always mean you’re bad.” Their eyes met again, midnight-blue to midnight-blue, and the smile they shared this time was weighted with love, not jokes.
“Listen.” Uncle Deek sounded serious now. “This world’s full of fun-haters. Like cops and teachers and my brother. You know that, right, M?” Marissa nodded. “You got to stay a step ahead of them, so they don’t ever get the best of you. Don’t ever forget what I’m about to tell you.” He slowed the car way down, turning to look down at his niece. “You make like you’re doing one thing, but really do something else. Understand?” Marissa stared back at him, concentrating on every word. “Let ’em think they got the best of you, meantime you’re figuring out how to take ’em down. Look like you’re gonna stab ’em, and then shoot ’em instead. Then you’re golden.”
Marissa gazed up at her uncle in adoration, her face clearing with understanding. “Does it really work?”
“Works every time. My promise to you.” He shifted into gear. “Now—Wanna see how fast the old ‘Stang’ll fly?”
We did. The tires wailed, and for a couple minutes it felt as though we really were flying.
Our screams of joy were cut short when a cop car topped a distant hill, for just a second, and Uncle Deek slowed the Mustang as the cruiser disappeared into the trees again. By the time it reappeared in the oncoming lane, we were going normal speed. Uncle Deek waved, and the cop waved back. “Golden!” He held up his hand so we could both slap him five.
“Weathermen’re only right thirty-two and a half percent of the time,” he said as if there’d been no interruption. We were cruising along the park bottoms now, towards the Nature Center. There weren’t many picnickers out braving this heat. Most of the grass had turned yellow in the drought, and a searing wind blew dust in the windows.
“Not Tori,” said Marissa, ignoring my efforts to shush her. If I’d learned one thing in first grade, it was that you don’t go around telling people things that make you sound crazy. Not even if you have a friend like Marissa to beat them up if they don’t believe you.
We were almost to the Nature Center. There was a chain across the drive with a CLOSED sign. Uncle Deek turned off down a dirt road that ended in a shadowy grove of trees and parked the car. Then he twisted around to look at me, his arm thrown over the back of the seat. “That right?” he said.
“It’s all right,” Marissa said to me. “He’s not like other people.”
Uncle Deek guffawed at that. “I’ll take that as a compliment! So, Miss Weatherman. When is it gonna rain again?”
“It doesn’t work like that,” I said, despite myself. “But when a storm is coming, I can feel it, and I can tell what it’s going to do before it starts.”
“Like, is it gonna hail, tornadoes, shit like that?”
I nodded, flushing with pride that he thought I was grown up enough for the s word. Marissa was wriggling in her seat, grinning from ear to ear. He studied me a little longer, and I started to worry that we shouldn’t have told.
Then he seemed to come to a decision. “Got something for you,” he said seriously. “Both of you. But you can absolutely not tell any fun-haters—especially your dad, M.” He turned back around and started fiddling with the car door. I strained to see over his shoulder. He paused, not looking up. “Promise?”
“Promise!” we both said, looking at each other curiously as he resumed whatever he was doing. Suddenly, the armrest sprang up, and he reached into a hidden compartment in the door and pulled out a bottle of amber liquid. The label on the side of it bore the mysterious words: Single Barrel.
“What’s that?” Marissa asked.
“This here’s a magic drink,” Uncle Deek explained, unscrewing the cap and pouring a tiny splash into it. He handed it to me. “It’ll give you special powers, right when you need ’em most.”
“What kind of powers?” I asked, my throat closing on the smell.
“Well in your case, it’ll probably just make the powers you already got even stronger.”
“Drink it!” Marissa said excitedly.
“Gotta do it fast or it won’t work,” he warned.
I gulped it down, and then fought the urge to upchuck, my eyes filling with tears.
“Me! Me!” Marissa was holding out her hands.
He poured her a slug, then raised the bottle in a toast. “To magic,” he said solemnly, and took a swig.
“To magic,” said Marissa, and tossed back her tiny shot.
“To magic,” I echoed as she gagged and coughed, her face turning red.
“HooooEEE!” Uncle Deek yelled, making us both jump. He got out of the car and started bending his knees and kicking his feet in some kind of chicken dance. “Come on,” he hollered. “We gon’ make it rain! You got the power in you, girl, now use it!”
Next thing I knew, we were all leaping around on the grass, throwing our knees and elbows out, whooping and yipping like a pack of coyotes. After a time, Marissa and I collapsed, out of breath, and Uncle Deek leaned panting against the car.
Finally, Marissa sat up. “Do you think it’ll work?”
“Oh yeah, you’re golden.” But he seemed to have lost interest in the subject.
Uncle Deek dropped me off on the way to Marissa’s. Jake, our collie-shepherd, trotted out of the shade, his long tail waving. Together, we went around to the back of the house.
My father stood in the garden, the dusty hose and sprinkler hanging in his hand, staring at the zucchini vines. The drought had gone on for so long the city had begun to impose watering restrictions. He started when my hand found his. “Hi, Pooky,” he said, dropping the sprinkler among the drooping plants. “Did you have a fun time over at Marissa’s?”
“Uh-huh. We had ice cream and—and stuff.” Our adventure with Uncle Deek felt like some wild, dark secret that might somehow lose its magic if spoken of aloud. Dad said nothing more. His eyes had that faraway look, the one that meant he was seeing memories instead of the garden. In that moment, I would have said anything to make him happy again. “Dad? It’s gonna rain.”
My father looked around at the dusty vines, the poor, stunted squash. “Sweetheart, we haven’t had rain in almost two months. It’d be a miracle if we got any at all, let alone enough to save our garden.”
Long after Dad had retreated to his den where he kept his notebooks and record albums, Jake and I lingered in the scant shade of the corn. It was getting to be late afternoon, and even though I’d been straining my eyes for the last hour, I couldn’t see a single cloud in any direction.
The crunch of dry grass startled us, then Jake jumped up with a woof and ran to welcome Ernie, as Marissa let her bike fall on the lawn. Her eyes were ocean-dark, her mouth a hard line. “What happened?” I asked. The two dogs galumphed around the yard together for a bit, but soon retired to the shade.
“Uncle Deek and Rusty got in a fight.” She aimed a vicious kick at a dirt clod, exploding it. “He’s not supposed to come in our house anymore.” She sat next to me in the dust, and Jake and Ernie sat on my other side.
After a while, I said, “Do you think he meant it? About the rain?”
“He doesn’t lie. Not to me.”
“Maybe we didn’t do enough, though. Maybe we need to do…more.”
I could tell she was listening. “Like what?”
“I don’t know…like…” I reached out and took hold of her hand. “Shut your eyes.” The sun baked down on us and sweat stuck my tank top against my back. Jake’s tail thumped among the dry cornstalks, and then, as if he understood this better than us, he settled one heavy paw on my shoulder.
“Now what do we do?” Marissa asked, her grimy hand sweating in mine.
“Push,” I replied, not really knowing what I meant. So we pushed. I thought about cool air and thirsty plants, and water racing cold down dusty garden rows. And a feeling crept over me, as thrilling as it was scary, of falling up, of vast, cold darkness and impossible height. To cover my fear, I snapped, “Keep ’em shut, Marissa!”
“I am!” she said indignantly.
When it happened, we all felt it. Ernie let out a little whine, and Marissa and I opened our eyes. There was nothing new to see, and the day was still blistering. But the air had changed—it didn’t stifle, like a minute ago. I swallowed, and my ears popped. Then, the light began to change; the corn, the shed, the blades of grass—everything stood out, taking on a stark, orangish cast. We got up and came out of the corn to the edge of the garden. There in the west, a blood-colored sun was just disappearing behind towering black pillars of cloud. A sudden cool breeze sprang through the currant bushes, carrying with it hints of damp soil, rain, and (the thundersmell) ozone, and then…then…
Deep within the swelling storm, a giant shadow coiled, lengthened, slowly ringed the base of the clouds, then circled upward, inward, vanishing into the flickering depths.
Gradually, I became aware Marissa was watching me and not the storm.
“What’re you looking at?”
At that age, she knew about my weather predictions, but not this. I swallowed hard, deciding in that moment to tell. “An angel.”
Her face drew close to mine, her eyes enormous. “Really?”
“What’s he look like?”
“I don’t know if it’s a he, but…kind of like a big snake or something.”
She stared up into the clouds. “Is it still there?”
“No. It went back into the storm.” Thunder rolled, a vast, swelling sound. West of town, a gauzy curtain of rain came sweeping over the airport. My heart was thudding painfully. “If you tell anyone, I’ll kill you. I’m not crazy.”
“Do they come every time? When it storms?”
She turned back to gaze into the west, her face radiant. “Then I’m not afraid to die!” She laughed, throwing her arms in the air and twirling in the dust. The dogs barked, dancing around her. “If they’re really real, then there’s nothing to be afraid of! Not even dying!” I couldn’t quite follow her logic, but she looked so fierce, so full of joy, I had to laugh too, joining in the dance as the first fat, cold drops began to splash our sweaty faces. Before long, we were soaked to the bone and the thunder had grown from a mutter to a bellow. The sky had lowered, now a sinister mattress of brown shot with pulses of ochre light. Electricity netted over the city, thunder stalked the hills.
Suddenly, I stopped, one hand clutching Marissa by her soggy shirttail. The weather prediction had changed. That had never happened before. Not just rain and lightning now. “What is it?” Marissa shouted in my ear.
Before I could answer, the sirens started to wail. The back door crashed open and Dad appeared, waving both arms at us, his shouts carried away by the howling wind. The base of the cloud mass was dragging the ground, parts of it beginning to rotate like some vast, dark carousel. Yiping in terror, the dogs fled up the porch and pushed through the screen door.
“…basement!” Dad was calling faintly over the roar. But halfway to the house, I looked back. Inside the storm, the giant shadow was now circling too, but in the opposite direction of the surging funnel. It was slowing it down, it was—
“Inside! Now!” Dad seized me with one hand and Marissa with the other and propelled us stumbling towards the house.
Down in our basement, the dogs ventured out from under the stairs and proceeded to shake themselves dry, flinging dogwater all over Marissa and me before curling up on the floor between us. After firmly shutting the door behind him, Dad took down the little AM radio we kept down here for emergencies. Outside, the sirens whooped. Something crashed against the house.
Dad spread an old blanket over us kids and the dogs before going back to fiddling with the radio dial. On the local news station, the weatherman and a state patrol officer were discussing the large tornado that had touched down briefly at the edge of town, then broken up as suddenly and mysteriously as it had appeared.
Dad lowered himself onto the second step, looking at us thoughtfully. “I called your dad, Marissa. No one answered. Does he know you’re over here?”
Marissa shrugged, looking at the floor. “Yeah.”
We sat listening to the storm as the dumbfounded weatherman broke in between alerts from the Emergency Broadcast System, reminding everyone in the listening area that this storm had come out of nowhere, without any warning at all. “Because of its unpredictable history, we urge you to remain in a safe place and stay tuned for live updates as—as this thing progresses.”
Dad continued to look at us. “So…a little while ago, you told me it was going to rain. How exactly did you know?”
Marissa looked sharply at me. “You told him?”
Dad’s gaze was calm as always. Thunder crashed. The dogs shivered. Finally, head down, I mumbled, “We…kind of did some stuff. To make it rain.”
No one said anything for a long time. The radio continued to babble. Gradually, the winds slowed, and the thunder seemed to move off to the east. Finally, Dad stood up with a soft grunt, his knees popping. “I think we lost a bit of the roof off the shed,” he remarked, starting up the stairs.
“Sorry,” Marissa said.
He paused. “Well, try to be a little more careful next time.” He went on up, leaving the door open.
Although we had no evidence we’d had anything to do with the sudden storm, and would in later years to come joke about trying it again, in the end, one time seemed like enough.
What really mattered was what Uncle Deek would have to say about all this. Marissa said not to worry, he’d come back around once he and Rusty patched things up again. But before that ever happened, that red Mustang went through the guardrail where Kansas Highway 40 bends sharp out over the sandstone bluffs, ejecting its driver through the windshield. The car survived, more or less. Uncle Deek did not.
Torgus the Angel
Well, the rain dance certainly did get our attention, if only for the entertainment value. But when You sat in the garden and called to us—finally, and however inarticulately! After we’d nearly lost all hope.
I’ll admit, things did get a little out of hand (mostly Jambi’s fault; I, as usual, had to leap in for some quick damage control). But we were just so excited our little one was finally reaching out to us, however crudely. Not Your fault. By that age, You should have already been given the instructions penned these long centuries past by Your first mother, Bethenos.
Your father was not keeping up his end of things, not at all.
The fact that You accidentally passed a little something on to Your best friend (and Your dog, for that matter)—also, not Your fault.
And, truthfully, though nothing else like that has ever happened since time began, it’s probably a good thing it did. If, as Daath suspects, she is still alive, it may enable her to help Your situation in ways no ordinary mortal could. And one day, provided You both survive the coming war, You’ll probably share a good laugh about it all. Perhaps over a shot or two of good whiskey.
Copyright © 2018 by Shoshana Sumrall Frerking
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living, dead, or otherwise, is purely coincidental.