Chapter Three: 1985

    Ricky drove his car towards home.  He was anxious to get there and tell his wife, Ansalong about his first day at his new job.  She would be very happy, particularly after all the fighting they had been doing lately.
    "You are so lazy!" she had yelled to him, tears flowing down her cheek.  "You go through one job after another!"
    "Then why the hell did you marry me if you're so unhappy with me?"
    "I should have stayed in Denton!" she shouted.
    "I should have never given up that job at the Rest Home!" he had said.
    There was silence after that.
    Ricky turned his car down the street where his house sat.  "Why do we fight all the time?" he asked quietly to nobody.
    And he had hit her.  God, he wished he hadn't.  But sometimes she made him so angry.  All the accusations she made of him.
    "Who are you sleeping with?" she demanded to know.
    "Nobody!  If anyone is having an affair, it's you!"
    Ricky pulled the car to the curb in front of his home, a small duplex specifically.  He turned the ignition off and then reached into the backseat, grabbing the fresh cut roses he bought on the way home.  He hoped that the roses would help make things right.  Perhaps they will remind her that he still loves her.  That she, too, was still in love with him.  For once he would like a night without fighting.
    Of course, the booze didn't help.  He had taken up drinking and that often made his thoughts confused.  He had a problem, and one day soon, he would deal with that problem...
    He got out of the car and approached the front door.  Opening it, and entering the house, he realized his worse fear come true: she had left him.
    Looking around, various things were missing from the room.  Pictures of him and her, various nick-nacks she had collected over the past couple of years.  But it wasn't what was missing that made him realize she had left him.  It was what was there.  Sitting quietly on the livingroom table was her gold wedding band.
    "Ansalong," he mumbled quietly, looking out the front window towards the fading sunlight, "Please come back to me..."
    At his feet, the bouquet of fresh cut red roses fell to the carpet.

    "SHUT UP!" Tom yelled over to Betty Hapschatt, who was ranting and raving from the passenger seat of the car, while Tom pressed the gas pedal down as far as it would go.
    The cop car behind them was speeding up, it's sirens blaring.
    "I can't believe this!" Betty screamed to him, "You stole this car!"
    "I said shut up!" Tom screamed to her, "I can lose this guy if you'd just shut up for one second!"
    Betty turned around and stared at the chasing cop car.
    What have I gotten myself into?  And better yet, how will I get out of this?  I know, I could tell the cops I was a hostage, but that would be a lie.  I suspected criminal activity from Tom, but wasn't sure.  Until now.
    The cop car started to pull up to the side of the car.  Suddenly, as they passed an intersection on this deserted country road (running a stop sign at that), Tom slammed on his brakes and the cop car flew past them, slamming on its brakes seconds later.
    Tom shifted the gear into reverse, and backed up to the intersection.  Seconds later, he was on a new road.  The cop was turning around and started a new chase, this time slightly farther back.
    Betty wondered why she stayed with this guy.  But she already knew the answer.  It wasn't the fact that he lived on the edge and that fascinated her.  It was because there was an underlying child in him yearning to be loved.  She felt it, and was drawn to it.
    She looked back to look at the cop, but suddenly was thrown into Tom's side as he made a sharp turn onto the next street.
    The road was a hilltop, surrounded by tall corn fields.  Tom drove the car off the road, stopping to hide inside the tall growth.  About 10 seconds later, the cop car zoomed by and over the hill top.
    "That's it," Betty said, opening her door to get out, "I'm getting out of here."
    Quickly, Tom grabbed her wrist and said, "Please don't go Betty."
    She looked into his eyes and saw that he wasn't going to hold her hostage if she wanted to go.  He had that look of a lost puppy begging for a home.  It was a look of helplessness.  It was a look of ... dare she say it? ... love.
    Betty sighed and then shut the door.  She stayed seated in the passenger seat and didn't say a word.  She had made her decision.  Over the past year she had come to know and care for this peculiar man, and there was still a lot to discover.  Had she fallen in love this past year? Perhaps, she wasn't sure though.  Regardless, she wasn't ready to throw it all away just yet.  Even if that meant living as fugatives for a while.
    Tom let go of her wrist and smiled.  The engine was still running, and time was short.  Putting the car into the correct gear, he pulled back out onto the road and drove away quickly.

    Vance Parker, Denton's popular policeman, opened up his apartment door and flipped on the lightswitch.  In his hands, he carried the mail from his mailbox.  He shut the door behind him, and fumbled through the mail as he walked across the room towards his answering machine.
    Stopping at the answering machine, he flipped on the "play" button.
    "You have three messages," the automated voice said.
    The first message was from Vance's brother, who was also a cop at Denton's police station.  His brother, Vince, kept the message short and simple: "Yo, it's me.  Give me a call when you get this message.  Bye."  (Unimportant, Vance thought).
    The second message surprised him.  It was a voice from his past.  It was a phone message from Oscar Drill: "Hello, Vance.  Just wanted to let you know that Brenda and I have moved away from Denton.  Not that it's a shock to anyone, I'm sure.  The band and I haven't exactly been Denton socialites this past year.  Anyway, just wanted to let a few people know, yourself included.  I got a record contract offer and I am going to take it.  I'll be singing solo.  Brenda's with me.  We're in New York City..."
    New York City? Vance thought, What are you doing way out there?
    Oscar continued, "...It was weird.  Out of nowhere, this guy shows up and says he likes my music and wants me to move to New York.  Paid for the entire move, and some extra spending money to get myself started.  Isn't it great?  And Brenda's up here taking ballet lessons!  Well, gotta go!  I'll write you so you can know my address!  Bye!"
    Vance laughed, feeling proud of the young boy.  He reached up and took off his police hat, setting it on the table.  Then as the third message played, he continued searching through his mail.  It was the last mail that intrigued him most: the envelope contained a plane ticket to New York City.
    "Hello, Mr. Parker," the voice on the machine said, "You don't know me, but I know you.  At least, my boss does.  Anyway, by now you should have received a plane ticket to come to New York.  Your plane leaves tomorrow morning.  Don't worry, you'll be back within two weeks.  But in the meantime, let me say that should you come to New York, it will be well worth your time.  Financially, that is.  My boss has plans for you over the next few years.  All you need to do is fly to New York 2 or 3 times a year to fulfill some necessary things."
    "What?" Vance said, scratching his head in confusion.
    The male voice continued, "Listen, I know you must be confused, but I promise all your questions (or at least most of 'em) will be answered in time.  Don't miss this opportunity, Mr. Parker." CLICK.
    Vance sat down on the sofa, and reflected on many things.  What was happening to the people he knew here in Denton?  First of all, Brad and Janet Majors fled 2 or 3 years back and nobody's heard one hair from them since.  Recently, others directly involved have scattered across the country as well.  And just last week, Irwin Lapsey, of Lapsey Autos suddenly moved away to Mayberry, Pensylvania to work at a barber shop, no less!  And now, these phone messages.
    "New York City?" he asked out loud, staring at the plane tickets.  Then he flipped the envelope that they came in over and saw what was hand written on the back:

This mysterious "boss" seems to have some sort of plan up their sleeve.  And what exactly has happened to Brad and Janet?  Are their lives as screwed up as everyone elses seems to be?  If so, will there ever be harmony in the Denton gang again?  Find out more details in Chapter Four as we learn what's happened to Brad and Janet, as well as Betty and Tom, Oliver Wright, and Irwin Lapsey.