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[Ongoing story: James is trying to solve the cold case of their missing father and watch out for his junkie brother, Merrill. Nothing’s going well.]

If the DNA didn’t help, nothing will. And Merrill’s all puffed up, proud that what I made him do was a waste. Right now he’s wasted somewhere. He promises he can stay on the edge, not doing too much damage until we get the money to get him back in rehab. I’m laughing so hard, my guts are gonna burst. Using is using. Idiot. Liar. I just wait for another call from someone telling me to come and scoop up my fucked up brother or else. Or else he’ll die or else they’ll call the cops. Which means dealing with a low level possession charge with the wasted time and money. This time going to rehab on their dime is not gonna be an option for him.

I need something else. That cliche about doing the same thing over and over again while getting the same result is the definition of insanity. That’s me. Except.

There’s nothing repetitive about being tracked down by the cartel guys, fake cartel guys. The detective tells me I’m in big danger and he can’t help me with that. Go to the cops in Arizona, or the DEA, or Border Patrol. He laughs when he rattles off the list. He’s got an attitude about his law enforcement brothers that’s too thick to understand. Any of those options could spill over onto Merrill. Maybe. And since I don’t now if he’s telling the truth, going to any kind of cop is not an option. BECAUSE I’m watching out for him.

Stop that.

The point is, I want to find who or what killed Dad. Someone knows. Someone definitely knows. Someone did it. The LA cops had a second-hand name that they claimed was a dead end. What about my father’s friend. The work buddy who filed him as a missing person. They spent more time together than we spent with him by that time. Normal for teenagers, sort of. Most have a parent at home some of the time. We didn’t but we were fine. Of course except Merrill who’d found some father types to set him up dealing. I laugh, but it’s not the least funny. No funny shit in my life.

Jellie’s the only fun shit in my life. Thank god for her. And her truth. She looks at me and I can’t do the old repeat game. James, make a list of possible options for this search. James, think. Think about who these guys could be. Think, James.

She’s learned all those techniques being a social worker, I think. She helps mothers about to lose their kids how to get organized, how to shop regularly. She teaches them stuff no one ever did. Laugh, that’s me.

That’s me. Making a list seems ridiculous. Asinine.

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