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As Mr. Z continued to read from the files, Lysergic Oldham sang a song to herself.
“THE BRADY BUNCH!...THE BRADY BUNCH!...THAT’S THE WAY WE ALL BECAME THE BRADY BUNCH!!!”*
“I’m going to quickly get to the point of our conversation, because time is of the essence!” Z said.
“Are you like from the future or something?!” Lysergic asked, “cause I always thought it’d be kinda cool to be able to travel through time.”
“Something very important was recently stolen,” Z began, “and we want it back!”
“Well, I didn’t take it,” Lysergic replied, “and I have witnesses that can place me at the loony bin at the time of the crime! Whatever time that was.”
“I’m not accusing YOU!” Z answered.
“What was stolen?” Lysergic wondered.
“A book,” Z answered.
“Was it a bestseller?” Lysergic asked.
“It’s not that kind of book,” Z replied, “this book, actually more of a journal, was apparently stolen by a group that you were once familiar with.”
“What group?” Lysergic wondered.
“They’re known as “Groogs”! Z answered, “the same types you hung around with on the streets of L.A., back when you were a runaway, remember?”*
Lysergic stared into the air with a look that signaled she was deep in thought.
“When I was a runaway, the only thing I can remember was some guy on a street corner that used to sell snakes,” she finally replied.
“Ms. Oldham!” Z impatiently continued, “You once were a “Groog”, were you not?!”
“…and he actually had some purple colored snakes,” Lysergic babbled, “ain’t that amazingly awesome?”
“MS. OLDHAM!!!” Z frustratingly called out, “ANSWER THE QUESTION!!!!”
Lysergic smiled, “Well, I’m not much of a joiner but yeah, I once hung with some Groogs.”
“Precisely!” Z replied, “So, because of your previous affiliation, we want you to head back to the streets, hang out, try to get some information and find that book.”
“So, you want me to be a snitch, is that it?” Lysergic giggled, “look, I’m no snitch bitch! Besides, why me? Don’t you have some other chick-a-doodle you can put out there to find your “oh so special” book? I’m just a friendly neighborhood street punkette.”
“Snitch, spy, informer, investigator,” Z replied, “call it what you want, but as I said, I believe, in reviewing your past, you are the best one to help us get that book back.”
Lysergic crookedly smiled, “Well, I’ll tell you once again, I don’t narc!! So forget it! Send me back to my funny farm. Anyway, I feel safer there, than talking to you here.”
Z stood silent for a moment, then also smiled a crooked smile. A smile that, this time, sent a chill down Lysergic’s spine. Not an easy feat to do.
"Very well, Ms. Oldham,” Z replied, closing the folder, “if you don’t want to take advantage of my offer, fine. I’ll send you back to the Mental Institute with a recommendation.”
“What kind of recommendation?” Lysergic asked, tilting her head in curiosity.
“Oh, I will just recommend to your Dr. Leary that you would be the perfect candidate for what the patients there call the “Rock and Shock” program!!” Z answered.
“You can’t do that!” Lysergic said, “I’m under special medical protection at that Institute!”
Z nodded, “True, but who do you think controls that Institute?”
“My organization!” Z stated, “so I’m giving you another shot at an answer. Agree to help us find that book or end up in the “Buzz Room” with electrodes frying your brain! Your choice, Ms. Oldham, and please give your answer fast, as precious time is wasting.”
Lysergic sat silent for a few moments, mulling it all over in her mind.
She was reminded of another time, in another room, with another mysterious man, having another conversation where she had been given another choice.* And now, as it had back then, the answer was the same. She had no choice! But she did have a request. A very important request that would determine her decision, one way or the other.
“Before I give you my answer, I have to ask you for a favor,” Lysergic asked seriously.
“What kind of favor?” Z asked in reply.
“That couple I was staying with, Bradley and Annie Linus,” Lysergic began, the tears beginning to well up in her eyes, “could you, would you, tell me if they had a decent burial? They didn’t have any other family, just each other.
And if they did have a decent burial, could you let me know where they are buried and would you send some flowers to their graves for me? I asked for this favor awhile back at the Institute, but I was ignored.
If you can’t, or won’t do that for me, then you can go and find your own damn book! Go ahead and send me back to that mad house. Fry my brains, I don’t care! Maybe that’s what I deserve anyway.”
Z nodded, “Yes, we can grant you that favor.”
Lysergic nodded, as she wiped away the tears.
“Okay, Mr. Z-Man,” Lysergic finally replied, “if you can do me that favor, then you’ve got yourself a Snitch girl!”
Next: Chap. Twelve “Still Not Cool”