“Once I test this formula, would you be able to duplicate all its properties, en masse?” Anton Mittlewerk had asked Lysergic Oldham over the phone.

“Easier than hash pie!!” Lysergic answered.

“Very good!” Mittlewerk replied.

“Mr. Mittlewerk,” Lysergic sweetly said, “may I have permission to continue my experiments on Miss Charlene and that new girl, Miss Megan?”

“Not now!” Mittlewerk answered.

“Ohhh,” Lysergic whined, “but I’ve got so many new things to try out on them. I mean, you wouldn’t believe what I could make them do!! Please, sir!!! Please, sir! Pretty please, sir, with lots of sugar on top!!”

“I’ll tell you what, young Miss Lysergic,” Mittlewerk considered, “I will let you do one thing, to one of them!”

“Goody-goody, what’s that!!!” Lysergic squealed with delight.

“I don’t want them killed, yet,” Mittlewerk strongly stated, “but I do want you to wipe out the memory of one of them. Can you do that for me?!”

“How bout I switch their memories,” Lysergic gleefully suggested, “like put Miss Charlene’s memories into Miss Megan’s and Miss Megan’s into Miss Charlene’s. That would be a hoot!!”

“No, just do your standard mind sweep,” Mittlewerk ordered, “as I said, I’ll let you choose which one. After you’ve made your choice, I’ll have Bakunin bring the other one upstairs to participate in my own experiment! Now, you understand what I’m specifically asking you to do?”

“How about if I …” Lysergic started to say, when Mittlewerk quickly cut her off.

“No! You do exactly what I just told you,” Mittlewerk commanded, “as I said, you may choose which one to do the mind sweep on but the other one I’m going to use! If everything goes as planned, then maybe I’ll give you the other one to do with want you want, but for now just follow my instructions, nothing more! You understand, Lysergic??!!”

“Ooookkkkaaay!!!” Lysergic disappointingly replied, “I grasp!”

“Good, I’m sending Bakunin down now!!” Mittlewerk said, just before he hung up.

Lysergic smiled. ‘A basic memory wipe is still pretty cool,’ she thought, 'maybe I’ll plant some false memories anyway, just for fun!'

As Lysergic headed back to the lab, she thought about some more real memories of her past and how she had come to work for Anton Mittlewerk and how she was rescued from a life in captivity.

Just several short years ago, after quickly leaving her home in Portland, due to the “Duckett incident”, Lysergic gravitated to the streets of L.A..

She went underground and eventually hooked up with a group of other young runaways, who called themselves “Groogs”!

Lysergic ended up staying with two Groog girls, who had been hiding out in a loft over a Pizza restaurant.

One night, one of the girls brought home a couple of guys that she had met earlier at a party. Lysergic found herself immediately attracted to one of those guys. He was tall, dressed in deep purple, and sported jet black hair tied into a long ponytail that almost touched the ground. His face was the color of pearls. He called himself Slicer. For Lysergic, it was love at first sight. For Slicer, the feeling was mutual.

They went out every night, as he introduced her to the rage clubs of L.A., both above and under ground. Lysergic discovered new and exotic ways to “expand her mind” and achieve cheap thrills with temporary nirvana.

Eventually, she moved in with Slicer, living at his shed near the Pomonga freeway exit. Those were heady times back then. Clubbing with Slicer all through the night and sleeping all through the day.

Lysergic lived this semi-bohemian lifestyle well over a year. However, all good things must come to an end.

What Lysergic didn’t realize was, she was being stalked.

It happened this way.

Lysergic and Slicer had been partying the night away in an abandoned factory building that had been converted into a dance club. It was a Groog hangout. Lysergic and Slicer were regulars.

The Slip Tech music was particularly tight that night and the acid tabs were readily available. Slicer took Lysergic out onto the dance floor and they twirled til they were dizzy!

But while they danced, Lysergic was being watched!

When the music stopped, signaling that dawn was approaching, the crowd began to disperse. Lysergic and Slicer walked, arm in arm, heading to their shed just a few blocks away.

Not far behind them, figures followed.

They hit the bed, just as the sun was about to rise. Their black curtains, pulled tightly shut, plunged their room into total darkness.

Lysergic quietly cuddled up to Slicer. As she began to drift off to sleep, she subtly smiled and thought, ‘I’m safe here in heaven!’

It was almost noon. Lysergic and Slicer were wrapped up in each others arms, sound asleep in their pitch black room. Suddenly, their door flew open! The flash beams were blinding, as they sat up, still groggy with sleep! Slicer immediately jumped out of bed!

“Who the hell are you and what do you want??!!” he screamed into the light but received no answer. He quickly was brought down by three tranqulizer darts!

Slicer slumped to the floor.

As Lysergic screamed, she felt a stinging pain in her neck! Another dart had hit its mark. She tried to get out of bed but her legs quickly gave out. The last thing she remembered was being put inside a dark bag.

She later woke up in an interrogation room, still groggy with a splitting headache. Standing across from her was a thin man, dressed in a gray pin stripe suit, with his dark hair tied back into a short pony tail.

He spoke to her in an accent Lysergic couldn’t identify.

“Well, you must be Lysergic Diethyamide Oldham,” he began, “and you’ve been a busy girl these last couple years, haven’t you?”

Lysergic said nothing.

“I’ve heard you’ve been on the run. Suspected in the death of three young boys up in Portland. Now, you seemed to have hooked up with some “night crawlers” who like to call themselves “Groogs”.

“What parallel universe are you from?” Lysergic asked.

The man smiled.

“Here is the bottom line,” he began, “you are in trouble. There is a half dozen Portland Police detectives and just as many F.B.I agents outside this door that are just waiting for me to give them the word to come in here and take you away.”

“Take me away where?” Lysergic frowned.

“To prison!” the man answered.

“Oh, yeah!” Lysergic replied, “uh, where’s Slicer?!”

“He is of no consequence to you anymore,” the man replied.

“Are you God or are you the Devil?!” Lysergic asked, suspiciously, “cause either way, you kinda freak me out!”

“My name is Anton Mittlewerk,” he replied, “I am a very influential man and am involved in some very interesting projects!”

“What kind of projects?” Lysergic asked, tilting her head.

“The kind that could use a person of your “talents”!” Mittlewerk replied.

“You offering me a job?” Lysergic giggled.

“An opportunity,” Mittlewerk said, “I have read the police reports about you and your background. Quite sad, really. You’re quite a self-taught chemist though, aren’t you?”

“Every girl’s gotta have a hobby!” Lysergic grinned.

“Okay,“ Mittlewerk began, “you agree to come work for me and we walk right out of here. No questions asked.”

“If I don’t?” Lysergic laughed.

“You’ll be turned over. Put in jail. There will be a trial,” Mittlewerk answered, “and based upon what you did to those poor boys, I guarantee you’ll be tried as an adult and I’ll personally see to it that you be found guilty!”

“Wow, you can do that?” Lysergic asked in wonderment.

“Try me!” Mittlewerk replied.

Lysergic thought about her options. She knew she had none.

“If I agree to work for you, what do I have to do?” she asked.

“Everything I tell you!” Mittlewerk answered.

“Hey, no funny business,” Lysergic said, “I don’t like funny business. The last time anyone tried any funny business with me I….”

Lysergic immediately shut up.

“I know what you did, Ms. Oldham,” Mittlewerk said, “I assure you there won’t be any “funny business” forced upon you. Besides, I’m afraid of fire!”

Lysergic laughed, “You’d better be!”

“Okay, it’s a deal then?!” Mittlewerk asked.

Lysergic thought about it awhile.

“A deal then!” she finally replied, then asked, “but what if I decide I don’t like the job and just leave?”

Mitlewerk laughed, “Then I will track you down once again!”

“Then you would bring me back to work?” Lysergic wondered.

“No,” Mittlewerk smiled, “then I would have you killed!”

This time Lysergic didn’t laugh. Neither did Mittlewerk.

As she continued to head back to the lab, Lysergic smiled at the memory of how she had became the unofficial chief chemist for Anton Mittlewerk.

She did learn to love the job. She found it gave her the freedom to travel and meet interesting people, then f*** with their heads!

‘What more could a girl ask for?’ she wondered.

Next: Chap. Thirty-Five “Desert Rat Charter”

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