It was a Honda lawnmower, with twin beer cups on the sides—the Japanese know that Americans prefer to be intoxicated while working at home. In fact, there might be less workplace tension, if everyone got a buzz on, Gregson thought. That’s when he saw the next-door neighbor. He was about 70 years old in a pink bathrobe. It parted near the crotch, and Gregson looked away. He saw enough dicks on the police force—and didn’t want to see the retired kind—shriveled and useless. The man had tuffs of hair on the sides of his head. He had a beer belly and a skinny frame—atrophied from watching TV in a leather arm chair.

Gregson immediately looked for angles. There was a water tower to the northeast, but the bullet-hole was angling upward. The victim had been shot from across the street. We can rule-out a woman, Gregson thought. Women poison or knife a guy in his sleep—not when he’s doing yardwork.

A police cruiser careened around the corner, and jumped onto the sidewalk. Detective Talbert got out of his vehicle, eating a Twinkie.

This guy has serial murder for breakfast, Gregson thought. Talbert held his gun on his hip. “Hey, you!” He yelled at the man in the bathrobe. “Come out here, into the light, with your hands up!”

“I didn’t kill him,” the suburbanite said.

“He’s not your guy,” Gregson yelled from across the street. Talbert swiveled around, pointing his .45 at Gregson’s chest.


“Yes—it’s me.”

“Why are you always at the scene of a crime?”

“Some people attract money or fame—I’ve always been in the wrong place at the right time. Why fight who we are?”

“You think fate has something to do with it?”

“There is a plan,” the man in the bathrobe said.

Gregson and Detective Talbert stared at him.

“You are dealing with a disorganized serial killer.”

“What do you mean?” Talbert asked. “There’s only been one shooting.”

“There will be more… I can sense his thoughts. He believes the world will end, if he doesn’t kill masculine men. He went to university and got a doctorate degree in liberal theology—some kind of leadership training.”

“Are you a psychic?” Gregson asked.

“I don’t know. Thoughts come to me, but they’re rarely substantiated. When my wife passed, I started watching documentaries on aliens from the History channel. It gave me insight into my own mind. Since I’ve been following the practices of the ancients, my power has grown.”

“Are you sure you live here?” Detective Talbert asked.

“My whole life.”

Gregson knew what Talbert was thinking. The man belonged on the funny-farm.

“Can I search your house?”

“Just as long as you don’t touch anything.”

“Gregson—give me a hand.”

He followed Detective Talbert inside. There was a crystal skull glowing on an antique dresser.

“Aliens adjusted the DNA of the human race, so that select individuals would become seers. That is why I never reproduced. I’m alien.”

Gregson was worried for himself. When a man spends enough time away from women and society—he can never return—he becomes stranger than fiction.

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