“motherfucker just came in one day, and cracked open one of my Tactical Nuclear Penguins, sat down on the couch, and started drinking it like a regular old beer”

Tim’s eyes bugged

“Did he die of alcohol poisoning?”

“No, but maybe I should have let him. I came home and he was lying upside down off the edge of the couch… you know, like with his feet up the back” Tim nodded his understanding. James continued “and was watching Twin Peaks on Netflix. That episode where Cooper is trying to divine the killer by throwing rocks at the bottles, you remember that?”

“Oh no” Tim had a hunch where this was going.

“he’d set up the bottle on the end table across the room, and was throwing rocks at it, blubbering about mind-body coordination. Can you believe it? Drinks my $200 beer and then tries to smash the bottle… which I could have sold for at least a few bucks to a collector.” James shook his head.

“So what happened?” Tim asked .

[what indeed… I didn’t really get this far]. [we also don’t have any detail yet on where they are, we have a lot of vignettes in cars, this could be at a driving range, or a … what, maybe on a hike, or something. let’s go with hike and see how it works]

James was quiet for a moment, as they rounded the curve in the trail, revealing the town as a tableau in front of them. James stopped, and put his hands on his hips.

“Well, I shot him.” and he turned to Tim with a manic smile.

Tim froze. Was he serious? He hadn’t seen [third guy’s name] in a little while… but that wasn’t uncommon, they all had jobs and whatever… but, in the moment, he wasn’t totally sure James couldn’t have done something like that. Every weird experience he’d had with James came flashing back — bits and pieces of conversations, previously long forgotten, came crashing back in a flood of weird, now seemingly connected incidents. He’d known James for a few years now, but how well did he really know him…?

James broke his reverie as he let out a roaring belly laugh, that after a moment, echoed in the wide valley behind them.

“I’m just fucking with you, Tim. I shook the shit out of him before I got him drinking some water and eating crackers. He apologized after I told him what he’d done. Said he’d buy me the next BrewDog experiment whenever it comes out.” He started back up the trail, toward the summit. “Come on, there’s a little arête that sticks out over the edge at the top. You kind feel like you’re flying when you stand all the way out at the end.” he gave a more normal smile and a chuckle. “You’ll love it!” and trotted away.

Tim’s pulse quickened, but he followed.