“I heard you were looking for me.”
The voice sent a chill down Clement’s spine.
“You have to stop stalking me,” demanded Clement.
“You’re the one looking for me, remember?” said George Twill.
It was after work and Clement was tired. He left the bus stop and found an empty bench in the park. He was followed by George and another man.
“Who’s your friend?” asked Clement. The third man looked like a refugee from the mountains.
“This is Durable Mike.”
Durable Mike extended a hand. Clement shook it but shivered when he saw insects crawling on his sleeve.
“What can I do for you?” asked George.
“I’m not sure it’s important any more,” said Clement.
George gave Clement a critical eye. “Second thoughts about something?”
Clement sighed. “You said your brother was dangerous, but just today I discovered two of my friends are better off because of him.”
“Really? How so?” asked George, skeptically.
“One of them decided to pursue a dream and the other just got published for some amazing work she’s doing.”
George leaned forward on the bench and rested his elbows on his knees. “You’re talking about the butterfly lady and your co-worker.”
“Seriously. Are you a spy?”
“When it comes to my brother, I make it a point to know as much as possible,” explained George.
“You’ve got to admit these are good things.”
“Are they? An article in some obscure magazine and a business idea doomed to failure? Tell me, what’s your friend going to do when she’s left humiliated and penniless?”
“You can’t predict that,” said Clement.
“Can’t I?” asked George. He motioned to Durable Mike. “Here’s living proof of the human wreckage my brother leaves in his wake.”
Clement waited for Durable Mike to speak. Instead, he only nodded.
“Durable Mike can’t talk, thanks to my brother,” explained George.
“My brother advised Durable Mike to take an apprenticeship as a welder. Never mind that Mike is an idiot savant. He burned down the shop, damaging his vocal chords beyond repair.”
“You’re kidding,” said Clement.
“Then Donnie told him to take up art. Durable Mike started painting walls- got arrested for graffiti. Life’s not pleasant for a dimwit in the big house,” said George. He leaned in close and whispered. “Especially when you can’t scream.”
A horrified Clement looked at Durable Mike. Mike nodded.
“I saved Durable Mike after I found him trying to be a mime. That’s right, that was Donnie’s next suggestion. Do you know what mimes think of mutes? It’s the worse kind of prejudice there is.”
Durable Mike sighed.
Clement thought about everything Becky had said. “Alright, I’ll help. What do I need to do?”