Cooper’s house was locked up tighter than a tomb.
He left a note on the door. “Gone 2 thee outback.” Anyone who didn’t know Cooper would think that he’d fled. But I knew better… Cooper was nuts.
I went around the house to his backyard shed, and I pounded on the door. The voice inside yelled out, “Go away! I’ve gone to Australia!”
“Cooper, it’s me. Open up, dammit!”
Several lock-clicks and bolt-clacks later, the shed door opened, and Cooper’s balding head poked out, the remains of his long, stringy hair framing his gnomish face as his eyes took a moment to focus on me. “What the hell are YOU doing here!? You should be heading for Australia! It’s safe there”
“Australia’s never safe, Cooper. And right now, NOWHERE is! You know that… I’ve read your Facebook posts! I need to get to the Point.”
His eyes narrowed at me. “You’ve never believed me before…”
“That’s because you’re a paranoid, delusional lunatic, Cooper. But you also happen to be right. So help me out here.”
He smiled then… the sort of smile that frightens little children and grown men who know better. “You’ve seen him! You’ve talked to the Man with the Fez!”
I nodded, grimly.
His eyes focused then, and he seemed to stand a little straighter. It was as if whatever demons preyed on his poor, deluded mind had suddenly fled, and for the first time in many years, he remembered who he was.
“Alright. Bring the car around. Not yours… mine. Here are the keys. I have to grab a few things out of the basement. I’ll meet you out front in five. Keep the car running. We’re off to see the Wizard…”