Tyson and Lewis entered the town library. It was relatively quiet.
"So what newspapers are we gonna be readin'?" Tyson asked surprisingly quietly.
"Depends what we're lookin' for," answered Lewis. "We wanna find out what happened to the Minor Association."
"We could just ask one of the workers 'ere which year that 'appened. We should try to find out what those Ukes used to do."
"Okay, well Cloud has the youngest oldest kid who's 3 and the first
couple to get a kid was Jack and Ivan. She's 7." Lewis groaned quietly.
"We have ta read through 4 years o' papers."
"Don't sweat it." Tyson smiled gleefully and wrapped his arm tightly
around Lewis' shoulders. "We'll just be doin' those long college study
things where we get fed up an' pace up 'n' down an' constantly drink
coffee an' 'ave bad sandwiches." He frowned suddenly and looked at his
watch. "Damn, bein' a coach 'as its downsides. I can only do 4 hours
today. We should start this earlier in the day."
"We'll be back tomorrrow," the taller friend pointed out.
The table between the pair was littered with newspapers, scrap paper,
notebooks, pens and Lewis' laptop. There was also one pile of
newspapers on one sofa and another on the floor. Tyson was lying back
and reading through a paper while Lewis hunched forward so far he
threatened himself with either spinal injury or aural disfunction ie.
destroying his eyes. There was no sign of any food except some sweets
since libraries generally forbid any food or drink...especially when in
contact with archived works.
Tyson quickly scribbled something in his notebook. "Right, I got it
finally." Lewis was knocked out of his concentration and blinked
quickly when he snapped his head up, as if someone had suddenly
switched on the lights in a darkened room. "I have here the whole story
of the downfall of the Ukes Club."
"Don't make it so dramatic just tell the story," drawled Lewis impatiently. He tentatively sat up and rubbed his back.
"It was around the time that Joey got his girl Serenity. In the same
paper that says this news, the Minor Association lost a sponsor and
held a fundraiser. The next year was when they got serious problems:
Joey and V both left. Oh, I didn't know who it was at first cuz the
name in 'ere is Willoughby Pearson."
This got a giggle from the listener. "V's real name is Willoughby?"
"Yeah." Tyson was giggling uncontrollably. He snappily sobered. "And
for his drunken and anti-social behaviour, Alan got kicked out. Then
other members jus' left-don't say why-and the president had to file for
bankruptcy cuz costs got too high. The president was Dean."
"Dean? What did 'e used to do?"
"Said somewhere but I can't remember. By November that year the
Association officially disbanded, the president got the old clubhouse
sold to pay off the debts and anythin' else to pay was sorted by the
Semes, as decided by Matthew."
"Somethin's fishy," Lewis frowned. "Didn't the Major Association offer any help? At all? Why did other members keep leavin'?"
"Didn't say anywhere. I should write that stuff down, they're good questions."
The photographer glanced at the clock on his laptop. "s'almost 2:30. Guess you'll be goin' soon."
"Yeah..." Tyson continued writing. "I'll clean up my pile 'fore I leave and put them in the right date order," he said flatly.
"Where th'hell you been?" Leslie was more than annoyed. After all, he was cooking dinner and despite the fact he
was the one working, the bread winner effectively, he had arrived home
almost an hour before his spouse. "You got your cell off an' Mojo's
been poutin'...you been out all day? He missed ya like crazy."
Lewis slumped tiredly against the kitchen door. "Can I talk now?"
"Shoot. Just siddown."
Lewis slouched to the prepared dinner table and collapsed into a chair.
"I was at the library. Somethin' strange'd been happenin' 'ere 'fore we
arrived. Tyson an' me wanna know what. He left 'fore I did though."
"Oh yeah, he uh...works with kids don't 'e?" Leslie started serving the pasta he'd made.
"He's a soccer coach, I told you."
"Well I can't remember everythin' you tell me, you don't remember everythin' I tell you."
"Like Seth Rothman is witty, Kai's the best at poker, Seth Carpenter is
never respected and Dee acts like a robot and looks like a mannequin?"
Leslie looked at him bewildered. "You forget 'ow much you talk."
The cook brought the filled plates over to the table. "Enjoy. So what's this strange event you're lookin' up?"
"Well did you know there used to be a Proud Men's Minor Association?"
"Well it closed down shortly before Dean got his kid. But before then
change'd been 'appenin' in this town. We dunno the full story yet but
I don't think it's a coincidence that couples get babies, then the Ukes
just give up their lives and stay at 'ome."
Leslie shrugged. "Sounds like mature thinkin' to me. Don't you want dinner? You ain't 'ad one bite."
Lewis hesitated. He chewed and swallowed on a mouthful before
continuing. "s'not just careful decision-makin'. I found out what Cloud
used ta be. He was a mechanic on motorbikes and competed in races all
around South. Why would any guy like him even wanna kid? And Alan just
got turned into a housewife overnight. He was an alcoholic, that kinda
thing takes years to recover but 2 days after this really rowdy party
everyone noticed this change. Suddenly 'e was happy and healthy and
polite...ain't that weird to you?"
"A bit. Guess it was a good miracle."
The brunette's hands curled into fists. "What?" Leslie looked
bewildered again. "Don't act dumb. You noticed the strange things in
this town when we moved in, you told
me the Ukes were boring. You want me ta be like them?!"
"Where'd that come from?"
"YOU DO!" Lewis looked truly upset.
The blonde sighed. "Just calm down. I think there's a rational explanati-"
SMASH! In complete rage Lewis had thrown his plate off the table,
causing a mess of porcelain and pasta. "I don't!" He stood up angrily
and stormed out of the kitchen. Mojo was upset by this action.
"Aren't ya hungry?" Leslie called out.
Lewis stormed back in and dug around for food. Once he had assembled
his bundle of Mountain Dew, crisps, bananas and cakes he threw Leslie
the angriest glare possible and stormed out.
Once again Lewis and Tyson were studying and note-taking from various
strewn-about newspapers. This time they'd smuggled in some crisps to
munch on. There were 5 piles of read or unread newspapers this time.
Also this time Tyson was lying on the sofa on his side while Lewis must
have leaned forward outrageously far because he was sitting on the
Tyson gradually lifted the newpaper he was reading higher and higher.
Then lower. Then he threw it onto the table with impatience. "I'M SO
CONFUSED!" Someone immediately shushed him. "This is the third day and
we've jus' found stories, not answers."
"It all adds up," told Lewis firmly. "It's evidence and there's still a
lotta gaps ta fill. I think we have ta start askin' the Ukes some
questions. But before that, I found somethin' else fishy." His sleepy
friend gave him a sleepily questioning look. "5 gay couples moved out
within 6 months of each other."
"They got scared off?"
"Don't say but I think they did." He looked up to his laptop. "Duke and
Tristan grew up here but moved out to live in the city, where it's
livelier. Max and Ray moved out after livin' 'ere 4 years cuz they felt
this place was too conservative. Phoenix and Miles moved out after livin'
'ere one year cuz o' money trouble and that's jus' bullshit; Phoenix was a
restaurant manager and it's still open."
"I found out what Dean did. He 'ad a more interestin' job title than Lucien."
Tyson picked up his notepad and looked for what he wanted. "District Sales Manager," he read out slowly.
Lewis was stunned. "You're right. It shows 'e got more money than Lucien. No wonder they could buy that house."
The soccer coach checked his watch. "Got me an hour 'n' a half ta
spare. If we're finished here maybe we can pack up an' get ice cream?"
The photographer gave him a funny look. "I thought you shouldn't eat before exercise."
Tyson waved the idea away. "Lil' kids today. They don't run far an' neither do I." He grinned.