“Wait here for the police detective, you two,” said Bernie.
Frankie pulled Bernie aside and began to tell the new agent about the new trend among American teens. “Those two old bats are kids. It’s the fashion trend of last resort, pal.” Frankie had read about it in a Newsweek article last month. “What we have here, Bernie baby, is a couple of bored, rich, teenage jokers who have started a new clique.”
“Those are kids?”
“Yeah. A bunch of spoiled teenagers got together and purchased the retirement community named Geezer World near Sea Lion Point, a few miles from your old stomping grounds at Bolsa Chico. They spend most of their time complaining about aches and pains and doctors. This ‘old’ routine is their idea of recreation. Total Kooks-ville. A few times a week they get together for miniature golf, shuffleboard, canasta and a couple of shots of Geritol. They’ve got a style all of their own, buddy boy.”
“This boy Jules dyed his hair white?” asked Bernie.
“And shaved his head to look like he’s got male pattern baldness!” said Frankie.
“Claire dyed her hair blue! She must have on a gallon of cheap perfume.”
“Today’s kids are recycling the bottom of the fashion barrel, Clyde,” said Frankie. “One of their gang, a kid named Morris, had his back surgically bent. A fifteen-year-old known as Gramps drove that white Dodge here last night. Crazy cats.”
Dr. Green chimed in, “I’ve got grandkids living at Geezer World. Everyone there uses a walker.”
The Barnett’s were only sixteen.
Jules wore an “Old Guys Rule” T-shirt and belted “old guy” slacks that were pulled up; any further and he could have used them as a body bag. Claire wore an “Old Girls Rule Old Guys” T-shirt beneath a blue housecoat, along with bath slippers, and support hose.
“Some got canes they use as weapons against a gang called the YW or the Young Whippersnappers,” said Green, who was lifting the sheet to get a look at the body.
Bernie asked the Barnett’s to tell him more about the apparent killers.
“Sure. Really ugly mugs. Mouths full of nasty teeth. That’s all. But we know who they are, Eggs. I mean Agent Benedict.”
“They’re a musical group called The Claspers,” said Claire. “They’re a band from New Guinea,” said Claire. “All they sing about is eating meat. They opened for us last night.”
“They file their teeth into points—very sharp points,” said Jules.
“What did you say, Julie?” said Claire.
“Pardon her, sir. “ The boss lost most of her hearing playing rock ’n’ roll with our band, Geezer. Have you heard of our band?”
“Should I have?”
“We used to be known as ROF, or Rich Old Farts. Then we went punk and called ourselves the Irritating Bowel Syndrome. We have a number one single out called ‘The Sound of Sirens’ from our hit CD called Elevator Music. You should check out our blog on geezer.baldspot.com.”
“We’re sorry that we couldn’t get better descriptions for you,” said Jules. “We can’t see as well at night as we used to. Their band truck, with the shark fin on top, was parked next to ours. Ours is the Handi-Van over there. Their truck had a name on it. Coral something—painted on the side.”
Dr. David “Soylent” Green pulled Frankie aside. “Agent Samidino, this may be the onset of rare epidemic form of a disease that we call progeria. It is normally a rare genetic condition where symptoms resembling aspects of aging manifest at an early age. In the Barnett’s’ case, the premature aging could possibly be blamed on a new recreational drug these kids use, called X-Lax-Tasy, that reportedly gives its imbiber what they describe as ‘a spiritual bowel movement of biblical proportions.’ You’re looking at our future, agent. X-Lax-Tasy.”
Poor Dayna was still wailing as the sun rose. Bernie turned to the two sixteenagerians. “Let’s go somewhere quiet and talk,” said Bernie. “Frankie, T.K., and I head the investigative unit called COED, the Crimes of Exotica Division. My friends and I believe The Claspers are a small part of a group of international criminals.”