I heard about the arsonist by listening to a man whine at the end of the bar, the one on Alexander St. He griped to the barkeep about how an old women he delivers the paper to every morning suddenly changed overnight.
“I’d knock on her door every morning, man. Right at six and she’d hand me a paper cup of coffee to help me on the route. The other day, it’s like she flipped a switch, she knocks a tooth loose and sends me to the pavement,” he griped.
“You tell the cops?” asked the barkeep.
“Tell them what? That an old lady kicked my ass? Not a chance. Only reason I’m telling you is the booze. Can’t visit the station this liquored up.”
I finished my pint and nodded for the barkeep to refill my glass once the paperboy left his tip. I asked him about the story he’d just heard and to fill in any parts I might have missed. He gave me the address to the woman’s house, the one I saw burn down. As I reviewed the notes there was one part that stuck with me, she changed overnight.
Was I going crazy thinking there might be some kind of invasion going on? Was the old woman replaced or were these shapeshifters finally playing their cards after all these years? Had I been dealt the Joker once again? Life’s deck never sorts that one out before playing.