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Y'know, people give me crap for making Jamie rash and impulsive, but anyone can be rash and impulsive if they have the wrong facts, or the right facts in the wrong framework.

So let's picture things from Roscoe Knight's perspective for a moment, shall we?

Your only son, Richard, gets mugged one night for his wallet. He tries to play it off like it's no big deal, but you can tell he's shaken. You go with him to the police station to report the crime, but the officer seems disinterested - it's clear they don't feel the wallet is recoverable, but they assure you they'll put your name in a file somewhere. You leave, feeling powerless. You worry about what message this encounter sends to your boy about the world he lives in. Richard seems uncharacteristically sullen and uncommunicative.

The next day, reading the news, you feel relieved that the wallet was all Richard lost. Evidently, there's some white supremacist out there - in the same park, that very night! - who attacked and beat an unidentified young black boy. This Benjamin Halliganiv person (what an odd name!) was evidently released on bail. He's on the streets somewhere! You wish you could afford to move to a better neighbourhood.

And then, only a few days later, you get a phone call. Richard is dead. The official story is that he went to a party - on a school night, a party where no one knew him and he didn't know anyone. He took an overdose of a rare drug that he had never before expressed interest in. In a psychotic drugged stupor, while nobody was watching, he managed to completely remove his own head.

You're in shock. You're numb. How was this possible?

They make you identify the body. The face is clean and still and grey. There's a white towel folded over his neck, like he's getting a haircut. You feel separated from your body, like you're controlling everything from far away. You nod and stare and sign whatever paperwork they put in front of you.

You call the principal, and let him know you'll have to take time off from work. He assures you, they'll get a sub. It's a good thing you're replaceable.

You have to pick out a coffin for your baby boy. God, why are coffins so expensive? You look up a phone number on a little card, and wait on hold for a manager for three hours, but evidently family-member AD&D coverage never pays out on a suicide, and aren't you stupid for thinking it would?

You have to choose a day for the funeral. You have to arrange snacks for the funeral.

You stand in the sun. That can't be right, funerals in the movies are always grey and rainy. You don't know any of these people. What do you say? What the hell do you say?

You see in the news that Benjamin Halliganiv is a free man. Evidently, the unnamed boy he beat in the streets is also mysteriously dead, so they can't prosecute. Isn't that just the way the world works?

You keep coming back to Richard's grave. You talk to him. You wish you could be crazy enough that you'd hear him talk back, but there's nothing but silence. Silence and this damn sunlight.

You have an odd encounter with a tall white man. Whoever he is, he wasn't at the funeral. He says Richard had a profound effect on his life, but doesn't elaborate. Says his name is Jamie Halligan. You make a joke about Benjamin Halliganiv, and he laughs it off.

He seems confused by the picture in the wreath, then insists he's never actually spoken to Richard, then leaves. The incident sticks with you. The whole thing was disjointed. Something was off.

You start thinking. Halligan isn't a very common name, isn't it? And Halliganiv doesn't appear to be a name at all. What if Halligan is Halliganiv?

What if the IV is actually... No. Surely, it's not that stupid.

But then you see in the news that another young black man was rushed to the hospital after an apparent suicide attempt. There was no sign of anyone else present, but some unknown person had forced open the door with a Halligan bar, a tool normally only used by firefighters.

There's that name again. Halligan.

And you note that word "apparent". Apparent suicide attempts appear to keep happening, don't they?

One incident is a tragedy. Two is a fluke. But three... three is officially a damn serial killer, isn't it?

Of course, nothing is official. Officially, your son cut his own head off, didn't he? That's what the official story is.

And how are you going to go to the police and tell them that you know something they don't know, that you're putting together pieces that they don't see? You're a grieving parent. You're not objective. They'd smile and nod and file you away. And hell, maybe they've got a point.

But maybe you should see if you can talk to this Andre Williams person. And maybe you should find some way of defending yourself, other than relying on the cops you evidently can't rely on.

That's a perfectly reasonable course of action, isn't it?

(Monday morning, INT: hospital room.)

JH (sitting): I should have brought a vase for these. I don't know why I assumed there'd be a vase.
RoK (holding gun): Did you kill my son.
JH: No. As I told you in the cemetery, I never even met your son.
RoK: You didn't say you hadn't met him. You said you hadn't spoken to him.
JH: Well, I never met him either.
RoK: But you are the same "Benjamin Halliganiv" who assaulted a young black boy in the park off Dean Street a few weeks ago and got away with it, aren't you?
JH: I did beat up an African-American male who had a seventeen year old's driver's license on him, yes.
RoK: And why, exactly, did you do that?
JH: Well, he pointed a gun at me, and I admit, I got a little antsy.
JH: Fortunately for you, I think I've become desensitized at this point.