“The people in this photo look sort of sad. Not that they’re frowning, but their eyes say they’re not having a good time.” Stanley Uris chuckled at his wife’s commentary, adding, ”Make sure you pick a resort that has happy people, good-looking food, and bottomless drinks dove.” Patty made a noise of affirmation at him, continuing to browse different resorts from her spot at the kitchen bar. Stan continued putting together his puzzle on the coffee table in the living room; 1000 pieces and he only had 37 left to go. “I think I found the one. The reviews say that it’s very open for people who want to swing, but very discrete in its handling. And yes, love, they have bottomless drinks. Should I book it?”
“It’s summer; why not?” Stan replied absent-mindedly, reaching for his ringing phone. He frowned at the number, the area code coming from Maine, his stomach sinking as he answered. And then the memories came back.
Things after that went much the same. Stan kissed his wife passionately on the mouth before telling her he was going to write up some business and take a bath. Patty smiled at him and continued planning for their vacation. Stan wrote letters for each of the Losers, tears forming in his eyes as he thought about how he wouldn’t be able to see their happy endings, before starting the water. His body went through the motions of stripping out of his clothes and grabbing the straight razor from the right-hand drawer. He neatly folded his clothes and set them on the counter and sank into the water. He thought of Bill and the promise he made to him and set to put the razor against his wrist when he heard Patty coming up the stairs. Frantically, he stuffed the razor underneath his clothes and sat back down, trying to calm his racing heart as his wife opened the door.
“Honey your phone was ringing, so I answered and they said they had to talk to you about your business trip tonight?” Patty’s eyes searched his for an answer as she handed him the phone; it wasn’t like Stan to forget to tell her things. Automatically, he smiled at her, “I’m sorry dove, I was trying to get out of going, but I guess it didn’t work. I better take this.” Worries placated, Patty kissed her husband on the temple and left the bathroom, shutting the door behind her. As she left, Stan’s smile turned into a frown as he put the phone to his ear, “Stanley Uris.”
“Seems like you’ve got a problem on your hands Agent Uris,” said the voice from the phone, ”not to worry. I’m picking you up in 10 and we’ll head to Maine.”
“How did you know about Derry?”
“We’ve been worried about Maine for a few months now. We had heard of a disturbance in the 80’s, but by the time we got there, it had quieted down. Now, it seems to have picked back up again and we are determined to figure out what is going on. Any more questions Stanny?”
“A request to stop calling me that comes first. Is your dog coming?”
“Of course! If I leave him home alone he gets into the coffee.” With a final click, the conversation ended there. Stan got the straight razor from beneath his clothes and held it in his hands for a long moment. With a grimace, he got up out of the bath and put it away in its drawer, then got dried off and started to pack.
“Do you know when you’ll be back? This is such short notice,” Patty said as she packed Stan’s bathroom bag (best to let Stan do his own shirts she had found through their several years of dating and marriage). “No dove, I’m sorry I don’t. You might want to cancel our trip tonight, that way we can get the deposit back.” She hummed in agreement, making sure to keep his toothbrush in a separate bag away from the toothpaste so it wouldn’t get slimy if it broke open. Stan sighed as he got the text confirming that his ride was out front. “I really am sorry Patty. I really didn’t want to take this trip.” Patty smiled and kissed him on the cheek, “Make it up to me when you get back.” Stan smiled down at her and hugged her quickly before grabbing his bags and making his way out the door, “anything I can give to you, I will.” Patty blew a kiss at him before shutting the door behind him.
Stan’s smile slid off his face as he made his way to the car. The driver’s side window rolled down, revealing what looked to be a small blue dog wearing sunglasses at the wheel. “Stupidhead,” it grumbled at him. With a roll of his eyes, he tossed his stuff in the backseat and slid in beside it. “Yes, nice to see you again as well you demented dog.” The girl in the passenger seat giggled out a laugh, turning in her seat to catch his eye. “One of these days you’ll learn to get along with each other Stanny.” After triple-checking that he was buckled in, Stan raised an eyebrow at her, “and one of these days you’ll learn to call me by my proper name, Lilo.” Lilo laughed again as Stitch started the long drive to Derry, Maine.