Summary: This takes place the day Sharon picked up KFC for the boys in 'Death of Eric Cartman.' The line: 'Stan, you said your mom was bringing Kentucky Fried Chicken home for dinner! Now is she or isn't she?' struck me as interesting and I couldn't stop thinking; what if she never brought home the chicken? What if she never came home period?
chapter one: SHE DISAPPEARS
It was a Friday and that meant only one thing to the kids of South Park- it was finally time to relax and have fun for two and a half days before the cycle began again. Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny decided to spend the remainder of the day at their friend Stan's house since his parents were not home and his sister was at her own friend's house.
"Sweet dude, I love when we have a whole house to ourselves," Cartman said as he cracked open a Pepsi and sank onto the coach.
"What should we do?" Kyle asked.
"Xbox!" Kenny suggested, reaching for a remote near the TV.
"Naww, c'mon, let's play outside," Stan said.
"You play video games more than any of us though," Kenny crossed his arms.
"Look, the snow is turning to slush right now. It's the warmest day of the week, we should take advantage of it," Stan pointed out the window.
"He's right. I want to go outside too," Kyle stood up.
"But- but Terrance and Phillip…" Cartman pointed to the TV.
"It's a repeat. C'mon, let's play in the slush!" Stan smiled.
"Goddamnit," Cartman mumbled but followed the other three out, soda in hand.
The boys spent all that afternoon in Stan's backyard, occasionally running back into the house as well for a snack and simply because they could. Stan, Kyle, and Cartman took their jackets off not long into the day. They played with Stan's cars and trucks for an hour before deciding to play with their water guns. Cartman stalled them though as he tried to keep pumping the end of his Super Soaker but couldn't get it to work.
"Wait you guys, let me get my other sweeter gun. This one's crapped out." Cartman threw his gun down and left the yard to go back home.
Stan sat on the cold grass breathing hard now.
"Dude…" Kyle walked over to him.
"I think I should- stop. Can't breathe," Stan sighed.
"Sure dude, whatever you need. I'm getting kind of hot too."
Stan sat on the sofa that was littered with toys and empty soda cans, eyes half-shut while Kyle searched around upstairs for his breathing machine. He came down a couple minutes later with the nebulizer in hand.
"Sorry dude, playing with our Super Soakers was my idea," Kyle frowned as he set it up Stan.
"Who cares? I'll be fine."
"I'll call your mom, just in case," Kyle told his friend after he put the mask over his face.
Sharon was at work when she got the call from Kyle. "Okay, I'm leaving right now. Thanks for telling me Kyle. And thanks for calling in general, I didn't know if you boys were home or not. Tell Stan I'll be there in five minutes."
She told her boss she had to run home for a short while and arrived there five minutes later- to a mess. She kicked aside stray trucks and a box of cookies and chips on her way to the living room.
"What in the world went on in here?" she gasped when she met the boys.
"Friday. We- got carried away, sorry," Kyle bit his lip.
"Well you boys promise me to clean up in time for dinner all right? You know I don't like coming home to a disaster." She sat next to Stan and caressed his face. "Are you okay sweetie?"
Stan nodded as he removed his mask. "Fine Mom."
"Poor thing, you were doing so fine this week."
Stan sank into the corner of the couch, waiting for that usual lightheaded feeling to fade. Sharon continued to stroke a couple of fingers on the side of her son's head. A smile popped on her face.
"Say boys, let's make a deal. If you get this place cleaned up quickly, I'll pick up KFC for dinner."
Stan sat up now.
"Why not? Your father won't be home tonight so we can finally have chicken. And your sister is spending the night at Krissa's."
"You're really going to get us KFC for dinner tonight?" Kyle smiled.
"I will. But I might be a tad late. I need to pick up a few groceries after work tonight."
Stan, Kyle, and Kenny high-fived one another. Sharon got to her feet.
"So I want this space cleaned up okay? And I'll bring home KFC."
"Thanks Mom," Stan beamed.
She kissed his cheek and stepped out the door. Five minutes later Cartman walked into the house, another Super Soaker in hand.
"Sorry I'm late fagots, couldn't find the right one." He looked around. "What the hell did I miss?"
"A lot. I just finished a breathing treatment so my mom stopped by and she said she's bringing KFC home for dinner!" Stan cried.
Cartman's eyes went wide. "Did- did you say KFC?"
"KFC?" Cartman repeated.
"Yes Cartman, god!" Stan said annoyed. "But we have to clean our mess first."
"C'mon, it's the only way fatass," Kyle got up and brought over the trashcan from the kitchen.
"I'm not cleaning anything!"
"You have to or you won't get any chicken!" Kyle spat.
Cartman flexed his fists in anger. He needed KFC, needed it. Nothing was better than that juicy chicken with the magical skin. And a huge side of mashed potatoes with gravy didn't hurt either. And biscuits… Cartman went into overdrive and began to pick up the soda cans and snacks off the floor.
"Ay! Why aren't you doing anything gaywad?" Cartman pointed a finger at Stan.
"He had an asthma attack dumbass, he needs to rest. C'mon, we have to have this place spotless by the time Stan's mom comes home," Kyle gathered the trucks in his arms and went upstairs.
And so the boys began to clean the place up, Stan pitching in ten minutes later. Before they knew it the house was clean and sparkling again as if four little boys had never run-a-muck in it. Kyle and Cartman phoned their mothers and told them they were having dinner at Stan's tonight. Kenny's of course wouldn't care so he didn't tell them. By 7 PM they went into the kitchen to get ready for dinner. Stan set up a stack of plates and he took a seat at the breakfast table in the kitchen next to Cartman, Kyle and Kenny on either side of them. Now all they had to do was wait for the delicious smell of Kentucky Fried Chicken to fill the house. It was very difficult to wait, they were all hungry. 7:30 rolled by.
Stan sighed as he impatiently tapped the table. "Dude, where is she? We can't wait."
Kyle was smiling. "God, this is going to be sooo yummy."
Cartman growled. "Stan, you said your mom was bringing Kentucky Fried Chicken home for dinner! Now is she or isn't she?"
Cartman rolled his eyes and crossed his arms. "I swear to god you better be right Stan or I will shove my foot up your ass."
Stan glared. "She is all right? Damn."
Another half hour went by. Stan went from being impatient to feeling slightly worried.
"I'm starving here!" Cartman moaned.
"You think you're starving?" Kenny shot.
"Dude, what time did she get off work?" Kyle asked.
Stan looked at the clock. "Six. She said she'd do a little grocery shopping after, and then get the chicken."
8:15. Stan sighed and got off his chair at the table and onto the one by the phone. "I'm going to call her, see what the holdup is."
"I swear, if I just cleaned up your house for no reason I'm really going to twist your balls Stan"- Cartman warned.
Stan put a finger to his lips to signify 'shut-up'. He waited a minute but Sharon didn't pick up her cell phone. He tried again but there was still no answer.
"What's up?" Kyle asked.
"She's not picking up," Stan told his friends.
They looked at each other.
"Try calling KFC, see if she stopped by," Kyle suggested.
Stan looked in the phonebook and called the number.
"Kentucky Fried Chicken," spoke a bored young man's voice on the other line.
"Er- yeah, hi. Um, this might seem like an odd question but- do you know if my mother came by to pick up chicken?" Stan asked, feeling stupid saying it.
He was sure the man on the other end was looking at the phone weirdly now. "I don't know, how does she look?"
"She's average height, has short brown hair, blue eyes. She should be wearing a blue coat. Her name is Sharon Marsh."
There was some noise on the other line and voices. Stan tapped the counter impatiently.
"Yeah, there was a woman who fits that description that stopped by."
"They said she was there," Stan whispered to his friends.
"Ask what kind of chicken she picked up," Cartman told him.
"Cartman!" Kyle glared.
"Do you know when she picked up the food?" Stan asked.
More voices. The man came to the phone again. "According to a copy of the receipt, 7:10."
"Why do you ask?"
"It's just that- she hasn't come home yet. We only live ten minutes away."
"Sorry to hear that young man."
Stan scratched his face. "Did you see her leave?"
"Well of course she left or she'd still be here wouldn't she?" the man sounded annoyed now.
"Damnit," Stan cursed to himself. "Well- thanks anyway." He put the phone back on the receiver and hopped off the chair. "They said they saw her buy the chicken at 7:10 but that's it."
"7:10? That was a whole hour ago, where would she be?" Kyle wondered.
Stan thought. "Maybe she stopped by to see my dad? I dunno, I'll call him and see if he knows anything. Wait- let me see if she picks up her phone this time…" Stan first called his mother's cell a third time but there was still no answer. Sighing, he called up his father.
"Yeah?" Randy said.
"Dad? Is- Mom there?"
Randy frowned. "No, why do you ask son?"
Stan sighed again. "She's not home yet."
"Hm… well I wouldn't worry; she's come home late from work before. You know how they like to hold up everyone at the clinic now and again on Fridays."
"It's not that Dad, she said she was bringing home Kentucky Fried Chicken after. I called them up and they said she's been there but nobody seems to know where she went after," Stan explained.
Randy was thinking on the other end. "That's funny… she said she'd be home right after?"
"Yeah. She was going to go grocery shopping first then pick up the chicken."
"Hey Stan, maybe she picked up the chicken first, then went to the store?" Kyle suggested.
"She wouldn't. She'd get the chicken last so it would still be hot when she got home," Stan told him.
"Listen son," Randy said, and Stan put the phone to his ear again. "It's almost 8:30 now. If she isn't home by nine, call me back and I'll come home all right?"
Minutes later Stan decided it was time to fix up a quick dinner for everyone since they were starving at this point. Stan however didn't eat much of the frozen pizza, glancing at the clock every minute almost. Seeing that the boy wasn't going to finish Kenny ate the rest of Stan's slice. At nine o'clock there was still no signs of Sharon anywhere so Stan phoned his dad again who said he was on his way now.
"How long do we have to stay here?" Cartman asked, playing with his pizza crust.
"Until Stan's mom comes home," Kyle shot at him.
"That could be any time."
All three boys glared at him now. Randy came into the front door, coat wet from the rain that had started up not long ago.
"All right, first things first, let's not panic," Randy told the boys.
Stan couldn't believe what he was hearing; his dad was the only one who panicked in the family in the first place!
Kyle got out of his seat in the kitchen. "I have an idea. Let's write down what we know, a timetable."
"Good thinking Kyle," Randy said and the boy took out a pencil and paper.
"Okay, she got off work at six," Kyle said, writing this down. "Went to the store apparently, and got the chicken at 7:10."
"Maybe she stopped by Shelley's friend's house?" Randy said.
Stan took hold of the phone and called Krissa Haming's house. Shelley said their mother had not come by but now that she wasn't there, Randy told her to come straight home. Stan sat nervously on the couch with his sister and his friends while Randy thought for a moment.
"I'm going to go out and look for her okay?" he finally said.
Stan got up to get his coat but Randy stopped him.
"I want you kids to stay home."
"And you guys"- he turned to the three other boys. "Need to go home too. I'm sure your parents want you back by now."
"I want to help if I can though," Kyle told the man.
"If we need you we'll call but it's already 9:30 and I want you boys home. C'mon, I'll drive you there. Stanley, Shelley, your Uncle Jimbo is coming by to look after you while I'm out okay?"
"Maybe it's better to have one of us help you if Mom's missing though," Stan said.
"Or we can all go together," Shelley added.
"No, if your mother shows up someone needs to be here," Randy told his children firmly. With that he motioned for Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny to get in the car. "I'll be calling in every-so-often, just in case. And make sure you keep trying her cell too." He took the car keys out of his pocket and left his house.
Stan and Shelley gave each other a look.
"We- we're overreacting a little aren't we?" Stan said nervously.
"I mean, it's only 9:30, Mom can't be too far. She can't actually be missing. She must be at a friend's house." He was saying this only to make himself feel better.
"Not if she said she'd come right back home after picking up your stupid chicken," Shelley slapped him upside the head.
Stan looked over at the tiny bit of info Kyle had written down. She picked the chicken up at should have been back home by 7:20 or so. She was not picking up her phone and nobody seemed to know anything, the two hours she hadn't shown up. Biting his lip, Stan dialed Sharon's number again but it only rang on and on. Thankfully Jimbo showed up moments later.
The first thing he told them was, "Don't you kids worry, your mother is going to show up tonight."
"How do you know?" Shelley questioned the bald man.
"Yeah Uncle Jimbo, she hasn't been picking up her phone and I've called it close to ten times by now!" Stan said.
"Well, this isn't a violent town or anything. I don't think anything dangerous happened to her. She probably stopped by somewhere and didn't call."
Stan rested his head on his hand on the arm of the sofa. That wasn't like her at all; she knew his friends and himself were waiting excitedly for a KFC dinner. She wouldn't abandon them. Plus he suffered a slight asthma scare today, she was always super attentive and almost Mrs. Cartman like when it came to such things, she would have sped home right after picking up their chicken. No, she simply wouldn't have gone off anywhere but home tonight.
The time went by. Stan had fallen asleep on the side of the sofa. He heard hushed voices suddenly but he didn't open his eyes. The voices stopped and he felt two hands slip under his armpits and he was lifted into his dad's arms. Stan strained his eyes.
"No, it's me, Dad," Randy said. "C'mon, it's late. Let's get you in bed."
Stan was too tired to argue but as soon as he dad placed him on his bed Stan shot up. "Wait- what happened? Where's Mom?"
Randy bit his lip. "We- we weren't able to find her son."
"Mom's still missing?"
"Shhh, she's not 'missing', we just haven't found her yet."
"That means she's missing!" Stan cried.
"Look, I'm going to file in a missing persons report to the police okay? They'll- they'll be able to help find your mother," Randy strained.
"Tomorrow morning. Don't worry son, I want your mother back home just as much as you do. She might show up in the middle of the night, you never know."
Stan looked down. Randy pushed him back onto his pillow, took off his shoes and pulled his covers up.
"We'll find Mom, Stanley, don't worry."
He gave his son one last look before turning off the light and closing the door behind him. Stan frowned; for almost two hours of searching, his father could not locate his mom. As each hour passed Stan grew more worried. It was one thing to be a half hour late or so after a small trip to the grocery store and buying chicken for dinner, another to be five hours late. Stan turned over on his side, knowing it would be difficult to fall asleep tonight without a good-night kiss or tucking in from his mom.
You know the drill. Tell me what you think for a quicker chapter!
I ship: Stan/Cartman <3
Sharon: What is it honey? (gasp!) My baby's killed again!
Haa, I love that line.
Stan woke early the next morning. He didn't fall asleep easily and doubted he'd be able to get anymore shut-eye. He lay in bed for a few minutes, not knowing whether or not to leave his room. A part of him said yes so he could find out if his mom showed up while he had been asleep, the other said to stay in bed.
If she came home you would have known, said a voice. He finally had had it and kicked off his covers and hurried downstairs. No one was there; he was the only one up. He ran back upstairs and carefully opened the door to his parents' room. He peaked in and slowly tip-toed his way further in. The right side of the bed was empty. His heart sinking, Stan shut the door again and slowly made his way back to his room and in bed. He turned on his side, heart heavy. He must have fallen asleep because the next moment his dad was shaking him awake.
"C'mon, breakfast time," Randy said.
"What's for breakfast?"
"Well… your mom usually makes it… but since she's- it's, it's make-your-own-breakfast today son," Randy bit his lip before walking out.
Stan laid spread eagle in his bed for five more minutes before deciding to go downstairs. He grabbed a bowl and pored himself Cocoa Puffs and ate slowly. It was the quietest morning ever. Shelley kept sharing glances at her father and brother as she ate cereal as well. Randy didn't look at his children as he ate his bacon and eggs. As usual, Grandpa Marsh was in a mind of his own.
"So… what are we going to do then?" Stan finally asked.
"Huh?" Randy shot up as if just realizing he was there.
"What are we going to do to find Mom?"
"Oh, um, I'm going to have one quick look around town before going to the police. It's best you kids stay home for the day."
"I can't just stay here doing nothing while Mom may be missing," Stan gritted his teeth.
"Well you're going to have to," Randy snapped. "I'll give you kids a job to do or something but you're staying home."
"I don't want to have to baby-sit him," Shelley complained, jerking a thumb to her little brother.
"Well you're going to have to!" Randy bit at his daughter as well, rubbing his eyes. "If you'd rather an adult watch you kids…"
"No!" Shelley immediately stated. She was thirteen, she hated when her parents had another adult look after them when she was old enough to stay home alone.
"Then no more arguing, got it? Let's just finish breakfast and do what we can to find your mother. She can't be far."
"If she wasn't she'd turn up last night…" Stan said softly, playing with his cereal.
Randy glared but didn't say anything. After breakfast Randy went upstairs to get dressed and look for his wife. He came downstairs wearing a coat and told his children to stay home and try reaching Sharon by her phone. With that he left without another word. Stan frowned and took hold of the phone. They hadn't even tried to call her again that morning. His fingers raced on the keypad and he bit his lip in anticipation. Even Shelley looked nervous as she watched him do it.
"Well?" she asked after several long moments.
"C'mon, let's get dressed and brush our teeth."
"You don't tell me what to do!" Stan bit at her.
Shelley took hold of him by his hair and pajama top and flung him up several stairs. He landed on them painfully. Growling, he did as he was told. As soon as he was done however he fled back downstairs and took the phone and set it next to him and turned on the TV. Shelley came down minutes later and took the remote out of his hand.
"I had it first!" he argued.
"I'm in charge turd." And she bopped him on the head with the remote before switching it to something she wanted to watch. Even though Stan was incredibly annoying, she did enjoy it when she was put in charge, he didn't have mommy or daddy to complain to if she did something to him.
"Maybe we should keep it on the news, in case something pops up," Stan suggested not long after.
She contemplated this. "Fine, but only during commercials. Until then, I'm watching the wonders of Hawaii!"
Stan had to sit in front of the TV while a boring program about Hawaii on the Travel Channel played. He didn't want to go upstairs and be away from the phone. Suddenly there was a knock on the front door. Stan leapt out of his seat and opened it to reveal Kyle.
"Hey dude," Kyle greeted.
"Hey," Stan looked down at his shoes.
Kyle rubbed the back of his neck. "Any luck since last night?"
Stan sighed. "None. My dad is off filling a missing persons report now and trying to look for her again."
"You guys didn't see or hear anything last night?"
"No. My dad must have been looking for a while because he put me to bed at almost 11:30."
"That sucks dude."
Kyle didn't know what else to say which was weird; he was never awkward in front of Stan. "Look, do you need my help with anything?"
"I dunno, I'm just in charge of trying to call her. Guess we can only sit and wait until something happens."
"I'm sure everything's fine Stan. I know your mom wouldn't just walk out on you guys."
"You're right, she wouldn't. That only means something bad happened to her last night," Stan said tonelessly.
"It's fine," Stan reassured. "Wanna come in?"
"You better not let any of your other stupid friends in turd or I'm telling Dad!" Shelley warned when Stan shut the front door.
"Like he'll care?"
Shelley threw the remote down angrily and got off the couch. "You better tell me if anything happens Stan!" with that, she went upstairs.
Now that he was there Kyle didn't know what to do. Obviously Stan would not want to go out or do anything or play if his mother was missing. He could only sit around and try to help any way he could even though the only thing they could do was keep trying to call her cell. By lunch Randy had finally returned home.
"Well?" Stan immediately asked, getting to his feet.
"I looked again, still didn't find her. I went to the police. They're going to start searching right away," Randy said heavily.
Stan and Kyle shared a look. They both knew the incompetence of the police for Park County; could they really be of much help? But they had no choice; if Sharon was missing they needed to find her. Randy rubbed the back of his neck.
"I know that's not what you kids want to hear… but don't worry, everything will be fine."
"How can you say that though?" Stan demanded.
Randy looked lost again. "I- I have to son."
"But you know that's not the truth. Mom would never walk out on us, especially after yesterday. I had an asthma attack, she promised us chicken. She would have come straight home after work," Stan said, glaring.
"Hey, these words are supposed to keep you kids calm. How am I to know what really happened?"
"I don't know but I know this was a horrible accident. Something happened to her and we don't know what." Stan sank back onto the sofa, arms crossed.
"Well, try to have a stiff upper lip then Stan. I know Mom is missing and I know she would have told us if she wasn't coming home. But moping about it and thinking something horrible happened isn't going to help," Randy spoke.
"What the f*ck? Mom is missing! I'll mope about it as long as I f*cking want!" Stan screamed.
Randy glared. "Go upstairs Stan, now."
Kyle moved to the front door. "Maybe I'll come back later."
Stan barely heard his friend; he just stomped his way to his bedroom and sank onto his bed frustrated. Saturday drew on. The only thing that happened was a couple police officers coming by to take a look at the place, wondering if any clues were left behind. Randy insisted there was nothing and Sergeant Lou looked at him suspiciously. He told Randy he would be taken in for questioning tomorrow before pulling Stan and Shelley over and telling them the same thing.
"But- we don't know anything," Stan said.
"Nonetheless, we always have to speak to the family," Lou said before he and Detective Murphy left.
No one got any leads or heard of anything the rest of the night and once again Stan went quietly to bed, head filled with worries. Sunday rolled around and the Marshes were taken down to the Park County Police Station for questioning although was separated from the moment they got there to avoid 'anyone mixing up any of their stories.' Stan was called in first. He sat nervously in a small room and across from the table were Sergeant Lou and another man.
"Hello young man, my name is Sergeant Lou and this here is David. We'd like to ask you some questions concerning the whereabouts of your mother," Lou said, taking a drag from a cigarette.
"Um sir, I think the county forbids us from smoking in front of any children we question," David said.
"Damn county!" he cursed before putting out his cigarette. "All right young man"-
"Stan," Stan said.
"In your words, when did you last see your mother?"
"What time Friday?"
"I don't know, after school."
"Retrace your steps. What went on Friday leading up to Sharon Marsh's disappearance?"
Stan thought. "I was home with my friends. We all decided to play at my house after school. I had an asthma scare so my friend called my mom and told her. She came by to check up on me from work. She then promised us KFC for dinner if we cleaned the house. She left, and we went back to work. We spent all that night waiting for her to come back home but she never did."
"Do you know what time your mom was to come home from work?" David asked.
"And when exactly did she come to check up on you?"
Stan sighed. "I don't know… four?"
"How long was she home for?" Lou asked.
"Fifteen minutes or so."
"Do you know when she would be picking up dinner for you?" David asked.
Stan looked down. "After work. She was going to pick up a few things at the store, then get the chicken."
"The store?" David looked surprised.
"Just some things, not too much. If she got off work at six and went to the store, she must have been at KFC around seven."
David was writing this down.
"I- called KFC after a while, see if she stopped by. They said she had and they had a copy of the receipt. She got the chicken at 7:10 I think it was," Stan continued.
"And just how far is KFC from your home Stan?" Lou pressed.
"Ten minutes. She wouldn't be back any later than 7:30."
"So according to you, your mother picked up dinner at 7:10?" David asked.
"Not according to me, to the KFC people. They said they had a copy of the receipt and knew a woman who fit my mom's description come in."
"What KFC did she stop by?" David asked.
"The one on Viewpoint Street, it's the only one in South Park," Stan answered.
"I want you to make sure we contact KFC today David," Lou pointed out.
"Of course. Now Stan, why did your mother agree to pick up chicken in the first place?"
"'Cause she wanted to, I dunno. She promised my friends and I she would."
"You say she told you that she would be 'stopping by at the store'. Do you know why? What she intended on buying?" David asked.
"Butter, eggs, bread, more soda. Things we've been running low on. Maybe corn for dinner over the weekend."
"Nothing else though? Nothing suspicious?"
"What? No! Just food," Stan insisted.
"At any time did you try contacting her while she was out? After she got off work?" Lou asked as he leaned against a chair.
"And why is that?" he continued.
Stan frowned. "No need to. She said she'd go to the store, then get KFC after work. No reason to call and make sure."
"Did she stop by home before she went back out?"
"No. Only to check on me after my friend called her at four."
"Did you purposely want her to come home? Did you purposely fake an attack just so your mother would stop by?" Lou asked rubbing his chin.
"What? No! Not at all!"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes! My attack wasn't fake or- or a ruse to have my mom come home," Stan said, surprised at the question.
"So she simply came by and promised chicken, just to be nice?" Lou asked.
"Yes. That's what she does."
"Why were you home alone after school?"
"Because both my parents were at work and my sister was with a friend."
"Stan, who usually watches you after school? Or if your parents are unable to?" David questioned.
"My sister is usually in charge since she's older. Sometimes a neighbor or a family friend baby-sits or I go to a friend's house."
"Stan, are there family problems perhaps at home? Something between your mother and father?" David asked carefully.
"No. I mean, my dad is an idiot a lot of the time and it annoys not only her but me as well, but it's fine. It's not really a 'problem.' They love each other very much."
"Has your father ever physically harmed your mother?"
"No!" Stan screamed, now sickened at the posing question.
"Are you certain? There has never been any fighting behind closed doors? Screams? Your mother has never come into the room with a bloody or bruised face?"
"Goddamnit no! My dad would never ever hurt my mom," Stan glared.
"Is there anyone else who might have had an intention to hurt her?"
Stan opened his mouth to think for half a second before answering. "No. No one."
David leaned in closer. "Did your father tell you to hush anything up before coming over here?"
He leaned in closer. "He didn't try harming you or your sister before arriving? Threaten you in any way?"
"No," Stan could feel his eyes sting now.
"It's okay son, everything here is completely confidential. You don't have to hide anything at all from us, we're police men."
"My dad never hurt any of us. My parents don't believe in smacking or hitting a child, they never would do something like that. Please, can I get out of here?" Stan looked around frantically, having enough of this very personal and pressure-filled interview.
The two men shared a look.
"All right, you're free to go for now. But we will want to talk to you again very soon. Bring your sister in Stan."
Stan wasted no time at all leaving the small room. It didn't take long for Shelley's interview since she had no idea what had happened to Sharon since she left school that morning. Up next was Randy. Stan was nervous for him, police always pin-pointed spouses as the number one suspect in cases like this. He knew his father couldn't have been responsible for his mother's disappearance but he knew his dad… he would be rambling or saying something stupid to make the officers look in deeper. Would Randy be able to convince the police otherwise?
Thank-you for the comments Keep 'em coming! More soon B)
I ship: Stan/Cartman <3
Sharon: What is it honey? (gasp!) My baby's killed again!
Haa, I love that line.
Randy looked around the small room and tugged at his shirt collar. Sergeant Lou and David looked at him with knowing eyes. This time however Lou lit a cigarette and took a puff.
"All right Marsh, where were you the night of your wife's disappearance?" Lou began.
"At a friend's," he answered.
The two detectives shared a look.
"At a friend's? A lot of people use this excuse when someone goes missing you know."
"Do they? Well- well I assure you it's the truth," Randy spoke.
"Who is this 'friend's house' you were at?" Lou went on.
Randy thought. "Was it Nelson? Naw, he was gone Friday. It might have been Matt's. Man I can't remember, I drank so much yesterday."
Lou puffed out and a cloud of smoke lingered in the air. "You drank a lot did you?"
Randy smiled sheepishly. "Not a lot. I mean, I was sober enough to drive home after my son called that his mom was missing."
So far things didn't look too good for Randy. The officers did not stop giving each other looks.
"So you were drinking too much Friday to remember where you were?" David asked.
"I guess. But so what? It happens all the time," Randy passed off.
"You like to drink do you Marsh?" Lou asked.
"Yeah," Randy smiled.
"It seems pretty suspicious that you don't remember where you were Friday night," David raised a brow.
"Huh? Oh, I can see how. But why? You- you think I had anything to do with this?" Randy looked surprised.
"It's certainly sounding like it," Lou said.
"What? I would never murder my wife!" Randy cried.
"Who said she was murdered?" David asked.
"Huh? Oh, oh I get it. Well no one did, did they? But I'm assuming that's what you're thinking. I mean, a lot of times people who go missing end up murdered. Oh my god, I can't believe I'm even saying this," Randy said, putting his head in his hands now.
"True, they do appear murdered most of the time, and most of the time it is the spouse who did the killing. But it has only been two days," David said.
Randy looked up. "I thought this was just a simple question-and-answer session. I didn't think you thought I did anything to my wife. You talked to my kids. You think they had something to do with it then?"
David looked at his papers. "It is highly unlikely a child would purposely harm his own mother but we do have to ask. Their stories seem straighter than yours is sounding at the moment Marsh."
"But I wasn't even home! I was at a friend's. Matt… yes, I know it was Matt's now! He had a new pool table so I had to go over that night," Randy was recalling.
"You could have done something to your wife before going over to this 'Matt's' house," David said simply.
"Didn't my son say he was home after school all day? I was at work when he was at school, he would have known if I was home or not when he was."
It was the first real thing Randy had said that made any sense.
"Maybe you drugged your son when you came home so he wouldn't know that you harmed your wife," Lou glared.
Both David and Randy looked at him with shocked faces now.
"Sir, isn't that jumping the gun just a little bit?" David asked.
Lou took another drag from his cigarette. "Maybe, but it doesn't hurt to speculate."
"First you think I harmed my wife, now you think I drugged my own son?" Randy gasped.
Lou slammed his fists on the table now. "Listen here Marsh, so far your story isn't adding up. You don't have a strong alibi and seem to be forgetting a lot of what happened Friday, continentally."
"'Cause I was drinking!"
"So what did you do? Come home angry, hurt your wife and hid her body? Because you were drunk?"
"I never come home drunk and angry," Randy passed off. "Ask my kids."
"Trust me, we will," Lou said.
David cleared his throat. "What time did you get off work on Friday Mr. Marsh?"
"Hm… according to your son your wife got off work at six. That's only a half hour time gap. You could have been scheming anything in that half hour," David said.
"I went straight to Matt's after work. I never came home until my son called."
"When did your son call?"
Randy took out his cell phone and looked back to see when Stan had rung him that Friday. "8:26."
David looked at his papers. "What we have so far from your children and you is that your son was home with friends after school. Your wife stopped by to check on your son 'around four' and promised to pick up KFC. She was to get off work at six. Your son called KFC to see why she had not showed up and according to them she came by at 7:10. Apparently she was going to the store for a few groceries."
"Did she? I didn't know that," Randy looked surprised.
David glared before continuing. "You got off work at 5:30 and never stopped home. Your son called you at 8:26 to tell you his mother had not come home."
"I promise you, I have nothing to do with my wife's disappearance," Randy pleaded.
"Why did you wait until Saturday to inform the police?" David asked.
"I don't know. I thought that maybe Sharon would show up by then. I didn't want to worry my kids too much, especially my son. He's very sensitive you know. I know the sight and sounds of police all around the house and inside, looking for his missing mom would upset him. I guess I was sort of… you know, in denial she was gone too," Randy confessed.
"What made you finally tell us she was gone?" Lou asked.
"I didn't want to wait any longer. I had one night of denial before was pushed to make a missing persons statement."
"'Pushed' is an interesting word to use," David noted.
"Well it was the first thought on my son's mind. He asked when I was going to do it. The look on his face… I had to."
"So you only did it because of your son?" David asked.
"No! I was going to do it regardless! You don't know my son; he's very stubborn and determined. I knew he wouldn't rest until I did it. I went right after breakfast yesterday. It's not that long of a wait when you think about it," Randy glared. "I didn't say anything Friday night because I thought she'd turn up on her own. When she didn't, I made the statement first thing Saturday."
There wasn't much else the detectives could ask so they let Randy go, but not before telling him police were on their way to look for clues in the house. At first Randy was fine with it but once they started to deeply inspect the place he got annoyed.
"C'mon on now, can't you see this place is clean? I don't want to have to clean it up again," he said arms crossed.
"If you want your wife found I suggest you pipe down Marsh," spat a detective.
One detective knelt by Stan's side. "Where was your mother when she came home Friday evening?"
"Here in the living room. She sat with me on the couch the whole time," Stan pointed out.
They began to search the sofa for any fibers or clues. They asked for the exact clothes each one of the Marshes was wearing on Friday as well to test. They went around asking more questions and looking around some more before finally leaving. Randy turned around to see both his kids sitting on the sofa that now held three pillows since the cushions had been taken away for examining.
"Well… if you kids want to stay up or not is your call but tomorrow is Monday and- well, school."
Shelley got up. "I'm going to bed."
Stan stood too. "Me too."
They ascended the stairs, but not before Stan turned to face his father. "Dad, is it true that as each day goes by, the harder it is to find a missing person?"
"What? Who told you that?" Randy looked shocked.
He shrugged. "TV."
"Well you can't believe everything the TV tells you Stanley," Randy said sternly.
"Oh, okay then… 'night." He hurried up and shut his door.
San sat up in bed for a while, his light off and looking out his window at the blackness of the night. He sighed as he looked at a picture in his hand. It was of his mother hugging him after she unwrapped a birthday present he had given her for her birthday last December. Both were smiling happily at the camera as Sharon held onto the new super-fluffy slippers he had gotten her with one hand, the other around his shoulders. Stan sighed as he hugged the picture to him.
"Please come home soon Mom…"
Stan woke in a fog Monday. Randy was hurrying around the house drinking coffee. "Does Mom usually make you lunch? Anyway, here"-
He gave five bucks to both Shelley and Stan.
"I really have to go. Remember to keep calling your mom's cell during passing period and recess kids. I'll see you tonight!"
"What's for dinner tonight?" Shelley asked.
"I- I'll think of that later. I have to go. Kyle's mom said she'll be here to pick you up soon Stanley. Bye!" with that Randy hurried out.
"Things are going to be really chaotic if Mom doesn't come home soon," Shelley stated.
"Yeah… she usually does laundry Monday. We won't have anything to wear." Although Stan knew this wasn't important now but it still did matter. Fifteen minutes later Kyle's mother came by to take Stan to school. He didn't feel like riding the bus. He got into the back seat and didn't say anything. Kyle turned around from the front seat to face his friend. Stan wasn't looking at him. Sheila decided to speak up.
"So, Stanley, how are you?"
Stan sighed. "Not good."
"Oh, well, hopefully school will distract you from things today hm?"
Stan didn't respond back. The ride to school was very quiet but Stan was grateful for it, he didn't want to talk if he didn't need to. He met up with Cartman and Kenny by the steps of the school. Cartman walked up to him with a smile on his face.
"Hey fagbutt, did your mom come home yet?"
"I take that as a no," Kenny noted.
"Figured, there's been police up and down our street all weekend," the fat boy continued.
"Can we just not talk about it?" Stan snapped. "It's bad enough my mom's missing with no clues. You don't have to go around not caring in my face."
Cartman blinked. "Hey, I do care Stan. Your mom's not a bitch like Kyle's."
"Goddamnit Cartman!" Kyle made fists.
"Just sayin'… Stan's mom let's us make the house a mess all the time. There are hardly any rules when we're over."
"Look, can you drop it? I barely got enough sleep as it is," Stan said wearily.
"All right fine," Cartman shrugged.
Unfortunately for Stan he couldn't help but think of his mom all day. He could hear students at school complaining about the police activity and many of them gave him curious looks. When he finally did come home he found police in his house as well.
"Hey! Hey! I thought no one was supposed to be here unless my dad was home!" he told them as they shuffled around the master bedroom.
"We have search warrants kid," said one man. "We have every right to search your home, especially with your dad as a suspect."
"Whoa- wait, my dad's a suspect?"
"Every spouse is the first person we look at," explained another detective as he dusted the bedroom window for prints.
"My dad is innocent though," Stan said.
"We don't know that. His story was pretty fishy if you ask me," eyed the first man.
"Well… well my dad is an idiot. Doesn't mean he actually"- Stan gulped. "Hurt my mother."
"Until his story makes sense, he's on the top of the list."
One detective knelt next to Stan. "Now that you're here son, do you mind telling me all of your mother's closest contacts? All her friends?"
"Um, I guess."
"And the friends you were with that Friday night."
"Fine. Everyone my mom knows is in her address book in the kitchen."
"Stan, it's also important we get hold of all the people at her place of employment. A lot of times a fellow employee is responsible as well."
Stan bit his lip. "But I don't think anyone"-
"Please Stan. Where does your mother work?"
He sighed. "Tom's Rhinoplasty. She's a receptionist there."
The detective nodded to his men. That's when one of the men searching under the bed found something, something long and thin. Randy's shotgun. He sniffed it and showed the others.
"Seems like it's been recently fired," he said softly.
They turned around to face Stan.
"Now what?" he asked wildly.
"Go downstairs son, we're calling in your father from work right now."
Stan sighed but did as he was told. Minutes later Shelley arrived home.
"Why the hell are the police here again?" she shot at him.
"I don't know, looking for more clues," Stan shrugged.
Randy drove home fifteen minutes later to see police coming out of his house.
"Why the hell are you guys tearing my house apart again?" he demanded.
"Sir we have just found a recently used firearm in your bedroom. If you don't mind we would like to search your vehicle," explained a blonde man with the gun.
"What? This is insane!" Randy said as men began to examine his car inside out. "What the hell would I have in my car?"
"That remains to be seen."
"Shouldn't you have a warrant first?" Randy asked, brow raised.
"Hey, every spouse is our first target! As soon as your story starts to make any sense you're number one on our list Marsh!" spat the head officer Lou.
Randy could do nothing but sit on the steps as the police looked at his car.
"Interesting thing Marsh, seems like your car has been recently washed," Lou rubbed his chin.
"Usually when someone washes their vehicle after a missing persons case, it's to try and wash away evidence."
"If you really think I harmed my wife you are wrong!" Randy pointed a threatening finger at the officer.
"What's going on?" Stan asked from inside the house to his sister.
Shelley was peaking out the window. "They're asking Dad something. I think they found something and are curious."
"What? There's nothing to find though!"
"That's what it looks like though."
"Let me see!" Stan stood on his toes and tried to push his older sister out of the way but she threw him back.
The police finally left an hour later. Randy sighed as he walked into the house.
"What happened?" his children demanded.
"They think I'm involved somehow. Apparently they found my shotgun's been fired and they took prints and paint samples and everything from the car."
His children shared a look. Randy seemed to understand their silent communication.
"Hey, I didn't hurt Mom all right? I didn't."
"I know, but… why does it seem like your gun has been recently fired?" Stan asked.
"I don't know all right?" Randy spat. "But I didn't use it to kill your mom! Let me find something for dinner…"
Stan looked up at Shelley as Randy went into the kitchen.
"Do you think-?"
"No turd!" Shelley bopped him on the head.
Dinner was another quiet affair; Randy had made spaghetti although it wasn't very good. There wasn't much food in the kitchen so he couldn't make meatballs, not like it mattered because Sharon usually made dinner anyway. Stan wondered if she had picked up ground meat on her trip to the store that Friday night. He wondered if she went at all actually. He had to inform the police to check security cameras because he had a feeling they hadn't done such a thing. That's when another idea popped in his mind.
"Dad, did they find Mom's car?"
Randy and Shelley looked up.
"What do you mean son?"
"I mean, she took her car Friday. We know she's missing but maybe someone has spotted her car somewhere?"
Randy thought. "You have a point son. Well don't worry, just another thing the police will be told first thing tomorrow."
Stan didn't know if he wanted his mother's car to turn up. If her car was found but not her, it only meant something horrible had indeed happened to her and the thought made Stan's stomach twist in knots. He couldn't finish dinner and said no to dessert and went upstairs to do his homework. Maybe Tuesday would bring brighter thoughts.
No such luck. Even when Stan told police to check the security cameras at Henry's Market and to look for her car it still was a dead end. It's not as if clues would begin to magically unfold just because you thought of them. While the police analyzed everything they had collected that day Stan was feeling more at loss. He barely spoke to his friends that day and as soon as he went home, did homework, ate some dinner before sitting on his bed and stared into space. He barely noticed when night fell until Randy poked his head in.
"Hey, Stan, time for bed."
"Did you brush your teeth yet?"
Stan shook his head no.
"Well, get to it. C'mon, another day of school tomorrow."
"I can barely think about school right now Dad," Stan looked down.
Randy sighed and placed a hand on his son's shoulder. "Hey, I know things are grim right now but you can't keep thinking they're going to stay like that. Nothing happened to your mother."
"Something did Dad or she'd be here by now. No one goes missing for almost four days without something happening to them," the boy glared.
"Well what do you want me to say? You're so goddamn difficult to distract Stan, what the hell do you want me to say?" Randy's eyes were wide.
Stan drew in a shaky breath. "The truth."
Randy sighed again. "I don't know what the truth is Stanley."
"Then don't lie and pretend she's okay or- or decided to ditch us for some secret vacation to Hawaii."
Randy stood. "I won't, if you don't want to hear it." He took one last look at his son before saying, "Good-night," and leaving.
Stan used the bathroom one last time before turning off his bedroom light and crawling into bed. It was silly really, but he didn't know if he could fall asleep. Tonight was Tuesday and his mother always helped him with reading Tuesday and Thursday night. But he had missed some Tuesday nights before due to some dangerous adventure he was on with his friends; it's not as if his mom had read to him every single Tuesday night of his life. But when he was home… when things were normal…when he was away from danger for once and living life like any other kid, she read to him. Every normal Tuesday night Sharon made sure to fit in a book read with her son no matter what. It was tradition by now. One of their special bonding moments together. So to be lying in bed Tuesday night and not have his mother sitting on his bed with a book in hand…
Stan sniffed as he gripped his covers. This was silly, really really silly. He didn't need to be read to or to have practice reading every few days. He was nine. Too old for that. Kyle's mom had stopped with bedtime stories and such a while ago, because Kyle told her to. But no, he wasn't Kyle and his mother wasn't Kyle's mother. Tuesdays and Thursdays belonged to Stan and Sharon. He did still love bedtime stories and all the warmth and comfort that came with it. He did enjoy learning new words and showing off how well he could read. No, tonight was emptier than any night. He could hear the books on his bookshelf calling to him to be pulled out. Stan sniffed again and dabbed his nose. He was scared and lost and had nowhere to turn and didn't think anyone out there could understand what he was feeling.
An hour had gone by. At this point the whole house was dark as everyone was in bed. But not everyone. Shelley came out her room frowning and looking left and right before walking down the hall and stopping at Stan's door. She cracked it open and peaked inside. He appeared to be asleep so she shut the door and went back to her room. Stan parted his eyes; he could have sworn he saw his sister step into his room just then. He shook it off and turned to his side, trying to fall asleep and not let his mind wander. He stayed like this for ten more minutes before finally sitting up and hopping off his bed. He didn't know why he was doing it but he was desperate. He took his pillow and drawing in a deep breath, walked in the direction of Shelley's room. This time he poked his head in. His sister appeared to be asleep. Stan sighed, knowing he wouldn't be getting any comfort tonight now. He was about to walk out when he heard a voice.
He turned around to see Shelley sitting up in her bed.
"What are you doing in here turd?" she demanded.
"I- well I- I was just going to… I couldn't"-
"Spit it out turd."
Stan gulped. "I can't sleep Shelley."
She raised her eyebrow. "What do you want me to do about that brat?"
Stan looked at his cold bare feet. "I dunno, I just figured- I mean, I thought you came into my room not long ago and, and can't sleep either."
They didn't say anything for almost a full minute.
"So?" said Shelley finally.
"Forget it!" Stan spat. "I already know I can't go to you for anything and I never will!"
"Stan wait!" why was she calling him back? She sighed and rolled her eyes. "You're right. I… I'm having troubles sleeping too."
Saying it like it was the biggest, most life-changing decision she would ever make, Shelley said, "You can sleep with me tonight, if you want."
Stan looked at her for a few seconds before shutting the door and walking to the other side of the bed. Shelley moved aside and he crawled in.
"You better not wet my bed or anything turd."
"I haven't wet a bed for two years Shelley," Stan frowned. He fluffed his pillow and covered himself in her purple horse-printed covers. It was one of the most oddest, awkward things both kids have ever done. Stan honestly could not remember the last time he slept with his sister (other than in a hotel during a vacation), or if he even slept in this bed. It made him upset to know he did not have the caring, nurturing older sister other younger siblings had. Especially at a time like this, he needed that extra comfort, but with Shelley…
"Why can't you fall asleep?" Shelley asked, not looking at him.
"What kind of stuff?"
Stan gulped. "Mom stuff."
Shelley looked down. "Me too."
"Shelley? Do you think something bad happened to her?"
"I don't know."
"I think there has," Stan answered his own question. "We haven't heard or seen anything for four days now. No one ever picks up her cell when we try and call. Who doesn't answer their own cell for four days?"
"I don't know Stan…"
"I keep thinking… of all days, Mom would have come straight home. She promised us chicken. I had an asthma attack; we both know how mom gets when I can't breathe. She acts like Cartman's mom."
Shelley sighed. "True."
"That's the one thing about me that scares her more than anything. She-would- have -come-straight-home," Stan emphasized again.
"She would have," Shelley agreed. She looked over to him. "It must be pretty hard to fall asleep tonight huh?"
"Mom reads to you Tuesdays."
"Yeah," Stan said again. He sniffed.
"She promised us she'd take us to the farmer's market tomorrow, remember?"
A smile grew on Stan's face. "Yeah, I remember. The only time I like and actually eat any fruit or veggies."
Shelley chuckled. "She knows how to hide zucchini in any meal."
"Baking with her is pretty fun huh?"
Stan smiled. "I love baking with Mom. It can get real messy but it's so much fun. Nothing is better than licking the batter after you bake something or flour being tossed around everywhere and Mom not caring."
"Although she asks you to do it more than me," Shelley glared.
Stan burned with guilt. "It's not my fault. Every time she asks you, you say it's 'lame.' I still find it fun."
"It's because you're nine, you're still an immature idiot."
Stan glared now but decided to think of something else. "I miss Mom's way of thinking. Dad is such an idiot at times, he never thinks when he says or does something. At least Mom is smart enough to not look like an ass."
"I know. I don't know how much longer we can go before Dad does something that screws us all over. He hardly ever cooks and spends his free time drinking beer."
"I don't hate him; obviously, but- Mom keeps this house afloat."
Shelley nodded in agreement. "She does a lot for us, that's for sure."
"She once buried dead bodies in the backyard because she thought I killed them. She did all she could to make sure I didn't go to jail or something," Stan said quietly.
"Don't remind me," Shelley said looking sick. "I remember, once, for Halloween, she went out all her way to make me a costume that looked exactly like Daisy from Three Little Witches. But by the third house I was at, it was stepped on and ruined. But she didn't complain."
"I can't remember all the countless times she's been in my room whenever I have gotten sick. She goes above and beyond to make sure I'm feeling okay and doesn't rest until she knows I'm back to normal," Stan said heavily.
"She once piled my bed with pillows when I had a cold when I was seven, just because I wanted her to."
"She's fallen asleep by my bed so many times as I cough into the night, it's crazy."
"You're too young to remember, but once, when I was six and you were two, we were both sick at the same time," Shelley said. "We were demanding every bit of attention from her. Dad wanted to step in and help but Mom refused. She somehow was able to manage two sick kids, work, and cooking and cleaning. I remember thinking she was a power-woman."
Stan chuckled sadly before sniveling, his eyes stinging. "Shelley… I'm scared."
Shelley looked at him again.
"I'm really scared something happened to her. A lot of sh*t happens in this town but- but Mom is missing. Just vanished. I'm scared."
"I'm scared too," the teenager admitted.
Soon the stinging turned into real tears and before Stan knew it, he was crying. Shelley's heart constricted. Her little brother, crying and lying in her bed. She never thought such a sight would ever take place before her eyes. She did something else she had hardly ever done before and pulled him on her and allowed him to weep on her side. Before she knew it tears fell as well.
Randy was surprised the next morning when he didn't find his son in his bed. He went to his daughter's room to find both his kids asleep in the bed, heads near, Stan breathing into her neck. He sighed helplessly before waking them up. Stan had to think twice as to what he was doing in his sister's room before remembering the events of last night.
"You tell anyone what happened last night and I'm going to break your jaw," Shelley threatened, fist dangerously close to Stan's mouth.
He nodded fearfully, although when she left the room, he smiled at the warmth that filled his body, knowing what it was like to have a caring big sister at least for one night. But it didn't make up for the rest of the day. School was still horrible and he was a zombie as he walked home with his friends from the bus stop.
"Stan, hey dude, you'll never guess what my mom got me last night," Cartman was saying, running around him in circles.
Kyle hit him. "His mom is missing fatass! Why would he want to hear about what your mom, who isn't missing, got you?"
Cartman thought. "Oh, right." He smiled. "Hey Stan! Stan! Did you watch the Rockies game last night? Oh man, that was crazy huh?"
Stan didn't answer.
"Hey Stan," Cartman began again.
"What?" Stan finally snapped.
Cartman blinked. "Hey, it's cool bro."
"No it's not, nothing is," Stan sank helplessly into the snow before expelling his thoughts. "This is horrible. Nobody knows anything and the police don't know jack. What am I supposed to do? How can I just sit here not knowing what happened to my mom when the police should be doing it instead?" he gripped onto his hat in frustration.
Kyle stood next to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Dude, you know we're here if you need anything."
"I know…" Stan looked down.
"We wish we could do something to help dude," Kenny told the boy.
Kyle sat down next to Stan. "Yeah, c'mon, there must be something we can do. C'mon, let's think."
Cartman sighed regretfully. "This will be hard for me Stan but- maybe this might help…" he handed over a slip of paper to him, a coupon.
"A six piece bucket of chicken meal for $9.99 at KFC?" Stan screamed. "You f*cking jerk!"
"Hey, that's a good coupon Stan! I've been saving it!" Cartman raged.
"Both of you just stop!" Kyle yelled. "Cartman, you're an insensitive jerk, Stan, you have to calm"-
"Don't tell me to calm down Kyle! Your mother is happily sitting at home, safe and sound! Mine could be shot dead, lying in a ditch somewhere!" Stan looked ready to hit his best friend in the nose.
"Let's try and do something though. Let's put our minds together, solve this thing."
Stan's anger turned to curiosity. The brows on his face loosened. "Say… you're right. We should solve this thing. That's it! Kyle! That's it!"
"Follow me!" the boys raced after Stan to his house where he went into his bedroom and ran back outside to his waiting friends. He was wearing a black jacket now and held up a silver badge.
"Detective Stan Marsh is ready to solve this thing once and for all."
Kyle blinked. "Dude…"
"I thought we gave up playing detectives," Kenny noted.
"We aren't playing detectives this time Kenny, we are detectives." Stan pulled out a notepad and pencil. "If the damn police can't find anything then it's up to us to do it ourselves."
"Stan…" Kyle trailed again.
"Do you have a better idea Kyle? Each day that goes by is just another day some rapist is keeping my mother captive. I don't know about you but I intend to figure out what happened before things get worse," Stan gritted his teeth. "I am going to look for clues myself and do what it takes to bring my mom home. Who's with me?"
The boys shared a look. Cartman raised a hand. "I am."
"What?" Kyle spat.
"He's right, his mother could be anywhere. If the idiot police can't find anything then it's up to real detectives to do it instead."
"You'd actually help me?" Stan's eyes were wide.
"Not unless he has something to gain himself," Kyle crossed his arms.
"Dude, Stan, your mom is the only one who is the coolest (after my own). We can make a mess at your house and stay up late. Who else is going to make blueberry muffins and brownies that are better than my own mother's?"
"I'm in too!" Kenny raised a hand.
Kyle pulled Cartman aside. "What the f*ck are you playing at Cartman? You wouldn't do this for me if my mother were missing."
"Dude, Mrs. Marsh isn't a bitch like your mom," Cartman said simply before turning back to Stan. "Who's back in the South Park Crime Unit?" he held out a hand. Stan placed his on top of it, followed by Kenny. Stan looked at Kyle who still had his misgivings about Cartman.
"Kyle…" Stan looked at him desperately.
"All right fine, I'm in too." They put their hands together before gearing up to go sleuthing as well.
The first place they decided to hope on their bikes to was KFC. It was difficult to keep Cartman out of the restaurant but they told him they'd ditch him if he didn't help. Stan took out his notepad.
"Okay, according to my phone call to KFC Friday night, she was here buying chicken at 7:10. I think the first thing we have to do is check the surveillance, just to make sure," he explained.
"How will we convince them to allow us to see?" Kyle asked.
"We're working alongside the police, that's how," Stan said seriously. "C'mon you guys!"
They went inside.
"Welcome to KFC, how may I help you?" asked the bored worker at the front.
"My name is Detective Stan Marsh and my friends and I are working for the Park County police."
"Whoa man, I don't know anything about how that pot got in Mark's car okay?" he stuttered.
"We don't care about that you assh*le," Cartman shot. "We want to take a look at your surveillance footage from the night of last Friday."
"Why?" the man asked suspiciously.
"We are trying to gather clues to find the location of this missing woman"- Kyle pulled out a picture of Sharon Marsh.
The man frowned again. "Are you really working for the police?"
"We have official badges from them don't we?" Cartman showed off the silver badges they had all received last year from the police station.
"All right fine, come on here in the back." The man located his boss. "Jerry, these boys need to look at our surveillance footage from last Friday night."
After more convincing they were pulled into a back room. The manager looked down a row of tapes before finding one and popping it into a small TV. Stan held his breath as he watched what went on in the front of the store at the register. They sped through the tape before Stan ordered to stop at around 7 o'clock. With baited breath, he watched as his mother stepped into the frame.
"There she is!" Kyle pointed out.
"What was she ordering?" Cartman tired to squint at the picture. Stan kicked him.
For ten minutes or so they watched as Sharon entered the store, placed an order, waited, and paid for it. She was handed over a bucket and another bag containing biscuits, mashed potatoes, and gravy before being seen leaving the restaurant. Nothing looked out of place, nobody looked suspicious. It made Stan frustrated.
"I want a copy of this tape made- now!" he ordered. "Where are the tapes outside the store?"
"Look kids, it's cute you're pretending to be cops but"-
"Damnit man, there is a woman's life on the line, now show us!" Cartman took hold of the manager's tie.
The man popped in a few different tapes from outside the store, watching at the passing cars and people at different angels. Stan's nose almost touched the screen as he watched his mother walk in and out of KFC in different views. He saw as she walked off the screen with the chicken in tow.
"I want copies of all these tapes made too," he told them.
"You kids better not be wasting our time," grumbled the manager.
"My mother is missing and I'm determined to find her. We are not wasting time," Stan said through gritted teeth.
They walked out the store with all the information and tapes they could before riding down the street to see if they could find any other clues. A part of Stan's mind told him he was rushing into things, she had only been gone for five days now but he knew that with something as serious as a missing person, there was no such thing as 'rushing into things.' The sooner they could piece together what happened better. The boys dug around in the thin layer of snow on the grassy area around KFC, wondering if there were any clues lying about. They didn't know what they were looking for but they made sure not one leaf blew away without being looked at with a microscope.
Stan sighed as he leaned against a rock one hour later. "Anything guys?"
"Nothing yet," Kenny answered, digging in a bush.
Kyle exhaled as well and placed a hand on Stan's shoulder. "Sorry dude, maybe we can try again tomorrow."
"Wait- wait you guys!" Cartman called.
"What?" Stan looked over.
"I think I found- yes! I found something!"
Stan ran to where the fat boy was. Cartman was kneeling in the grass and picked up a slip of white paper that was sticking to a tree branch.
"It looks like… a receipt," Kyle frowned.
Cartman was careful to pull the crumbled piece of paper from the branch as carefully as possible without ripping it too much. He unfolded it.
"Look! April 12th… that was last Friday," Kyle pointed.
"And according to it, was handed out at exactly 7:10 PM. One order of a twelve piece extra crispy bucket, six biscuits, two sides of mashed potatoes with gravy… just what Mrs. Marsh ordered according to the video footage," Cartman said in a businesslike tone.
Stan looked took it in his fingers. "It's hers all right…"
They all looked at once another. Stan's mouth had gone cotton dry at this point.
"Hey, we were able to obtain several copies of surveillance video to examine and we found the receipt. We found more than the police have already!" Kyle said in an upbeat manner.
Stan smiled for the first time that day. "Yeah, you're right. We may actually be on to something already. This is huge."
"Let's get back home and begin to set up a station again to look at everything," Kyle suggested.
Confident in their findings, the boys rode back to Stan's house. But the police seemed to be one step ahead of them in findings.
"What the…?" Stan gasped as he put his foot down hard on his pedal to break.
Police lights were flashing like mad at the Marsh house and with horror, Stan saw his father being dragged across the front yard into the back of a police car.
"Randy Marsh, you are being arrested for the murder of your wife with the findings of a recently fired shotgun in your procession and blood found in your car!"
Thanks for the review SPC! Keep 'em coming everyone
I ship: Stan/Cartman <3
Sharon: What is it honey? (gasp!) My baby's killed again!
Haa, I love that line.
Stan stood there with disbelief written all over his face for a few seconds before shaking his head and running to the nearest officer.
"What the hell is going on?" he asked.
"Your father is being placed under arrest," the man said.
At that moment he saw Shelley run up looking confused.
"I was told to come home. Now what happened?"
"There was a recently fired shotgun found in the master bedroom and there are traces of blood in your father's car."
"What?" Stan spluttered. "No, it can't be. You're lying."
"It's what we found kid, like it or not," Sergeant Lou said, smoking a cigarette.
Stan ran up to the police car that held his dad. The officer allowed him to speak with him for a minute.
"Stan! I didn't do it! I didn't do anything and they're taking me to jail!" Randy moaned.
"Dad, is there any truth to what they said?"
"I don't know, I just know I didn't do anything. I never harmed your mother, you know I wouldn't do that, right?" he looked at his kids desperately.
"I… I know that Dad," Stan said with difficulty.
"You know I'm telling the truth right? This is all a crazy mix-up, I'm innocent!"
"All right Marsh, time's up," spoke a black police officer and shoved shut the door. With that the sirens blared and they drove off.
Stan stood on the lawn, open-mouthed. His own father was now being charged with the disappearance of his mother. What could be worse?
"Dude, what happened?" Kyle said, running up to him.
"They… they think my dad did it, they think he did something to my mom…"
"What? That's bullcrap," Cartman noted.
"They- they found"- Stan swallowed with difficulty. "A shotgun. And- and blood, in his car."
"No way," Kyle's face had gone blank.
"It's obvious somebody planted it there," Cartman said firmly.
Stan gripped the brim of his hat, his thoughts swimming around like a school of fish. Nothing was obvious at this point. "I can't think straight now." He sniffed before looking around. "Wait..." he spotted the first officer he saw when he came home. "What about my sister and I?"
"What about you?" the blond man asked.
"Are we going to be living home alone or what? How long do you plan to detain my dad?"
"Until there is evidence he did not harm your mother. With all the testing that still needs to go on, that could take weeks."
"You mean I'm stuck watching my brother for weeks? By myself?" Shelley retched.
"Don't worry kids. We have an official statement from your parents about where you would go if they are unable to care for you." the man held up a document. "Says here that you two will be staying with a Mr. Gregory Hearton and a Mrs. Barbra Hearton until official arrangements are made."
"What?" Stan said a second time that day.
He looked behind him to see an older couple walk over their way. The Heartons were trusted friends of his parents who lived in the house to the left of the Marsh home. They had been baby-sitting Shelley and Stanley since Shelley was four.
"Hello kids," waved Mrs. Hearton, running a hand in her brown hair.
Stan turned back to the officer. "Does it really say that?"
"It does," nodded the officer.
"But…" Stan looked at Kyle. "Kyle's my best friend. It doesn't say anything about me staying with the Broflovskis if something like this were to happen?"
"Yeah, and I'm not allowed to stay at Krissa Haming's house?" Shelley glared.
"Sorry kids but this is what your parents want from you. You are to stay at the Heartons until things are settled. Your parents state they did not want to separate you two."
"Let me see that," Stan ripped the paper out of the man's hands. Sure enough, printed on the paper were the directions of placing himself and his sister at their neighbors, and official signatures from his mother and father.
"Can't we just stay home by ourselves and only go over to theirs when we need to? They live right next door," Stan suggested.
"They are your temporary guardians for now Stanley so you are to live under their roof. No more questions."
"That sucks ass dude," Kyle said.
"Goddamnit!" Stan kicked aside a stray rock. The day really couldn't get any worse now.
Mr. Hearton placed a hand on the boy's shoulder. "We're sorry about all the crazy things that's been going around you two. Barb and I hope we can do what we can to make you feel as comfortable in our home as possible until they release your dad."
Stan sighed. "Don't worry; we know your home inside out by now."
The graying man sighed as well. "Well, if you and Shelley want to go pick up some things and bring them over. Like some clothes, school work, your pillows, toothbrush, your nebulizer and inhaler Stan…"
"Wait, are we not even allowed to go back home?"
"Not unless one of us is with you," Mr. Hearton explained.
Stan and Shelley packed a couple bags before going over next door. Once there they were shown where they would be staying before they were called downstairs by the couple.
"First off, in no way are we trying to replace your parents you two," Mr. Hearton started off.
"Yes, that's the last thing we want to do," his wife added.
"We only want to live by what they say and do so that things can be as normal as possible for the time you are here."
"I took your mother's planner from the kitchen so I can keep you two on track because again, we want things to be as normal as possible," Mrs. Hearton held up a monthly planner Sharon used to keep track of important dates and information week-to-week.
"Can we go over to our friends' ever?" Stan raised a hand.
"Of course. Just be sure to tell us first, and give us their address before you go in case we have to come get you," Mrs. Hearton handed over a notepad.
"Are there any other questions?" Mr. Hearton asked.
Stan and Shelley looked at each other.
"Well I'm going to be in the basement if you need me," Mr. Hearton nodded before taking a flight of stairs down.
"I'm going to start dinner," Mrs. Hearton said and went to the kitchen.
Shelley went upstairs and sighing; Stan took a seat on the sofa and turned on the TV. Minutes later Mrs. Hearton walked back into the living room.
"Stanley, your mother wrote in here you have soccer practice Saturday, is that correct?" the woman asked, looking in the planner.
"Yeah," Stan said dully.
"Okay. Oh, and that tomorrow, you have a dentist appointment. Do you remember that as well?"
Stan moaned and sank low in the cushions. "My mom is missing and my dad's just been sent to jail. The last thing I need is to go to the dentist."
"I'm sorry pumpkin but it's what your mother wrote."
Stan looked up at her helplessly. "Could you please call off the appointment? Please? I can't deal with that now." He put his face in the arm of the couch.
She sighed. "I guess I'll try tomorrow morning. I understand if you don't feel up to going."
"Who ever feels up to going to the dentist?" Stan said to himself.
"In the mean time dear, would you like to help me with dinner?"
Again Stan moaned but thought it was best to get his mind off the ten different things swarming around in it so he got up and helped with the chicken dinner.
Stan could not believe how quickly his life had changed that day. One moment he and his friends were looking for clues as to what happened to his mother, the next his dad was taken away in a patrol car as a possible murder suspect, and now he was lying on a bed staring up at the ceiling of the guest room in his neighbors' house. The door creaked open and Mrs. Hearton walked in.
"Time to get ready for bed Stanley dear. School tomorrow."
Stan sniffed and dabbed at a runny nose. Mrs. Hearton frowned sadly and sat next to him and put her arm around him.
"Don't worry dear; it's going to be okay."
Stan sucked in a rattled breath as he willed himself not to cry.
"It's okay to feel sad Stanley, you and your sister have been through a lot in the span of almost a week. It's natural to feel this way after what happened to your parents."
Stan began to cry on her side. She hugged him to her a placed a kiss on his temple. "Shhh, it's okay sweetie, it's okay, let it out…"
Shelley froze on her way to the bathroom. She could hear her brother crying in what used to be the couple's son's bedroom before he went to collage. She did want to comfort him again but knew he'd be okay now with the company of Mrs. Hearton. Unfortunately with the door open half-way, the woman spotted the teenager.
"Shelley… is there anything you'd like to say to your little brother?"
Shelley looked away. "No."
Mrs. Hearton huffed as Stan took his face off her and blew his nose. "Now I know you two don't see eye-to-eye on anything but now more than ever you need to be there for one another. Shelley, you really have to step up the role as Stan's older sister and allow him to come to you for anything, okay? Both of you are hurting and you can only find strength if you stick together. The last thing that needs to happen is a disaster between the two of you."
She knew she had a point but Shelley sure as hell wasn't going to say so. She rolled her eyes.
"If you need me Stan, you know where I'll be," she spat before going to the bathroom.
Thursday morning. Stan was slowly chewing his pancakes. His stomach was in knots as usual, and after what happened yesterday, there was no way he'd be able to focus in school. Of course he knew that Mrs. Hearton wouldn't allow him just to stay here so he had no choice but to get up that morning. He looked over at Mrs. Hearton.
"Hm? Oh yes, let me see if I can call it off… do you know the number?"
Stan shrugged. "All I know is it's the South Park Children's Dentistry, in that one new little shopping plaza where the frozen yogurt shop is."
Mrs. Hearton found the number in the phone book and called. "Yes? I was wondering if I could cancel an appointment scheduled today."
Shelley glared at her brother. "If mom were here you wouldn't get away with this."
"I'm not trying to get away with anything. At least I'm trying to help look for her!" Stan spat.
"C'mon kids," Mr. Hearton said gently.
"It's at 3:30. It's for Stanley Marsh," Mrs. Hearton was saying. "Who am I? His- temporary guardian." She bit her lip as she looked at him. Stan looked down at his plate and half a pancake. "Well his parents are unavailable. I don't know if you've heard…? Yes, yes. Oh I know, it is very unfortunate, the poor thing…"
Stan pushed away his plate now, trying not to listen in but he couldn't help it. Anymore reminders of what a horrible predicament he was in…
"Oh I don't know about that. I'm sure once his parents return they will take care of that. Yes. Really? Oh thank-you so much, good-bye," Mrs. Hearton hung the phone and smiled at Stan. "Good news Stanley, you don't have to go to the dentist today."
Stan sighed as he played with his breakfast. "Ya. Now all I need is to find my mom and I'll be the luckiest kid in South Park."
The Heartons and his sister looked at him and no more words were exchanged. Before he left for the bus Stan turned to Mrs. Hearton.
"I'm probably going to be at my friend Cartman's house after school for a while."
"Well, all right. Be home by 5:30 for dinner. And call when you get to his house."
"Dude, he lives eight houses down from mine, I think I'll be fine," Stan exasperated.
"Your parents left you in our care for the time being so I'm keeping an eye on you. I can't remember the countless times Jason went somewhere without telling us," Mrs. Hearton said, speaking of her son.
"Really, I'll be okay," Stan reassured her.
"Well if I find you out partying or something I am rescheduling your appointment for tomorrow," Mrs. Hearton said, hands on hips.
"I'm nine; I don't 'party.'"
It would be difficult to live by the Heartons rules, that were certain. Sure they had watched him ever since he was a baby but he never spent more than two days over there. And knowing he wouldn't be able to even go into his own bedroom unless one of them came with him would be annoying. The only comfort he would be getting throughout this would be from the Heartons' pet cat Chalk. Nothing could absorb how he was feeling quite like that of an animal. He was impatient for school to end. He could not focus at all in Mr. Garrison's and hardly ate anything for lunch.
"We're still going to go over the stuff we found yesterday after school, right?" Kyle asked Stan as he ate an apple.
"Yes," Stan said immediately.
"Good. I spent all last night fixing up the basement to look like our Crime Unit office again," Cartman said.
"Good. We need every bit of it to use. We're going to look for more clues for at least an hour after school before going to Cartman's and analyze everything inside out," Stan was tapping rapidly on the lunch table.
"Dude, are you okay? You keep shaking," Kyle noticed.
"No I'm not okay and I haven't been since last Thursday!" Stan shot.
"Calm down before you freak out completely," Kyle warned.
"Don't tell me"-
"Really Stan, we're going to go over everything as soon as school ends," Cartman stepped in.
The next three hours were torture. As soon as school ended the boys took the bus home before hopping on their bikes and speeding to Henry's Market. There they demanded security tapes from the last Friday night. They convinced the owner they worked for the police and were able to obtain copies. Before they went back home Kyle took out his notepad.
"We have footage from both KFC and Henry's Market now. Is there any other place you can think of Stan where there might be surveillance footage or security cameras where your mom was Friday?"
Stan racked his brains then licked dry lips. "Her work. Tom's Rhinoplasty."
"What are we waiting for men? Let's move!" Cartman ordered and they hurried off.
The boys walked into Tom's Rhinoplasty. It was a bit difficult for Stan to do so for his mother would normally be behind a desk working at this time. He had walked into the building many a time over the years asking his mom for something while she worked. Money to see a movie, permission to go to a friend's, a dollar for a candy bar. Now he would be asking permission to see if there was anything suspicious going on Friday. The medical building had been renovated months ago. Instead of one desk there was a large wall-to-wall desk where three people at a time were working at, much like a hospital. With the increase population in South Park came the increase of people needing their noses fixed. It would be slightly more difficult to keep up with the employees and patients who walked in and out of it but Stan was determined to find out something. He and his friends walked up to the young blonde women behind the counter.
"Um, ex-excuse me, we'd like to ask some questions," Stan asked.
The woman- Kathryn looked up and smiled. "Oh hello Stanley, how are you?"
Stan looked at his feet.
"Oh! Oh I'm so sorry for asking honey! Oh, forgive me."
Kyle decided to take over. "We were wondering if anyone could answer a few questions for us?"
"What do you boys mean?"
"We're working alongside the police and were hoping we could solve the disappearance of Sharon Marsh," Cartman answered, holding up her picture.
Kathryn sighed. "I'm sorry boys but we already answered to the police. I'm sure if you need to know anything, they will tell you."
"The police don't know anything," Stan said, throat tight, eyes still to the ground. "We haven't gotten a single word about- about what happened since she was reported missing. Please Kathryn, please, can you tell us what you know? Please?"
His voice was on the verge of breaking, his deep blue eyes; the same as her fellow co-worker Sharon's, were filled with tears. Her eyes prickled. "Of course I'll answer anything you boys ask. Let's find a quiet area." She told her boss she had to take a break before leading the boys in a storage room. It was a bit tight but Stan could care less at this point. As each day passed he felt more and more tense.
"How did Mrs. Marsh, or Sharon, act last Friday?" Kyle began, pen and paper out.
"Very normal. It wasn't a particularly busy day so I had no problem taking over for her once she had to leave for home for ten minutes," Kathryn answered.
"Nobody seemed to be harassing her? Preventing her from going home?" Cartman asked.
"No, not at all. I mean there have been a few people over the years who tried to give her trouble but, there was nothing out of the norm Friday."
Cartman's ears picked up on this. "There have been people who tried to harass her in the past?"
"Well I won't say harass, but, tried hitting on her."
"Who?" Stan spoke.
"I can't remember the names. I can't even remember if they were even patients. If so there should be record of them."
"Why would somebody hit on your mom?" Kyle turned to Stan.
"Dude, Stan's mom has huge boobs," Cartman cupped his chest.
"Dude!" Stan glared.
"She has a pretty face too, happy?" Cartman stared hard back.
"Boys," Kathryn said.
Cartman cleared his throat. "Nobody gave her any trouble Friday though?"
"No, not that I know of. Unless…" Kathryn trailed.
"Unless what?" Stan could feel his blood pounding in his veins.
"There was one man who came in Friday… he said he knew her personally. He went to her office in the back. It was busy in the morning so we didn't think anything of it and allowed him to see her in her little office. I mean, it's a small area; nothing could have gone on there. She works up front more than in the actual surgery," Kathryn was explaining.
Stan felt frozen just thinking about this.
"Ma'am, we need to see Sharon Marsh's office pronto," Cartman stated, getting to his feet.
"Of course. Let me show you…"
She led them down the hall and opened a door to an office. Sharon usually took it upon her to sort out a lot of files and take control of organization and was therefore given her own office a year ago to help her out. It had a desk; computer, phone and filing cabinet like any other office. But on the desk were several relics from her life. There was a pencil case Stan had made for her way back in kindergarten filled with pens and pencils, a picture of Shelley from a few years ago taped to the computer, a small framed picture of Stan as a baby, a picture of himself Stan found rather dorky from second grade- a large smile with his two front teeth missing, Stan in his little league outfit, Stan in his football outfit, a rare shot of Shelley beaming from preschool, and finally a framed picture of both kids at the beach from last year's California vacation. There was also a picture of a five-year-old's version of a rocket ship with the words: For Mommy, love Stanley, a weird figuring Shelley had made years ago, and the mother day's cards Shelley and Stan had given her last year. The only inclination Sharon had a husband was a picture of herself and Randy at a Wine Tasting Tour from last year's summer vacation as well. Clearly her kids meant the world to her.
Stan felt tears sting his eyes; he had no idea how much his mother cared about her kids. To know the mother who worked at this desk could not look upon her relics of inspiration right now…
"I- I have to go," Stan muttered and hurried out the building.
"Stan, wait!" Kyle called. "Excuse me," he said to Kathryn and followed out. "Stan? Stan!" he found his friend sitting on the curb, gripping his pants and breathing hard. "Dude, what happened in there?"
"I can't go back in there Kyle, I can't. Knowing she's not there… she's- she's lost or hurt or sick or dead…I can't do it man," Stan told him.
Kyle sat down next to him. "We have to do this though dude. We're close to finding out who may have harmed her. Kathryn said there might have been a man last week who did something to her. You can't walk out now."
"Look, ask her questions all you want, I'm not going to go back in."
"All right, fine. Meet you out here then?"
Stan nodded and Kyle got up and went back inside. The other boys searched the area for any clues but it was hard to find any since the police had already been there. Kyle did find a strand of hair sticking to the chair and colleted it in a little bag. Cartman went to take prints all over the desk and computer.
"Do you know if her office had been in this same condition since last Friday?" Kyle asked Kathryn.
"Oh I don't know. It looks the same as it always does…"
"Do you have any idea who this man might be? What he might look like?" Cartman asked shrewdly.
Kathryn sighed in thought. "I think he was wearing a white shirt and was white. Brown hair maybe. I do remember his name actually!" she gasped. "I remember Sharon saying something along the lines of 'Mr. Wassers was giving me trouble' or something like that."
Cartman hurried jotted this down. "Anything else?"
"I'm sorry; I really don't have anymore information."
Cartman stood up. "Well then, thank-you ma'am for your cooperation."
"Of course. I'll be sure to call if I have any new information."
"Call this number, Stan's not allowed to stay at his house now that his father has been taken away." Kyle gave her the number of the Heartons.
They met up with Stan on the curb.
"C'mon dude, let's get back to Cartman's and begin dissecting those tapes."
Stan nodded mutely and took his bike and sped off. They took the TV that was in Cartman's bedroom and brought it down to the basement so they could use two TVs at once to watch the tapes. All four were now on the look-out for a man in a white shirt and possible brown hair. They did this for hours until it was 8 o'clock. Stan cursed when he realized he didn't call the Heartons. He sighed angrily but decided to call it a night and go back to his temporary 'home.' Mrs. Hearton was very displeased when he walked in.
"There you are Stanley! Where were you?" she cried.
"At my friend's house like I said I'd be," he said tonelessly.
"You didn't say anything about being there all day. You should have called."
"He lives eight houses away!"
"I don't care, all the more reason you should have informed me. Didn't I tell you to not party there or you would pay for it?"
"I wasn't partying!" he argued.
"If you were too busy to even tell me where you were… maybe I'll reschedule your appointment for tomorrow after all since you aren't using your time wisely," Mrs. Hearton spoke.
"No! Just listen to me!"
"Me and my friends are trying to figure out what happened to my mom, happy?" Stan spat.
"Oh my goodness…"
"So be pissed off all you want but I am in no f*cking mood to go to the dentist and you cannot make me go. I was doing something good the whole time I was gone. So sorry I didn't call," Stan glared up at her.
"You know that kind of talk isn't allowed in this house Stan," Mr. Hearton came forward.
"Oh my god!" Stan just screamed and stomped his way into 'his' room and buried his face in his pillow. Maybe if he pressed it in hard enough he'd pass out from lack of air and wake up in a different life, the life he knew and remembered and preferred. The life where his mom was.
Thanks SPC. Keep reviews comin'!
I ship: Stan/Cartman <3
Sharon: What is it honey? (gasp!) My baby's killed again!
Haa, I love that line.
When he heard the floorboards outside the door creek, Stan turned his head to face the wall. A second later the door opened to reveal Mr. and Mrs. Hearton. He felt them walk nearer but he still didn't face them.
"Stan, we don't mean to act like your parents but"- Mr. Hearton began.
"So then don't," Stan spat.
"But your language was uncalled for a moment ago," the man continued.
Stan didn't say anything.
"I know you kids like to talk as if there isn't an adult around but when there is, you should give the sailor talk a heave ho!" Mrs. Hearton stated.
"Oh my god," Stan moaned, face in his pillow.
"We don't allow that sort of language so I think you owe us an apology," Mr. Hearton said.
"I talk like that all the time," Stan said.
"Not in front of your parents, surely…" Mrs. Hearton trailed, hand on her chest.
"Yeah, I do."
"What? And they don't punish you for it?"
"No. My- my mom used to snap at me whenever I cursed but she never punished me for it. Now she- well she… she doesn't care," Stan said with difficulty, not sure how to speak of his mother.
"You said 'pissed' and the F word Stan. There is no way any parent would allow their child to"-
"I'm never grounded for my langue okay? Get over it."
Mr. Hearton looked at him hard. "Nevertheless, you are in our home now so we demand respect. You've had your share of problems with us in the past when we've baby-sat you but as of now, it's a different level. You have to live by your parents' rules and our own. We've allowed you kids to get away with a lot over the years but the back-talk and attitude stops now. You aren't a teenager yet so stop acting like one."
Stan sat up, mouth agape. He could not believe what had just been told to him. He wanted to snap back but refrained, the man had a point. And it made him feel sick. He just cast a sad look at him before going on his side once more. Truth be told, he did get away with a lot from his parents. Sure he had been grounded plenty of times but he was able to act like he was sixteen in front of them no problem. Maybe it was time to stop acting like he was older than Shelley.
"Stan?" Mr. Hearton said.
"Sorry," the boy mumbled.
"Accepted," Mr. Hearton nodded.
"Are you going to ground me? Do I still have to go to the dentist tomorrow?" Stan asked, eyes still filled with hurt.
The adults glanced at one another.
"No to both pumpkin," Mrs. Hearton answered. "Now then, did you eat dinner while you were out?"
"Okay. Are you hungry now? There is still some of the bread pudding of mine you love so much."
"I'm not hungry."
"Are you sure? Well tell me if you are, you still have an hour before bedtime."
Stan had already taken a bath, brushed his teeth, and was in bed before nine. He felt very on edge and hoped going to bed earlier would help. The lights were already off when Mrs. Hearton stepped in.
"Already in bed sweetie?"
"Hmm… I know your mother usually reads with you on Thursday. Would you like me to take over for tonight?"
Stan swallowed. "No thanks."
"Are you sure? We can read that one book you love so much about the boy who opened his own zoo."
"Well you know Jason still has all of his old Goosebumps books around. I believe they're in the attic. Would you like to read one of those?" she asked.
Stan shook his head no. "I just wanna go to sleep." And never wake up.
Sighing at the boy's difficulty, she kissed him good-night and shut the door. Stan was afraid to go to sleep that night. It was going to be an exact week starting tomorrow that his mother had disappeared without a trace. The thought of such a thing would weigh heavily on his shoulders the whole day; he didn't know how he was going to survive class. He already knew they were going to have a spelling test tomorrow and he had only looked at the list once since Monday. Mr. Garrison loved sending out pop quizzes on Friday too. Plus their math lesson was cut short today so he was sure there would be double the math the next day. Friday was already setting itself up for misery. He somehow fell asleep an hour later.
He found himself at the park, his mother looking on as he raced up some steps.
"Mom! Hey Mom! Watch!"
Sharon smiled in amusement as he slid down a slide backwards.
"That was pretty neat Stanley, but try to be a bit more careful next time all right? I don't want to have to send you to the emergency room for another slide-related accident," she rolled her eyes.
"Okay. Well look at this!" Stan clambered up a pull-up bar and draped his legs over it and hung upside down.
"I think that still counts as 'dangerous' honey."
"I'll be fine; Kyle showed me how to master it at school all week."
Sharon once again shook her head and smiled at the antics of her son. She had lost count of all the accidents he had found himself into since he was born; but it never stopped him from taking risks. He swung upside down from the bar for a few minutes before racing to the swings and kicking off.
"Stanley! Stanley come over here, lunch is ready!" Sharon called what felt like ten minutes later.
Stan jumped off from the swing- five feet in the air and landed hard.
"Stan," Sharon sighed as he came running to her.
"It's fine Mom, I do it all the time," he passed off.
"Well don't do it anymore, I love you too much baby, I don't want to loose you to an unfortunate accident." She touched his face. Stan looked up at the blue eyes identical to his own for several long moments before nodding.
"What's for lunch?" he asked.
"Your favorite, KFC!" Sharon took out a bucket of extra crispy chicken, mashed potatoes, and biscuits.
"Kick-ass!" Stan twirled around as he usually did in victory before grabbing a breast. "I love KFC Mom. How'd you know I'd want it?" his mouth was full of chicken.
"I only promised you and your friends KFC, I had to stick to my promise didn't I?" Sharon answered. Her voice sounded distant and he wasn't sure if she had spoken them or not. But it didn't matter, he couldn't be any happier at this moment. The park was empty of anyone; he was enjoying a perfect cool day with his mom and having KFC for lunch. Nothing could disrupt this moment.
"There you are [i]bitch!" boomed a voice suddenly. Out of the bushes behind them was Randy looking livid.
"Randy!" Sharon gasped.
"I've been looking for you for some time bitch."
"What are you going to do Dad?" Stan gasped.
From behind his back Randy pulled out his shotgun and pointed it at his wife. "What you think I'm going to do son."
"Randy please," Sharon begged.
A blast of the gun and Sharon went down. And Stan woke screaming.[/i]
It took a while for the Heartons to calm him down. The images of his father shooting his mother in the head, the splatter of blood… Stan threw up over the side of the bed as he tired to get his breathing under control. Unfortunately he was exhaling more air than he was breathing in and Mr. Hearton hurriedly set up a breathing treatment for him and placed the mask over his face. Stan was shaking mad now; it had been almost two years since he had had an attack over being frightened by something. This scared him. Unfortunatly after the episode it took a long while for him to get back to sleep again.
Friday morning. Stan could hardly stomach any corn flakes. It was evident that there was one thought only on everyone's minds, Sharon. Little was said except when Stan was about to leave to catch the bus.
"Will you be staying at a friend's after school Stan?" Mrs. Hearton asked.
"Yeah, Cartman's again."
"For how long?"
"I dunno, until I'm satisfied with things I guess."
She didn't seem to like that answer. "Well tell me if you're staying for dinner then, and be home before nine."
Stan was tempted to say 'this isn't home' but bit his tongue instead. He nodded and left without another word. The bus ride to school was a quiet one. Apparently his friends knew what today meant and decided not to remind Stan of it. Even Cartman was quiet on the ride and he was never quiet no matter where he was. When class began Mr. Garrison told everyone to get out a piece of paper for the spelling test. Stan rubbed his eyes, he was so tired.
"Okay children, first word is ALLIGATOR. ALLIGATOR. If you ever pet an alligator, your hand will be bitten off. ALLIGATOR," Mr. Garrison read from the list.
Stan bit his lip. He knew this- or did he? Did it have one L or two? Did it end in an E-R, A-R, or an O-R? He looked to his left- Kyle was already looking up from his paper, ready for the next word. Stan sighed and wrote down A-L-I-G-A-T-O-R. The words did not get any easier. He spent a good amount of time thinking about how to spell LABEL and KNEEL before finally writing down L-A-B-I-L and N-E-A-L. His brain was already fried by word ten. It did not help when he could hear the scratching of everyone else's pencils on paper and could almost see Kyle write each word frantically with confidence before looking up each time, smile on his face for he knew he had gotten it right. Stan hated this; he was usually good when it came to spelling and reading. He only spent two nights a week practicing his reading skills with his mom. Then again, it had been a week since he had done this. A week since she had disappeared without a trace. Any thoughts of reading and words lead to his mother who was so good at those things. Would she be able to help him ever again? Was she even alive? Was she-
"STANLEY!" a voice cracked in the air.
Stan looked up to see Mr. Garrison in his face, anger written all over.
"Would you mind telling me why you find it more important to drift off into space like you're high instead of taking your spelling test?"
Stan gulped. "Sorry."
"Do you even know what the last word was?"
"It's YIELD Stanley!"
Stan blinked up at him.
"Well write it down bubble-head!"
Stan took hold of his pencil and wrote down Y-E-E-L-D. Satisfied at least that he had written down all twenty words, he passed his paper up. He was only too grateful when it came time for recess. He stood around by the monkey bars with his friends.
"Man, that test was hard," Cartman complained.
"What? It was easy," Kyle passed off.
"Are you kidding me Jew? Yield? Who the f*ck uses the word yield?"
"What did you think Stan?" Kyle turned to him.
Stan looked over at his friends. "It- it was hard."
Kyle looked surprised. "Really? You usually don't have a problem with spelling tests. It's the one thing you look forward to in school each week."
"I just didn't really study the list this week."
Stan just looked at his feet. Kyle knew it was best to drop the subject. Stan was afraid how horribly he did. He was not looking forward on getting his test back on Monday. There would be a big fat F on it. He only had a few F's in his life and his parents were not happy about it. He could still hear his dad going on and on about how important science was to the planet and 'how dare he fail such a subject'. But maybe his dad wouldn't know this time, he was in jail. Jail. For suspicions he had put a shotgun to his wife. Stan's stomach bubbled sickly but he was able to keep the vomit down.
He's innocent, he didn't do anything. He would never hurt Mom, especially with a gun. It was someone else, Stan thought firmly. But why did they find a used gun and blood in his car? Why? Said another voice.
"Dude, recess is over," Kyle told him.
Stan looked up- where had time gone?
"Are you okay Stan?" the boy in the green hat looked at him shrewdly.
Stan let out a shaky breath. "I don't know dude."
"You look horrible."
"Didn't get a lot of sleep last night."
"Well maybe you can take a nap when we get to Cartman's after school. We'll do double the work looking at everything while you rest."
"No!" Stan said firmly as they were walking back to their classroom.
"I have to do the work! I have to know what happened! I have to! I have to make sure my dad is innocent! I have to know why he was even arrested! That gun may have been falsely placed! It may not even be his! No one found my mom's car yet. They can't even find her car! She just disappeared! I have to know why! I"-
"Stan, dude." Kyle placed a hand on his friend's tense shoulder.
Stan sniffed and looked over at him with mournful eyes. Kyle sighed but pulled Stan to him and allowed him to put his face in his shoulder. Stan silently cried, he didn't want anyone to know he had fallen apart completely.
"I know dude. Don't worry, we'll find something, we have to. I promise you we will find out something."
Stan nodded and wiped his nose on his sleeve before finally going back into Mr. Garrison's classroom. Stan was only too grateful when school ended. He had been sitting in his desk the whole day, mind in a fog. He was still the same as he rode the bus back home. He didn't speak to his friends, his body was still tense, bags were under his eyes, his cap was askew, and his mouth was slightly opened, breathing erratically. When they reached the bus stop Kyle had to shake him from his stupor and tell him it was time to get off. Stan walked in a daze with his friends down to Cartman's house.
Once they got there Stan took a seat at one of the desks in the basement and popped in a tape into the TV at random. His face was almost pressed to the screen as he watched over and over again, his mother leave FKC at various angles. Quietly, the other three boys took up watching videos or looking up something online. It had been a half hour and Stan's nose was still to the screen. That's when something finally caught his eye. He rewound the part and played it again. Maybe it was his mind playing tricks on him; he had after all gotten very little sleep. But no, it was not a trick.
"Guys! You guys! Look!" he practically screamed.
Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny gathered round his chair.
"Look- at the corner of the screen at the right- look!" he pointed out.
All four boys watched as Sharon stepped out of KFC with her purchase in tow. She appeared to be talking to someone who was off-screen. A moment later she disappeared from view.
"Look- my mom was talking to someone," Stan tapped at the screen as if the others were blind.
Cartman stood up. "Good find Marsh. Record it."
Stan nodded numbly and wrote down the time of the tape before watching another. Another half hour passed and Kyle exclaimed in alarm. Stan ran over.
"I- I found something too…"
Hesitantly, he pressed 'play'. Stan watched as a conversation took place in the parking lot of KFC. It was dark but Stan could spot his mother in the video talking to a man in a heavy jacket by her car. His back was to the camera but he could tell the man was fairly slight and was wearing a hat. What Stan saw next made his stomach drop into the earth. The man wrapped an arm around her and threw her in the car. Then the screen got fuzzy and next thing he knew- the car was gone.
"That's it," Kyle spoke.
Stan's body had gone rigid- his eyes wider than ever before. "How- how did we miss this?"
"We hadn't checked this tape yet," Kyle said.
Stan was breathing hard now and his arm felt fuzzy. "I- I need to lie down."
Seeing their friend was on the verge of a panic attack, Kyle and Cartman helped him on the old sofa on a wall in the basement. Stan was propped against pillows but it didn't seem as if he was even aware of it.
"I'm sorry I had to show you that dude," Kyle said softly.
"Dude, we had to see it! We're that much closer to finding out what happened!" Cartman argued.
"I know but look at Stan- he's not even aware of anything now."
"We still had to see! We have to face the reality that something bad may have happened to Mrs. Marsh. This is proof. We just need to analyze it further now."
Meanwhile Stan sat on the sofa, clearly lost in his own mind. His friends decided to leave him there and get back to work. Hundreds of thoughts swam in his mind. It was impossible to pick one and stick with it. They were all horrible. This was it, proof something horrible happened to his mother. How horrible, no one knew. Who was involved? No answers. At the moment, she could be dead or alive as his father sat in jail, knowing or not knowing what had happened. Stan gripped onto his pants leg with one hand, still breathing with difficulty. He finally spoke.
Kyle turned his head and gasped. "Stan!" he ran over to him. His friend was sucking in air and it was clearly not entering his lungs. He was also shaking and lying on his side. "Dude? Stan! Snap out of it! Cartman!"
Cartman looked on as Stan was suffering his second asthma attack within a day.
"sh*t man, he's never like this! He only has problems with his allergies! And running hard, sometimes."
"I'll look after him, you get his medicine. Go you f*cking Jew!" Cartman snapped.
"Right." Kyle ran off and hurried over to the Heartons to pick up Stan's nebulizer.
Cartman didn't want to seem too caring as he kept watch of his struggling friend but he did wish the Jew boy would get here soon. He couldn't remember the last time Stan had an asthma attack from panicking.
"C'mon you pussy, you'll be fine," he tried, hand patting on the cushion near Stan's. There were tears in Stan's eyes.
"I'm- sc-scared," he whispered.
"Don't worry dude, the Jew is getting your nebulizer now."
However, he didn't know Stan was referring to his mother, not his panic attack. It was a long five minutes before Kyle finally returned. He set up the machine immediately and two minutes later, Stan was getting much-needed relief.
"Stan, dude, you have to calm down okay? You can't let this happen again," Kyle informed.
Stan breathed in unevenly the mist coming from the mask. "It happened- last night."
Stan avoided his eyes. "Yeah. Had another panic attack."
"I know you're afraid to find out what happened, especially after what we just saw. But we have to remain focused all right? If you have another asthma attack in two days you could land yourself in the hospital," Kyle explained.
Stan didn't say anything else until five minutes later when the treatment was up. He pushed aside the nebulizer and spoke.
"Let's get back to it."
"Maybe you should relax a bit longer, you might be dizzy"-
"Damnit Kyle I don't care! Now give me a tape!" Stan instructed. The boys viewed the tapes over and over again trying to find out something. Stan did notice the man who had forced his mom into the car had the same body shape as his dad. The man appeared to be wearing a hat and never faced the camera so it was difficult to tell who it was. Stan kept telling himself it wasn't his dad but he kept thinking back to the police finding a recently fired shotgun in his room and blood in his car. Randy hadn't told his kids anything about it yet and Stan was afraid he did indeed have something to hide. As he tried to focus on the tapes, these thoughts didn't stop entering his mind. His dad was innocent, innocent. But there were just too many coincidences that made everyone think otherwise…
Thanks SPC! More soon, review!
I ship: Stan/Cartman <3
Sharon: What is it honey? (gasp!) My baby's killed again!
Haa, I love that line.
The weekend could not have gone any slower in Stan's mind. The Heartons did not like the idea of him hanging out with his friends so often so he was not allowed to see them that Saturday and Sunday. This resulted in another heated argument with them.
"You keep saying you wanna follow our parents' rules! My parents let me see my friends all the time!" Stan screamed.
"You also have to listen to what we have to say," Mr. Hearton told him. "We hardly ever allowed Jason to spend time with his friends over the weekend."
"Yes, we believe weekends are family days," Mrs. Hearton had added.
"Half my family is either dead or in JAIL!" Stan said even louder.
He was now not allowed to go over to Cartman's Monday either. Not like he cared, he would just go home with him anyway. Bless the Heartons… he had always loved them, but they were not his parents. They were fine as baby-sitters but nothing more. He could not live under their stricter rules. Maybe his parents gave him too much freedom, but there was no way he could live life without seeing his friends over the weekend and only three days a week consisting of dessert. No way at all. He wondered how long his parents designated him and Shelley to live with the Heartons before he would be put under the Broflovski household. He hoped soon. Kyle's mother was just as strict but at least he'd be living with his best friend.
Monday morning didn't start off right for Stan. He had gotten another bad night of sleep the night before and getting ready for school was not fun either. He only ate one frozen waffle and some milk before he was full. He walked upstairs to get dressed and brush his teeth when he heard sniveling coming from his sister's 'room'. He peaked inside to see her on the floor crying with what looked to be a picture in hand.
"Sh-Shelley?" Stan said hesitantly.
Shelley lifted her head up and got to her feet. "Get out of here turd!"
"What's wrong?" he asked.
Stan frowned. "Shelley, please tell me. I wanna know. Maybe I can help."
How she hated her little brother at times… "It's nothing Stan."
"Please? Why weren't you at breakfast?"
"Why were you?"
Shelley just sank back on the floor and hugged her knees. Stan was brave and walked over. He could see the picture in her hand now. It was of Sharon hugging Shelley after she had unwrapped a present from her. It was from the same birthday that Stan had a picture of. Sharon smiled as she held up a brand-new coffee mug that was red. Stan could remember his mom going on about how much she needed a new mug for work for months. She was only too grateful when she opened Shelley's gift.
"Just go Stan," Shelley said flatly.
Stan frowned but walked out, coming back in seconds later. He showed her the picture he had with him and Sharon at her birthday as well.
"I keep it with me wherever I go now…"
Shelley looked at the picture of her mother and brother. Sharon needed those new slippers after their dog Sparky thought hers was a chew-toy. Stan rubbed his nose. Shelley didn't sigh this time; she just put an arm around her brother and brought him to her side. It was impossible to feign annoyance if they were both suffering from the same thing. Stan hated to think that they only had each other as of now. Until their mother was found. Until their father was released from jail.
Mrs. Hearton came up and told the kids it was time for school. She had a heavy heart as she broke up the rare bonding moment between the two.
School immediately made Stan's brain turn to mush that morning. Mr. Garrison walked up and down the rows of desks, passing back the spelling tests from Friday.
"I am very impressed with you children, some of you did very well," he was saying and handed back Kyle's test which held an A+ in green. "-while some of you did horrible," he said and glaring, handed back Stan's test. His stomach dropped- a big fat F gleamed in red. Mr. Garrison went back up to the front of the room.
"So let's give a round of applause to the smart kids in class who actually want to do something with their lives," Mr. Garrison continued.
Of course at recess Kyle wasted no time wondering what Stan, Cartman, and Kenny received on their tests.
"I didn't miss one! I mean I know I knew those words already but not every one. What about you?" he asked around.
Cartman banished out his which had a C- written on it. "I passed. f*cking sweet."
"Did you do better than you thought you did Stan?" Kyle asked.
Stan groaned and put his face in his arm and knees and put forth his paper. Kyle blinked.
"You missed eleven? How the hell did you miss eleven?"
"I don't know okay? I had more to think about than a f*cking spelling test!" Stan raged.
Kyle decided to change the subject. "When are we going to get back trying to, solve things?"
"After school," Stan said simply.
"But dude, you said you weren't allowed to go to Cartman's today"-
"I don't give a f*ck. I'd rather help find my mom and get in more trouble than sit on my bed like a good little boy," Stan said bitterly.
At this point they knew better than to argue with Stan so they didn't say anything. After school Stan took the bus and drove off to Cartman's, passing by the Hearton's house without a care. Liane smiled when the boys walked in.
"Oh hello boys, are you going to play detective some more today?" she asked.
"No Mom, we aren't playing!" Cartman said irritated.
"Oh? But I thought that's what you were doing all week."
"Damnit Mom it's not for fun! It's for real!" Cartman made fists.
"Oh, okay. Well I made you boys all an apple pie while you were in school. It just cooled off."
She served up a slice of pie for all four boys and they began to eat their after-school snack.
"I think we should go to the police today," Stan said minutes in, hardly touching his slice.
Kyle turned to him. "Why?"
"I'm getting sick of them not releasing any helpful information to the public. I want to know what they know so far and have them put out a picture of my mom's car so people can be on the look-out for it if they spot it."
"Well, okay dude, sure."
"Are you going to finish you pie Stan?" Cartman asked.
Stan sighed. "No," and pushed it his way.
Kyle knew better than to ask any more questions that might raise an alarm with Stan; if he had only taken three bites of Mrs. Cartman's amazing apple pie, he knew something was serious. Cartman went up to his mother after the pie to ask her to take them to the police station. She agreed without question and happily drove them to it. Stan looked at his friends nervously before nodding and all four went out of the car and inside.
"Ex-excuse me?" Stan asked a woman working at the front desk.
"Just a minute young man," she said, clearly busy.
Cartman rolled his eyes at the incompetence of his friend before clearing his throat. "Listen up ma'am; we are on a tight schedule. We want to know everything the police have been doing to find out what happened to one Sharon Marsh"- he held up her photo.
The woman blinked. "That information is classified young man."
"Even to her own son?" Cartman pushed Stan in front.
"Please, I have to know what the police have been doing," Stan said desperately. "So far it seems like a whole lot of nothing."
The woman raised a brow. "How do I know you're her son?"
"Wha- how? Look at me! I have her same exact eyes! Same bridge of nose! Same chin! We think alike even! Plus plenty of other evidence! Why the f*ck would I lie about it?" Stan said fiercely.
The woman studied the picture of Sharon and glanced at Stan before sighing.
"Fine, I believe you, but you still cannot get any information," she said, handing the picture back.
"We don't release details like that to minors."
"Goddamnit I'm her son!" Stan practically screamed.
"Can't you tell us anything?" Kyle asked.
"Yes, I can tell you to please leave," the woman bit back.
Teeth gritting so hard they could crack, Stan said, "Can I at least see my father? You locked him up almost a week ago."
"Seeing the accused is not a good idea. If your father is indeed the perpetrator he could play with your mind and force you to not say anything about the murder."
"M-murder?" Kyle's eyes bulged.
"She hasn't… has she?"
The woman sighed. "No evidence for or against it but as the days go by the higher chance she"-
"I demand you give me information right now!" Stan jumped up to the desk, almost in her face.
She blinked. "You can talk to Sergeant Lou if you must."
They waited in the waiting area for a good twenty minutes before they could be seen. The first question on Cartman's mind was why it seemed as if there was such little effort on finding Mrs. Marsh.
"Look boys, there are just more important cases to look into at the moment," he told them.
"How- how could you say that?" Stan said horrified.
"Did you kids hear about that rich family who lives in Cedar Points? They were robbed. Mrs. Kingsler had almost 300,000 dollars worth of jewelry stolen."
"You think that's more important than a woman's disappearance?" Kyle asked.
"Look kid, rich people pump money back into our economy all right?" he yelled. "It is important. We need other rich folk to see our town as a place they'd want to live in and make this town even more livable."
"Damnit man there's a woman's life on the line! We demand your force puts more goddamn effort into finding her and her assailant!" Cartman ordered.
Kyle nudged his best friend. Out of his pocket, Stan pulled out the picture of him and his mother and showed it to Sergeant Lou.
"Please, please, you have to help find her," Stan said, tears in his eyes.
"Your incompetence is taking a child away from his mother," Cartman added. "The worst crime of all."
The man sighed heavily. "All right! All right! We'll jump on this case first okay?"
Stan quickly put the photo away. Kyle took out a picture of his own.
"She drives a red 2007 Toyota Versera X-5. Make sure everyone is aware of it. We want there to be an announcement on the evening news tonight."
The talk could have gone worse. They had at least motivated the Park County police to spend more time on the case of a missing woman rather than the robbery of Token Black's neighbors. Stan returned 'home' after dinner. Mr. and Mrs. Hearton were not pleased by his absence. He had to endure a useless ten minute lecture from the before going upstairs. He angrily kicked aside the few belongings he had in the couple's son's bedroom, not caring about being late without telling them or the two pages of math worksheets and chapter in the science book he had to read and figure out. He sat on the floor, mindlessly playing with his socks when he heard running up the stairs. Shelley came in looking breathless.
"They're going to say something about Mom on the news!" she told him.
"What?" he sat up.
"When the news returns from commercial- they said there was going to be an update in the Sharon Marsh disappearance!"
Stan tripped over his feet and ran down the stairs- the loose socks on his feet falling off as he went, and stood in front of the TV like his sister and the Heartons. The jingle of the music started up and a shot of two news people sat behind their desk.
"Welcome back, I am Shira Tellatoski," spoke the woman.
"And I am Marc Lanton," said the man.
"Developing news about the disappearance of local South Park resident Sharon Marsh has just come in," Shira spoke before the camera cut to another reporter at KFC.
"Apparently Sharon was last seen leaving this KFC"- she nodded behind her. "Almost two weeks ago, Friday. She was reported missing the following morning. No word yet as to what happened to her or even who saw her last. Since there is no word on who her assailant might be we urge everyone to keep their eyes and ears open for any clues," the young woman explained. "We do have word now as to what vehicle Mrs. Marsh was last known to be driving. A red 2007 Toyota Versera X-5 with license plate number 566-D2VS."
Stan waited for any indication he and his friends had given the police this info but nothing.
"Again, we do not know who last saw her but we hope everyone is on the look for her. Sharon Marsh is said to be a white female- five feet, six inches, 130 lbs with short brown hair, blue eyes, and was last seen wearing a brown and red sweater, blue jeans, a blue coat, black tennis shoes, a gold necklace with two birthstones- an emerald and an opal, and a pair of teal earrings," the second reporter explained.
"Thank-you Maisy," said Shira. "Here is what everyone should look out for"- and a picture of Sharon and all her details appeared on the screen. "If you have any information about her disappearance you are ordered to call the Park County Police at the number on your screen. Thank-you."
"Up next: will your air conditioner kill you this summer? Find out in one minute!" smiled Marc and commercials began again.
Stan blinked disbelieving eyes at the TV screen. "Is- was that it?"
Mrs. Hearton sighed. "Unfortunately so children."
"But they hardly said anything we didn't already know!"
"Well at least the public is aware of her car and clothes she was wearing that night," Mr. Hearton said.
"That's nothing! What a load of sh*t!" Stan cried.
"Stanley!" snapped Mr. Hearton.
"That was jack sh*t! How is this going to get us any closer to finding Mom?"
Stan was sent to bed fuming all over. The news report wasn't any help and he was once again reprimanded by the Heartons for his language. He didn't even get ready for bed; he was filled with too much emotion. The door opened and Shelley stepped in.
"What do you want?" for once he was giving her the attitude.
"Nothing," she told him.
Stan turned his head away, arms crossed over his knees. Shelley walked over.
"Sucks you got in trouble again."
Stan didn't answer. Shelley rolled her eyes before sighing deeply. "Didn't you say you were looking for Mom or something the other day?"
This time Stan looked at her. He cast his eyes down. "Yeah."
"My friends and I decided to start up our South Park Crime Unit again. We're doing all we can to look for clues."
Shelley rubbed her neck. "Find anything yet?"
Stan's eyes immediately glassed over. "Maybe."
"I don't wanna say."
"Stupid turd she's my mother too!" Shelley slapped him.
"I just can't say it. I- I can show you if you want."
"But all the tapes are at Cartman's house."
"It's video evidence?" Shelley asked.
Stan nodded. "From KFC."
"Well I want to see it."
"Not now, I'm in enough trouble as it is," Stan said heavily.
Shelley raised a brow. Stan blinked before putting on his socks, shoes and jacket and threw the window open. Shelley dropped down first. Stan looked at her.
"I promise I won't let you fall," she said dramatically rolling her eyes, arms out.
Taking a deep breath Stan leapt out and she caught him and together they walked to Cartman's. Stan threw a pebble at the fat boy's window.
"Ay! What the hell-?" Cartman snapped when he opened the window.
"Psst! Cartman! Can we come in?"
Cartman turned to Shelley. "What the hell is she doing here?"
"I don't need to give you a reason turd!" Shelley made a fist.
"Well?" Stan looked impatient.
"Fine, fine…" a minute later the front door clicked open and Stan and Shelley walked in. Cartman crossed his arms. "What the f*ck are you two doing here?" he demanded.
"Shelley- wants to see the evidence we found for my mom not long ago," Stan said softly.
Cartman blinked before sighing. "Let's go to the basement."
He flicked on the light and they walked down. Cartman chose a tape and put it in one of the TVs down there. It showed Sharon talking to someone off-screen.
"This is it?" Shelley glared.
"There's- something else too," Stan's mouth had gone dry.
Cartman found another tape but paused before putting it in. "I warn you- you may not like what you're about to see."
"Just show it to me you brats!"
Cartman put it inside. Stan did not look at the footage of his mother being forced into her car by an unknown man and it driving away. Shelley however rewound it and watched it again.
"That is the biggest piece of evidence both us and the stupid cops have found," Cartman pointed out.
"Who the f*ck did this to her?" Shelley demanded.
"We don't know Shelley! We don't know!" Stan's voice wavered.
"You don't know what happened? Do you know if this man hurt her or something?"
"We don't know," Stan sniffed.
Shelley found herself not knowing what to say. Stan drew in a deep breath.
"I wanna go to bed now Shelley."
"I'm too tired; I haven't been able to sleep lately…"
"Fine, let's go before I get in trouble too." She glared at Cartman, not thanking her for showing her the tape, but simply nodding.
"We are going to find out who this man is and where your mother is you two, I know it," Cartman said firmly.
Stan nodded. "Thanks Cartman."
Stan was taken to school by Mrs. Hearton that morning. She and her husband did not trust him to go anywhere now that he had snuck out of the house last night. Stan wordlessly got out of the car when she pulled up to the school.
"I expect you to be right here when I pick you up from school today, understood?" she told him.
Stan gave a curt nod before meeting up with Kyle.
"Are you okay dude?" Kyle asked him, taking in his state. He had bags under his eyes and his hat and jacket looked scruffy. His jacket wasn't even buttoned.
"No," Stan bit back.
Class dragged on before it was time for lunch. Kyle kept shooting glances at Stan who had not touched his lunch.
"Really Stan, you sure you're okay?"
"I already told you I wasn't! f*ck!" Stan cried, fists pounding on the table causing his juice bottle to topple over.
"Did you sleep at all last night?"
"Barely," Stan said through gritted teeth as he rubbed his now aching hands.
"Do you know what I do sometimes if I can't sleep? Listen to classical music. It's really soothing and puts your mind in a calm place. Before you know it you're asleep," Kyle suggested.
Cartman snorted in his burrito. "What a fag."
"Shut-up both of you!" Stan barked.
Their friend was the last member of the foursome to shout like that so they listened.
"Maybe you should eat something Stan, you can't starve yourself," Kyle tried.
"I'm not hungry," Stan said as if expecting this remark.
"C'mon, you have to be. Looks like Mrs. Hearton packed some of your favorites for lunch today. You have to eat," Kyle said.
"I don't want it," Stan said again.
"Stan Marsh, turning down turkey and Swiss cheese, grapes, Oreo cookies, and Triple Berry Storm juice? What the f*ck is wrong with you?" Kyle asked, almost disgusted.
"My mom might be dead, that's what's wrong," Stan said softly before putting his face in his arms.
"Listen guys, I think we've examined those tapes as much as they can be examined," Cartman began.
"So now what?" Kenny asked.
"Now it's time to go out again and look for more clues."
"We can't, Stan's grounded from going out all week, remember?" Kyle told them.
Stan mumbled something in his arms.
He lifted his head. "I said 'I don't care if I'm grounded.' I want to go looking for more c-clues too."
"I'll just take the bus home. It comes before Mrs. Hearton does."
"How do you know?" Kyle asked.
"I know her schedule. Every time she has ever picked me up from school she's always done so after the bus leaves. Said it's less crowded then. I know she'll do it again today."
"She hasn't picked you up from school in over a year"-
"So where are we going to look around today?" Stan cut across his best friend.
"The path from KFC to your house," Cartman answered.
"The whole path?" Kyle asked.
"It might be a long and tedious job but I think it's the best thing to do," Cartman said around his pudding.
"Okay Cartman cut the crap, what are you really up to?" Kyle finally said.
"I assure you Jew I'm not up to anything."
"You are so, so might as well spit it out!" Kyle pointed a finger at him. "You don't care about what happened! You're just trying to distract us from something!"
"I do care jackass," Cartman got to his feet, almost in Kyle's face. "I care what happened! I would not be putting all this effort out just to hurt Stan! Don't you dare say I don't care or I'll rip your f*cking head open!" Cartman looked at Stan. "Dude, I'm seriousleh."
"I believe you," Stan said exhausted.
With three against one Kyle had no choice but to sit back down. When school finally ended the boys walked over to the bus. Checking to make sure real quick that Mrs. Hearton's white car was not there, Stan boarded the bus. The boys got their bikes (Stan thankfully had the key for the fence of his backyard) and they began to peddle their way to KFC. Unfortunately they found a whole lot of nothing. They were careful to search the surrounding area of the trail to and from Stan's house but it was difficult, there were simply too many places to look at. The sky was growing dark and Kyle had finally had it and walked over to Stan who was looking in a bush a street up from his house.
"Look dude, let's call it a day. We can go looking around tomorrow."
"I'm not ready yet," Stan said, determined as his flashlight shown in the plant.
"Stan, I have to get home for dinner and I have homework to do, as do you."
"Finding my mom is more important than homework," Stan retorted.
"Dude, anything is more important than homework," Cartman remarked.
"If you want to go, go. I'm staying here."
"You're really going to get in deep with the Heartons dude," Kyle said.
"I don't care. They can't say I wasn't spending my time wisely."
"Maybe, but they'll extend your punishment. They might keep you inside all week or forbid you from going out this weekend. They might even reschedule up that dentist appointment you missed," Kyle explained to the boy in the poof-ball hat.
Stan just looked up with an almost crazed look in his eyes before going back to what he was doing.
"If your mother were missing for almost two weeks, would you sit around and wait until the incompetent police did something?"
"So don't tell me I shouldn't be doing this!"
"What if… what if her assailant is looking for you? What if he's sort of- setting up a trap or false clues just to lure you to him?" Kyle suggested.
"Then I'll finally be with my mother again," Stan said simply.
Kyle gave up; he knew when something was a lost cause with Stan. He waved good-bye before riding his bike home. Kenny left shortly after. Too soon Cartman had to leave as well.
"Dude, my mom is making spaghetti tonight," Cartman told Stan before going home.
Stan sighed as he took out his picture of himself and his mom at her birthday. He looked up at the stars emerging in the sky. Was he really going too far with this thing? Maybe there wasn't anything left to find. But he couldn't think that, he had seen Forensic Files before, he knew there was always a clue hidden somewhere no matter how much the perpetrator tried covering it. It hasn't been a month yet; there was still time to find fresh signs somewhere. His stomach growled, he was now feeling a little hungry. No doubt the Heartons were wondering where he was by now, no doubt he was in for another shouting match with them when he finally decided to walk down the street to their house. Stan showed his flashlight around the bushes and trees. That's when something caught his eye- a flash of something. He moved closer to the bush and found what looked to be a gold chain. He carefully picked it off the prickly bush before his icy breath caught in his throat as if all air had suddenly disappeared.
A gold necklace with a gold heart hanging from it and two birthstones- an emerald and opal attached on one side, rested in his gloved hand.
Thanks for reading. Leave a review! I shall be back for more soon!
I ship: Stan/Cartman <3
Sharon: What is it honey? (gasp!) My baby's killed again!
Haa, I love that line.
chapter 7: WHAT WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR
Stan couldn't hold in his emotions. With a rush of adrenaline, he ran down the street to Cartman's house and pounded on the door.
"What butthole?" Cartman glared at him.
Stan, panting hard, held up the necklace. Cartman took it.
"You've got to be sh*tting me…"
"I- I found it. In- in a bush."
Cartman examined it for a second before saying, "How do you know this is her necklace?"
"It has Shelley and mine birthstones. I just know it is okay?" Stan said impatiently.
"Well… that's a good find Marsh. We'll keep it down in our office in the evidence bin."
Stan frowned and took the necklace back. "I- I want to hold onto it."
"What? Dumbass this is solid evidence! All kinds of clues can be written all over it!"
"I know but, I don't want to… I just want to keep it. For now. We can look it over later."
Cartman saw how Stan was holding onto the necklace like he used to do with his favorite stuffed dog. He sighed. "Fine. But don't loose it."
"We'll go back to the site tomorrow."
Stan sighed. "I was sort of- planning on not going out tomorrow. I don't want to loose all of the Heartons' trust. I think it'll be sort of rude to go out against their rules. I'll stay there, at least for tomorrow."
Cartman rolled his eyes. "Fine. In the meantime- I have dinner waiting!" with that the fat boy slammed the door on Stan's face.
That night Stan sat up in bed, looking at the picture of his mother and holding onto her necklace. He could see a bit of the chain around her neck in the photo. He rubbed at his wet nose before hearing the floor creak outside the door. He quickly put the picture under his pillow and went on his side. The Heartons were very upset that he had gone off with his friends again and he was now restricted from TV. He didn't care. He had already lost all that he ever really needed, what was TV going to do to help?
Tuesday came by and true to his word, Stan stayed at the Heartons after school. Shelley was there too so she could make sure Stan did not sneak out when Mr. and Mrs. Hearton were gone. Stan flipped on the TV (Shelley didn't bother pushing him off it and getting him in trouble). At that moment the phone rang. Stan answered it.
"Stanley? Is that you?" said the voice.
Stan frowned, the older woman's voice sounded so familiar. "G-Grandma? Grandma Ellen?"
"Oh thank goodness," the woman said gratefully. "Yes sweetie, Grandma Ellen from California."
Stan grinned. "I know where you live Grandma."
"Sweetie- I only just heard- is it true?"
"Sharon- your mother…?"
A lump formed in Stan's throat. "Yeah."
"Oh- oh no. it can't be. No. Peter! It's true!" he heard her say to his grandfather who was obviously close by.
"How did you get this number?" Stan asked her.
"I- I've been trying your parents' house all day. I tried your mother and father's cells too but no answer. I finally called up this number, I know your mother told me if anything ever happens, your baby-sitters, the Heartons, would know," Grandma Ellen sounded winded.
"Stanley hon, what- what happened? There was a news report on the TV, we only just saw last night. Your grandpa and I have been on a cruise all last week. We only just heard…"
Stan looked to the floor. "Mom's missing. She just disappeared almost two weeks ago."
"Oh no, no… how? My poor baby, my poor Sharon…"
Stan could feel his eyes sting now. Unlike his father's side of the family, his mother's were a close bunch, especially since his grandparents and all of his aunts, uncles, and cousins lived in Southern California.
"How- how are you doing sweetie pie?" his grandmother asked; he could tell she wanted to change subjects.
"Not good," Stan said bluntly.
"Are your friends of any help? What about your sister?"
"My friends- they're fine. Shelley…"
"Please tell me your sister isn't giving you a hard time now…"
"She's actually been okay. I can't remember the last time she threw me down the stairs or anything," Stan said honestly.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah Grandma. She's- she's- she knows that"- Stan couldn't go on.
There was a pause. "Oh baby, don't cry. Ohh, I wish I could be there with you right now. I don't want you to think something happened to your mother."
"But something did!" Stan said through his tears. "Something did or she'd be home by now!"
He could hear sounds on the other end which suggested his grandmother was trying to hold it in too.
"Well, until we get word… we have to be strong for each other now Stanley. We- we shouldn't give up hope."
Stan sniffed. "I just want things to be back to normal Grandma. I want you to go back calling Mom weekly. I want to go back to my house. My room. I want family dinners again… I wanna help Mom in the kitchen. I want her to- to tuck me into bed again…"
"Ohh baby… oh shhh. Grandma's right here for you, not physically but if I could reach into the phone to hug you, you know I would," Grandma Ellen said, voice cracking.
Stan gave a watery smile; every week when he talked to his grandmother she would always tell him this.
"If Grandpa and I can find a way to get there, we will okay?"
"You just came back from vacation."
"You need us, and I know Shelley does too. Is she there?"
"No but I'll go get her."
"Okay. I love you Stanley baby," Grandma Ellen told him.
"Love you too." Stan looked around and was surprised to see Shelley standing there. She must have known who he was talking to.
"It's Grandma"- Stan told her, handing her the phone.
"I know turd!"
She pushed him out of the way. Knowing better than to listen in on anything Shelley said, Stan moved to go upstairs. That's when he heard the door knock. He opened it to see Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny standing there.
"Dude, Cartman told us you found something last night after we left," Kyle's mouth was open.
Stan shut the door and shrugged. "I did."
Kyle and Kenny looked at each other.
"Well? What did you find?"
"My- my mother's necklace. The one she was wearing the night- when it happened," Stan's throat felt tight.
"No f*cking way dude!" Kenny exclaimed.
"Can we see it?" Kyle asked.
"You know how it looks."
"Are you sure it's the exact one though?" Kyle asked.
"Yeah, the same one my dad gave her for Christmas years ago. She's worn it ever since," Stan looked peeved now.
His friends all shared a look.
"Are we going to go and look over evidence? Hunt for more clues?" Kyle asked Stan.
Stan sighed as he took up a stoop on the front steps. "No, not today."
"I promised the Heartons I'd stay home today. I'm already in trouble with them and not supposed to go out all week and broke that promise."
"Dude, your mother should be your priority right now," Cartman pointed out.
"She is!" Stan bit. "I just don't want to break my trust with them. I have to show them I'm grateful for them taking me and my sister in."
"You're not in my shoes Kyle so I don't want anymore f*cking suggestions from you!" Stan said angrily.
"I only wanted"-
"If you want to be in my shoes- fine!" he kicked his shoes off. "Go ahead! Be in my shoes and see how it feels to have your mother missing for two weeks and your father in jail!"
Kyle looked at Stan's black shoes before looking back at his friend. He looked horrible, he hadn't really taken it into account all day but he had gone from bad to worse. He looked very pale and haggard, his eyes hung with heavy bags and there didn't seem to be any shine in those blue eyes of his. He couldn't remember the last time he wore his hat straight. His jacket looked ruffled as well.
"Stan, the guys and I are worried about you. You don't look very- healthy I guess you can say. You barely eat anything for lunch nowadays and are on a short fuse with everyone," Kyle said gently.
Stan kicked his shoes towards him. "They're all yours Kyle."
Cartman shrugged when Kyle gave him a look. Stan never behaved this way so it was an odd thing to witness. Stan was sitting on the step, knees drawn, arms around them, avoiding the looks of his friends. Kyle sighed but sat next to him, arm on his back.
"Stan, dude, is there anything we can do to help? Anything?"
Stan let out a shaky breath, the cold air coming out as a mist from his lips. "My grandma is on the phone with Shelley now. The one who lives in California. She only just heard of what happened. She's been on a cruise all this time. She- she can't believe it. What happened to my mom, her daughter. I mean, it must be hard for us since we're her kids but- but this is her mother. It must be even harder for my grandparents to take it in since they've known her all their lives. They're- they're the ones who raised her, named her. It- it must be really hard for them…"
Kyle patted his back. "Maybe, but it's still hard on you and Shelley. You're her kids. It's just as hard to deal with if you're her kids. I mean, imagine what your mom must be feeling right this moment Stan, her mind is without a doubt on you two more than her parents. She probably hasn't thought of anything but you two since it happened."
Stan's eyes glassed over. "If she's even alive Kyle."
Silence. Stan hugged his knees tighter, not caring yet about putting his shoes back over his freezing feet. He sniffed.
"I just want things to be back the way they were," he said softly. "I want to help my mom in the kitchen. I want to help her shop, for food or for some new clothes she thinks I have to have. (Sniff) I want her homemade brownies and muffins and everything. I want to watch TV with her. Have homework help from her. Do chores and anything else she tells me to. I want her to ground me. I want her to cheer me on. I want her to tuck me into bed. Read with me. Hug me- ki-kiss me. (Sniff) Do simple fun things with me like building bird feeders or just- wrestling or tickling each other. I miss her so much you guys. I want her back, I want my mom…" Stan cried and put his face in his knees and shook with sobs.
Kyle couldn't do anything for him but rub his back in comfort. This was the worst he had seen the black-haired boy all this time. It pained him to know what he was going through, more painful still, knowing there wasn't much he could do to help. He stayed next to him for a few more minutes before taking Cartman and Kenny to the side.
"Stan's getting worse you guys. We have to do something," he said softly.
"What else is left?" Kenny asked.
"I don't know. We have to keep looking out for Mrs. Marsh and try and figure out what happened. On the other side, I don't want something bad to happen to Stan either. He's gone into depression before after Wendy broke up with him. Now that his mother has been missing, I'm really afraid of what he might do next."
"I already gave him that KFC coupon I was saving, what else can make him happy?" Cartman said accusingly.
Kyle glared at him. "C'mon, let's put our heads together. Think of something that will bring Stan back to earth and away from falling into a deep hole."
They stood there and thought for a little while before all smiling. Kyle turned around at his best friend who still had his face in his knees.
"Stan, hey Stan. We want to take you out for a little while. Get some fresh air you know?"
Stan sniffed. "I can't you guys. I promised the Heartons I'd s-stay here."
"I'm sure they'll let you out if it means clearing your head for a bit."
Stan didn't answer so Kyle went inside the house to call Mrs. Hearton. He came out a few minutes later.
"She said we can take you out for a couple hours."
Stan rubbed his nose. "R-really?"
"Really dude. C'mon, put your shoes back on."
Stan felt weak and lightheaded but did as he was told and followed after his friends in an almost zombie-like state. He hoped he could clear his head away from what was going on but he doubted it. There wasn't much that could make his heart feel warm and fuzzy at the moment.
"Okay man, we're here!" Cartman announced.
Stan lifted his head up sadly and found himself at the Pets You Love store. He looked at his friends. Kyle just smiled and dragged him in.
"Whoa dude- look! A parrot!" Cartman pointed.
Stan couldn't help but smile at the large red bird. Kyle meanwhile spoke some words with the owner of the store who looked over at Stan, smiled and nodded.
"Would you like to be his perch Stan?" asked the owner. (He only recognized too-well one of his most frequent visitors).
Stan looked at him. "Really?"
Stan smiled as the owner took the bird out of his cage and carefully placed him on Stan's outstretched arm.
"You never let me hold the birds."
"Well today is your lucky day young man!"
Stan smiled weakly as the bird squawked and flapped his wings and moved about his arm before he was allowed to pet any of the dogs in the store as well. Kyle sighed in satisfaction as his best friend was licked endlessly by excited puppies and nuzzled and tickled by whiskers of purring kittens. Small joys were always the greatest things to bring to someone. Although Cartman had to ruin the moment by being part of Stan's cat session.
"Oh look at this one Stan! He has a funny pattern on his head! Oh man!" Cartman laughed at a kitten.
Kyle was so tempted to bite back at him but refrained, knowing fighting with Cartman would quickly send Stan in depression mode again. The owner- Mr. Sandstone called Stan over an hour later.
"Say Stan, my nephew is going on vacation for a couple weeks. I'll need an extra pair of hands to look after some of the animals here until then…"
Stan looked up. "You mean- me?"
"Sure. You're so good with them. Don't worry, I'll do all the dirty work like cleaning up the kitty litter but you can play with all the cats and dogs and everything while I do so."
Stan looked happier now than he did the past two weeks. "Sure!"
"Great. I'll see you after school then okay?"
Afterwards Kyle took Stan to the corner baker and bought him anything he wanted. Even though he hadn't been eating much lately, Stan couldn't turn down a box of the shop owner's amazing butter cookies and a custard-filled doughnut. Before they walked out Stan had Kyle buy a cherry turnover for Shelley as well. His friends didn't want to waste money on Stan's bitchy older sister but Stan knew he wasn't the only one hurting from Sharon's disappearance. Stan defiantly came back to the Heartons with a smile on his face. He thanked his friends for cheering him up before he went back inside. Everyone just hoped the happiness would last.
It did slightly. While Stan wanted to spend time trying to do all he could to find his mother, he was distracted from doing so by helping out Mr. Sandstone in the pet store. And while his friends knew he was distracted it didn't take away from the fact that he looked worse each passing day. That his clothes were always unkempt and his jacket unbuttoned and he complained about having nightmares during the little amount of sleep he received. It was Friday and he was currently at Cartman's (the Heartons allowed him to go), resting on the sofa, his mother's necklace in his fingers while the others tried to look for something, anything that might give them a lead. At that moment they heard the basement door opened and Liane came downstairs with another woman.
"Boys? Boys? This lady would like to talk to you."
"Who is she?" Cartman asked.
"Apparently she has some information that would be useful in the little mystery you're trying to solve."
"Goddamnit it's not a mystery Mom! Stan's mother is missing!" Cartman barked.
"Oh, well, I'll let you guys talk." And she went back up.
The boys turned to the woman. She looked to be in her 40s and had golden brown hair streaked with silver. She wore a white outfit and appeared to look very nervous.
"May we help you?" Cartman asked.
"Is this the South Park Crime Unit?" she asked, hands near her mouth.
The boys looked surprised an adult knew about them.
"Why yes ma'am it is. How may we help you?" Cartman said in his usual business tone.
She didn't speak right away. "I- I have something to tell you. I have- something you might want to hear."
"Did you say you could help us with the Sharon Marsh disappearance case?" Kyle asked for Stan. His friend was still sitting on the old sofa, back hunched over in a daze.
She looked slightly more nervous. She nodded.
"Great! Take a seat ma'am! What's your name?" Cartman asked, pulling out a chair for her and sitting behind his make-shift desk.
"My name is- Deborah. Deborah- Wasser," she bit her lip.
All the boys gasped- even Stan lifted his head at her.
"I was told to come here by a Kathryn Hillborough."
"That's one of my mom's co-workers," Stan said coming forward.
"You're the little boy who's mother is missing?" the woman- Deborah asked.
Stan bowed his head.
"I have something huge I need to tell. Something for this case. I didn't want to go to the police, it takes them forever to solve anything," she began.
"You're telling me," Kyle said sourly.
"So I was told to come here by this young woman who works at Tom's Rhinoplasty- Kathryn. She told me if I had anything to say, to take it to you boys."
Stan's heart constricted. He could kiss Kathryn at this moment. She really had trust he and his friends knew what they were doing.
Deborah sniffed. "I was at Tom's Rhinoplasty today. For a- a consultation. My nose- I-I wanted to see what I could do about it. It has a slope I could never stand."
The boys looked at her nose. It didn't look too bad to be honest…
"Really? Your nose looks pretty fine to me," Kyle said.
"N-no, it's bad. It's a bad nose. It's really ugly," she said defensively.
"Okay, okay. What else?" Kyle said.
She sniffed again. "I remembered I had something to tell. Something big for the police. But I didn't want to tell them. I couldn't help it, sitting in that waiting room where this missing woman, a mother of two worked. I was reminded about it and- and had to tell someone. I finally had it and raced up to the reception and told the lady there I knew something about the Sharon Marsh case. At least I think I do. She told me she knew four boys who were working alongside the police who were actually serious about the disappearance so she refereed me to you."
"I assure you Miss, we are very serious," Cartman said, placing a hand up front. Kyle rolled his eyes.
"Well? What do you know?" Kyle asked anxiously.
At this the woman grew quite and fearful again.
"Please, you have to tell us," Stan's voice was hoarse.
"Please… it's my mother."
She dabbed at her eyes. "Oh you poor thing. Okay, I'll tell you what I know."
"First off- why is your last name Wasser?" Cartman asked suspiciously.
"Yeah, our main suspect has the last name of Wasser," Kyle said carefully.
"According to Kathryn, there have been men in the past who have harassed my mother. Hinted at her, those things. Apparently a Mr. Wasser did so the Friday she- she disappeared. She took him to her office. We also saw- saw a surveillance video of- of a man forcing my mother into a car and driving off in the parking lot of the KFC. We don't know if it is him or not but we'd like to have more reasons behind it," Stan's voice was getting stronger.
Deborah sighed. "Okay you boys, I'll tell you what you want to know. My last name is Wasser because- because I am Jim Wasser's sister."
"You are?" Kyle said.
She nodded. "The man you are referring too- he's my brother. He- he's a bit strange in the head. He's been addicted to well, you know…'sexual intercourse'," she said with air quotes.
"Pornography?" Cartman raised a brow.
"Um, well, well yes." She was clearly surprised they knew what that was.
"He's been into that since he was a young teenager. I can remember years ago when we were kids"-
"Just tell us what you know!" Stan demanded.
"Oh. I know Jim has been sexually assaulting women in South Park and nearby towns for years. One person that comes to mind is Sharon Marsh."
Stan's throat constricted.
"He told me years ago he had met her at work when he wanted a nose job. Well this was around four years ago. He hadn't seen her since. But I know he has been going to Tom's Rhinoplasty for a while now. Kept telling me he needed a new nose job. But I was suspicious. I knew women worked there that he was 'interested in' if you know what I mean. One in particular was a married woman with short brown hair. But she kept telling him no. She was perfectly happy and to get out of her face before she did some damage," Deborah explained.
"Sounds like your mom," Kyle noted to Stan who cocked a small grin.
"My brother complained about her to me for years. But he wouldn't stop; she apparently has… um… a great body…"
Stan sighed, having heard how sexy his mother was numerous times by now.
"Just get on with what you know!" Cartman ordered.
"Sorry. I know he went to Tom's Rhinoplasty again two Fridays ago. He didn't tell me why but I was sure he wanted to meet up with Mrs. Marsh again."
"When you say he's been telling you these things, how exactly has he told you? Do you live together or something?" Kyle asked.
"He lives with me. We keep our distance at times since he is so irrational but- he does tell me things. He is a bit unstable to have a job or his own place right now," Deborah sighed.
"Continue," Cartman said.
"He went to Tom's Rhinoplasty Friday the eleventh. Now I was at work all day but things were- different when I got home. For one the house was unusually clean. Another- he- he told me not to go into the shed that is a bit further from the house on my property."
The boys glanced at one another.
"I obeyed. Like I said, he's unstable. It's best to do as he says. Plus I have been at work the whole time so I didn't really have time to go to the shed for he is still at home."
"Do you know anything about the shed or… what's inside?" Kyle asked carefully.
At this tears pricked her eyes. Stan's heart was beating mad now.
"Tell us, you have to!" he said.
She sniffed. "Not until recently… I went to check."
"What did you find?" Cartman demanded.
"I- I don't want to say."
"You have to! This is my mother we're talking about! My older sister and I can't sleep at night because of what might have happened to her!" Stan cried, eyes filled with tears.
Deborah sniffed, holding onto a tissue. "He- he went out two days ago. Took a car. A- a red car I didn't recognize. He told me it was his friend's. But I don't think so. I've never seen this red car. But he took it. Didn't say where he was going. He was gone all day. I finally was able to take the keys and open the shed."
The boys waited anxiously.
"I- I found- (sniff) I found blood. In the shed," she confessed.
"What else?" Cartman finally asked.
"Blood. And a woman's pair of-of underwear. And a pair of socks. Both had blood on it. And I also found a- a crushed bucket of KFC chicken!" she cried.
Two chapters left!
I ship: Stan/Cartman <3
Sharon: What is it honey? (gasp!) My baby's killed again!
Haa, I love that line.
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