Sam went into his closet and picked up an AR-15 rifle. Clint looked like he was going to piss his pants when he saw that. I just shook my head. We all got into our vehicles and drove off.

As we approached our destination, the sky darkened and began to rain. Thunder and lightning reared their heads soon after. Nobody appeared to be home at the Johnson farm, for there were no vehicles in the driveway. I decided to lead the caravan up the path to the barn I had taken by mistake when I first brought them Taco Bell. I was a bit worried about trespassing, but I guess the academicians with me could think of something to say if we got caught.

We got out. “So, what now that we’re standing in the rain with our thumbs up our asses on another man’s property?” I said.

Sam looked like he was wandering aimlessly as he picked something up. He showed it to us. It was the same shape as the thing attached to his computer back as his house, but it was black. “Look at this,” he said.

Sam jammed his finger up the hole trying to explore for something and the junior high kid in Clint and me both took over and we started laughing, but then there appeared to be a strange light coming from the barn door. It looked like another flash of lightning, but its frequency was a bit lower. The light and darkness lasted a bit longer. We approached the barn and Sam took his rifle off his shoulder and his visage changed from absentminded to focused. Once again, the light flashed, and lo and behold, the object of our pursuit appeared. She said, “Arthur Scanlon, can we take a ride on your bike?”

Without regard to how damn nuts this was, I just said, “Sure, why not? Just hop on, the bike’s outside.”

Just then, the pseudo-lightning flashed again and she was being pulled back by something. It was too dark to be made out, but there was a black ring around her midriff and she was being pulled toward the back of the barn whose window could no longer be seen. We were watching when what looked like two green eyes appeared in the space that was once the window. I approached and something hit me in the stomach. I must have been lifted five feet as I fell on my face. Sam fired his rifle in the direction of the eyes. It appeared to have no effect. She yelled again, “Arthur Scanlon, you can still save me.”

At this point, my better judgment was telling me to jump on my bike and get the fuck out of here and not have anything to do with these clowns again. What the hell have I gotten into? But now that I was knee-deep in this shit, I might as well see it through. What’s the worst thing that could happen? It could kill me? Who gives a damn about that? So I decided to rush forward. Nothing hit me this time and I grabbed her. Sam and Clint fall in behind and start pulling. She is released. “Let’s get on,” she said.

We jump on my bike and she is sitting in the back holding on. There is a black streak following us that looks like nothing I have ever seen. “Fuck, where’s a cop when you need one?” I said while thinking there wasn’t shit they could probably do about this anyway.

Not knowing where else to go, I went home. The storm had ceased. The woman had her arms around my waist and was asleep. There was no more black streak. Sam and Clint were nowhere to be found. She was still wearing the same getup I she had worn the last two times I had seen her. She was wearing a bikini with the raspberry beret on her head. She also had a purse strapped around her shoulder I had failed to notice. Was it there when we were in the barn?

She woke up and had the unmistakable look of a hangover. “Who the fuck are you?” she said.

“I’m Artie Scanlon. Just a few minutes ago, you were begging me to save you,” I replied.

“What the hell have you done to me, you fucking bastard? Did you drug and rape me at Kevin’s party?”

Well, this is a strange twist. I rescue her from some Twilight Zone monster that she was begging me to do and now she’s accusing me of rape. I was flabbergasted. I had to think of something quickly and somehow I knew the truth wouldn’t work, so I began to improvise. I said, “I’m a Grubhub driver. I found you alongside the road on Route 307. I don’t know jack shit about Kevin or his party, and if anybody raped you, it sure as heck wasn’t me.”

She believed me and smiled. She said, “I’m sorry, I guess I just have an awful hangover.”

“That’s what it looks like to me,” I replied. “Where do you live? Do you need me to take you home?”

“No, thanks. I can just get an Uber, but thanks for finding me,” she replied as she clumsily fumbled for her purse and a wallet and cell phone dropped out. I picked up those things and she grabbed the cellphone and clicked the Uber icon.

I asked, “What’s your name?” She said nothing for a second and picked up her wallet. She opened it up and said, “Karen. Karen Davis.”

“Hell, you must have had really too much to drink if you can’t remember your name without checking your driver’s license.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” she said as she laughed. “My Uber is supposed to be here in ten minutes. Could you just wait here until then?”

“Sure,” I said.

As I wait, I think about getting the coffee brewed in my room to get myself jacked up for another shift at Walmart. I say nothing as she waits for her ride. What a long, strange trip this has been. I don’t pretend to know what really happened and I’m not sure it matters. I’m just glad to get back to normal. Whatever is going on is beyond me and probably even beyond Sam. I might give him a call later on before I go to work, I think as Karen’s Uber drives up and she waves bye.


After that black streak followed Artie and the girl on the bike, we were at a loss. Sam continued to play with the Klein bottle. A few minutes later, by chance or by design, something happened. The storm stopped and the setting sun returned. The long, black streak disappeared along with it. I told Sam we had better get out of here, as this was private property. We went back to Sam’s house and he attempted to once again to access the device via his computer.

“Don’t you think we should call Artie?” I said.

“You try,” he said. “I think I can figure out where they went with this…damn it, it doesn’t work,” he said as he tried to attach the other one he found. “That one does nothing either.”

I call him.

“Hi Artie, this is Clint. What happened to you and her, too?” I said.

“I drove her back to my place and she figured out who she is. Her name is Karen Davis and she didn’t remember a thing. She accused me of drugging and raping her at some party. I told her a story that sounded plausible because she would have never believed the truth,” he said.

“Oh no! I hope you persuaded her you were innocent. As far as Sam goes, he is beside himself. Those Klein bottles are now just pieces of aluminum. They are no longer recognized as peripherals by his computer. I’m not sure how he got it to work in the first place, but whatever the issue is, it doesn’t work anymore,” I replied. “He thought he might use it to find you two.”

“Well, I don’t need to be found. I don’t think she does, either,” Artie said.

“Yes, it appears that way,” I replied. “I don’t know what else to say. This is so far beyond anything we’ve experienced.”

“Whatever happened, I can’t explain it. My family would probably attribute it to demons. Sam wants to attribute it to the wave function. From what I saw, I would guess my family was right; from what makes sense, I would guess Sam was right, but who really knows. All I know is that I’m going to brew up some coffee and enjoy a sandwich before I have to go to work. It was nice working with you guys even though nobody got paid,” Artie replied.

I hung up and purposed myself to go look for a job.


For all installments of “Raspberry Beret,” click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2
  3. Part 3