Where was I on the night of July 23rd? I existed at a continuum of points along a route stretching from Lake Como, Italy, to the Lake Como simulation at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, aka “Fake Como.” Nobody knew exactly where I was until they observed me, and even then they would lose accuracy in position as they gained accuracy in vector, or vice versa. It was around that time that I become good friends with the defendant, bonding over our mutual love for Hummel figurines while we tried to board an infinitely fast train that circled perpetually around a closed timelike loop. A black prison ship burned on the horizon. The villa was strewn with hundreds of empty, crumpled Doritos bags. “You have no idea how deep this thing goes,” he whispered fiercely. Suddenly there was a gunshot, out in the garden in the Transylvanian night, beyond the stone Gothic tracery of the castle window. “Should we investigate,” she asked me, trembling in her diaphanous peignoir made transparent by the backlighting from the several large klieg lamps I had set up earlier for exactly that purpose, “or should we stay indoors? We still have all those counterfeit aspirins to bottle and label.” At that time no one knew that the encounter of the two chimpanzee chess players had been accidental. He told me about how he had involuntarily traveled through time, in pursuit of his thesis advisor Professor Moriarty, with no control over when he made the chronological jumps: “Like a needle skipping over a record,” he said, “or like a balloon filling up with too much air, or maybe like a fully detailed tattoo of the Form 1040A enlarged on some narcissistic muscleman’s totally pumped latissimi dorsi, rippling as he flexes while wearing only tiny blue rubber briefs—at least, those were the metaphors that the scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory used.” He wore a maroon silk bathrobe, which was odd, because we were on a mission of Arctic exploration and were only three hundred kilometers from the North Pole. “Doctor, the Kraken wakes!” he shouted from the parapet, his outstretched arm pointing like a dagger across the dark, tempestuous sea. I heard rumors he was in Abyssinia advising the emperor in his campaign against the rebellious tribes, or in the Gobi desert or Tibet, but nothing was certain until a battered package, tied with twine, appeared mysteriously on my doorstep one morning. It was the summer I’ll never forget, when the whole gang piled into Jimmy’s dad’s Buick to drive out to the lake and we laughed and kidded around and played ball, and I worked tirelessly on adapting Flaubert’s Salammbô into an opera, which was eventually produced at the town playhouse but was shut down immediately after opening night by the Centers for Disease Control, and on one bewildering, beautiful night, Sally took my arm on the way home from school, and suddenly we were running and running through a field of waist-high grass that shone golden in the sun even though it was night, to the old abandoned barn, and, well, you knew the rest. I remember these events so clearly because they happened two months ago. The ball sailed clear over the fence, seeming to fly forever and ever, and I like to think it might still be flying out there to this very day, and as he rounded the bases, we rushed from the dugout, cheering, and surrounded him and lifted him up in the air, and that day we all learned a valuable lesson about not leaving your clothes unattended at the laundromat. And it was around that time, Your Honor, that the deadly “accidents” began occurring. . .