It all started with Ted calling me up on his burner phone to tell me that he needed to get out of his house for a period of time, and fast. Classic Ted! After hearing that, I did what any good, God-loving friend would do—I invited him to my campfire! Ted showed up in that classic all-black, hooded costume he wears to ward off paparazzi, and we got the night started off right with some fresh American beer.

My buddies and I were having a great, relaxing time, but then things got weird. Ted started telling us an urban legend about a string of unsolved murders in Northern California that occurred during the late 1960s to the early 1970s. Before we knew it, he was pulling out newspaper clippings as “proof.” Ted always knows how to kill the mood, but he’s still a great guy! I told him to relax and enjoy his s’mores, but then he yelled, “The unidentified killer sent the Vallejo police department and the San Francisco Bay Area press a series of taunting letters and cards filled with cryptic messages.” Then he chuckled and whispered, “They still haven’t solved all of them,” before he started cackling like a hyena, hacking up a piece of graham cracker in the process. What a weirdo. But you gotta love Ted for who he is.

I wanted to be a good friend and let him off easy, but after he started spouting on about “how they only know about the victims in Benicia, Vallejo, Napa County, and San Francisco, respectively, between December 1968 and October 1969” and not about “his other murders after 1970,” I told him he had a bit too much to drink and to leave before things got messy. He left the campfire and in his wake, he left a little note with a bunch of weird symbols on it. We didn’t know what it meant, but you know that Ted, he loves drawing his little pictures.

After that night, it was clearer than ever—Ted’s an honest man who tries his best to lighten the mood, nothing like the one you see on TV. He certainly made our campfire one to remember for the ages. Texas, you got yourselves a killer senator!

—D. Hou

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