It had only been half a year since he went to that farewell retirement party. He couldn't even remember the faces of those who shook his hand and share their thin congratulations, going through the motions of an empty ritual. Mr. Wakefield sat up, stretching his aching back, and watched the face of the wind-up clock for about five minutes until the alarm finally went off at exactly 7:00 AM. He stared at it as it shook frantically, slamming down on it only when it threatened to fall on the hardwood floor. It would have been trivial when he was still young to calculate the sunrise time given his current location for any day in a ten year period in either the past or future. Back then, he made it a point to always wake up when the sun rose. He shuffled into his slippers in his pajamas and made his way down the short hallway to the adjacent kitchen. If one thing had not changed since becoming a university researcher was that his living space always remained as compact. Whole stacks of written papers, bundled loosely in manila envelopes were strewn about the carpeted floor. On the kitchen table were also a bunch of papers fanned out at his desk, with numbers, greek letters, odd drawings, and indecipherable scribbles. Wakefield sat down and picked one of them up, rubbing his forehead for a moment and sighing again. He was the one that wrote all that was on the table. It was no use. It was a special day, after all, Wakefield rationalized, though this was happening more often recently than he cared to remember. He put on some coffee and opened his apartment door to see the university newspaper bundled at his feet. It was dated July 4th, 1974, Independence Day, celebrated now in fond memory of Duke, the undisputed greatest superhero to ever live. He predicted the headline would say as such without looking at it, placing it on the table. He stretched and yawned again; not being a physics professor anymore did have the perk of having rush to get out the door, though it served as a constant reminder that he was reaching his late sixties. When sat back down on the chair and read the headline, he heard the distinct sound of his coffee cup sliding across the counter and a crashing as it shattered on the floor. Dragon is Dead He read it again more carefully. The paper said that it was ruled to be a homicide, stabbed to death with a knife, then burglarized. The rest was about her contribution to helping Duke and the overwhelming tragedy her death incurred. Wakefield could barely think, being hoisted suddenly into surrealism. Age wouldn't affect her that much; her metabolism was through the charts with her super speed and was trained in Shaolin. He refused to believe that a lowlife burglar would have the ability or even the gumption to take her on in a direct fight. He shook his head to force himself out of it. He needed to talk his friend right now about this, though his friend had would probably rather just call himself his comrade in times now long past. Picking up the handle for the rotary phone, Wakefield started to dial the number, but stopped midway, cursing under his breath. He called the operator. "Senior's hospital, please." "Sorry sir, you have to be more specific." Wakefield sighed heavily. "List them in alphabetical order with their numbers. Talk slowly so I can get them on paper."