I stood my ground and the guy knocked me right over. I hoped Peter was going to come save me as I fell towards the hard ground and looked up to see a balled-up fist come down at me. In a flash, the fist struck me in the face and my head reverberated with a thudding pain. A second and a third strike followed accompanied by a swift kick to the ribs before I heard Peter hollering and heard footsteps run away from me.
I coughed up a little bit of blood that landed next to Peter’s. He towered over me from my prone position on the ground.
“How the fuck are you always 30 seconds late?” I spat up at him through a bloody mouth.
“I’m sorry, it took me a little bit to figure out what was going on.”
Peter helped me to my feet with his hand like we were teammates on a football team.
“Ugh, that looks bad. We should probably take care of that.”
Peter patched me up back at his house in what I discovered was his brother’s old room. They closed down his brother’s fraternity after two guys drowned from wandering off too drunk and the authorities let Peter move in to conduct his research when they found out what he was doing.
I sat on a beanbag feeling sorry for myself while Peter worked on the last of my bandages, taking care of a split eyebrow.
“The guy who got you must be a part time UFC guy or something.”
“What douchebag isn’t at this point?”
“Look away, this is going to sting.”
I squinched up my face and look at the wall behind Peter’s concerned face. I locked eyes on a football team picture just behind his head, hung sloppily on the wall. The picture identified the team as the 1999 Wisconsin Badgers, Rose Bowl champions.
Peter stepped away a bit, finished with my repairs and I focused in on the picture.
“The guy who first hired me to do that work here was on this team, I remember him weirdly mentioning it for no reason.”
“I followed that team pretty closely when I was in high school,” Peter explained. “What was his name?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know anything about football.”
I scanned over the identifying key of players at the bottom of the picture until I found Christopher Harris. Once I found the name, I looked up at the smiling players and was shocked to match Christopher Harris up with a guy who looked nothing like the Christopher Harris I met. The Christopher Harris in the picture was tan, of at least mixed ethnicity, the one I met was pasty white.
“Oh my God,” I mumbled.
“What?” Peter asked back frantically.
I took the card Christopher gave me out of my wallet. It said he was #57, an honorable mention All-Big-10 selection on this 1999 Rose Bowl champion team.
“You remember Christopher Harris… what did he look like?”