Name: Alton Gerow
School: George Hunter High School
Hobbies and Interests: Track, Parties and Socialization, Gossip, Math
Appearance: Alton is a tall, wiry young man, standing 6'1" and weighing 175 lbs. He has long limbs, and his legs especially are well-developed from his workouts and track activity, though even there he carries no real bulk. Alton has good posture and moves in a fluid manner; he tends to feel most comfortable in motion and will frequently pace, change positions, and punctuate his statements with gestures.
Alton's face is diamond-shaped, with a strong jawline and chin. He's Caucasian, of mixed-southern-European descent with a strong Sicilian component, and his complexion is relatively tanned. He has curly, dark brown hair that he lets grow to about three inches in length; he takes good care of it, washing it daily. His eyes are light brown. Alton tends to smile or smirk often. His teeth are straight and fairly white—he brushes them every morning and evening. Alton's nose is straight and of typical size. He takes good care of his skin and almost never breaks out.
Alton pays attention to his appearance, trying to cultivate a casual but cultured look. He tends to wear well-fitted slacks or jeans, along with shirts that are slightly more formal than t-shirts but slightly less formal than business wear. On the day of the abduction, Alton was wearing skinny jeans, a black t-shirt, and a dark red button-down shirt left unbuttoned, with the sleeves rolled to the elbows. He was also wearing black socks, brown leather shoes, and an analogue watch on his right wrist. Alton is left-handed.
Biography: Alton (who also responds equally happily to "Al" and "Tony") was born on September 7, 1999, in Denton, New Jersey, to mother Pamela and father Kurt Gerow. At the time, Pamela was unemployed and Kurt worked as a car salesman. The couple's relationship, already rather tumultuous, did not long survive the added pressure of a child and the corresponding jump in expenses and responsibilities. Kurt soon abandoned his wife and infant son, at first claiming he was on a work trip training employees in another state, then cutting contact. While Pamela did make use of those resources available to her to try to track down her wayward husband, she never brought Kurt back into their lives in any material way. The couple did eventually divorce and Kurt sent sporadic, often late or coerced child support, but for the most part Pamela raised Alton on her own, with some assistance from her brother (their own parents no longer being in contact with them as a result of a long-past family feud).
Pamela relied heavily on State assistance in this period, while also working a number of menial, usually short-term jobs. The neighborhood in which Alton grew up, Tilles Court, was a bad one, which rarely saw appropriate attention from the authorities. Thus, Denton—already rather infamous for its crime and gang violence—did not show Alton its best face during his formative years. He soon learned to stay away from the park at night, to keep to groups for safety, and to trust his instincts.
For all that, however, Alton managed a remarkably stable and functional early life. Naturally bright and social, he made friends easily in school and the state-funded daycare programs in which he spent much of his time. At the same time, his economically disadvantaged status led him to develop a somewhat pragmatic, transactional approach to friendship; if others wanted to be close to him, he'd prioritize those who could offer him what he did not get at home, usually treats of access to more expensive entertainment experiences.
Alton also learned early on the value of information., especially information related to his peers. If he was aware of who was prone to bullying in advance, he could avoid falling victim to them. If he knew who was comparatively well-off, he could court their friendship without being so gauche as to ask questions that implied his motivations. Alton also discovered that knowing what others did not gave him power, either to disclose that information or to withhold it. This was all just part of the lay of the land, much like knowing which parts of the neighborhood were bad news.
As Alton entered middle school, he found he could get out of a lot of schoolwork by talking his friends into doing it for him or allowing him to copy their work. This flew pretty well in the low-standards Denton school, especially as Alton performed just fine on tests; his tendency to delegate homework was due to poor motivation and frequent boredom on his part, not any lack of ability. One exception, however, was math. Alton found the objective nature of the subject fascinating and took a keen interest as something both antithetical to his normal, nuanced way of doing things and useful and widely applicable to myriad facets of his life. He put in real effort in the subject, treating it far more seriously than his other classes.
Alton also took up track around this time, finding it a good way to stay in shape and earn some measure of athletic credibility without the hassle of dealing with teammates directly. He found his build well-suited to running, and also enjoyed the movement and relative solitude of it, often taking long jogs throughout the city.
Alton's life took a sharp turn in the middle of his eighth grade year. Pamela had played the lottery casually for years, never with anything of note to show for it, but to her shock she won a substantial jackpot in Powerball, becoming a multimillionaire overnight even after taxes were factored out. While many in such situations soon go bankrupt again due to living beyond their means, Pamela had cultivated an almost compulsive frugality, and immediately hired an accountant and arranged their affairs such that she and Alton could live on interest and minimal withdrawals from their savings. She also relocated the pair to Chattanooga, Tennessee, a destination picked due to a childhood fascination with the song "Chattanooga Choo Choo" and related high expectations for the city. While the reality was not quite the romantic image of her childhood, she nonetheless greatly enjoyed her new upper-middle-class lifestyle, taking the opportunity to date again and to explore a long-neglected interest in painting.
The move was slightly harder on Alton at first, though he showed little external sign of this. In his final semester of middle school going into his first year at George Hunter High School, he had to recalibrate his expectations of his school, classmates, and environment in a pretty major way. What had once been in part coping mechanisms for dealing with a rough environment were no longer needed, but Alton's habits and impulses remained all the same. He made some effort to change his approach to the world, but found it an unnatural fit, and he was soon back to many of his old patterns—now, however, for his enjoyment more than anything else.
Using his easy charm and the intrigue he held as a new student, Alton quickly established a reputation and friend group, and he learned all he could about his new classmates. He scouted his peers at first by adopting a persona of newcomer ignorance, and later through more direct queries. He joined the track team (where he was good but not exceptional) and the math club (where he was a somewhat odd fit), and integrated smoothly on the whole, finding himself able to work his way into the zone where he could be friends with those both in and outside of the popular circle.
Alton's friendships are still transactional to a degree, but he no longer has any interest in the finances of others—indeed, he is given a generous allowance and has access upon request to a fairly substantial amount of resources through his mother, who is in her way trying to make up for his underprivileged early years. What Alton seeks out in closer companions is an element of the unique, some edge to keep him interested and entertained. He likes to go on adventures around town with his friends, usually of the sort that entails going to parties or getting into mild trouble.
In school, Alton is a good student, but not an amazing one, and some of his grades are still due to unauthorized assistance. He does well in classes with a creative component, as well as in math; his worst classes are science classes, as he lacks major interest in them and they're hard to fake his way through. He's fairly popular among teachers for being an active and charming participant, and his test scores remain high. Alton has not applied to any colleges yet—he's not sure that route is best for him and plans to take a gap year even if he ultimately decides that it is. His mother fully supports his taking time to figure out what he wants to do with his life.
Alton is social and easygoing, quite adept at reading situations and managing his own role within them. At the same time, he's prone to pressuring others to do what he wants, and is very talented at this. On a number of occasions, this has led to resentment, as others are left to take the fall for Alton or come to regret their actions after the fact or become more aware of his coercive nature. On those rare occasions Alton himself takes offense, often on behalf of a friend, he becomes serious indeed, dedicating himself to a certain measure of usually-delayed-and-creative retribution. This has generally ensured that those enemies he makes remain such in the long run, often with strong negative feelings towards him.
Alton's relationship with his mother is strong and positive. He's very open with her, unlike with many others, and always does his best to make her proud. This is not an overly high bar; Pamela still feels a lot of regret over some of the circumstances of Alton's early life, and is thrilled that he is generally successful in school and happy with his situation. They often go to dinner, concerts, and sporting events together, and their relationship has in some ways moved towards an equality-based dynamic more than one of parent and child. Alton has no contact with his father, and is perfectly happy with this; he holds some major resentment towards the man and was thrilled when his mother's windfall allowed them to finally and completely sever contact with Kurt.
Alton has dated a number of girls in school and has a reputation as a bit of a playboy; this is to an extent justified, as he's quick to move on when his interest wanes. Some of his exes are more understanding of this than others, but Alton is in all romantic cases pretty careful not to promise what he does not intend to deliver; abandonment by partners is an issue he has a lot of baggage with. Alton considers himself heterosexual, but is also unbothered enough by the subject and confident enough in himself to jokingly flirt with other men as well—something else that has rubbed others the wrong way from time to time.
Alton drives a red Toyota Celica from the mid-1990s, a gift from his mother for his sixteenth birthday, and loves giving rides to friends. He's also a frequent source for alcohol, being fairly versed in charming or bluffing his way through ID checks and enlisting the assistance of others of age. Other drugs, however, hold little appeal for Alton, and he can be particularly dismissive of marijuana.
Advantages: Alton is charming and clever. He knows a lot about his classmates and can likely be a good judge of character, as well as putting a face to most names. He's in good shape from his time on the track team.
Disadvantages: Alton is not one to sit idle or play things safe; risk-taking is second nature to him and that won't be easy to change even when the potential consequences are more dire than he's accustomed to. He can be pushy and has a number of people who don't care for him due to this; it's also potential trouble when negotiating. When Alton does develop a grudge, he has an extremely hard time letting go of it.
The above biography is as written by MurderWeasel. No edits or alterations to the author's original work have been made.
Below is a list of threads containing Alton, in chronological order.
- Five Crooked Lines
- We're Milling Through The Grinder, Grinding Through The Mill
- To See And Be Seen
- Patzers and Paretos
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