For the longest time, Biff doesn't see it.
He watches Lorraine live her married life with a man who isn't him, watches her kids grow up and go to school and get jobs, watches George's car gleam in the sunlight from the waxing Biff gives it every month. He spends so much time watching the McFlys, watching and wondering how a wimpy little geek like George could turn into the smug man whose name lines an entire shelf at the bookstore, that he never really sees it.
But little things keep bothering him. Little things that prod the back of his mind for a moment, until he brushes them aside and gets to work on the latest car job. He doesn't know why he gets the funniest feeling sometimes when he sees Marty rolling along on his skateboard. Marty slamming on his guitar in the garage. Marty walking the streets in that favorite red vest of his.
Get a load of this guy's life preserver. Dork thinks he's gonna drown!
But Biff just swats aside the memory and thinks he's losing his mind, though deep down he wonders why that damn kid of Lorraine's looks so familiar.
And then one day he hears it.
Nobody calls him chicken, Marty declares to a neighborhood boy as the two of them make plans to go out that night. They're trading jokes and insults, like boys do when they're young and cocky, and Biff looks up from George's car as that one little word sticks out to him: chicken.
And Biff remembers.
He remembers a night thirty years ago, the night of the school dance when George McFly's scrawny fist made a punching bag out of Biff's face. Booze in the punchbowl, Strickland nabbing his copy of Oh Lala, Lorraine in that strapless pink dress…
And a book. He swears there was a book stashed in his car and an old man who gave it to him, but that memory is the haziest of all, possibly a hangover dream from the morning after.
And somewhere in the middle of it all was that new guy, the hotshot who showed up out of nowhere and vanished as suddenly as he came. Klein, they called him. Something Klein. Biff wants to say Calvin, but of course that's ridiculous.
And the son of a bitch looked an awful lot like Lorraine's youngest kid.
Biff's losing his mind. He's been out in the sun too long, waxing the same damn spot on George's car, but pieces of memory keep popping up before his eyes. Funny how things can stay buried for years, forgotten in the deepest corners of the mind, until one little nudge sends an avalanche of memory sliding down and down until he's thinking about it all over again, thinking about that strange week when Klein showed up in Hill Valley and disappeared like he'd never existed.
He tries to put it out of his mind again. He lets George know the car's all done, buffed to perfection. He says no to Lorraine when she offers him a glass of iced tea, trying his hardest to look at her without seeing that slim girl in the pink dress. He waves absently at Marty—Marty in that red life preserver—vest, whatever the hell it is—and wonders whatever happened to Klein. Where he came from, where he went, why nobody ever saw him again
Nobody calls me chicken.
And Biff wonders why he never saw it before.
Nobody ever laid eyes on Klein again after that strange week in 1955.
Nobody except for Lorraine, maybe. Lorraine, who was so wild about Klein. Following him in the school hallways, watching him like he was the first boy she'd ever seen. Biff was blind not to see it before.
He's got to admit, there's always been something different about Marty. Biff could never put his finger on what it is exactly, but the kid's always seemed like the odd one in the family. Always making a racket in the garage with his band, speeding down the sidewalk on his skateboard, hanging around that crazy scientist every spare moment. He's not like the other two kids, Dave and Linda—ordinary kids barely worth Biff's notice, let alone his suspicion.
Marty's not like George either.
He sure as hell doesn't take after George.
Biff bides his time. He keeps watching, his eyes straying toward Marty, straying toward Lorraine, wondering if George knows, if George even suspects. George heads blissfully off to the golf course, spends hours downtown at another book signing, takes Lorraine out in his freshly waxed car and ruffles Marty's hair as he heads out the door. How rapidly his perfect little world would crumble if Biff placed a few words in his ear. How far the smug son of a bitch would fall, flat on his face like he used to in school. Before Klein came along and shook up everything.
Marty's not your son, George.
Maybe Biff will tell him casually one day, next time he comes over to touch up the car. He pictures the two of them standing in the driveway, just him and George, and maybe Marty will come strolling up with a Walkman in his hand or a guitar strapped to his back. The boy will disappear, door slamming behind him as he vanishes into the house, and that's when Biff will spill it.
Hey, George. Doesn't that kid remind you of anyone?
Or maybe he'll drop a hint to Lorraine instead.
Sneak up on her one day and let her know that he knows. She thinks she's got such class, being married to an author. She acts like she and George are something special together, like they're some fairy tale couple, and he'd love to see her eyes get wide if somebody told the truth to her face. He'd love to hear her breath come out in a gasp at the sound of his words.
You had a nice little reunion with your old pal Klein, didn't you? he'd ask her. About eighteen years ago, wasn't it?
He'd get her alone somewhere. Someplace where nobody would hear, where Biff could trap her in the palm of his hand and feel in control for the first time in three decades.
I know your secret, Lorraine.
You're not so faithful after all, Lorraine.
Do me a little favor and I promise I won't tell George, Lorraine…
But the words remain in his head, floating around and around behind his eyes while he loiters around the McFly home, lost in confused memories that desperately need to make sense. He'll get to the bottom of this, somehow. He'll make them all see that Biff may have backed down, but he sure as hell is no dummy.
In the meantime Biff bides his time. And he waits.