Currently: Jewelry apprentice to The Mayor.
Ernest’s life has been one wrong turn and one slip-up after another. His career as a pharmaceutical rep, principally for ICareEyeCare, brings him to the waiting room of Value Vision in the spring of 2016 where he arrives with ripped and soaking wet clothes. Ha carries his own projector and proceeds with an incoherent pitch to The Receptionist. Embarrassed at his sloppy presentation he tells a drawn out tale of marital infidelity and moving a couch. On day 10 Ernest arrives at Value Vision to retrieve his glasses and apologize for his previous visit. His clothes are notably clean and dry. When leaving he forgets his glasses. When Ernest returns for his glasses a few minutes later Julian Vendrell is there discussing his upcoming artist residency at Value Vision. Ernest and Julian are rivals since school and their dealings thereafter. Ernest rushes out and returns soaking wet and with his projector and launches into his presentation. Ernest and Julian go back and forth, interrupting in their attempts at persuading The New Receptionist; of what no one knows. When the New Receptionist stops the whole affair to praise Julian and criticise Ernest, Ernest but loses his cool, finds a gun in the Newborn Baby and shoots Julian point-blank several times.
While on the run Ernest starts using the name James. He gets a job at the casino where they “don’t ask so many questions.” While he is no longer violent, his gambling addiction flares up and he is fired when he is caught with chips in his lunch pale. For a while he roams. He is often missing for months and will be seen randomly by someone in Laredo but his activities are unknown. After being seen a number of times behind the jewelry store on the square, The Mayor invites Ernest inside for a meal. Slowly, a friendship develops between the two. Ernest starts sleeping in the back of the store and starts a jewelry apprenticeship under The Mayor. During Ernest’s residency at the jewelry store, The Mayor helps him with his gambling addiction and they eventually take a short trip to The Island. While there Ernest spends much of his time watching the television programs he finds on the local network ITV-8. Back in Laredo, and after much conversation about the lack of interesting tv in Laredo, and pleading to go back to The Island so he can watch “the 8,” The Mayor builds a micro/broadcasting unit employing Direct Time that allows Ernest to watch ITV-8 anytime except Sunday.
Years later Stormy Sales sees Ernest while visiting the jewelry store on the square. Ernest is, as usual, in a “ripped shirt and soaking wet.” Stormy isn’t sure what it is, but there is something about Ernest, then going by the name James. Stormy doesn't keep his suspicions quiet and word eventually gets around. While Ernest rarely leaves the store, and when he does it is only undercover, The Mayor hears the rumors and knows it’s only a short amount of time before someone comes calling for Ernest Turrel. The Mayor builds Ernest a hat that works similarly to his own forced memory lapses by shifting time as it relates to the wearer. The hat is quickly put to test when Hope Brady enters the store asking about Ernest. The Mayor introduces Hope to James. She seems momentarily suspicious but then asks her perfunctory questions and leaves. From that day on Ernest, as James, is in hiding no more.
When James falls into the river while chasing a hit and run driver, later revealed to be Hope Brady, he loses his hat and is cared for by Julian who recognizes him instantly. During their weeks at Julian’s cabin, they are reacquainted and mend their relationship.