I’m obsessed with the show DISAPPEARED on the Discovery ID channel. The show features the story of a person—usually an adult—who, for all practical purposes, simply disappeared off the face of the Earth. The most interesting cases to me are the people who lead, in law enforcement terms, a low-risk lifestyle, meaning they aren’t involved in drugs or prostitution or gangs or otherwise engage in behavior that might put them in the path of danger. They’re just normal, average, next-door-neighbor types whose lives are really pretty ordinary…until they vanish.
The show retraces the last few days of the missing person’s activities, conducts interviews with bewildered family members, friends, and coworkers, and generally tries to corral all the possible theories about what could have happened to the person. It makes my imagination run wild.
I don’t consider myself a paranoid person, but as a murder mystery writer, I think I’d be remiss if I didn’t let someone know ahead of time what might have happened if *I* disappear. So here goes:
If I ever go missing…
–Check the “prison mail” folder in my tall file cabinet, top drawer. Like most authors, I get my share, all of whom are wrongly accused and incarcerated, and are looking for a sympathetic pen pal. I don’t reply to the letters, but maybe a paroled inmate took my lack of response personally.
–Talk to Homeless Joe on my street—he’s harmless, but he knows everything that happens on this block and around my building. Don’t forget to tip him.
–Check the bushes between my condo building and Trader Joe’s—I might have finally consumed enough Joe Joe’s to put myself into a coma.
–Have the police interrogate my exes R, C, R2, T, and S. They’re all too lazy and/or uninspired to have done anything to me, but let them think they’re suspects so they sweat a little.
–Check my sleeper sofa. I’ve been known to wonder if a body can fit into/be hidden in strange places, and I might have inadvertently shut myself up in my couch. Ditto for my liquor cabinet, the storage drawers in my office platform, and my Samsonite upright rolling suitcase.
–Check my vehicle in the parking garage. I drive so infrequently, I might have locked myself in and forgotten how to work the controls.
–Review the “scary reader emails” folder in my tall file cabinet, middle drawer. Readers get invested in characters and some don’t take it kindly when I don’t spend every waking moment writing the next installment.
–Check my closet. If my 534 Levi’s, Berlin ’05 T-shirt, and red knee-high boots are missing (and my cell phone is on the kitchen counter), I’m gone because I want to be, and I’m probably not coming back.
Q: Have you ever dreamed of going off the grid? Starting over? Going underground?