Frozen in Line 2: Family Matters

Mrs. Brennan wept after Anthony mentioned her son. The missing person’s report was only a few months old, but Anthony felt the loss of hope as he waited through her tears. This was the hard part of his job. People thought that making lists of things, completing them, was fun, but when it came to death and loss, no one really wants to revisit those. At least no one directly connected to those lost. But as the tears died down Anthony tried a different approach.

            “Mrs. Brennan, I’m contacting you because I received an anonymous tip about your son.”

            The sniffles died on the other end of the line.

            “Howard, come to the phone now.”

            Heavy footsteps thudded in the background. The noise disappeared for a few seconds before a brush against the phone’s microphone told Anthony how old school the Brennan’s ventured. 

            “Mr. Watkins, can I put you on speakerphone?” Mrs. Brennan asked.

            Wow, no one ever asks for permission anymore. Anthony agreed and the bass voice quivered from an old man’s throat.

            “You have news about my son?”

            Anthony explained the anonymous message with as little detail as possible, all too aware of how strange a normal person might receive the information. Each pause for breath led to more questions from the Brennan’s but Anthony got them to believe he could find more information on Donnie.

            “So, what are you?” Mr. Brennan asked. “Some sort of P.I.?”

            “No, I just have a thing for finding out if a list is complete or not,” Anthony said.

            This was a part truth as Anthony’s OCD seemed to focus on lists. If he found a list with an error or lacking information he couldn’t get it out of his head until it was done. Anthony frustrated his parents as a child, always asking why certain lists weren’t complete, or incorrect. With much thanks to the patience from both of his parents, Anthony found a way to turn his OCD into a useful tool. People love lists, especially complete ones. Whenever Anthony reached out to families about a member there was always one of two reactions. First, they were angry and hung up before Anthony could explain further, or two, the wouldn’t stop talking. The Brennan’s worked in the latter category. After about ten minutes of rambling over memories, Mrs. Brennan reached some quality information.

            “…and then Donnie got diagnosed with cancer and the next day he and a friend scheduled to climb Mt. Everest.”

            “So, you knew he was going to Mt. Everest?” Anthony asked.

            “Why yes, like I said, he received his diagnosis a year ago, and that’s not a hike you go on off a whim.”

            Anthony pulled the phone away from his ear and raised the middle finger of his free hand. No shit lady, okay, calm down. She said something about a friend, right? A vibration from his smart watch pulled his attention away from the conversation. Then the ticking sound appeared. Another email from that mysterious sender? The message appeared on his watch. 

            Have you found our lost friend yet?

            Anthony ignored the message, annoyed, and continued to get as much information as possible. Through some serious digging and torturous patience, Anthony learned that Donnie’s friend went to Donavon University. But the parents didn’t have a name to work with. Anthony felt like he had enough and ended the call with a promise to update them with anything new he finds. A meow for attention came from behind. Atlas crouched at the edge of Anthony’s bed and waggled it’s but ready to jump. 

            “Come on,” Anthony said. “Might as well get our AA meeting started now.”

            Atlas leapt and landed on Anthony’s lap, missing his balls by centimeters. 

            “Can you believe how often people repeat themselves?” Anthony said. “I swear that woman found five ways to tell me how Donnie disappeared for his hike.”

            Atlas purred and rolled his head against Anthony’s chest, signaling the end to their meeting. 

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2 thoughts on “Frozen in Line 2: Family Matters

  1. Pingback: Frozen in Line 1: New Message – Myers Fiction

  2. Pingback: Frozen in Line 3: Old Acquaintances – Myers Fiction

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