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April 14, 2009 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Crashing the (Search) Party

Think about those news stories that start out with a sobbing lady holding a dog, wiping her nose on her sleeve …she’s whimpering, “We should have checked on Grandma, we hadn’t heard from her in two days…”?  The screen cuts to a nighttime scene…a little white house with police lights flashing red and blue as the paramedics wheel Grandma down the cracked porch steps.  A somber news reporter raises an eyebrow and leans into the camera: “Remember, if someone you know disappears, and displays unusual behavior, check on them before it’s too late.”

This morning something like that happened.  Except instead of being Grandma, it was a coworker who went missing.  I think the legal term for “missing” is 48 hours or something like that, at least for adults.  But for otherwise responsible, communicative people you see on a daily basis, “missing” seems to occur a lot faster than that.

This morning at the 8:00 meeting, a “key player” wasn’t there.  Let’s call him “Bert.”  Bert is one of my office mates.  No one mentioned Bert’s absence at the early meeting, as the team is very flexible and it wouldn’t be the first time someone on the team missed a meeting due to various hangovers reasons.  But then ten o’clock rolled around, and Bert was supposed to be running a meeting with my boss “Sally.”  Sally had been peeking her head into my office at frequent intervals throughout the morning to see if Bert had arrived. 

At 10:1o, Sally came by again.  “Where is Bert, I wonder?” she wondered.  Then she told me about the ten o’clock meeting that Bert was supposed to be in charge of. 

“Hmm,” I hmmed.  “That is really unlike Bert.”

“I know,” Sally agreed.  “I’m starting to get worried.  He won’t answer his phone.”

“You called him?”

“Twice,” Sally said.  “I left messages.  He’s not calling me back.”

“That’s really unlike him,” I said. “Maybe we should go check on him.” 

“That’s what I was thinking,” Sally said.  “Do you think we should?”

“I would want someone to check on me, if I didn’t show up and didn’t call,” I said.

Since Bert sits in the same office with me, I had background information that Bert had been using his inhaler quite often.  I have an inhaler of my own but I hardly ever have to use it.  Bert was popping that thing out every hour lately.  What if Bert was lying at home on the kitchen floor, gasping for air?  Bert is way too young to have a LifeAlert bracelet.

Sally called up Bert’s friend “Doug” to investigate further.  If anyone would have heard from Bert, it would have been Doug, she said. 

Doug had no idea where Bert was.  Sally explained the circumstances.  Now Doug was worried about Bert.  “That’s so unlike him,” Doug said. 

The search party commenced.  Doug and I got into Sally’s Searchmobile and we headed out into the spring blizzard to look for Bert.  I tried not to think about meth heads and murderers and broken femurs and other common causes of missing people…common in my head, anyway.

I was just meeting Doug for the first time, so I mentioned the inhaler thing.  “I hope is okay,” I said.

“He’s been around cats this weekend,” Doug said.  “He’s deathly allergic to cats.  Maybe that’s why he’s been using his inhaler a lot.”

“Who has cats?” Sally asked.

“Bert’s parents have cats,” Doug said.  “They got them after Bert moved out.”

Now we were all imagining Bert laying on the kitchen floor, reaching into the dark for his inhaler, but not being able to see it for all the cat hair in his eyes. 

Doug led us to Bert’s house. 

“There’s his car,” I said.  It was still covered in snow.  Sally pulled into the driveway. 

“Who’s going in?” I asked.  “I don’t want to go in there if the murderer is still there.”

“It’s a search party,” Sally pointed out.  “We all have to go in.”

We walked up the cement porch (the same one Grandma had been wheeled down in the scenario above, strangely enough!).  Doug used the doorknocker and tapped a few times. 

No answer. 

He knocked again. 

No answer. 

Bert’s dog ran up to the window and was wagging her tail.  “There’s the dog,” Sally said.  “Where’s Bert, doggie?”

We waited.  No answer.  We wiggled the doorknob, but it was locked. 

Doug surveyed the premises.  “There aren’t any dog tracks in the yard,” Doug pointed out after a quick analysis.  “He would never not let his dog out in the morning.  I’m going around back to see if I can get in.”

“I’m really worried now,”  Sally said.

I glanced at the window to my left.  “I wonder if this window is…”  I reached up to check the sturdiness of the window, and the entire window frame fell out onto my head.  I eased it down to the porch.  “Oops.”

Now the sliding glass window was exposed.  I put my hands on the glass and pushed up.  It moved.  “The window’s unlocked,” I said.  “I’m going in.”  I slid the window open and now the only obstacle between the search party and Bert’s cold, unmoving corpse was some thin white blinds.  I just had to pry them open and peer in…it was probably a way to get in the living room…


***Reenactment!  (Not Bert)

I expected to see a living room with magazines and books and a TV in the corner.  Nope.  It was the bedroom.  And who was in bed, but a very surprised looking Bert was  up in bed looking as I was prying open the blinds.  It was Bert.  And Bert was holding up the covers a lot like the demo grandma shown above, and wore a similar expression on his face. 

“Oh, hi,” I said. 

Note to self:  Work on phrases other than “oh hi” to utter when you are crawling through a coworker’s window…

“What are you doing?” he asked.  Good effing question.  Sally was shouting around the side of the house at Doug, calling off the search party, hopefully before he broke down the back door. 

“You missed a meeting,” I said.  “Oh, and you might want to put a shirt on.”

Doug, Sally and I had a good laugh on the front porch about the whole matter until finally Bert opened the front door.  He was surprised to see the three of us there.  “I guess I slept through my alarm clock,” Bert said. 

We laughed and laughed and laughed. 

“Why didn’t you just call?” Bert said. 

“I called twice,” Sally said.

“No way,” Bert said.  “I didn’t even hear the phone.”

Way,” the three of us echoed.

“I, uh,  guess I’m going to go take a shower and come to work,” Bert said.

“Sorry about your window,” I said.  We all looked to the left where the window was laying on the porch sideways. 


Later, Bert arrived at the office.  Our other officemate “Ace” asked Bert how his morning was going. 

“I woke up to Maleesha peeking in my blinds,” Bert said, with some extreme eye rollage thrown in.  “How do you think it’s going?”


Anyway, I am happy to report that Bert is alive and well, not gagging on cat hair or bleeding from the abdomen from a stabbing.  I think though, that for Christmas our team is going to pool our money and get Bert a LifeAlert bracelet…just in case.



Leave a Comment
  1. Jobyna / May 29 2009 9:34 am

    I am so glad I decided to be unproductive and catch up on your blog. I have TEARS from laughing so hard. Damn girl!

    I would say quit your job and just write, but then you wouldn’t have this Bert story.

    Well thank you. I am glad you thought it was funny! Between work, stores, and random accidents I may never run out of material!

  2. teeni / Apr 23 2009 8:32 am

    Holy crap. I’m so glad he was okay. We actually had something similar happen but the end result was not nearly so nice as the coworker was found no longer alive. Yikes. So I hope Bert is thankful that you all care enough to check.

  3. smalltownsmalltimes / Apr 17 2009 1:05 pm

    This is a classic. OMG – Totally Lucille Ball.

  4. bluesuit12 / Apr 16 2009 7:34 pm

    I was totally not expecting that and I can’t stop laughing. I bet Bert goes out and buys a couple more alarm clocks to use just in case.

  5. Carli / Apr 16 2009 2:53 pm

    I don’t even know what to write. I’m for once speechless! You do lead a life of oddities.

  6. cherikooka / Apr 16 2009 7:30 am

    That was freaking HIlarious!

  7. Taoist Biker / Apr 16 2009 5:49 am

    A “Three’s Company” moment is perfect!

    I have to say, at least you have a great water-cooler/bar story for the rest of your life…

    “This one time, one of my coworkers slept through his alarm…”

  8. megan / Apr 15 2009 9:59 pm

    Wow…I’m not quite sure what to make of that. I was honestly worried for a while that this was a depressingly serious post pleading for information leading to the whereabouts of your coworker.

    I have to agree with Romi – totally a Three’s Company moment.

  9. Christine / Apr 15 2009 7:26 pm

    “***Reenactment! (Not Bert)”

    ROFLMAO! 😆

  10. Romi / Apr 15 2009 12:42 pm

    hahahahaha….I totally understand the escalating concern with each new worrying piece of information, but that is effin hilarious!!! It sounded to me like it could be an episode of Three’s Company 😉

    PS: ““Hmm,” I hmmed.”….so subtle, but so hilarious….I love that about you 🙂

  11. morethananelectrician / Apr 15 2009 9:37 am

    That is too funny. I tell people to call 9-9-1-1 if I don’t show up…but I am kind of kidding. I would also shoot someone coming through my window…maybe I could draw people into my house by NOT showing up for work…brilliant!!!!!!

  12. nat @ book, line, and sinker / Apr 15 2009 9:01 am

    ps. i think you should do an interview with bert to get his side of the story…lol.

  13. nat @ book, line, and sinker / Apr 15 2009 9:01 am

    tell me this isn’t true!!! you guys are such good co-workers! i love this story–it’s hilarious. glad ‘bert’ was okay–thanks for the laugh!

  14. crisitunity / Apr 15 2009 5:15 am

    Poor Bert. This is what happens when you’re really responsible and you miss a day.

    For the record, I think you did exactly the right thing. Bert at least has to know that y’all care about him, which is always a good thing to know.

  15. fawnahareo / Apr 14 2009 8:32 pm

    This isn’t your real life is it? That was totally some TV show episode. ROFLMAO!

  16. Ian / Apr 14 2009 8:08 pm


    You HAVE to incorporate this into a story you write now! This is too classically hilarious not to.

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