Filing a Missing Person Report When You Don’t Really Want to Find the Person Who’s Missing

Report Type: Whatever happened to my buddy?

Name: John

Alias: Johhhhnnnnyyy

Relationship: Best Friend, once

Alcohol, Drug Conditions: Oh yeah

Medical conditions: Carried an inhaler for asthma, but that never stopped him from drinking hard, climbing mountains, or running a chainsaw on a crew in the Gallatin National Forest after he settled in Montana after visiting me there after I moved to get as far from our hometown as I could.

Scars: A 5-inch jagged scar at his hairline from when I totaled my dad’s car when we were seventeen and he was in the passenger seat yelling “go faster” (or he might’ve said “slow down.”)

DOB/AGE: Same as me, approximately.

Last Known Location: Eating breakfast at The Oxford Saloon & Café in Missoula, but it’s been a good twenty years now and I heard once that he moved back to Boston.

Narrative: I last saw him when I was leaving Missoula. We’d spent the night closing down the Press Box drinking pitchers of Lowenbrau Dark screaming at the TV as the Celtics played the Pistons two-thousand miles away. After they kicked us out (with a hearty, “See you guys tomorrow!”) we slipped, slid, and stumbled to his apartment. The bitter cold blowing through Rattlesnake Canyon roused us and he called a friend—who wasn’t really a friend but a friend with a wink and a nod—to bring his wares so we could stay awake like the zombies we were and greet the dawn with brains and eggs before I sped away to find my own peace somewhere that wasn’t a bar and a series of headaches and hangovers and hope maybe he could do the same.

I don’t really want to find him. I just want to know if he made it.


How to Make Leftover Cupcake Stew for Your Redneck In-Laws on Your 10th Wedding Anniversary

1. Gather the cupcakes you saved over the last ten years.

  • Four vanilla creams from your wedding, the first time Bill’s brother Todd tried mashing his tongue down your throat, until you kneed him in the balls.
  • Five red velvets from the Thanksgiving at which Bill’s sister Janice collapsed in a meth-induced seizure, knocking the sausage- and chestnut-stuffed turkey into the kitty litter box.
  • Six rainbow cupcakes from your brother’s memorial, the ones that everyone refused to eat after Bill’s brother, the Mayor, called them “faggot flags.”
  • Nine of last year’s eggnog-latte specials, which Bill’s father said tasted like “skunk piss that’s set out too long” just before he knocked your mother-in-law’s tooth into the Christmas punch.

2. Crumble cupcakes in bowl.

3. Use stiff brush to mix, lightly, with three cans of Bud (not Light).

4. Distribute mixture into ramekins.

5. Heat in microwave.

6. Serve with divorce papers.

7. Slip away to Vegas with Alice, the baker who’s been your frosting all these years.

TOM WALSH writes from northern California. His flash fiction stories are in or forthcoming in Hobart, Lost Balloon, JMWW, Janus Literary, Dead Skunk, The Cabinet of Heed, The Birdseed, and elsewhere. He is an assistant editor at Flash Fiction Online.