Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Temporaily Lost, But Not Entirely Forgotten

Based (however loosely) on a true story....

A spate of disappearances recently; planes, planets, hope, my car keys...  The latest version of things eerily vanishing involves four young women who on a whim hiked into the Yosemite wilderness in the middle of the night and haven't been seen since.

Yeah, it was either four women or eight, reports vary, self-proclaimed eyewitnesses keep changing their stories. One theory is that the four women were actually four pairs of identical twins, that it was some sort of twin thing, like a pact or something, although local law enforcement officials are actively playing down the whole twin angle.

At his daily media briefing, Sheriff Mort Stetson was fairly adamant:  "At this point in the investigation there is no credible evidence to support the twins hypothesis. Until otherwise indicated, our official position is that this is nothing more than a malicious rumor generated on social media, its sole intention to fuel conspiracy fringe hysteria. Now I'll take a few questions."

"Excuse me, Sheriff, but is there any possibility the four sets of twins are actually two sets of quadruplets?"

"Did you not hear what I just said?"

"Any credence to the report that search teams have been operating in the wrong area of the park?"

"Based on credible intelligence, we were initially concentrating out efforts in the eastern section of the park, although it now appears that the hikers may have mysteriously changed course, retracing their tracks and then inexplicably turning north. We are admittedly baffled by this, but suspect that, if true, some sort of illicit drug use may very well be involved.

"Has terrorism been ruled out, Sheriff?"

"At this point nothing has been ruled out entirely, although if one or more of these girls is a terrorist, we're more or less stumped as to what their objective might be. I mean, what are they going to do, blow up a tree?"

"Could you comment on Chinese involvement in the search effort?"

"As one of the missing women may be of Chinese ancestry,  however remotely, and as two of the women currently live in San Francisco's Chinatown, the Chinese government felt justified in inserting itself into the investigation. Chinese satellite imagery, however, depicting what appears to be a large circus tent on fire and several confused elephants roaming aimlessly about the nearby forest, has been for the most part discounted. I have been assured that there are no circuses currently operating in Yosemite, nor is any sub-species of elephant indigenous to northern California."

"Isn't it possible, Sheriff, that a herd of elephants escaped undetected from a local zoo?"

About as likely as you scoring over 75 on a standardized I.Q. test. "I'm certainly no expert on elephants, but I think we can all agree that subtly and subterfuge are not exactly two of their strong suits."

"Is it conceivable these apparent elephants are actually other animals cleverly disguised as elephants, or possibly dinosaurs?"

"Okay, I won't answer that, for reasons which should be painfully obvious, but I will take one more question."

"How seriously are you entertaining the suggestion that these women are suffering from some form of collective fugue state?"

"We have consulted with several psychologists on the fugue phenomenon, who inform us that in certain high stress situations, often involving spatial/temporal disorientation, it can be infectious. We therefore have to consider it, although frankly we are hoping this is not the case. If these girls have gone fugue, they could be all the way into Oregon by now. On a more positive note, I can tell you that one of the women was apparently fitted with a microchip locator implant sometime prior to this reckless hiking fiasco. Once activated, this locator gives off a steady ping, inaudible to the human ear, but easily detected by the various highly sophisticated technology we are currently employing.  The downside on this is that while the ping is inaudible to humans, it is highly audible to wolves, bears and other natural predators."

"How about elephants?"

"I believe my position on answering any further elephant-related questions has been clearly established."

"So what your saying is that these women might be killed and at least partially eaten by the time they're found."

"Regrettably, yes, but let's not lose sight of the most important issue here. We will find them. Dead or alive, their loved ones deserve closure."

"Oh, what a load of crap!"

"Okay, who said that? The elephant guy?"