Life changes in an instant. One moment you're dressing your Yeti (still wishing this was a euphemism) in birthday finery to celebrate your daughter’s 7th birthday party, and then next moment, you're realizing how you took all the good times you had for granted and would give anything for just one more day. (Or at least the opportunity to dress the Yeti for Oktoberfest.)
The morning after my daughter's birthday party, we went out to clean up the yard and realized the Yeti was not where we left it the night before. Figuring our co-owners had put Yeti back in place (and probably in an Eagles jersey, as it was a game day), we looked — not there. This is when panic began to creep in. At first, we thought he maybe ran away, possibly because we never got around to naming him. Then, we worried he was taken. Yeti is now somewhat of a celebrity, and with that fame comes a fair share a wackadoos. (Trust me. I know. Just last week, someone clicked "recommend" on my column. I may have to get a restraining order.)
My mom and her husband scoured the area. We made phone calls. We tasked the neighborhood kids with a search. I even found myself accusing some of my closest friends who had opportunity. Then the co-owner and I almost turned on each other, blaming the other for the loss.
Grief makes you do crazy things.
We were thinking (hoping) maybe some high school kids were playing a prank, but then our worst fears were realized Sunday night when I received the following e-mail from KillTheYeti2012@gmail.com:
Subject Line: Proof of Life
To Yeti Owners: See attached proof of life. Demands to
follow. (The e-mail featured a photo of Yeti with a sack over his head and holding up that day’s Washington Post.)
After a sleepless night, we received the second missive the following day:
Subject Line: Demand #1
Dear Yeti Owners: Here is the first demand to be completed
by 5 pm EST Tuesday:
Killtheyeti envies the Dilettantes and wants to know more about them. Answer the following three questions on Facebook. Answers only. No reference to Killtheyeti. This must remain as your Facebook status for at least three hours. You may not tell anyone about this demand.
1. What trait do you most admire in each of your fellow Dilettantes?
2. If the Dilettantes were animals, what kind of animal would each of you be?
3. What color underpants are you wearing?
And no cops or the Yeti gets it...
At a loss, I panicked and encoded the status update I posted on Facebook in a desperate attempt for help:
you know, it Has bEen a whiLe since the dilettantes were mentioned. People,THEre are manY things to admirE abouT them - traIts like intelligence (amy) and humor (amanda)…in fact, if they were animals, they would be a dolphin and a hyena, respectively. i’d be a wombat. oh, and hot pink.
I know, I know — I should not be a hero, but I will not be intimidated. I cannot remain silent while Yeti faces who-knows-what-kinds of unspeakable torture considering the torture I'm being put through. Just this morning, I received Demand #2, which requires me to draft and post on Facebook a haiku using the words "moist," "oblong," and "pamphlet."