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July 2004
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December 2004

a dozen replays

on my voicemail last Friday, 8:51pm:

"Hey guys this is Shawn... If you're around I could really use a favor... We're in the park looking for Charles- he's been missing for over 2 hours. So if y'all could come up here with some flashlights.... and help us look for him... I'd really love it."

It took a dozen replays to be able to dictate that message. Shawn was keening... sobbing in each of those ellipses.

With the first listen, tears of pity pricked at my sinuses. I swore the last line was "I really love him." Now, just thinking of Shawn's voice- so wry in debate, master of the courtroom- pleading on my voicemail makes me weak with laughter. I realize that this makes me a real meanie.

His despair seemed reasonable at midnight as we trudged through the graveyard calling for the lost dog. I even remember pausing to pray, partly to God, partly to the gravestones all around me, that the shy little wiener be spared. In the light of Saturday, in light of the dog's prodigal return, the message was high comedy. For by the time this message reached our ears, Charles Barkley, Shawn's miniature dachsund was safe at home after a wild night in Oakland Cemetary. Even the LOST DOG flyers that Jenny whipped up (typeface: din), were, by Saturday, a piece of folk art. Quite possibly the most loving, frantic, honest piece of graphic design she's ever been called upon to produce.