John Sunderland

New York, United States

Yorkshireman. Designer, writer, poet, artist, riddler, curator, urban walker, bathroom-cleaner, table-setter and napkin-folder. New York...


Journal Entry 17
29 December 2009

From Universal Association of Plankers Headquarters, New York.

As we emerge from the holidays, here at UAP we have been deluged with
emails following the festivities, such as this one from Dan Sullivan (61) who writes in from Bakersville, New Hampshire.

Dear Plankers,
I have to share the sad news with you that over the holidays I lost my wife.
It happened the day after Christmas. Annie had been a little stressed out, with
the family coming over and all, so we decided to take a break from the kids and the food and the mess at home and slipped away, for a little relaxing shop-therapy at the MEGA-Mart at Ravensfield; Annies’ favorite cut-price discount store.

That’s where it happened.
I wanted to pick up some de-icer for the truck and we set off to the other end of the store together, but when I got to the Automotive Goods aisle, she was gone. No cart, no wife, just an empty space in front of the lubricants, where I’d swear she’d been standing just a second before.

I spent an hour or more going round the aisles, looking for her, up and down, round and round. One time I thought I saw her in the distance, in front of the flat screen TVs display, she so wanted one for Christmas, but it was just an illusion; she weren’t there.
I was getting desperate. I checked the cosmetics aisle, the decorative wares aisle, the soft furnishings aisles, the hunting and fishing aisle, not a sign of her to be seen.
It was as though she had been spirited away, lost somewhere inside a vast labyrinth of discount retail goods.
I went over to the managers’ office; by now I was getting close to exhaustion myself.

He was a nice enough feller and pretty soon we’d organized a posse of staff, and a few shoppers and other guys who it turned out had lost their spouses and girlfriends too in the past. There was even a lady who’d lost her husband of 31 years; she said he’d disappeared in the sporting goods section where he’d been after new camouflage gear.

Well, first Bob, the duty-manager, put out a message over the store loud-speakers, calling my wifes’ name and asking her to make her way to the Customer Service desk, adding that her husband was missing her and desperate to get home before the game started.

So first the posse and me went over there to the desk, whilst others fanned out. A couple of the staff were upstairs monitoring security TV after I’d shown them a picture, and others concealed themselves with a net and a can of ‘On Guard’ stun spray, just in case she needed quieting down.

We waited there, and waited some more. Bob put out the message again now mixed with some soothing music and a hastily put together promotion ‘Locate-a-kid Radio Beacon Wrist Bangles,’ but no reports came in from CCTV surveillance, and she didn’t show at the desk.

I said we should call for the police and the National Guard, but Bob the Manager said he’d rather not have the disruption of police turning up and swat teams and all which, he said, around such weary folk might cause a panic and effect sales detrimentally.

So it’s now been over 48 hours and still no sign of Annie. I went home, and broke the news to the family that we’d lost ma at the MEGA-Mart. Betty Lou said if she had really passed over, then she’d be happy there as it’s where she spent some of her happiest times and most of our money. Our son Roy added that she’d definitely be there in spirit for the sales.

And Cerise, her sister, was kind enough to take my wifes’ presents back, saying she won’t be needing them as she’s got everything that she needs now. But she could have them back if she turned up again.

There’s still no sign of Annie. Looks like the New Year might turn out a little lonely; the kids and family have all gone and the old house just aint the same without her.

So this is my plea to all you Plankers out there. If anyone comes across a little lady, in a beige sweat shirt with a sparkly deer on it and green sweat pants, answering to the name of Annie Sullivan, who may look a little lost and without a trolley in other MEGA-Marts around the country, could you let Bob the manager at the Ravensfield branch know. He promised to pass on the message.
Otherwise folks I am sure Annie would have wanted me to pass on her and my regards and good wishes for you all to have a happy new year.

  • So if any of you do spot anyone answering to Annie Sullivan’s description please let us know too at UAP).

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