[Cat meows]

WARREN: Hey there Princess. Well, good morning to you too. Hang on a second. Now, when she’s done, she’ll go sit at that window there and stare out ‘til she decides she’s done and move on. By then I’ll be headin’ to the station. You see, I make a habit of sneaking out while she’s eating, so we’re not obligated to say goodbye and can she just move on to whatever else she’s got planned for the rest of the day. The life of a cat remains a mystery always. And I’m not gonna get one of those pet cams. I thought about it, but. Anyway. She hops up on the back of the tweed couch. We tried a cat tree for a while but neither of us trusted it under her weight. Princess. She came with that name. Was gonna change it but after a couple of weeks, it stuck. 17 pounds of cat and I don’t know how much of that is fur.

[Warren walking out of his house and car starts in the background]

WARREN VO: You know, I never did see the ocean, at least not ‘til I was fourteen years old or so. And I used to do that same thing Princess does, sit there and stare out the window. Summertime, though, back home, oh lord it was hot. I’d run out and down the hill ‘cross the main road and deep into the Finnigan's canola fields. And when they were bolting up, before they’d gone to seed: Yellow. Just a sea of blinding yellow flowers, little ones, millions of them, as far as this child’s eyes could see. Gold bouncing back and forth and up into the sky. Rush of the wind through the stalks. It was endless. It did something good for me. Staring out into that golden ocean. I figure that’s what Princess gets to lookin’ at when she’s staring out the window. Cracked somethin’ open in me though. Loneliness? Hopelessness. You see, no one tells you about all that. It only hits you when you’re out there alone, day after day. Looking around you and knowing. Well, that’s why I came to Portland though, to escape that feeling. See back there, there was no escape. It was just hot.

[Car turns off, parking sounds]

WARREN VO: That’s why I came to Portland.. You see, you can’t think of all that lonely stuff when you’re knocking on a missing kid’s door.

[Title music]

NARRATOR: You’re listening to Husk.


WARREN VO: I confirm the brass numbers to the house. She knows I’m dropping by. There are a few steps up to the 70’s brick bungalow and a doormat that reads “welcome.” Probably came with the house. I knock. Oh, there’s a doorbell. I wait. There’s a couple of empty pots on the porch, dead for the season, of course. I pick up the paper off the porch. Footsteps. She opens the door and I can see she’s disappointed. Gray overcast reflected in her eyes.

WARREN: Hello, Mrs. Ivanovic?

OLGA: Ah, yes. Close enough. Yes, yes, it’s me.

WARREN VO: Olga looks haggard, and I mean that with much respect. I would too in her case. She’s 45 but the last couple nights, she hasn’t slept. Her hair is decidedly lopsided like it’s going somewhere and she hasn’t quite caught up with it. She’s a head shorter than me and intimidating in build. I’d want her on my side of a fight.

WARREN: I’m Officer Warren. And I’m here to…

OLGA: Yes, yes, come in Officer, please.

WARREN: Thank you. Oh, and here’s your paper.

[Door shuts]

OLGA: I am sorry for my pajamas. It is my weekend.

WARREN VO: When comforting a stressed individual it is important to validate their experience by showing them you are listening. I lean in.

WARREN: Now Mrs. Ivanovic, we are still the first two days since you last saw Dmitri

OLGA: Yes, yes. I’ve watched enough Law & Order to know that the first 48 hours is critical time, yeah?

WARREN: Yes, yes, you are right. And actually in a lot of these cases, almost half, it settles itself.  The subject usually returns on their own. I just wanted to go over a few of your answers on the missing persons checklist you filled out yesterday.

OLGA: Oh. No… no… it’s not like that…

WARREN: Ma’am, may we sit down?

OLGA: Oh, yes, yes.

WARREN VO: I sit down on one of the metal chairs in the dining area of the kitchen. The dining table looks old, the formica has lost some of its pattern in some places. The refrigerator across from me is covered in photos. Out of the window is her old boxy Subaru, before cars got so bubbly and rounded. Olga puts on the kettle and gets two mismatched cups from the drainboard.

OLGA: This one was my mother’s.

WARREN VO: It’s a hoaky mug with a hippo on it in script that reads, “By the time I’m thin, fat will be in.”

WARREN: I just wanted to double check on how he’s been acting the last few days. Maybe other people he’d been seeing or talking to, besides Rebecca Dale. Maybe people from college or old friends that he was reconnecting with?

OLGA: No, not that I’ve seen. I wasn’t following him though. I don’t know. I don’t know.

WARREN: That’s OK. It’s OK. There wasn’t much on his Facebook profile either. Is there anything you can tell me about his last term at school, or friends or hobbies?

OLGA: Oh fine. Mostly happy, if that’s what you’re asking. He seemed sad sometimes. No, no, no…  listless. I don’t know. Maybe excited?  Both?  I don’t know. He’s back from school. I’m just happy to have him here. Out late, but that’s not crazy. Right? Scattered maybe. But that was me too when I was his age.

WARREN: Is it possible to see his room?


WARREN: Just to see, anything helps. First 48 hours, Mrs. Ivanovic.

OLGA: Yes, yes of course. It’s okay.

WARREN: She’s forgotten the tea. That’s OK. We stand up and walk back toward the front door and up the stairs, past family photos in various frames. Old timey pictures, before smiling was in fashion, scowl out at us as we creak up the stairs. Not what I expected. Well, the band poster fits the bill but the typewriter and the Edison lamp, and the second typewriter.

OLGA: That one is cursive.

WARREN: No kidding? I didn’t know they made those.

OLGA: Me neither, but he does. He likes all that. Quite the writer. My little Pushkin.

WARREN VO: A bed under the window, made neatly. Even fluffed the pillows. Nightstand, alarm clock. Bookshelf. Oliver Sacks. And shoved up on top of a boxed edition of Hallucinations is Advice on Dying by HH Dalai Lama. The library receipt sticks out halfway through the pages. I take note but don’t say anything. Not an uplifting sign in a missing persons case.

WARREN: Mrs. Ivano--Olga, was Dimitri going through anything lately?

OLGA: He’s a boy, going through anything?

WARREN: Like was going through any emotional event or working with any health issue that you know of? What is it? What are you glancing at?

OLGA: I… He’s a good boy. He’s not the only one. It’s college. He’s… It’s there. In the desk drawer.

WARREN: He smokes, that’s all? You scared me. Smoking’s okay. I It’s legal here. He’s not in trouble for the pot.

OLGA: [sighs]

WARREN: He does have a computer though, eh? Or a phone?

OLGA: Yes, he does. I just…

WARREN: It could help us find him.

OLGA:  Yes, he took his phone but the charger is there.

WARREN: I look next to the nightstand at what must be some cheapy phone charger. And there’s no find my flip phone feature.

[Tea whistle sound]

OLGA: The tea! Oh, the tea. I forgot your tea.

WARREN: No problem. I’ve got to get going anyway, get this stuff back to the station to see if we can find anything. Please, you’ll let us know if you think of anything else, right?

OLGA: Of course.

WARREN: Thank you.

[Musical interlude]

WARREN VO: Thursday night. We go out after our shift. Conner’s is just divey enough to have a cheap beer but spendy enough to keep the bathroom graffiti at bay. The rest of the crew is at the big table in the corner. Gina’s got one ear in the conversation and one on the football flying across the big screen.

MORRISON: So, how’d it go with the old lady today?

WARREN: Of all crud I dealt with today, this is what you wanna know?

MORRISON: Well she’s single, yeah? Not that an old widow’ll ever live up to that Princess of yours. You could adopt the missing kid. Be a real Brady Bunch.

GINA: Oh give him a break, Morrison. Ain’t like you’ve ever birthed and raised a child.

WARREN: Mrs.Ivanovic is doing pretty well considering. Thanks for your concern.

MORRISON: [Well Gina here pulled some guy off of a lady down in Chinatown last night. See Warren, chivalry isn’t dead after all.

GINA: Suck it, Morrison.

MORRISON: Cheers to that! And cheers to me when my department cracks this Ivanovic case. My money’s on the girl. She knows something.

WARREN: No, I’m not betting on--

GINA: I’ll take you up on that, and so will he.

WARREN: No, Gina--

GINA: I’ll cover it.

WARREN VO: She’s good like that. Knows how to put Morrison in his place. Well, we’ll see.

WARREN: Alright, I’m going home.

GINA: Okay, drive safe.

MORRISON: See you tomorrow.

WARREN VO: Ahh, back to my one bedroom home. One of those old L shape brickers with the courtyard on the corner, you know? I make myself some popcorn and plop down on the couch. Princess slides down the couch butt first and sits like a person. It cracks me up every time. She looks up.It’s just popcorn, Princess. You don’t even like it. [Meow] Oh, you’re just in it for the butter.

WARREN VO: She looks at the metal bowl and back at me.

[Musical interlude]

DMITRI: Hey, it’s Dmitri. I’m missing under slightly mysterious circumstances but I still had time to think of this really cool venn diagram. Like the first circle, you see, it says: your friend who’s on the bus and has put their headphones in so they don’t have to talk to anybody and the second circle says: supernatural stories. Word of mouth is one of the best ways we can reach new listeners. So, if you like the show, please take a minute and share this episode with a friend. And from all of us here in the studio, thanks for listening.

Gina: Back in the 1940’s a man named Lyle Van Dyke had a heart attack. He was young and otherwise healthy. He survived. The doctor was baffled as to what caused the problem in the first place. He was a salesman and spent a lot of time on the phone. Doc figured it out. In the stint of time leading up to cardiac arrest, Lyle had bent his arm and crooked his neck in such a way that the blood pressure backed up into his heart. Bam. Down he went. Almost death by phone. The war was on and headsets weren’t available. Lyle fashioned himself a shoulder rest that eliminated the need to tense up to keep the phone in place. That’s the relic we’ve got at the front desk. A creamy 1986 Rest-a-Phone.

WARREN VO: That’s Gina running the front desk, around the pillar, keeping the public at bay. Rest-a-Phone just in reach. The receptionist is out sick with that cough that’s been going around. I’m glad I got my flu shot. Dispatch handles almost all of the calls but we get a few in on our antiquated system. Morrison’s in his office pretending he’s doing something important. I sit down at my desk just around the corner from his. I’ve never been one much for an open floor plan. I get distracted. But it’s trendy so here we are in a sea of beige filing cabinets and desks. We are slowly going paperless and folks have taken to filling up the lateral files with homeless folders and their own junk. There’s a whole drawer full of cracking rubber stamps. Someone didn’t have the heart to toss ‘em.

GINA: Warren! Listen in on this one! Yes of course, I’ll transfer you right through, Sir.

WARREN: Gina is not an animated person. She is as cool as a cucumber in a Wisconsin winter. And here she is flailing nearly off her stool. I hear Morrison answer on speaker phone. He’s one of those people who will walk down the street with their phone on speaker and hold it a foot from his face while he yells into it. The habit crosses over to the office. He hurriedly gets up and shuts the door. Doors shut and Gina mouths, Go go go! Doors offer a false sense of privacy. People shut the door, but let me tell you, you can always hear through the damn door.

MUFFLED VOICE: I’ve been trying to reach you, Samuel Morrison.

MORRISON:  Yes, this is he.

MUFFLED VOICE: I have a tip for you Mr. Morrison. Listen carefully.

MORRISON: Who is this?

MUFFLED VOICE:  Someone with your best interest at heart.

MORRISON: Well, I’m going to need some credentials here, we can’t just take anyone’s—

MUFFLED VOICE: The boy’s body is in Faraday Lake.

MORRISON: What do you mean “the boy’s body is in the lake”?

MUFFLED VOICE: I mean this could be your big break. Not to mention to clear yourself of past transgressions.

WARREN VO: Gina mouths “What’s he saying?” from across the room, exaggerated, like I gotta read her lips. Looks like she’s smacking peanut butter off the roof of her mouth.

MUFFLED VOICE: Does that all sound agreeable, Mr. Morrison?

MORRISON:  Right. I can do that.

WARREN VO: I shimmy my chair back to my desk. Business as usual. Gina turns around as the door flies open.

MORRISON: We got it! Hell we got it. Gina I need you to call the forest service. Faraday lake. Let’s go. Warren, I hope you packed a lunch.

GINA: Call them and what?

MORRISON: Drain the damn lake. Get them out there. All hands on deck. I know where the boy is.

NARRATOR: Thanks for listening to Husk. If you like what you heard, help keep us on the air. Rate and subscribe on iTunes. We’ll be back in next week. Until then – do you know where Dmitri is? Let us know at info@huskpodcast.com.