The buzzing of my phone jerked me awake, the plastic phone vibrating hard against the surface of side table.
“Ugh,” I mumbled. I was starting to hate my phone. Being a relatively private person, I rarely gave my phone number out and always used a secondary email address for online shopping, newsletters, and Facebook. Before Briggs’ abduction, I never answered calls from unfamiliar or restricted phone numbers.
“Rape, kill, or money?” I muttered crankily as I picked up my phone.
Josh rolled over and glared at me, but said nothing about my macabre sense of humor.
Deflecting the caller who wanted money (of course), I listened to the fifteen messages, all of them hang-ups or requests to know the reward amount. I clicked my phone off, rolled my eyes, stretched, and walked downstairs, with coffee on my mind. Yawning, I blurrily checked the Briggs’ Facebook page where I’d updated the followers with the events of our weekend. I nearly dropped my coffee as I saw hundreds of new likes on the page.
Annmarie, making good on her promise, had gotten the word out. Following up on my email from the day before, Annmarie had taken the information I’d sent her and forwarded it to several of her popular on-air personalities. She’d even contacted her network and requested that the Briggs poster be circulated throughout major companies.
Overcome with gratitude, I emailed Annmarie with my heartfelt thanks. I didn’t want to disturb her too much, but her quick response to my email showed that she was already devoted to the cause. Soon, our emails were ping-ponging back and forth, filled with suggestions and ideas. Somehow, I’d known from the first moment that I met her that this tiny woman with a big heart and soul-searching eyes would have a huge impact on the Briggs search.
Annmarie managed to book us for a spot with a popular midday show, Marilyn Mee. Soon thereafter, Marilyn joined the cause, emailing me directly with her own personal suggestions for help. While one of my good high school friends was also a radio morning show host, the infamous “Kidd O’Shea,” I was still surprised to be emailing back and forth with another local celebrity. I’d caught her show, and I found it interesting that my perception of her held pretty true or at least via email. My friend Steven, a.k.a. “Kidd O’Shea,” had been willing to help with Briggs right off the bat, before anyone in public knew what was going on. It made me smile. Animal lovers come from all walks of life.
Excited and rejuvenated, I dreaded going back to work and my fluorescent cubicle of hell. Our purpose had grown, and I could feel the energy building. Sitting at my desk that day, I watched as a movement grew. My phone was hot to the touch from all the alerts and calls that were forthcoming. Briggs’ story was becoming something bigger than all of us.
Annmarie continued to email me throughout the day. She was a brilliant, well-connected woman with a wealth of ideas and suggestions.
“What have you done to reach out to the Hispanic community?” she asked, focused on the eyewitness description.
I told her how we had translated the flyers into Spanish and had canvassed the neighborhoods, food trucks, and grocery stores in the area, but we weren’t sure what our other options were, if any.
She went on to explain to me how radio advertising works and said she had a few connections at the smaller Spanish radio stations; she volunteered to look into getting a public service announcement on the air for free.
I over-thanked her and went back to work, my mood lifted. I wondered how it’s possible that our little dog was making such a huge impact on people?
As the momentum grew, something inside me began to shrink. The bigger this became, the harder I had to work to contain my emotions; the outpouring of help constantly threatened to bring me to tears.
When Josh came home that night, I could see the same emotional struggle in his eyes. Even worse, he was simultaneously burdened with finding Briggs and trying to protect me. Josh didn’t know which was more important at that point: making sure that I didn’t burn out, ensuring my personal safety, or finding our dog. Happy with the amount of exposure we had received that day, he gently urged me to sleep.
“Other people are searching for him. You can rest now.”
Sleep is a funny thing — a comfort for some. Angst for others. That’s the thing about manifesting desires. It fills you up. There isn’t much room for pithy life necessities such as sleep. Everything else falls away.
As I lay there, I kept picturing Briggs. Do they know that he loves to play? He’s a busy dog who hates to be bored. Boston terriers are known for being active and inquisitive dogs. I hoped that they have toys for him because our house looks like an exploded toy box. I hoped that they knew, and I hoped that they were taking care of him like we would. Like he deserves.
One of Briggs’ favorite things to do was to play Frisbee, an absolute obsession of his. If we even said, “Frisbee!” his ears would perk up, and he’d run to the door. Whenever we took him to the dog park, he focused only on that plastic disc. He loved to catch the Frisbee and encourage other dogs to chase him, his ears folded back as he happily tore around the park.
Holding tight to the promise of someday playing Frisbee with Briggs again, I finally drifted into a fitful sleep.