Confessions of a She-Geek

June 5, 2016

Anchor Point, part 2

Filed under: Anchor Point — Teresa @ 5:54 pm

Dawn was just barely breaking when Libby pulled into the employee parking lot. Despite the odd interruption to her morning routine, Libby still somehow managed to arrive well before her shift began. Maybe that whole phone call business was just a tiny glitch in an otherwise perfectly fine day.

Grabbing her backpack from the back seat, Libby clambered out of her beat-up Beetle, made sure all the doors were locked (although that last part may not have been strictly necessary, since it was a fairly unlikely target for car thieves), and headed for the main entrance.

She’d nearly reached her desk when the overhead lights flicked on, and a cheery voice called out, “Good morning, Libby! How was your weekend?”

Libby turned to see Tina bustling about, getting the IT reception area ready to go. Tina was a morning person; Libby was not, which made the daily ritual of morning greetings rather perfunctory on Libby’s part.

“It was fine; yours?” Reaching for her coffee cup, Libby hefted it in Tina’s direction. “Be right back; need coffee.”

“Sounds good! I’ll join you!” Mug in hand, Tina scooted around the edge of the reception desk. “I had a lovely weekend! My son stopped by to help me with some repairs, and we wound up grilling out. It’s so nice to have him nearby again.”

Libby blinked. “You grilled out? It’s April. There’s still slush on the ground.”

Tina waved a hand dismissively. “The temperature was above 40; that’s plenty warm. Plus, we had to make sure the grill was working, right?” She winked, then headed for the break room, Libby in her wake. It was way too early to be so perky unassisted.

As the coffee brewed, Tina chattered away while Libby made various encouraging sounds and tried to keep her yawns to a minimum. Five minutes later, they were seated at their respective desks, preparing for another fun-filled day of fielding various complaints and clearing up assorted misconceptions from people who believed that their computers should be working in a way that computers actually didn’t.

Libby logged onto her workstation, noting that she still had a good twenty minutes before her shift began. Time enough to check out the news, then. Taking a sip of coffee, Libby nearly choked when she saw the photograph of her early-morning visitor prominently featured above the headline Local woman missing; police seek tips.

Clicking on the headline led to a video clip of a press conference, which was apparently held the previous day.

A grave-faced man stood at the podium, backed by several equally-serious men and women, some uniformed and some not. “Good morning, and thank you for coming. Yesterday this woman,” He indicated the large photo on the easel to his right, “Anita Wilkes, was reported missing when she failed to show up for work for the second day in a row. Ms. Wilkes is twenty-eight years old, approximately five feet, five inches, and one hundred twenty pounds, with brown hair and eyes. She is also diabetic, which makes it crucial that she is found as soon as possible. She was last seen leaving work on Thursday afternoon, wearing her waitress uniform. If anyone has any information regarding the whereabouts of this woman, we’re asking you to please contact the local police. Thank you.”

The man stepped away from the podium and walked off, ignoring the reporters’ questions. When a few enterprising journalists made as if to follow, they were intercepted by uniformed officers, who gently but firmly turned them away just before the video cut off.

Clicking the back button, Libby scanned the site for any additional information. Little additional detail was forthcoming. Anita (Annie?) Wilkes (Wilcox?) was a graduate student, working her way through school by waiting tables at a local restaurant. Apparently sometime between finishing her shift on Thursday evening and starting her shift on Friday afternoon, she’d gone missing.

So if she was missing, what was the explanation for showing up at Libby’s door not two hours ago? Libby frowned to herself.

“You okay, Libs? You look spooked.”

“Bob!” Libby startled, cursing under her breath as hot coffee sloshed onto her desk. Preoccupied with her thoughts, she hadn’t seen her boss approach.

“Woah, there. Sorry about that.” Bob clucked sympathetically from where he leaned against her desk, then reached behind him and snagged a box of tissues. “I guess you were so caught up you didn’t hear me coming.” He held out the box for Libby. “Happy Monday, eh?”

Libby looked mournfully at the now-sopping tissues.  “No; it’s fine. Alertness is overrated anyway.” She dropped them into her waste basket with a wet plop.

“Not sure you actually need any help being alert.” He chuckled as Libby acknowledged the point. “Something wrong?”

Libby gestured toward her monitor. “That woman who’s missing? I saw her.”

“Seriously?” Bob straightened. “You mean recently?”

“This morning. She rang my doorbell as I was getting ready for work. Wanted to borrow my phone.” She ended the last sentence on an upnote, turning it into more of a question than a statement.

Bob’s gaze sharpened. “Libs, you gotta report this.”

Libby nodded in agreement. “Yeah.” Something occurred to her. “Was there something you needed?”

“Nothing that can’t wait until after you deal with this. Stop by my office and we can talk then.” Bob patted Libby’s shoulder encouragingly. “Quite a way to start the week, huh?”

“Yeah; quite a way.” Libby smiled ruefully at her boss.

Bob headed back to his office as Libby reached for the phone.

 

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