On Tuesday morning, I was getting ready for work when my phone rang. I wouldn’t normally answer an actual phone call that early (or any time really unless it was family) but it was a Toronto number and I work with several people who live there. So I put down my blush brush and said, “Hello?” A woman’s voice answered: “Hello, I’m calling from Doctor ____’s office for Shane Brien.”
And there it was. Like an elusive ghost from the past, Blazefordayz Shane had suddenly reappeared.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “Shane hasn’t had this number for a few years.”
The woman sounded confused, but said, “Okay, thank you. Goodbye” and she hung up.
For those of you who haven’t been here long enough to know the saga of Shane Brien, let me remind you quickly. I received a company cell phone about 4 years ago. Almost immediately, I began getting text messages about Soca parties, Facetime calls from Shane’s mother, messages from Shane’s jealous girlfriend (“You better not be with that Angela”) and invitations from his friends to play soccer, go to Vegas, and smoke weed, as well as various job offers from temp companies. In fact, one of my favourites was the time I was offered a ‘warehouse’ job, and after a certain amount of contemplation, I offered to get a team together and requested the blueprints to the warehouse (you can read all about this in My Week 226: All About The Bordens). The response was a confused “What do you mean?” and I realized I may have misjudged the situation.
Over the years, the calls and messages have continued sporadically. I tried to hunt down Shane, but to no avail. Unfortunately, there are several ways to spell both ‘Shane’ and ‘Brien’, leading to about nine permutations, none of which matched anyone on social media that I could see. But I did find out tidbits of information first from a jewelry chain, who had the number associated with a Shane Brien in Brampton. He also had a Canadian Tire Points Card, long expired. And now this—a doctor’s office calling for him.
It made me very concerned. After all, Shane and I go way back, and at a certain point, I began to feel quite motherly towards him. But after all these years, people STILL don’t know he changed his number and they’re STILL looking for him? And then I had a terrible thought: What if Shane had been murdered?!
In case you’re wondering why this escalated so quickly, I started watching a crime show on Netflix about a hotel called The Cecil where people have died or disappeared from. In the very first episode about a Chinese student who went there and was never seen again, I immediately, after an aerial shot of the roof, announced, “She’s in the water tank.” Ken looked it up online, and she was, indeed, found in the water tank, obviously because ‘putting bodies in water tanks’ is the new ‘tossing them into a dumpster’ in the world of crime dramas, and I’m REALLY good at solving mysteries. But it got me thinking, What if…
So bear with me: Shane Brien, a popular young man, goes to a jewelry store to purchase two gifts, each an engraved bracelet. One is for his fiancé, and the other is for a woman named Angela whom he is seeing ‘on the side’. After a heavy night of drinking and Soca dancing, Shane inadvertently gives the wrong gift to the fiancé, who is understandably furious. Little does Shane know that ‘Darla’ (that’s what I’m calling her) is the type of woman that you should never scorn. She begins to plot and plan. She goes to Canadian Tire and drains Shane’s points account with the purchase of an air fryer to establish her alibi—she couldn’t possibly be responsible for Shane’s impending disappearance—after all, she just bought an air fryer to make him chicken wings for f*ck sake! (Darla swears a lot when she’s nervous).
But she’s a small woman—how on earth will she exact her revenge on the duplicitous Shane? Then she has a brainstorm—she calls a ‘temp agency’ which is really a front for a criminal enterprise and asks to hire a ‘cleaner’. And as everyone knows, if a ‘warehouse job’ is a money heist, then a ‘cleaning service’ is obviously who you call when you want someone disappeared.
The ‘cleaning service’ is expensive, but Darla has access to all of Shane’s accounts as well as his passwords. She arranges to have them send Shane a text message advertising a rooftop SOCA party. Party of ONE, but Shane doesn’t know that yet.
“I’ll meet you there,” Darla says with a sweet smile. But she doesn’t. She just sits at home eating chicken wings (those air fryers are pretty goddamn awesome), waiting for the call telling her the ordeal is over. The ‘cleaning company’, in the meantime, has lured poor Shane up to the rooftop of a local hotel with the promise of sweet Soca music, and deposited him in the water tank. He’s never seen again.
Darla, of course, has the password to his cellphone account, which she cancels, although she continues to text Shane to establish a solid alibi and also throw suspicion onto ‘that Angela’. But the one thing she didn’t count on was that Shane’s cell phone number would be passed on to me, a crime drama afficionado. I hope I’m wrong about all this, but I rarely am.
Of course, there could be a much simpler explanation—Shane got a new cell phone and forgot to tell people he’d changed his number. But somehow, I doubt it…
Also, check back here on Wednesday for Creative Wednesdays—I have a big announcement!