Gone. Completely and irretrievably gone. Brig didn’t sleep or leave his apartment for two days straight, hoping that Happy would return. She didn’t answer his phone calls or respond to his texts. He asked everybody that knew her to try to reach her, but it was clear within the first few hours that she didn’t want to be reached. After the second day he considered going to the police and filing a missing person report, but he knew that the cops would dismiss the report out of hand as soon as they probed. His father had the resources to find her, but that was obviously a non-starter.
Frantic and strung out on a mixture of opiates and cocaine, Brig called Danny to explain what had happened and if he had heard from Happy. He hadn’t but said he would see what he could find out. If she was in Hong Kong, the Buddha would find her. The next day, Danny called Brig back and informed him that Happy had returned to Hong Kong, but that was all the information he had.
In the days that followed, Brig wandered Salt Lake in a sleep deprived, drug and alcohol-induced stupor. The drama with Happy had caused him to nearly forget the crisis with his father, but he was rudely reminded when he tried to pay for one of his meals with a canceled credit card. He had never needed to develop his own line of credit.
Fortunately for Brig, drugs were typically sold on a cash-only basis. For this reason alone he had a small safe in his apartment that had a few hundred dollars, which was enough to keep him high and fed for at least the next couple of days until he could figure out what to do next. He called Danny daily for updates, but the Buddha was never able to tell him anything new. Brig grew increasingly annoyed at Danny’s lack of progress and eventually reached a breaking point.
“What do you know about her family?” Brig asked.
“Not much. I think she has an older brother, but I’ve never met him or her parents.”
“Is there any way you can get in touch with her?”
“You know I’ve been trying every day for the last week. Look, maybe this is for the best. From what you’ve told me, it sounds like she was just after your money. That’s consistent with her personality. Remember, I warned you about that.”
“Yeah, well, it seems you were wrong. We were talking about getting married.”
“What? No way. Not you! Not her!”
“Yes. We were. You don’t know shit!” Brig was agitated.
“All right Brig. My bad. But it looks like she reconsidered. Yes?”
“That’s what I’m trying to find out! It doesn’t make sense! One day we’re talking about what to name our children, and the next day she’s gone.” Brig was lying of course. He may have talked about marriage, but Happy hadn’t, and neither of them had ever spoken about children. “Maybe her boyfriend in Hong Kong came to Salt Lake, kidnapped her, and forced her back to Hong Kong.”
“I guess it’s possible, but I really don’t think so.” The Buddha was trying to be sensitive to Brig’s state of mind. “I heard she’s back and running with her old crowd.”
“I thought you said you didn’t know where she was.”
“I don’t! I heard from a friend of a friend of a friend that she was back and running with a hard-core crowd?”
“What do you mean by hard-core?” Brig challenged.
“You know what I mean. The same kind of people you hang with in Salt Lake. The rich. The fashionable. The party mongers. Guys that are always looking for a good time.”
“Guys, as in a general term for a group of people. I know nothing about her love life. But it’s been what, almost a week since you’ve heard from her? Not a single word? I think she’s moved on, brother. You should too.”
“You know what? Fuck you!”
“Brig. I’m just…”
“No. Fuck you! I’m not asking you for relationship advice. I’m asking you to help me get back in touch with Happy. If you can do that, great. If not, so be it. But don’t tell me how to manage my relationship with her. After all, she rejected you first! Remember?” The Buddha laughed, no longer trying to ease Brig’s pain, “Old friend, you no longer have a relationship with her.”