WHERE’S SKITTLES?!!!

(Co-written with Bob Powers. Originally appeared on McSweeney’s, March 1 2011)

4:07 PM
Incoming Text From SITTER

Hi it’s Becky! Hope you two are loving yr holiday getaway to Barbados! Things r good w Avery. No emergency, less you consider a missing stuffed panda an emergency LOL. “Where’s skittles?” she keeps asking. Adorbs. Just checking in. ENJOY!!!

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5:09 PM
Incoming Text From SITTER

Hi again. Not stalking you, LOL! Quick Q abt Skittles. Think yr daughter mightve left it at a sleepover? I cld pick it up 4 her if so. She LUVS that panda! Alls well. txt back when u can

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6:56 PM
Incoming Text From SITTER

Becky here. Guess u dont check texts 2 much w those overseas chrgs. Get back 2 me abt those sleepovers? Or ANYWHERE u think Skittles might be. SOMEone has been pretty cranky w/o her stuffed Panda!

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10:38 PM
Incoming Text From SITTER

Hope its okay, but went ahead n stopped by houses of Ave’s last five sleepovers (found ph numbers on yr soccer rides chart). Avery kind of demanded they let her inspect the homes herself. No sign, but U might need to smooth things over w those other Moms when u get back. She made a few… accusations. Help! lol! But srsly. HELP!

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12:40 AM
Incoming Text From SITTER

OK wow! Um, evrthing fine, I promise!, but police just left. Ave called 911 to rprt Skittles stolen. They thought there was a breakin. Convinced them I was just sitter, so all straightened out! But FYI, yr local police really aren’t shy about using their nightsticks 2 make a pt. We’re fine! Gash on my forehead healing nicely. Txt back when u can, thnx!

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3:04 AM
Incoming Text From SITTER

First of all, Avery’s fine so don’t worry. But I heard a noise outside so went to look. Found her and a grizzled drifter holding flashlights. First I thought he was child predator, but trns out she bribed him w money from swear jar. Something abt “needing muscle.” I think she was abt to break into the neighbors to look for skittles. Again, Ave is fine and I got there just in time before any harm done. Txt back asap? and if u know where skittles might be, srsly it wld really calm her down. Neighbors starting to ask questions!

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4:26 AM
Incoming Text From SITTER

WHERE IS SKITTLES! DO WUTS RIGHT AND TELL ME WHERE IS AVERYS PANDA! THIS IS BECKY YOUR BABYSITTER AND UR DAUGHTER WANTS BACK HER PANDA NOW!!!

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7:03 AM
Incoming Text From SITTER

That last text was NOT from me!! This is Becky. The REAL Becky. I must have dozed off for a bit and Avery found my phone. Sorry! Don’t worry, all is well here and UR daughter seems calmer and all dressed and bathed n evrything. Wait. Holy S there’s a camera crew at the door! OMG there are like nine news vans outside! Avery walking to the door and opening it. B right bck!

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12:26 PM
Incoming Text From SITTER

So, wow? U have 1 precocious 6-yr-old here! Or its 1 slow news cycle. Ave called Action 4 and Eye Witness News, etc. and I don’t know what she said but we just finished abt 15 different interviews, all abt Skittles being missing. Flipping channels now and its all over the TV. OMG, do you have BBC-World in caribbean? Replaying it every 10 minutes. Ur daughter is a celeb!!!

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6:17 PM
Incoming Text From SITTER

Things r little out of hand here. A is fine. I’m fine—I guess. A little shaken and more frightened than i’ve ever been. But out there on the streets, not so good. News story abt skittles going missing kind of got ppl riled up. Started a “movement” or something. Some looting. And tho they’re not reporting it, I can see from second floor window that the police station is burning. Flames licking the sky. Explosions. And all is darkness beyond that. Going into basement with a few cans of soup so if u text I might not get signal. Avery on front stoop, speaking loudly + slowly. Lawn PACKED with hundreds, if not thousands. Everyone hushed, even zoo animals.

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10:57 PM
Incoming Text From SITTER

So I heard with the Martial Law thing all flights in and out r grounded. Don’t U worry about Avery. I will watch her until this is all settled and you’re allowed to repatriate. We r in what’s called a Safe Camp in occupied quadrant of Minneapolis. A is fine. I am fine. BTW, I know I sound like broken record, but if U have any ideas abt whereabouts of Skittles, pls txt back! It wld go a long way toward placating the rebels and easing the tension at the border between lower California and the Free States of The New American Settlement. Bye 4 now!

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11:32 PM
Incoming Text From SITTER

U already know this frm radio TV + web, but all is back 2 NORM. Tnk goodness! Crowds gone and explosions subsiding. Bird noises can now b heard among the fiery ashes of what usd to be known as civlization. It shall one day be written that a stuffed panda was found amongst remants of UR former house. Skittles in GOOD shape. Rainbow vest torn, but could hve bn much MUCH worse. Look frward to seeing you! It’s been one heck of a wknd! Ave sez hi! ENJOY FLIGHT HOME! U.N. AIRLIFT SOUNDS LIKE FUN! BTW, where cn i find a “Jingles”? Ave’s fav blanket or something? No rush.