Last Known Photo • Stephen Langlois

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MISSING PERSON REPORT PREPARED BY THE ASSISTING INVESTIGATOR

According to information obtained by Vermont State Police (VSP) the subject Daryl Lee Allen, W/M, 33 Y/O, was last seen by family on 07/05/80 at approximately 6:15pm proceeding to the rear of his Jayco Pop-Up camper at Lake Bomoseen State Park while baring an uncooked loin steak between his teeth in what this investigator considers an overtly comedic manner. However, as this investigator has been advised to refrain from such nonobjective evaluations he must refer the Commissioner to photograph “1.MB.Hb” so that he might judge for himself whether the subject does, in fact, appear to be imitating a canine brandishing a cut of purloined beef or, at the very least, to have the demeanor of a man possessed of a hyperbolically-large appetite and little sway over his own body.

INTERVIEW–CRAIG ALLEN, 37 Y/O, BROTHER OF DARYL LEE ALLEN

As reported to VSP, Craig Allen towed the Jayco Pop-Up camper to Bomoseen State Park following Daryl Lee Allen’s separation from his domestic partner, Ms. Janice McCollough, a scenario which for this investigator conjures images of Daryl Lee Allen splayed upon an air mattress in the hot confines of said camper, contemplating the inexorable dissolution of love / inevitability of the void. That this investigator has been reprimanded in the past for “apocryphal” and “blatantly sentimental” musings in his reports he must again defer to the Commissioner’s judgment as to whether isolation can indeed become so overwhelming as to cause a man to wonder whether his corporeal self has begun to vanish even before such a thing is ever reported through official VSP channels.

Said Craig Allen of his brother: “One second he’d be having a good time. The next? I don’t know. It’s like suddenly he’d remember some big secret. Something real serious. He’d get real quiet. Wouldn’t hardly talk to nobody. He’d just sit there thinking on that secret of his.”

INTERVIEW–BRENDA ALLEN, 32 Y/O, WIFE OF CRAIG ALLEN

“Craig figured he’d take me and Ronnie on down to Bomoseen over Fourth of July weekend to try and cheer Daryl up. Daryl spent most of the day horsing around with Ronnie. Even tried getting me in on it. Took that steak right from my hand when I was putting it on the grill. That’s when Craig snapped the photo. Daryl never looked so happy. That’s how I knew something was wrong. Daryl didn’t have any reason to be happy. Not any we knew about.”

INTERVIEW–RONALD ALLEN, 11 Y/O, SON OF CRAIG ALLEN

“Uncle Daryl said he was gonna show us something really funny. Couldn’t hardly understand him what with the meat still hanging outta his mouth, but that’s what he said. That’s what Uncle Daryl said before he got up and went out behind the camper. He said he was gonna show us something really funny, and then he just disappeared.”

INTERVIEW–MS. JANICE MCCOLLOUGH, 29 Y/O

“I didn’t kick Daryl out. If that’s what they’re saying they’re wrong. That man could get me to laugh my ass off. Other times, he’d just work himself into a funk. Mood swings. Crying sometimes. Laying awake on the couch all night. When he left me, he said he didn’t think he had the capacity for a real relationship no more. Said it weren’t fair to me. Said that as it pertained to him, love was basically a construct he himself had fabricated. His words, not mine.”

INVESTIGATION–JAYCO POP-UP CAMPER

The VSP’s preliminary findings show no signs of suspicious activity. This investigator’s own inspection of the Daryl Lee Allen’s property reveal little out of the ordinary: an amassing of unwashed clothing, one hotplate, one copy of Be Here Now by Ram Dass, one copy of Jay Anson’s Amityville Horror, and other such indicators of an uncertain, solitary life, which this investigator suspects he himself has begun to display in the two months following the separation from his wife. Because this investigator has been discouraged from making reference in his reports to Pamela, his own cognitive distortion, and certain psychopathological states related to sexual dysfunction, no further digressions on this subject shall be made.

INVESTIGATION– LAKE BOMOSEEN

A thorough search of Lake Bomoseen south of Fort Bridge Road to Neshobe Beach has been conducted by the VSP Dive Team using all available equipment, including point down imaging, side scan, and sector scan sonar technology. However, no evidence related to this case has been located. If, in fact, the lake’s waters hold any trace of Daryl Lee Allen’s whereabouts, it is a secret unlikely to be yielded.

ASSESSMENT OF MISSING PERSON CASE PREPARED BY ASSISTING INVESTIGATOR

Whether any leads at all will be found in this case is, in this investigator’s opinion, doubtful, when one considers the tenets of ineluctable modality. That is to say, while the doctrine of eliminative materialism is acknowledged by some to be inherent in this profession it is beginning to seem more and more likely to this investigator that only the mind and its contents can be said to truly exist: a photograph appears to affix to Daryl Lee Allen the persona of a light-hearted, meat-chomping man, and yet, despite this, he can no longer be made manifest either to his loved ones or to VSP personnel. Likewise, it is this investigator’s belief that our real selves cannot be given recognizable or tangible form. However, as this investigator has been strictly forbidden from relying on any aspect of metaphysics or phenomenalism in his reports, it is once again left to the Commissioner’s judgment whether the above is of any use at all.

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Stephen LangloisStephen Langlois is a writer of the fantastic and absurd. His work has appeared in Glimmer Train, The Portland Review, Monkeybicycle, matchbook, Pacifica Literary Review, Necessary Fiction, Phantom Drift, Big Lucks, Profane, Storychord, and Gigantic Sequins, among others. He is also the recipient of a 2015 NYC Emerging Writers Fellowship from The Center for Fiction and hosts Brew: An Evening of Literary Works, a monthly reading series in Brooklyn. Visit him at www.stephenmlanglois.com or follow @stphnlanglois.

Stephen Langlois reads “Last Known Photo” on the podcast

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