Greg came over to the Asian American Themehouse basement to set up Richard's internet account. Richard had put a hand lettered sign on the door: "Search for Anna Mizunami --Command Center." Boxes of fliers vied for room with two chipped desks and, a couple off-green chairs--obviously from The Salvation Army--in the tiny, white walled room. One wall was covered with a giant map of Berkeley with neighborhoods highlighted in varying greens, purples, and browns. On one desk two telephones held down scattered papers, with books and pens piled high. A bright aqua blue iMac and translucent blue zip drive stood on the other desk, their power cords hanging over the side like thin sea serpents.
Richard got up from behind the computer. "I've been setting up a database for the leads when we get some. And lists of all the places we've sent flyers, who has donated what, and so on and so on."
Greg was already at the keyboard, his fingers conducting the mouse and keyboard in a coordinated symphony. "Uh huh. Any leads so far?"
"No, that's just it. There has been nothing. NOTHING." Richard pressed his palms to his forehead as if that would keep his mind from spilling out onto the chipped and grape-stained desk.
"Seargent Wilson was just over here telling me he couldn't understand it. There is always something. Someone wants the thrill of calling the cops, of saying, 'yes, I saw someone like that drive off in a blue van with white stripes.' Or the notoriety of saying, 'Well, yeah, she sat just below me at the football game. Sure, I saw her on the Saturday after you said she was last seen.'
Then at least we could canvass the city for blue vans with white stripes or ask every single person who was at that ball game if they had seen her, or anyone like her. Then at least we could do SOMETHING, no matter how trivial or impossible. But no, there's been absolutely nothing."
Greg finished customizing the port and setting up Richard's account. "That's rough all right, But maybe the web site will help. Most kids are on line now more than they are off line. So surely someone will say something if they see it on the internet. I will promote the site through SubmitNow, If we pay a little bit, we can use the HitMan to get it on the search engines."
Richard nodded. "Show me how it works. Is there any way to put in information without having to change any codes or anything? I don't know what I am doing, and I can't spend a lot of time learning it now."
Greg waved him over to sit at the computer and patiently took him through the steps he would need to change a page and to use Fetch to put the new page back online. "I've provided the e-mail address here as well as the phone number, so you should check the e-mail at least twice a day. More if you can. And there is a tracer account on it so that we can tell who the mail is from."