By: Kelly Chia, Peak Associate
Fog sets in on anotha night. Da animals are running amok since da boss dipped. I look around, dart in ma mouth, frown on mah face, and no time fa bullshit tonight. Tonight, ya boy’s on da case.
I swear I still see traces of ‘em. I can’t help it: the platforms left half-done, the uneven pathways from bridge ta bridge . . . if da human had big plans for this island, youse couldn’t tell what dey were now.
Da name’s Marshal. Full time P.I., part time mafia underboss (hey, ya gotta make a livin’ somehow, now dat the radishes are off da table.) I live on New Yak, an island I was invited to months ago because da human told me I was “the second most popular animal villager!” and they “finally found me after 374 tickets!” whatever dat mumbo jumbo means. I’m told by one of da lifelong residents, Shari da monkey, dat da human attendant came to da island, talkin’ about wantin’ to recreate da sights of da Big Apple. But since da human left, none of us have been managing dis concrete jungle well at all.
“That Tom Nook . . .” she says to me bitterly, kicking at an empty Emperor butterfly habitat that da human brought. “I always knew that he’d be swindlin’ up a storm one day, and look what happened after he did, cheeky!”
Tom Nook. Dat was a name dat sends shivers down ma spine. Once, we knew da freedom of parading from island ta island and setting our camping spot to explore our horizons. Tom Nook promised us stability, and we took da bait like fools. Now we’re stuck paying his mortgages while his nephews reaped da benefits of his work. I’ll get dos smug trash pandas one day, lemme tells ya.
It seemed our prospects were endless then. Crime didn’t appeal to ya boy. I didn’t need da mafia, but here we are.
Nook is my top suspect for da human’s disappearance. His wiley ways have me convinced dat he took da only human we knew to a life of unimaginable pain — or worse. Now, I just need ta prove it.
We trusted da human with every decision: dey convinced us dat dis was the perfect home when all we wanted was a new, excitin’ life. We even trusted dem with where to put our homes. Da human knew everything: how to pick fruit from trees, how to find our lost items. Without dem, we was lost.
I was lost.
Poor old Wolfgang had it da the worst of all. He had a house set up all by himself in da lonely corner where Radio City Music Hall was supposed to be. Da human came by everyday to give him ritzy ditzy clothes and such. Wolfgang was beside himself when da human disappeared. Da human had given him his identity, and, just like dat, taken it all away.
My investigation took me to the biggest house on the island: the human’s. Once, we heard da sounds of dem busying ‘emselves with tools and talks of “escaping the pandemic.” Now, all dat could be heard was da roaches. Da only “pandemic” around here is the loss of da life around here. All dat’s left are empty museum sections and our empty, empty hearts. Shuri da monkey was right — Tom Nook mortgaged his way to da top, and all of us fell down because of it.
I slowly head back to mah home when — what’s this? A letter on ma front step? I grab it without thinking, tears stingin’ my eyes.
I miss you. All of you. Please don’t mourn for me. I’m just feeling the burnout now, and I swear I will be back soon. I’m really excited to see the features of the Summer update. Can’t wait to swim in these beautiful crystal waters!
May 14, 2020”
Always had a way to joke wif us . . . now, I can only hope dat da new autumn additions might just bring da human back to us soon.