Once, when I was traveling through Arkansas, I stopped at a rest stop for a bathroom break. Graffiti in such a place can always be entertaining in some fashion, although sometimes it is just childish and/or repulsive. I happened to find a note, however, written with what looked to be a yellow highlighter on a mustard yellow door. It went something like this:
“PLEASE HELP! My name is Brandee Johnson and I am 9. My mom’s boyfriend has kidnapped me. I can’t get away, but I want to go home. My mom is Carla Johnson and live in St. Louis.”
It was written in a child’s big scrawl and very hard to read. I was terrified for her. There were no bathroom attendants or anyone else to ask about the date of this message appearing. I didn’t know what else to do, so I called the state police and told them about the message. I also called 1-800-THE-LOST in case the missing girl had been reported as lost. I also wondered if it was just a childish prank and I was a fool to think it was real. Or perhaps it had been there for months and Brandee was long gone.
Fifteen years later, I still sometimes think about what might have happened to her, and if it was a real cry for help, or a prank.
Write a scene that includes graffiti and what it might or might not be trying to say.