Local police have found a man they initially believed had been kidnapped. It seems Duluth Reader columnist Paul Ryan, age 35, was living his life normally the entire time. He just went unnoticed because he’s not very interesting.
Ryan was initially reported missing by his parents when he didn’t answer his phone. His mother had just watched a particularly spooky episode of “Monk” in which an elderly woman is kidnapped. The intense excitement of the episode sent her into hysterics, leading her to phone the police about her son.
A knock on Ryan’s door from officers went unanswered, as did several phone calls. Co-workers told police they hadn’t recalled seeing him in months, and the people Ryan claimed were his friends had no recollection of such an agreement.
“I’m not his friend,” said Matt Fortner, a man who once accidentally invited Ryan to a party at his home. “I’m friends with him on Facebook, but I’m not his friend. I met him once through a buddy of mine, so I added him for networking reasons. When I sent the party invite to my friend list, I didn’t figure someone who barely knew me would show up. My wife was eating sliced cantaloupe, and Paul remarked to her how the insides of cantaloupes look like vaginas. He had never met her before. That was the first thing he said to her. Then he walked away and never said another word to anyone for the rest of the evening. What a creepy little weirdo.”
Fortner said Ryan showed up alone, drank six or seven beers, ate three trays worth of submarine sandwiches and then spent the rest of the evening standing near large groups of people, hoping to create the illusion that he was part of someone’s entourage.
“He didn’t talk to anyone,” said Fortner. “He just drank like a goon and awkwardly stared at girls from across the room. Why would he do that? Why would he waste his entire night humiliating himself and creeping us out? Why wouldn’t he just stay home? I’ll bet if you looked through his internet browser’s search history, you’d find some really gross stuff.”
Ryan’s other best friend, Josh Drake, shared more insight.
“Paul? Oh Jesus,” said Drake. “I’m not his best friend. What the hell is he smoking? We worked at the same temping service for a few weeks. I found full-time work a month into it, while he kept working those temp gigs for . . . God, I think he was there for five or six years. What a sad, pathetic loser. The place he’s working now must be just awful. I don’t see any other way a business would hire him full-time.”
Eventually, Ryan’s landlord let the police into his apartment, where they found Ryan nude on the couch with a giant joint hanging out of his mouth and a beer dispensing helmet strapped to his head. His dog sat nearby, attempting to swallow an entire roll of electrical tape.
It turns out Ryan was at work every day. It’s just that no one noticed he was there. He didn’t answer his door or phone because he greatly dislikes people. He didn’t answer the call from his parents because they’re his parents. It was all perfectly normal.
“Yeah, it turns out he’s just an asshole,” said Officer Duncan Dick. “He sits in his apartment, smokes the wacky and plays video games. What use would anyone have for kidnapping him? Maybe if he was 20, but a 35-year-old man? Good Lord.”
Ryan politely disagreed with the police department’s investigative work.
“Why the shit are they telling people my age?” said Ryan, visibly irritated by the presentation of a fact. “When they introduce their friends, do they say ‘This is Marie. She’s 220 pounds and once fit a whole cucumber in her mouth?’ No! There are rules to introductions! You don’t print people’s ages.”
Ryan, who will be 36 years old in a few short months, is reportedly “very pissed off” about the hoopla surrounding the kidnapping. From the angry backlash of people who were tricked into caring about a loser to the rock solid proof that Ryan’s lack of charisma makes him literally invisible to everyone he’s ever met, this media circus based around Ryan’s mediocrity is certainly a bruise to his fragile and crumbling ego.
“I’m a famous humor columnist!” shouted Ryan to a crowd of commuters on the bus, impressing none of them. “I’m a big deal! Someone recognized me at a Best Western once! They thought I was Paul Lundgren, but that’s close enough! Their second guess was Paul Whyte, the editor of the paper. My existence is not futile! I’m special! If I weren’t at work, it would mildly inconvenience someone! Someone will kidnap me someday! You’ll see! They’ll make a damn fortune!”
Ryan then broke down sobbing. After police mistook him for a deranged homeless person and detained him, Psychologist Dr. Wayne Berber analyzed Ryan and authorized his release.
“He’s not crazy,” said Dr. Berber. “He’s just a member of Generation Y. So while he seems like a filthy vagrant ranting about his garbage life, he’s actually quite harmless to the general public. He’s just very, very conceited. It’s really only a danger to himself. If you see him, just ignore him or push him into a sidewalk puddle and go about your day.”