By Peyton Voorheis
The J.C. Williams center, and all of campus with it, was struck with tragedy on March 9, when an unknown student kidnapped the beloved fish residing at switchboard: Pierogi.
This is a loss that has been deeply felt by students and staff alike.
According to sophomore switchboard employee Paige Kendall, the ‘fishnapping’ happened between the hours of 12 and 1 a.m. on Thursday, March 9.
“There’s a picture of them (the kidnapper) coming in with a cup and going down with the fishbowl,” Kendall said.
However, due to the nondescript black hoodie that the individual wore, the culprit’s identity remains a mystery.
Kendall, who was present the morning Pierogi’s absence was discovered, said it was roughly 7:45 in the morning when a person informed Kendall and her coworker Johnny Recznik that the fish bowl was outside, sitting atop a trash can. Recznik went out to retrieve it.
“The bowl was half-empty and frozen,” said Kendall, “and Pierogi was gone.”
“It was pretty random and spontaneous for a Franciscan student,” said junior switchboard worker Angela Postage.
Whispers had gone around campus about Pierogi’s absence, but on Friday, March 10, the entirety of the student body was informed of this tragedy. A mass email from the Student Life Bulletin, composed by Associate Director of Student Engagement Jessie Leatherby, explained that this was not the first time students have abused the fun resources provided by Student Engagement.
However, it was the breaking point: an act so egregious as to warrant the most tragic of special bulletins.
Leatherby advised students to think of others before they act and to call the hostage hotline at switchboard with any information that could bring about justice for Pierogi or closure to those who loved him so deeply.
Kendall said she has her own suspicions regarding who may have committed this heinous act, but opted not to share them.
Due to working in such proximity with Pierogi, it’s natural that the switchboard staff was extremely hurt by the loss.
“He was just gone,” said junior Nick Smith.“I was deeply distraught.”
The absence of Pierogi has had its effect on many other members of the community as well, including Brett Holler, Audio and Visual Technical Coordinator. Holler is a friend of switchboard, having formerly worked next to the switchboard desk.
“I loved him,” Holler said of Pierogi “He was too pure for this world; someone had to save him.”
Some students hold out hope that Pierogi is still out there somewhere. Lillian Torbeck, a sophomore and a switchboard employee, said she believes that he is swimming about in an aquarium in Assisi Heights.
“Bring him back, his home is better here,” Torbeck said, adding that Pierogi “didn’t deserve it.”
Four days after Pierogi’s disappearance, a new fish by the name of Meatball took up residence in Pierogi’s bowl. There are mixed feelings on Meatball, however.
Holler said, “we didn’t mourn the loss of Pierogi long enough before we got Meatball.” Several other employees agreed.
Torbeck, however, said that “Meatball’s more active and fun.”
The road to recovery for switchboard employees and the Franciscan community as a whole may be a long one. While a second fish may help, ultimately, the only thing that can truly ease this wound is justice.
For this reason, the culprit must be apprehended and Pierogi must be avenged.