Back at the office, Holly is ready to go pick up Michael, but Erin wants to be the one to go -- or at least come along. Dwight mocks, "Space Orphan and Princess Nincompoop are off to rescue Michael." In other words, it's going to be a three-person search party. "You drive, I've got a car full of fox-meat," he orders Erin. And he's about to be in another car full of fox-meat, hey-ohh! Sorry, it's been a long day.
Pam has found one of her doodles (an anthropomorphic printer complete with cartoon gloves) tacked up in the kitchen next to the fridge, and people have been writing in joke captions underneath it, most of them making fun of Sabre printers. Far from being offended, she brings it out and suggests a proper caption contest. Darryl's pretty confident of victory, based on his years of experience with making Family Circus actually funny for his daughter, and if he can make that shit amusing my money's on him too. "It on, like Genghis Khan, wearing Sean John in Bhutan!" Andy says. This looks like a fun, morale-building activity -- even if Gabe does look a little uncertain about this. Except for the "even if" part.
Holly, Erin, and Dwight are at the gas station looking for Michael. Holly asks the cashier which way he went, and Dwight snaps at her for asking such a stupid question, when it's obvious that Michael went towards the office. Holly argues that Michael might have gone the other way, just to enjoy the smells of the bakery that lies in that direction. The cashier confirms Holly's theory. Elsewhere, Michael is going in no specific direction at all.
After ads, Michael wanders into a pet store to give advice to the puppies, compliments to the parrots, and brutal truth to the snake.
Dwight calls Pam from the road to find out if Michael's checked in, and he hasn't. He's even more brusque than usual, and is even more so when she asks him to pick up some chocolate syrup and paper towels while he's out. Dwight yells at her, hanging up with a rude, "Pam I'm obviously going to get that stuff for you, so just shut up!" Dick.
Pam puts up a new doodle, this one showing a pair of anthropomorphic cartoon dogs in tattered pants, standing on a tiny desert island with a single palm tree. Everyone's all excited, but Gabe will only let this proceed under his rules: no anti-Sabre captions, no pop-culture references (so as to prevent anyone who doesn't get the reference from being left out, like that's anyone but Gabe), and use "Sticky Quips" instead of writing them directly on the picture. Sticky Quips would be a new Sabre product, basically Post-Its shaped like word balloons. After Gabe pitches them to us in a brief talking-head, he tells everyone to go ahead. Everyone heads straight to... their IM chat windows.
Michael is at a hot dog stand, trying to pawn his watch for a hot dog and getting nowhere. Then he spots a Chinese restaurant whose sign boasts eggrolls big enough to feed China. Which may or may not be true, but they're at least big enough to draw Michael into their gravitational pull.
Dwight comes out of the grocery store ("Too many brands," he explains to an impatient Erin) to discover that Holly has been filling out a form for a new cell phone. Both they and the kiosk lady are annoyed to see she was just trying to get a free stress-ball by putting down the name "Fanny Smelmoore." Picking up another form, the sales lady tells her to say hi to "Orville Tutenbacher," a name Erin and Dwight recognize as a millionaire who farts popcorn. A Michael Scott creation, of course. Dwight and Erin realize that Holly is the key -- follow her, and she'll lead them to Michael. Sure enough, Holly has spotted a bench sign with a familiar slogan and muses, "are their eggrolls really that big?"
At the Chinese restaurant, Michael has finished his lunch. He almost gets away with pulling a dine and dash, but once he's outside, he thinks better of it. He comes back in to make a big confession, and to promise to come back later to pay, but the waiter is not impressed. He calls a large chef to come block the door. The entire door. This is a very large chef.
The search party arrives at the Chinese restaurant, but the only remaining sign of Michael is a Polaroid of him holding a sign reading "THIEF." There's a whole wall of these photos, which I can't imagine makes for a very restful dining experience. Holly claims this is all a coincidence, and after Dwight acts like the waiter can't speak English, and the three of them head off downtown to follow up, we get a closer look at the THIEFboard. Yes, of course Creed is up there.
Gabe wonders why there are no captions on the board, on Sticky-Quips or otherwise. They give him shit about how he destroyed everyone's creativity, until an IM chirps and everyone laughs. Phyllis is the only one who can't get her window closed in time, and Gabe physically pulls her away from her computer to hit the print button. He'd better hope the Sabre printer doesn't crash. Hey, this is easy! But at least someone's using the Sticky-Quips; they're on Gabe's back, advertising him as, among other things, a "Doosh." Aw, Kevin.
Michael has wandered into the part of town with the hobos and what not, and disappears down an alley. Literally, he disappears; by the time the camera follows him around the corner, he's gone. Like that camera guy is good for anything anyway.
Gabe is reading off a few of the captions out loud, and complaining about them. Phyllis invites Gabe to try, but Oscar dismisses Gabe's entry "You don't have to sniff my rear wend any more, Bob, I'm the only one here") as tasteless. Gabe says it's no more tasteless than "Is that a palm tree, or did Gabe get skinnier? Either way, let's pee on it." That gets the biggest laugh of all, but no one steps forward to claim the winner. Except in a TH, when we find out it was Angela. Who else? "It was easy once I decided I wanted the dog to piss on Gabe."
Dwight and Erin are still trying to use Holly as the Michael-Whisperer, but the trail has gone cold. After some more bickering, Holly goes off on her own, leaving Dwight to try to think like Michael, which of course doesn't work. Dwight can't even think like a normal person, let alone Michael. "Maybe he's bowling," Dwight finally shrugs and heads off in the opposite direction Holly went. Briefly torn, Erin decides to follow Holly to the nearest high building. She must have crunched the numbers in her head again.
Up on the roof, Holly finds...Michael. He came up to try to spot the office, much as Holly came up to try to spot him. They stand there speechless for a moment until Michael tearfully confesses, "I just miss you so much." With an equal amount of emotion, Holly admits that she missed him too, and finally lets him kiss her. Which he does, big time. That's how Erin finds them when she emerges on the roof. She smiles. Forget the numbers; this doesn't seem at all rushed to her?
In the tag, Phyllis asks Gabe to keep reading captions, most of which are about Gabe. Like Andy's, in which one of the dogs is saying, "I'm Gabe and I'm a weirdo," and the last one: "Gabe's mom? Wait, tall woman? Looks like Gabe? Yeah, I banged her." Thank you for that, Phyllis.
M. Giant is a Minneapolis-based writer with a wife, a son, and a number of cats that seems to have settled at around two. Learn waaaay too much about him at Velcrometer, follow him on Twitter , or just e-mail him at m.giant[at]gmail.com.