Ryan’s sister Nikki was the latest suspect. A fun-loving free spirit, in some ways she was the likeliest of candidates—except that every card so far had been postmarked in the Chicago area, and Nikki lived in North Carolina. Even so, workarounds were possible. For example, perhaps to obscure her tracks she was sending unmailed cards to a friend in the area, who then mailed them on her behalf. The last card in particular appeared to implicate Nikki: Steven, her boyfriend, also lived in North Carolina, but he had grown up in Florida. It was easy to imagine he could have had an old Florida postcard lying around that she could use.
By this point, it seemed unlikely that the postcards had been sent by anyone but Nikki. And yet, when Ryan confronted her, she claimed she wasn’t behind them, although she wished she was. So unless Nikki was lying, Ryan remained in the dark, no closer to identifying the sender(s) or their intentions.
The next arrival didn’t offer any obvious clues.
The small type printed down the center of the back of the card reads: “From Greetings from the Ocean’s Sweaty Face: 100 McSweeney’s Postcards, published by Chronicle Books. © 2009 McSweeney’s and the artist.” The book appears to have gone out of print, though used copies may be found.