A place for thought.

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Somebody Call The Police!

Their motorcycles were leaning at the front door; close enough to need notice but far enough away not to be a real nuisance. The two of them, in uniform with utility belts and holstered guns gave the intended impression of being comfortably sprawled in two wooden chairs but it was a lie, they were nervous. They watched, using peripheral vision, as I avoided the fly blower at the door and walked away from them and toward the ordering counter.

“Tall Americano.” I stated flatly. My speech was unnecessary the girl behind the counter had already written David on my paper cup. I gave her three dollars and put the change in the tip cup. I took my preferred seat in the corner and scanned the room, looking through the uniforms as if their chairs were empty. I settled my stare a foot to the right of the tallest officer and focused on a parking lot light standard two hundred feet through the spring drizzle, a drizzle that had the parking lot shining black and reflecting every light. The tall officer looked at me, thinking he was returning my stare, but when he realized I wasn’t looking at him he turned away too quickly, embarrassed. I allowed a hint of a smile, like the light standard had done something to please me. I listened to their conversation as they tried to make small talk, pretending they were not bothered by my presence. One kept referring to working out and having been in the Marines the other didn’t take the hint and told a story about his mother and what a truly caring woman she was. I grew tired of their conversion and concentrated more on what I was writing and on sipping my Americano. I’ll check my FaceBook page even though none of my “friends” are awake yet. I’ll finish what’s in my cup and leave the men in blue to their break.

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Trapped (part 3)

Almost a full hour passed before the all clear could be given. The men in black informed the security men, still sitting in their cars, that they could take over the scene. The policemen took their places in their still running, still warm cruisers and started the paper work, the new guy was sent to the local Star Bucks to get the necessary coffee. It could not be confirmed until the homeowner could be interviewed but it appeared no one had entered the home, nothing had been disturbed or removed. The final conclusion would be, almost without a chance of error, that the door had not been set properly and had simply opened just enough to set off the alarms.

The most senior of the security men, a five foot seven, slightly overweight man with light wavy brown hair turning a bit gray above the ears pushed his rimless glasses up on his nose and carefully punched in the code to the safe room. He went over his greeting in his head. It is most important not to embarrass a client after a false alarm he reminded himself, especially a client like this one.

The DVD had finished; Margie had climbed onto Marge’s lap and fallen asleep. There was little worry that things were being taken care of outside the safe room. Marge’s laptop had received a notification that the police and security people had arrived at the house. There was nothing for her to do but wait and not share any fear or concern with Margie. They had both enjoyed the last hour in their “hide out”.   It was almost as much fun as building a blanket house in Margie’s bedroom and reading by flashlight. In the back of her mind Marge wondered if things had been damaged and if the people breaking into her perfect home had been caught, but these thoughts took up little space. Margie was the most important thing in her life and Margie was safe here in her arms. She looked at the small, five-year-old girl in her lap. Margie smiled as she dreamed, showing no fear, accepting the fact that her mother could protect her in any situation. The red light above the safe house door turned to green. Marge held Margie with one arm, checked her hair in the mirror above the sink, stood up and pushed the lever on the door. The door opened out, a security guard waited a few feet back.

“And?” Margie said to the obviously concerned man.

“It appears to have been a fault in the system, Ma’am,” the guard started. “We are checking. The front door was found open, however nothing seems to have been disturbed. We would, of course, like for you to check for anything missing or out of place.”

“Are you telling me I failed to latch the door properly?” Margie asked with enough of a smile to let him know he wasn’t in trouble.

“That is a possibility ma’am,” the guard had more to say but Margie interrupted him.

“Could you call me Marge, or at least Mrs. Adams?” At the sound of her mother’s voice Margie woke up and blinked at the man her mother was speaking to.

“There seems to have been a fault in the system, Mrs. Adams the complete system went down for several minutes and when it reset the door alarm was tripped. I’m sorry for the trouble this has put you through.”

“Oh, it was no trouble, we actually enjoyed ourselves,” Marge gave Margie a hug and put her down. Margie ran up the stairs to her bedroom singing a song from the DVD they had watched. And then Marge added, in a more business like tone, “you and your men will find the fault and repair it?”

The security man immediately nodded a yes and said, “we will not leave until we are entirely convinced you and your family are protected, Mrs. Adams.”

“Has Mr. Adams been informed?” Margie asked. It was the first time she had considered her husband’s side in this.

“He has been in communication with us from the first and is up-to-date. I believe he is quite concerned.”

“But still in his office?” Margie added and instantly felt guilty at bringing the security guard into her personal problems. “I’m sorry,” she said to the security guard, “I guess that was a little more stressful than I thought.” She left the man to do his job and walked toward the stairs to finish what was left of the evening with her daughter.

“You will double check, that things have not been disturbed?” the security man said to her back as she walked away.

She turned in a slow circle giving the room a quick look and giving the guard a glance she said, “everything is fine.” Margie started to climb the curve of carpeted stairs her left hand tripping from highly polished turned oak baluster to highly polished turned oak baluster.

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Jimmy, Super Kid (part thirty-three)

I sit and stare at all the stuff we just stored in the tree house. I know what I have to do but sometimes it’s tough being a ten-year-old kid. I sit and try to think of another way for a full ten minutes.   The back door closes behind me with a thunk. My mother is in the kitchen wiping the edges of the table with a damp cloth.

“Hey Mother, where’s the Father?”

She gives me a little hug, “Did your friend go home?” I nod. “How’s he doing?”

“He’s okay. He’s worried but he’s okay,” I just stand there and wait for an answer to my question.

“Your Father is reading in the living room, he had a long day.”

“I know, it’s going to get longer,” I let the words trail behind me as I leave the kitchen and go into the living room. My Mother is correct. My Father is sitting on the sofa hiding behind a fully open newspaper, which usually means he wants to be alone. “Father,” I stand at the end of the sofa, leaning against the over stuffed arm.

“Jimmy,” he looks over the top of the paper.

“I think we need to go back to the police station.” He folds the newspaper into a half sheet, sets it on the coffee table, scoots over, pats the sofa where he wants me to sit and waits for more. I tell him about the basement, what Ricky’s dad does for a living and how the car might be involved.

“So, we need to go right now?” my father may not say much but he’s a good listener and he does something that is hard for a lot of adults – he listens to kids.

“Ricky’s mom works from their home,” my father waits for more. “She’s home almost all the time,” He waits some more. Part of being a good listener is having patience. “Tomorrow is Sunday,” he’s got it now. I can see the light in his eyes.

“I’ll call and see if Detective Randolph is still in, he’s a pretty good friend,” my Father understands adults and how they listen to kids, he knows we need a friend on the inside if we are going to pull this off.

The only spare room at the Police Station is an old interrogation room, it still has the two-way mirror across one wall and there is a place to attach handcuffs on the bolted to the floor steel table. A single white bulb hanging by it’s cord over the center of the table lights the room. Detective Randolph leads us in, he waves at the chairs around the table as he props open the door with a rubber wedge. He looks tired; he was on his way home when my Father called.

“So what’s up Huel?” I look around the room to see where Huel is in the second it takes me to remember my Father’s name.

“I want you to hear the kid’s story,” my Father says and turns the whole thing over to me. I start with exploring the basement and tell him everything I know, he starts to get interested when I tell him about the box bolted into the back of Ricky’s dad’s Honda, I can tell he doesn’t like the part where we move the stuff into the tree house but he listens to the whole story without interrupting.

“So what time is Church in the morning?” I can tell he’s on board. I let out a little sigh of relief. My father fills him in on times and adds a few ideas of his own.

“I’ll call Mrs. Sanchez and bring her up to speed,” and then Detective Randolph looks right at me with his all business face, “and you let us do our job.” I just smile so he adds, “even if you’ve already done half our work for us,” it’s hard for him to say but I appreciate it.

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Jimmy, Super Kid (part twenty-eight)

My father starts to explain how the police operate but Ricky and I both give him looks so he changes the subject, “I’m going to stop and pick up your mother before we drop Ricky off,” he says to me. I’m sitting next to him in the front seat; Ricky is by the door looking out the side window, lost in thought.

“Good idea,” I respond. “Mom’s a lot better at the hugging and consoling.” My father is more of the manly man type. When we pull into our driveway my father waves at the back seat indicating we should get back there and then he disappears into the house. I have to give Ricky a nudge to get him moving and then he still doesn’t understand why we are at my house instead of his or why we need to change seat but he follows my lead. We sit staring ahead for several minutes; my mother must have needed to change or something.

“He’s going to be alright,” I say because it’s the right thing to say.

“You don’t know that,” Ricky sounds pretty depressed.

“No, I don’t. But it’s still true. We’re going to figure this out,” I believe what I’m saying but have no facts to back it up.

My mother hurries into the front seat, out of breath and still putting on a little bit of red lipstick, “Hi,” she turns and looks at the two of us. “I’m so sorry Ricky,” she reaches over her seat and can just tap Ricky on the shoulders with her fingers. “How are you doing?” she asks Ricky. He just hunches his shoulders so she gives him another pat and then turns around as my father backs the car out of the drive and heads for Ricky’s house.   No one says anything, everyone is thinking about Ricky’s mom and the best way to tell her her husband has been abducted. I’m pretty sure the best place for me is far away but I want to hear as much about what Ricky’s dad does for a living and what he does with his spare time so I plan to be a fly on the wall. We park in front of Ricky’s house and march toward the front door like we are being lead to a firing squad.

Ricky opens the front door and shouts, “Mom!” at the top of his lungs. I think it’s his normal greeting. And then he adds, “Ricky’s Mother and Father are with me!”

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Jimmy, Super Kid (part twenty-seven)

The ride is a silent one. Everyone is deep in thought. I’m sure it’s not the first thing on Ricky’s mind but I can’t stop trying to figure out why take the car? I can see how it could have been used to get Ricky’s dad into the truck without a fuss, they could have offered him a bunch of money for it and then said they needed him to help them unload, or gave him a ride to pick up his wife’s car. There are all kinds of things wrong with that idea but even so, they would have left the car in the abandoned truck. Why would anyone want that old rusted out thing? There has to be a connection between the car and Ricky’s dad but I need a lot more information. I’m eager to get this police business done and start getting some answers. Number one on my list of questions is: Just what does Ricky’s dad do for a living? Is he working on some top-secret government project? But how could a government project involve a nineteen-seventy Honda N360? So did he invent something in his garage and it has nothing to do with his work? I’m starved for information as we park in front of the police station. The police have a room saved with a table for us to sit around, there is no two-way mirror but there are plenty of places to hide a camera. I smile at each likely place just in case someone is watching. I may watch too much TV.

“So you did not see him leave?” the police officer asks for the third time while re-reading his notes.

“No he was already gone,” I answer for the third time.

“So how do you know he just left?” again for the third time.

“We saw a car parking in his spot,” I’m losing my patience.

“So you don’t really know when he left,” the officer really wants to make this point, I’m not sure why.

“Traffic was backed up clear around the whole town! We talked to the guy who saw the truck and trailer!   You know, that empty trailer you found by the side of the road!” I’m pretty sure that if this goes on much longer it’s me they are going to lock up.

“But you don’t have a name for this person you presumably talked to?” the officer smiles like he’s really onto something.

“I didn’t presumably talk to him, I really talked to him. Ricky talked to him too. But how does this even matter?” I think the police officer is getting tired of talking to a kid.

He turns to look at Ricky’s dad and answers my question, “ we are trying to establish a time line here and it’s important that we not include speculations.” He turns back to me looking very satisfied. I let my forehead rest on the table and wish for the end of this meeting. My wish comes true two full hours later. We stumble to my father’s car all of us completely exhausted.

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Jimmy, Super Kid (part twenty-six)

“Hey you Guys!” my father’s face appears upside down between two of the pier’s posts. “You under there?” he asks as his eyes adjust to the darkness under the pier.

“We’re here! I shout back as we crawl out of our dark, cool, hiding place and start walking with my father up the beach.

“I almost had to park in the next town,” my father says, just making conversation. “This car show has this town completely filled!”

“What did the police say?” I ask wanting to get right to the point.

My father waits a few seconds for Ricky to catch up with us, “the police called back before I got out of the house. They’ve already found the truck and trailer. It was reported stolen early this morning. They found it parked on the side of the road, the back door rolled up and nothing inside.”

“Did you tell them about my dad? Ricky asks.

“When they called back I told them everything you told me,” my father answers quickly. “We are heading for the station as soon as we get back to the car.”

“Did you tell my mother?” Ricky asks full of concern.

“No yet,” my father pauses a second and then ads, “I wanted to hurry and get your full report to the police. I didn’t want to be in a hurry when I tell your mother.”

“Sounds good,” Ricky responds and we all walk silently for a while. The continuous line of traffic still circles through the streets, some people looking for a place to park, others just looking at the old, fixed up cars. When we get to my father’s fifty-four Chevy there are several people standing around it looking in the windows, thinking it’s part of the show. My father has to smile a little, he’s pretty proud of his car.

A guy looking in the driver’s window looks up at my father when we get close, “this your car?” he asks.

“Sure is,” my father answers. He has his keys out and is unlocking doors as soon as we reach the car.

“You drive her on the street?” another man asks.

We pile in while my father answers, “Sure do,” and turns the key. The car starts immediately.

“She sounds good!” one of the people shouts as we pull on to the road.

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Jimmy, Super Kid (part twenty-three)

We stand and watch as he disappears down the street. Ricky looks like he might cry, “We need to call the police,” Ricky says so quietly I almost can’t hear him.

“We need to call my dad,” I respond and start walking toward the nearest pay phone, which is up the street on the corner.

Ricky follows, “why your dad?”

“The police will treat us just like the owner of the fifty-seven did, like kids.”

“They’ll want to see your father and get a full description of my father,” Ricky says, just thinking out loud.

“I’m going to ask my dad to report the car as stolen and last seen being loaded onto a racecar hauler.” Ricky looks me right in the eye and starts to say something but I add, “The police won’t do anything about a grown man missing for half an hour but they’ll get all over a stolen car – a rare, almost one of a kind, stolen car.”

“Why do you think they want my dad’s car, it’s a rusted heap.”

“I don’t think they want the car. I think they want your father.”

“Why?” Ricky can’t understand the reason behind this any more than I can.

“That’s what we need to find out. While the police and highway patrol look for the car we need to find out what your dad’s been up too!” Ricky just nods. We reach the phone and I explain the plan to my father. He’s up to speed without needing a lot of encouragement.

“I’ve got a friend in the Highway Patrol, I’ll call him first, they’ll get a helicopter into the air. That car hauler shouldn’t be that hard to spot. As soon as I’ve done everything I can here I’ll head your way,” the phone clicks and Ricky and I stand watching passing cars both of us looking into each side window just in case Ricky’s dad is tied up with rope and gagged in the back seat. We both know he’s nowhere around here but we can’t help looking.