The Following Ficlet Takes Place Between 10:00 PM and 11:00 PMMature

10:02:19 PM

Twelve hours more and this little babysitting job would be over. Marcos was counting the moments. It had been a long and trying day, and Marcos was exhausted, but at the same time he couldn’t let himself wind down.

Something about this job unsettled Marcos. Not just because the kid was completely certifiable, but also because he didn’t know a thing about his employer, the Mastermind. All Marcos had on him was a phone number he could dial, and Marcos had surmised that number only led to a rerouter, rendering the Mastermind untraceable.

This didn’t sit well with him. When he took the job, it seemed like good money for a simple snatch job. But the longer it went, the greater the chance for the job to go south became. And Marcos began to realize it would be a good idea to have someone to flip on if it did.

Marcos had Guillermo check on the kid, then went into his office and logged onto his computer. He began to research the only thing he had to go on… the target: Dr. Gordon Reeves…

10:08:23 PM

A red Chevrolet Trailblazer merged into traffic, transporting two angry pre-teens. “Where exactly are you taking us?” Randall asked his mom. “You’re interrupting us at a critical point in our investigation.”

“That information is classified,” his mom played along mostly to calm her nerves. It had been a very trying day. “But suffice it to say, you will be debriefed by the best.”

“Jack is the best,” Sara whined. “And we were this close to locating him before you interrupted us. If anything happens to him… “

“We wanted to talk to you about that, honey,” Sara’s dad said. “Jack’s – now they have me doing it – Jason’s dad is coming over. He needs to know everything, sweetheart. Starting with the last time you heard from Jason.”

Sara crossed her arms, a look of sheer determination etched across her face. “And what if I don’t comply?” she asked.

“You’ll be grounded for two weeks.”

“And that goes double for you,” Randall’s dad piped in.

“The price we pay for our country,” Sara muttered.

10:33:37 PM

Half an hour later, Marcos still hadn’t learned a thing about the Mastermind, and precious little about Gordon Reeves. Marcos went over what he had:

Reeves, Gordon. Born May 3, ‘73. Graduated West Hills High, ‘91. B.S. in Biology, UCSD , ‘95. Married Ellen Davis, April 18, 1996. One son, Jason, born later that same year. Completed medical degree, ‘01. Worked his way through to chief or cardiology at UCSD Med Center (he never left). By the book, he acquired position for his administrative abilities as much as anything else. Investments solid, but no standouts. Lives in affluent part of town, though Zillo prices the homes around his at 7% more than his.

Why would the Mastermind target this guy?

Marcos got up and went into the storeroom where Jason was being held. He pulled off Jason’s burlap hood, and let him adjust to the light and to focus.

Then he ripped the duct tape from Jason’s mouth.

“MmmrrrrooOOWWW!!” Jason shouted.

“Okay,” Marcos said simply. “Let’s talk.”

10:49:37 PM

Sara sang like a bird. Like a bird on acid, that is.


“Just how many caramel macchiatos have you had tonight?” Sara’s mother asked, rubbing her temples.

“Onlyfour,” Sarah blurted.

It continued like this. The adults questioned Sara and Randall separately and would corroborate their stories. Sara mostly told the truth, as she knew Randall would, although she was careful not to give away anything useful. She flat out lied, however, when they asked where she thought Jason was.

She and Randall and Jason had decided long ago, and then made Arnold agree, that if they were ever compromised and had to give up a location, they would give their interrogators the same predetermined spot.

And so Sara and Randall both gave Jason’s dad the address of the Chuck E. Cheese downtown…

The End

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