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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Microstory 897: Wrong Guy

Depending on how you look at it, I was either in the wrong place at the wrong time, or the right place at the right time. I’ve always been a curious fellow, and fairly observant, but not particularly brave. Mine was one of the last cities to still have payphones, and I happened to be waiting for one when a man was inside of it, having a very heated conversation. I wouldn’t have been there if my phone’s battery hadn’t died, and I didn’t need to alert my daughter that I would be late that night. The man was trying to keep his voice down, but when people are angry, they’re known for having trouble controlling themselves. I could pick out a few good sentences when his back was turned to me. Unless he was acting, or just joking around, he had just kidnapped someone, and was demanding payment for it. My assumption was that I was on some prank show, be it a new one, a revived old series, or as part of a crappy attempt at online video superstardom. It seemed too risky to just ignore the possibility, however, that it was all real, and simply go about my business. As soon as he got out of the phone booth, he started speedwalking down the street, so if I had stopped to call the police, he would have gotten away. Besides, I thought, if he really is ransoming someone, the cops probably already know about it. So, like the right fool I am, I started following him all sneaky-like. He never caught on to my pursuit, and he led me right to his secret lair, where he was keeping a young boy tied up in a chair. I didn’t see anyone else around, so when the kidnapper was in the bathroom, I raced to undo the kid’s ropes, and carried him out.

My instinct was to get as far from the area as fast as possible, even if that meant going away from a phone I could use to call for help. I was right to not stop, because the kidnapper came out soon thereafter, and started chasing us. I noticed a woman leave her car running as she went up to a building to deliver flowers, so I stole her car, and drove off. I asked the boy where he lived, and he gave me the name of a small town that was thirty miles away. Clever, taking him so far away that the cops aren’t even looking in the right place. Worried that the man would have a car of his own, I didn’t stop driving until we were safely out of the city. We stopped at a diner, and I let him out so we could borrow a phone, which was just another dumb thing I did. Had I walked in there alone, no one would have paid attention, but everyone by then had received the Amber Alert. They were just sitting there, staring at us, like a scene out of Vanilla Sky. I tried to reason with them, and claim that I was the rescuer, not the kidnapper, but no one believed me. I tried to just leave the kid there, and let those people deal with it, but he refused. He must have developed an attachment in our short time together. Anyway, we got back on the road to strategize how I could clear my name, knowing full well that my picture would soon be part of the Amber Alert too. The cops set up roadblocks, and chased after us, and honestly, I thought it would only end in my death. But then the bombs went off, and none of that mattered anymore. Amid the chaos, I finally got us back to the kid’s hometown, but his parents were nowhere to be found. We’ve been traveling the country together ever since, just trying to survive, like everybody else. So that’s our story. How did you guys meet?

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