“So we’re going to Kirkwood first,” John announced, glancing at Michael.
The man next to him nodded. “All right”.
“Why are we going all the way to Kirkwood first?” Steve asked cantankerously. “That’s all the way in the middle of the city.”
“That’s just the way I divided up the lists,” responded John, maintaining composure. “Bill and Brian are taking the edge of the city. We’re gonna’ look in the middle of it, and our other guys are searching the far side of the city.”
“How helpful are these leads?” Michael skeptically questioned. “We should definitely pursue all of them, but I only wanna’ look into the most promising ones.”
He spoke authoritatively. “I wanna’ be the one who finds my daughter. My face should be the first sympathetic one she sees in all this chaos. And I wanna’ be the one who punishes the motherfucker most responsible for this shit.”
“We can arrange at least something close to that,” agreed John. “Everyone is pursuing some hopeful leads and some unhopeful ones though. All the most legitimate leads are in more than one area. I think it makes more sense for us to carry on with this plan and each group of us cover one area of town, instead of everyone just driving all over the place. That wouldn’t make any sense.”
He adopted a reassuring tone. “And if anyone else finds your girl, I’ll get them to kill everyone holding her other than the person in charge. We can interrogate them, and if they’re controlling the whole operation, you can do whatever you want to with that asshole. We’ll still free your daughter even if you’re not the first one there though, because there’s no point in prolonging her suffering, right? But if some of our people do rescue her, we’ll get you to her ASAP. And no matter who finds the main guy responsible for the abduction, I’ll make sure you get your revenge.”
“All right. That makes sense,” agreed Michael.
Steve said nothing, since admitting that John was right would have sullied his ego. All three criminals sat in uninterrupted silence for a long time, until Michael realized that he should call Haley.
After telling her what was going on, he assured her that everything would be okay. It would only increase the danger if she tagged along with them. They said their enamoured farewells, and before Michael could put his phone back in his pocket, someone with a blocked number called him.
“Hello?” he answered quizzically.
“Hello?” asked a familiar voice. “Is this Michael? This is Dr. Mctiege. I urgently need to speak with you.”
“Oh,” he retorted, breathing an internal sigh of relief. He believed that anything the doctor had to say would pale in comparison to what was happening. “Yeah, this is Michael. Hello doctor.”
“I have terrible news,” James informed him. He told him about Jennifer, the woman who had invaded his house and attacked him.
“Who the fuck is this psychotic bitch?!” Michael exclaimed, hammering the dashboard with his fist. “Who the fuck does she think she is?! What the fuck gives her the right to pull this bullshit?! And who the fuck told her to do it?! Do you have any idea at all doctor?”
Steve and John snapped their attention to Michael.
“Unfortunately I don’t,” the doctor dejectedly replied. “I haven’t looked into their significance yet though, because the first thing that I did after she left my house was call you. I’m so sorry about all this Michael. I feel somehow responsible. I’ll do what I can to figure out who this woman and her employer are, and anything else you ask of me that might help. Name anything.”
“It’s not your fault Dr. Mctiege,” Michael assured him, his voice calmer. “Let me be clear. I don’t blame you at all. You haven’t done anything wrong. You’re a victim here too. I appreciate the sympathy though, and if you could try to find out who this woman and her employer are, that would be awesome. Thanks a lot. I’m searching for my daughter right now, and I have a lot of help. So hopefully it’s just a matter of time before we save Natasha, and give the motherfuckers who arranged this whole thing exactly what they deserve.”
“Okay,” James agreed. “Is there anything else that you want me to do right now?”
“No, but thanks doctor. I really appreciate this, and I’ll let you know if there’s anything else I want you to help me with. Let me know if you find out anything about either of those people,” he requested.
“Of course,” the doctor acknowledged.
“Bye,” said Michael.
“Goodbye,” Dr. Mciege responded.