Kidnappers And Hoodlums

Saturday, September 13, 1997

“Garrison,” Brant greeted from the phone.

“Brant! I’ve found Dani’s kidnapper.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” he said. Here I was, standing 15 feet away from dangerous drug-dealing kidnappers, hoping they didn’t hear my secretive phone call, and all he could do was say “Don’t be ridiculous.”

I was livid. But I still needed his help. “I followed Sean Messina,” I said. “And now he’s inside of Under Grounds talking to some hoodlum.”

“A hoodlum, huh?” I could hear Brant sloppily chewing his pizza. “I know your mama taught you better than to go around stereotyping.”

“Didn’t your mother tell you not to talk with your mouth full? Now put down the damn pizza and listen to me.” Silence on the other end. “I mean, I’m sorry,” I quickly added. “Can you please help me?”

More silence. At the time, I thought he was angry, hurt even. Now, I know he was just being manipulative.

Finally, “Describe the man to me.” My brief, but detailed, rundown was followed by another silence, until Brant said, “Stay right there. I’m coming over.”

“I can’t,” I said, watching Kevin Jones rise and shake Sean’s hand.

“You can’t?” Brant echoed in disbelief.

“They’re leaving. I have to follow them.”

As I hung up the phone I could hear Brant saying my name. There was a sense of urgency in his voice. Fear rather. He wasn’t afraid that I’d challenged his authority, he was afraid that I was in danger. I knew then and there that Brant truly cared about me.

As the men walked out the door, I studied my feet, but couldn’t help but glance up – just as Sean Messina looked at me. He smiled at me, an eerie, knowing smile, then both men got into the Geo Prism and drove off.

He knew who I was. He knew I was Dani’s friend. Knew that I was looking for her. He knew I was following him and knew that I was in cahoots with Brant.

But he didn’t know what the Garrisons were capable of. He didn’t know that he couldn’t outsmart them.

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