The Loss and the Gain

“We lost today because I failed to do my job,” a dejected Shaun Suisham spoke into a reporter’s microphone. “My job is to make field goals, and I didn’t do that today.”  The sure-footed kicker had uncharacteristically shanked two short field goals.  The resulting 6-point swing was just enough for the Oakland Raiders to claim victory. 

“Uh, no more questions now guys,” he said as he put on his over-coat.  “I have to get going.”

“Getting out of dodge huh, Shaun?” a reporter asked.

“Yeah, something like that.”

He rushed out of the locker room, deflecting the glares of defensive lineman and wide-receivers.  As a kicker, he was used to the criticism.  But it didn’t matter right now.  There were more important things at hand than the fickle stares of teammates.  He pushed past a group of press people and made his way into the hallway.   

He felt a singular vibration in his pocket.  It was a text message from an unknown number.  Eight o’clock on the dot.  “Right on time,” he thought.  The message contained another phone number.  From what Shaun remembered about his initial instructions, he was supposed to call that number from a landline exactly 6 minutes after he received the text.  That’s when he would receive his final instructions.

Suisham ducked into a shadowy hallway of the Oakland Coliseum.  This stadium was built in the 60’s so the hallways were still hardwired with payphones.  He dropped his duffle bag onto the tile and rummaged around until he found some change.  His hand shook as he dropped the quarters and dimes into the small metal slot.  He placed a small device on the end of the receiver and dialed the number.

The phone only rang once before the voice on the other end started speaking.  “Your end of the
bargain has been fulfilled,” the voice spoke in a muffled tone.

“Fine,” Suisham barked.  “Where are my children?”

“Your children are unharmed.  They will be dropped off in a safe neighborhood.  They will likely wander the street until a Good Samaritan or local police officer finds them.”

“But how will I…” The phone clicked and the dial-tone resumed its cold drone.

The place kicker pulled the small device from the pay-phone.  He went into his duffle bag again, this time retrieving a small silver laptop.  He opened the laptop on the ground and plugged the device into its USB port.  After a few moments, the triangulation was complete.  The screen read, “Kansas City, KS.”

Suisham muttered to himself, “Number three. I should have known.”

He closed the laptop and placed it back in his bag.  He dug a bit deeper down into a secret side pocket.  The heaviness of the lead lining made the bag feel lopsided but it was useful for sneaking contraband onto airlines.  He felt the reassuring cold steel of his Sig 1911 and zipped the bag completely.  There were voices coming closer in the adjacent hallway.  Suisham stood up, adjusted his coat, and walked calmly to the exit. 

There was a plane to catch to Kansas City.  He had a bullet with Jeff Reed’s name on it.

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