~ 19 ~
Interlude Number Two: Enter the Police
Captain Pat Blake had a horrible day. He was ready to go home, feed his dogs and go to bed, but fate had other plans for him so instead of getting to take off his uniform and relax; he headed for the break room and poured himself another cup of coffee. After his fifth he had stopped counting.
He had been going over the final reports of the day when they got a call about one of the missing boy band members being spotted in their little town. The woman claimed her daughter was beside herself with worry insisting she had spotted one of them in a truck, looking like he had been beaten up. Of course as much as Pat wanted to ignore this, because of the high profile potential of the case, he had to follow through. He insisted she bring her daughter down to the station for questioning. He almost went home, but he figured it was best if he were the one to interrogate her.
When he walked into the room with a Coke and candy bar in his hand, he found the girl’s mother hugging her.
“Hi there, I’m Captain Blake.” He said smiling at the teenager and handing her the Coke and candy. “I know when I’m having a bad day; I need these things to help me through.”
She smiled, “Thanks.”
“Tell me what happened.”
Pat listened intently as Jennie told her very brief story about seeing the guy in the Target and then ending up being in the parking spot right next to him as they were leaving and then how she locked eyes with Nick Carter before they drove away.
He jotted down notes and made sure he watched the girl as she spoke. Her body language indicated that she really believed everything she was saying. “Honey, show him the pictures.” The mother said as the girl took out her phone.
“Yeah, I took a picture of the guy at the Target but I also got a picture of Nick. It’s not that good, kind of blurry but it’s really him.”
He looked at the first picture of the potential suspect. The picture was really clear but he didn’t recognize the face at all. Then he scrolled to the next picture which was supposed to be Nick Carter. Pat really had no clue who he was, so looking at the picture to ID him wasn’t going to help. He did pick up on a few things though. One, Jennie was right. This guy did look like he was in a fight or something. From the side it looked like his ear might have been bloody as well as the collar of his shirt, but what really got him to pay close attention were two things just barely in the picture and hard to make out because of how small it was. “I’m going to take your phone for a few minutes and print out these pictures, is that okay?”
Jennie nodded, “Just don’t read my texts.”
“Jennie!” Her mother said embarrassed.
Pat laughed, “I promise.” He stood up and looked over at the mother, “I’ll be right back.”
“How’s it going in there?” Officer Carla Wright asked when she saw her boss leave the interrogation room.
“Hey Carla, do you think you can take a picture from this phone and get it onto the computer?”
He handed her the phone, “Yeah, what are you looking for?”
“I just need to see this bigger.”
She did her magic and within a few minutes, the picture of Nick was on the big flat screen. He squinted and then pointed, “Can you zoom in on that?”
“Sure.” She said as she blew up the image right where Pat had asked her to. “Oh my,” She said.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought!” He nodded. “I’m going to need you to print this out as well as the one picture before it.”
“Okay, will do.” She went to work as he grabbed the phone and headed back into the interrogation room.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.” He handed Jennie her phone, “I promise I didn’t look at any of your text messages but I do hope you don’t text and drive!”
“Oh, I don’t drive yet, but soon...right Mom?”
He nodded and then gave her mother a sympathetic look. “Can you tell me anything else about the man you thought Mr. Carter might be with, or about the truck?”
“You do believe me, don’t you? You think it’s him.”
“I can’t really say for sure Jennie, but it could be.”
“The guy had a lot of medicine in his cart.”
He nodded, “Medicine?”
“Yeah, I noticed when I went to grab my CD. He almost ran me over with it. I looked down and he had piles of aspirin and ace bandages, stuff like that.”
“That’s good, anything else?”
He watched the teenager as she bit the inside of her cheek in deep thought. “No, nothing else I can think of. You don’t think this guy hurt Nick, do you, and what about the rest of them?” She looked over at her mother, “See Mom? I told you we should have followed that truck!”
“It was very wise that you didn’t, otherwise we might be looking for you as well.” He smiled and winked at them both.
As he led them out of the room he took the teenager’s hand in his and shook it, “Thanks for coming out here. We’ll be keeping in touch.”
“I hope I was helpful.”
“You were sweetheart.”
She smiled at him. “Thanks!”
He watched as the two of them left and then turned his attention back to Carla. “Did you print those photos out yet?”
“Here you go, boss!” She handed him the prints. “So, what’s the next step?”
“I would like you and Mark to head to the Target and see if anyone else saw him,” He gave her the photo of the driver, “in the store or parking lot, same with Carter. See if there have been any more celebrity sightings in the store. And then maybe you can cruise around the area, the rural roads in search of this van the band were all supposedly traveling in. My guess is, if this is a kidnapping case it’s bound to be abandoned on the side of a road somewhere and since no one has reported anything yet, it’s most likely on one of the less traveled ones.”
“Sounds like a good idea. I think it might actually be him. It’s hard to tell but I pulled up some of his recent photos and it sure does look like him, see?” She led Pat to her computer where she had several You Tube videos opened of recent performances and appearances. He held up the picture he had in his hands right to the screen and they did look very similar, right down to the gray tee-shirt even. “And according to the band’s website, logistically it could be possible for them to have driven through our little town to get to their next concert.”
He nodded, “I think it’s time to get the FBI involved in this. I’m pretty sure we have a kidnapping on our hands.”
“I agree.” He once again looked at the photo he had pulled from Jennie Wilson’s phone where there stood a rifle behind the driver’s seat. “Even if this isn’t Nick Carter, he’s obviously a hostage.”
“Yeah, you normally don’t tie someone up for a casual trip to Target.”
“Nope, you sure don’t.” He said as his eyes once again landed on the rope seen around the wrists of the passenger.
“Good eye to spot that, Pat.”
“Thanks, yeah at first I thought it might have been a watch but his hands were too close together. Definitely rope.”
Carla shook her head, “Who would have thought in our little town…before this the biggest news story was when Mr. Miller’s cow got loose and started roaming around the highway.”
Pat nodded, “Yup, I think this is going to beat that.”
“I wonder where the other four are.”
“Now, that’s a good question.”
Carla grabbed her partner and headed out to Target as Pat went into the break room and got another cup of coffee before calling the FBI and bracing himself for a long night.