t was the night before Christmas. Captain Jack Pierce had just finished dinner with his wife and two daughters when the phone rang. Jack listened for about ten seconds, scratched his forehead and replied, “I will be there in ten minutes”. His wife Coleen stood in the hallway with folded hands. This wasn’t new for her.
Jack strapped his shoulder holster and checked his gun. Coleen got him his jacket.
He kissed her and left.
* * *
Janice Stallman was driving the beat down ’93 Caprice on northbound I-75 when her boyfriend Brad Jenkins pulled out the SIM card from the cell phone, broke it into two and threw it out the window into the snow that was piled up on the roadside. Ten minutes later Janice pulled into a rest area. The only other car in that rest stop left as Janice parked the Caprice.
Brad headed to the men’s room while Janice stayed in the car. He threw the brown bag containing the cell phone into trash can and headed for the urinal.
When Brad returned, Janice was standing with her back to the driver side door lighting a cigarette. “You drive”, said Janice throwing the keys to Brad and walking to the other side. Brad got into the driver seat and turned to look at the back seat. He lifted the blanket. Little Billie lay there with his mouth gagged. His hands and legs were tied. His eyes were filled with fear.
The Caprice picked up speed.
* * *
“Yes, this is Captain Jack Pierce from the Royal Oak police department. We know they are northbound on I-75 and should be in Flint city limits by now. They have the kid!”. Jack looked at the Interstate map spread on the coffee table. Billie’s parents, Tim and Anna Smith, sat on the couch listening to Jack on the phone with the Chief of Police, Flint, Michigan.
Jack hung up the phone and turned to Tim and Anna. “Don’t worry about the ransom call. We will get them soon!”
* * *
Janice was caught for shoplifting eight months ago and spent time a few months in jail. Brad was convicted for trying to rob a liquor store. They met each other two months ago after they were released from jail. They were both now in the interrogation room, sitting on their chairs with their hands cuffed behind their back.
“How the hell did they get us?” asked Brad turning to Janice.
“Let me help you with that”, said Captain Jack Pierce closing the door behind him with a smile on his face.
“I must say the two of you were ingenious in your execution of the plan. You made the ransom call from the cell phone, which we traced by the way. We knew you made the call near the I-75 and I-696 interchange. We couldn’t track the phone from the towers a minute after the call. You must have switched off the phone or discarded it. You could have been driving off in any direction, leaving us perplexed! Isn’t that right, Brad?”
‘Yes, that was the plan’, thought Brad.
Jack walked up to the door, opened it and turned to Brad and Janice.
“Unfortunately for the two of you, Little Billie was a homing beacon! He had a heart condition when he was 4 years old and had an internet-enabled pacemaker installed that sends a Twitter message every few minutes! We knew where you scumbags were all the time! Merry Christmas, y’all!”
Captain Jack Pierce slammed the door shut and walked out whistling ‘Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer…’