Kidnap, Part 1

(by, 12 October 2000)

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Part 1

Peter fought valiantly with the locked door as raindrops pelted his head and
rolled down his cheeks.  He shoved the brass key deep into the hole and
twisted it with finesse.  Eventually the tumblers gave way and the deadbolt
retreated.  He gripped the doorknob and threw his shoulder against the wood.

The phone still screamed from the kitchen.  How many times had it rung- four
or more?  His muddy shoes yielded little traction on the hardwood floors and
he slipped but kept his balance.  The phone still rang even as he lifted it
from its cradle.  "Hello!" he yelled into the phone.  "This is Pete
Torrance."  The sound of the dial tone mocked him.  He hung up the phone in
angst and wiped the rainwater mixed with tears from his eyes. 

He took a Bud from the fridge and cracked the top as he picked up yesterday's
mail from the kitchen counter.  The phone rang again, beckoning and teasing
him to answer.  He gathered his composure.

"Hello, this is Peter Torrance.  How can I help you?"  His phone manners had
become more formal since Linda's disappearance.  He felt the formality kept
the bullshit to a minimum and helped free up the line.

"Mr. Torrance", said a scratchy male voice.  "My name is Detective Ferguson.
I've been assigned to your wife's case."

"Yes", said Peter.  "Have you found out anything?"

"Not yet Mr. Torrance.  I'm sorry.  Actually, I was hoping you could see me
tonight.  I have copies of the police report, but I find it helps to ask the
questions first hand.  Would you mind?"

"Not at all.  I'll be here all night.  Come when you can", said Peter.  He
stared at the black twisted cord dangling on the phone.  Linda had always
hated it.  She had wanted him to get a cordless but he never got around to
it.  He threw the mail back on the counter and took a seat on the couch.  He
flipped around the TV with the remote control and sipped his beer in quiet

Some time later the doorbell rang.  He got up from the couch and retraced his
muddy tracks on the hardwoods.  He shook hands with Detective Ferguson and
offered him a beer but wasn't surprised when the detective declined.  Peter
asked the detective to take a seat while he got himself another beer.

Detective Mark Ferguson had been with the Atlanta Police Department for nine
years and had been a detective for the last two.  His job intrigued him but
he didn't enjoy it.  He had seen over a dozen Peter Torrances since his
promotion to detective.  Some had lost wives. Others had lost children.  Few
were ever found alive.  Some times it was the Peter Torances who were the

Peter Torrance cracked open his second Bud and took a seat.  "Where should we

Detective Ferguson opened his brief case and removed a manila envelope marked
Torrance.  He opened the envelope and held up a photograph for Peter.  "Is
this the most recent photograph of your wife Mr. Torrance?"

Peter took the photo from the detective and examined it closely, not because
he didn't recognize it but because he loved it.  His father took it six
months ago at Christmas.  He was standing behind her with his arms wrapped
around her small waist.  She looked so beautiful in the photo, so young,
vibrant and healthy.  They were both health nuts and often jogged together on
weekend mornings.  He smiled as he thought about her long blond hair tied up
in a ponytail bouncing off her ass as she trotted down the street.  "It is",
he told the detective.  "My dad took it at his house last Christmas."

"She's a beautiful woman Mr. Torrance.  How long have you two been married?"

"Seven years next month", said Peter.  "We met in college and dated for two
years after graduation.  And then Linda got pregnant.  Naturally, we decided
to get married."

"Is the child living with you now?"

Peter shook his head and took another swig.  "Nope, not while this is going
on.  Tammy is at my brother's house in Alpharetta.  As a matter of fact, I
need to call her before it gets too late."

"I won't take up much more of your time- just a few more questions.  How old
is your wife, Mr. Torrance?"

"Linda turned 31 three months ago.  I'm 32 and Tammy is 6."

"Does your wife have any distinguishing marks, scars or tattoos on her body?"

"Not really", said Peter.  "At least nothing noticeable."

"How about habits Mr. Torrance.  Does your wife, smoke, drink or use drugs of
any kind?"

"Are you suggesting she had a scrap with her pusher detective, and maybe he's
holding her hostage until I pay off her drug debt?"

"I'm sorry if the questions sound insensitive, but I assure you I wouldn't
ask them if they weren't important."

"I'm sorry," said Peter.  "I know you're trying to help.  I'm just angry and
it tears me apart to be so helpless.  She needs me and I can't help her."

"I understand Mr. Torrance and I assure you that we're doing every thing
possible to bring your wife back safely.  Can you answer the question though?
Does your wife have any bad habits?"

"None", said Peter.  "She loathes smoking as much as I do.  She hates going
to my parent's house because my mom smokes.  And she's not much of a drinker.
She'll have a glass of Champaign on New Years or a beer at a baseball game,
but she's not a regular drinker and she would never do drugs."

"I have one more question Mr. Torrance.  During the last three days have you
been able to think of anyone who might have played a part in your wife's
disappearance?  An obsessed grocery clerk or neighbor perhaps?"

"I wish I could", said Peter.  "It would give me some one to hate while you
checked them out, but the truth is, I don't know any one who would want to
hurt Linda."

Detective Ferguson nodded and thanked Peter for his time.  Peter got up and
showed him to the door.  They shook hands and the detective promised to call
him on a regular basis regardless of the news.

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