Chapter 6: (Sunday, September 12th PM)
Victor and Jack returned to their office for the second time that day. It was already after 6 p.m. but the station was full of the usual activities that bordered on chaos, with stern policemen, angry criminals and worried suspects. Victor and Jack walked right through them and secluded themselves in the meeting room where they had left the case files in the morning. There, they began to go over the information they had obtained from Danny, Chuck and Hawk.
“You know, this is the most information we’ve gathered on the abduction cases to date. Up to now, no one claimed that they saw anything when those kids disappeared.” Jack said excitedly.
“Well, we got lucky this time.” Victor replied.
“No, it has nothing to do with luck. Victor, you’re the one who got the lead on the homeless guy. In a million years, I wouldn’t have linked the ripped cardboard boxes to a man’s home…” Jack said as he glanced at Victor with admiration.
“Years of experience, I guess. When you’ve been around as long as I have, you tend to look at things differently.” Victor replied modestly. He continued, “Anyway, what do you think happened in the alleyway, Jack? Do you believe the story that Timothy really disappeared into a burst of light?”
“Well, both Chuck and Hawk independently mentioned the light.” Jack replied. “But I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense. If I wasn’t there with you I probably wouldn’t have believed it and would wonder what drugs you were on to report something like that.”
“If that’s the case, then what could it be? It just sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. You don’t believe in UFO’s, do you?” Victor asked Jack in anticipation of what Jack had to say.
“No, but it can’t be just lightning from a storm. It was a sunny day yesterday. There were no clouds in the sky. What else could it have been, especially in that narrow alleyway?” Jack continued. “We have to entertain all avenues, no matter how improbable.”
Victor had never believed in the existence of alien spaceships and extraterrestrial visitors. But the more he discussed the beam of light with Jack, the more he began to feel that there was a possibility. Then he said to Jack,
“If an alien spaceship in fact kidnapped Timothy, it would suggest that the other kids were abducted the same way. Jack, can you see the possibility of them being beamed up into a spaceship?”
“I don’t know,” Jack said rubbing the back of his neck, “I don’t want to believe in such a thing. And even if we do, who is going to believe us. This kind of thinking could ruin our careers!”
Victor, now disturbed, replied.
“But you know our government could be hiding information related to UFO’s, right?”
“Bull shit. I don’t believe it.” Jack replied in agitation.
Victor was somewhat surprised to see Jack’s reaction, but pressed on in his train of thought.
“What else could it be? We have to think harder. In your records, there were a few people who were reported as being the last ones to see the missing children. Let’s phone and ask them whether they saw anything strange or something similar to the light that Chuck and Hawk mentioned. Can you put together a list of those witnesses?”
“Sure thing. That’s a good idea. We should interview them again.” Jack replied.
Jack decided it was better to work on leads than to spend too much time dwelling on the thought of aliens and spaceships.
That night, Victor and Jack each took half of the names on the list and called each one to obtain further information from the witnesses. Eventually they found a few people who had also noticed the beam of light or a bright flash. When asked why they had never mentioned it in the prior interviews, they all replied that they had never linked the light and the abduction.
The more Victor and Jack dug into the facts, the likelihood of their aliens abduction theory became, much to their reluctance, more real. As they suspected, the description of a bright flash of light by the witnesses was identical in each case.
Jack called Victor, after talking to the last witness on his list, to compare the details of the calls they made.
“It’s too much of a coincidence,” said Jack, “and, frankly…way too spooky, Victor.”
“Yeah. I know. But I’ve been thinking…if it was aliens, why have they only been taking children? Why not adults?” Victor asked with a sense of frustration and apprehension in his voice.
“Jack, have I told you what T.J. mentioned? He said that all those kids seemed to be drug users.”
“You mean to tell me that there is a possibility that all those kids were about to meet their dealers before they disappeared?” Jack asked, a sound of dread filling his voice.
“The way it happened to Timothy? If that is the case, we have to investigate the drug dealers who are associated with them,” Jack replied, knowing the case was getting messier and more complicated by the minute.
‘Who was responsible and why? Bad drug debts, child slavery, aliens!’ he thought to himself. He knew it was going to be another sleepless night of tossing and turning.
“You’re right. You’re right. I’ve been thinking about the same thing, Jack. Let’s investigate from that angle.” Victor said excitedly.
(Monday, September 14th AM)
The next morning, Victor and Jack approached T.J. again in order to obtain the names of local drug dealers. T.J. patiently took time to provide them with all known drug dealers in the city that might be linked to the missing children. What surprised Victor was that the number of drug dealers who dealt to children had increased significantly in the last few years.
“For God sakes. No wonder illegal drugs are becoming so widespread among young children in this city. It’s scary.” Victor said angrily.
“Where are the parents? Don’t they know their kids are using drugs?” Jack said with disgust.
T.J. sighed patiently and replied, “You know yourself, Jack; when we were young, some of us experimented with drugs just because other kids were doing it. I bet a lot of them couldn’t kick the bad habit even when they became adults. And even if they manage to quit, it’s got to be damned hard to punish their children without feeling like a hypocrite.”
Jack nodded submissively with the knowledge that parents were not likely ever going to be able to completely control the behavior of their children, especially with the influence of the media bombarding them from every corner and at every waking moment.
Meanwhile, Victor placed a map of downtown Los Angeles on the desk and spread it open. Then he began to mark “X’s” on various places.
“T.J., these are the locations of the schools where the missing kids were attending. Is it possible for you to match the territories of those dealers to these schools?”
“Well, it may not be accurate, but I believe these 3 dealers handle those territories. Of course, one of them being Hawk.” T.J. answered as he scribbled down the names of the dealers on a piece of paper and handed it to Victor.
“Good.” Victor continued. “Jack, could you pull their photos and the addresses from the police records? I think we should give them a surprise visit this morning and find out if they recognize any of the missing kids. It’s still early enough, we can catch them before they leave home.”
“Okay, Victor. I’ll be back right away.” Jack replied as he grabbed the list of names from Victor.
“Thanks, T.J. It means a lot to me that you really want to find out what has happened to those kids as much as I do.”
“I understand. We’ve got to stop what’s been happening at all costs. I’ll check with my boss whether I can go with you when you visit them. I know of them so I should be able to identify them quickly. ”
“Could you? That would be great.” Victor said with gratitude. He was quickly realizing he and Jack were going to need all the help they could get.
T.J. left to see his captain and returned with a big smile.
“My boss gave me his blessing. He understands the urgency of your investigation. I’m here to help you.”
When Jack returned with the information, the three men left the police station and headed for the home of the first dealer on their list.
It was already 10’oclock in the morning and most of the rush hour traffic had subsided. But the drive was still slow enough to put the detectives on edge. Victor and Jack were anxious but for different reasons. Victor wanted to talk to the drug dealers as quickly as possible to verify what the other witnesses had told them.
Jack was worried that they would corroborate the other eye witness accounts. How were they going to explain to T.J. and the other officers that aliens might be involved? All Jack could think of was that this wasn’t going to end well for the case or his career. He didn’t want to become a laughing stock at the precinct.
T.J. was getting tense with the anticipation of their unexpected visit. He always felt this tension because you never knew what reaction a police presence would bring. Would it just be aggressive language or physical violence? T.J also noticed that neither Victor nor Jack were doing much talking. They seemed to be lost in their own thoughts and he didn’t want to disturb them.
They arrived at the apartment of the first dealer. At the building entrance, T.J. pressed one of the intercom buttons and asked,
“Is Jimmy home?”
“He’s still asleep. Who wants to know?” The three men heard the unwelcoming voice of an old woman through the intercom.
“This is his parole officer, T.J. Herman.” He lied.
There was a moment of silence. The officers looked at each other but before they could say anything they heard.
“Oh, Jimmy’s parole officer. Please come in.”
With the sound of a buzzer, T.J. pushed the door open so the three men could enter. Jimmy’s apartment was on the second floor. They quickly climbed the stairs and stood in front of Jimmy’s suite. T.J. knocked on the door gently and the old woman looked through the peephole.
After T.J. flashed his police badge, the woman slowly opened the door. At first, she was surprised to see three men standing at the door. But, following a short pause, she let them into the apartment. Then she walked to one of the bedrooms and knocked on the door and yelled, “Jimmy, your parole officers are here to see you! Get up!”
After a few minutes, Jimmy appeared from his bedroom still in pajamas. When Jimmy spotted the three men, he tried to run back into his bedroom. But Jack quickly grabbed his arm and brought him out to the living room, forcibly sitting Jimmy down on the couch and startling the old woman. Then Jimmy said, “Hey, man, what the hell? Who the hell are you and what do you want?”
“Jimmy, we’re not here to make problems for you. We’re not arresting you. We just need some information. So, calm down already.” T.J. said.
“Let go of me!” Jimmy was getting angry, but Jack just tightened his grip. They looked at each other menacingly for a moment, but mutually decided to simply de-escalate the situation.
When the old woman realized that the three men didn’t come to the apartment to arrest or harm Jimmy, she left to go into the kitchen, but kept her ears open to catch their conversation.
“What kind of information do you want?” Jimmy asked with a touch of anger, but mostly annoyance, in his voice.
Jimmy stopped struggling with Jack and looked toward T.J. Jack’s hands were still on Jimmy’s shoulders, forcing Jimmy to sit still. But once Jimmy calmed down, Jack released him.
“We just want to know if you know these kids.” Victor said as he laid the photos of the missing children on the coffee table.
Jimmy rubbed his eyes and studied each picture.
“I know this one and this one.” As Jimmy pointed at the pictures of two boys.
“When did you last see them?” Victor asked.
“What is this? What do you want?” Jimmy asked with a touch of fear in his voice. He was wondering of what he was going to be accused if he said more.
“Just answer his questions” T.J. said “and you can get back to your nice warm bed and we can get out of here.”
Jimmy looked at both Victor and Jack, and after a short pause said,
“Well, this one, I saw him about 2 weeks ago. We had another meeting last week, but he didn’t show up. And… this kid, I saw him last Tuesday. I’m supposed to see him tomorrow. What’s this all about?”
“These kids were all abducted recently.” Victor explained.
“Abducted?! I didn’t do anything! I don’t know where they are.” Jimmy tried to get up suddenly, but Jack quickly stopped him by grabbing his shoulders. Jimmy tried to get his body free from Jack’s grip, but failed. Then Jimmy sat back on the couch when he realized he wasn’t going to break free.
Hearing the commotion coming out of the living room, the old woman came back from the kitchen to the living room.
“Don’t hurt him. He hasn’t done nothing,” the woman pleaded.
“We know you have nothing to do with the disappearances. We just wanted to confirm that these children buy goods from you. That’s all.” Victor added.
Jimmy looked up at Victor and said, “Well, as long as you won’t arrest me, I’ll tell you the truth.”
“As we said, we’re not here to arrest you.” Victor assured Jimmy.
“Okay. Yes, they buy goods from me every week.” Jimmy replied.
“When are you going to meet with your next client?” Victor asked.
“What do you mean by ‘next client’?” Jimmy was puzzled.
“I mean you have more than those two kids who buy drugs from you. When are you going to meet your next customer?”
“This afternoon at 2:30. Why?” Jimmy replied.
“Because we want to accompany you.” Jack said gruffly.
Jimmy started to object.
Victor emphasized, “Listen, this is very important. Eight children have disappeared in this town recently and we may lose more. We have come to the realization that some of them disappeared just before drug transactions. In order to prevent further abductions, we have to know who is behind all this. You are the only hope we have. Help us.”
“Son, help them if you can.” The old woman interrupted their conversation. Jimmy glanced at her then closed his eyes for a moment. Then looked up and said to the three men,
“Okay. You can come with me this afternoon.”
Jimmy shared the details of his next meeting with the three men.
“I’m supposed to meet a kid named Trevor at 2:30 this afternoon. So why don’t we meet at 2:15 at the main entrance of the Northgate Market downtown. That will still give us a plenty of time to get to the meeting place.” Jimmy said.
“Thanks Jimmy!” Victor said with gratitude.
Victor shook Jimmy’s hand, then turned around and approached the old lady who was standing by the kitchen. Victor said to her,
“We apologize for the unpleasant visit, Ma’am. We will leave now. Thanks for the words of encouragement to your son to do the right thing.” Victor nodded his head to show his appreciation to Jimmy’s mother.
The three men left Jimmy’s apartment and visited the next drug dealer whose name was Randy. What they elicited from him was similar to what they found out with Jimmy. Randy claimed to have been regularly dealing with three of the missing children. T.J.’s assumption was correct. All 8 abductees were the customers of Hawk, Jimmy and Randy, which meant that the abductions were related, somehow, to the drug deals.
(Writer's note: Chapter 7 will be uploaded on Tuesday, June 30th.)