She glanced at me, took me in, was going to dismiss me, but my buddy Greg was there.
“He’s the one who discovered the locked elevators, ma’am. Keir Doyle. He owns a food truck outside.”
I stepped over to shake hands. She reluctantly held out her hand.
“We couldn’t see much of anything from our position, but the officer upstairs asked me to come down and tell you he spotted four people. They’re armed.”
“I don’t know, ma’am. He didn’t say. That stairway is right outside the office. We weren’t doing a lot of talking.”
She nodded. Getting on her radio, she rattled off a lot of instructions. “Do you know how many hostages are up there?”
“I can give you a rough idea. Most of those folks come by the truck on the way home. I didn’t see twelve of them. Factoring in those who simply didn’t stop, or were out sick, eight? Ten? Including my girlfriend.”
“She works there?”
“She’s working a case. She’s a postal inspector, ma’am.”
“Shit. Investigating what?”
“She couldn’t say. But she did tell me that she didn’t deny that there was something going on.”
It took her a second to click through that. “Know her boss’ name?”
“No, ma’am. She doesn’t talk much about her work, and I know better than to ask.”
“Thank you, Mr. Doyle.” She did kind of a double take. “You any kin to Chica Doyle?”
“Yes, ma’am. My youngest sister goes by Chica.” She has some fame as a singer here in the city, and across the country. She specializes in Spanish style songs, which is hilarious, since we’re full blooded Irish.
“Let’s make a call,” she said, squaring off with Greg at the counter “Can you connect me with the front desk up there?”
“Yes, Captain Monroe.” He worked his magic.
The phone was on speaker, so we could hear it ringing. It was answered after five rings.
“Hello?” It was Lucy, sounding terrified.
“This is Captain Lizbette Monroe of the Metro Police. With whom am I speaking?”
Receptionist. Twenty-two. Single. Greg wrote on a pad of paper.
Monroe nodded. “Hi, Lucy. May I speak to whomever is in charge?”
“Yes. One second. She wants to talk to you,” she said timidly.
The phone changed hands. “If you want Lucy to keep her head, I need a few things,” the gruff voice said.
“I’m here to find out what that is,” Monroe said with a sweetness that sounded fake as shit to me.
“I want a helicopter on the roof in thirty minutes.”
“I can have one there in an hour, no sooner.”
“You have forty minutes, no more.”
“Surely. that isn’t all.”
“I want forty million dollars.”
“Who do you expect to pay that? What was your name?”
“You can call me Ray,” he snarled.
“Who is supposed to pay the ransom, Ray?”
“I don’t give a shit, just pay.”
“The company assets aren’t that easily liquidated. And they don’t have forty million.”
“I said I don’t care! You want to see these nice people alive again, you pay up! And the helicopter.”
“I can’t get that kind of money together in a forty minute time frame. Let’s be reasonable. Why don’t you begin by telling me why you took over this office. There are dozens in the building. Why Starke and Howe?”
“Cause their door was open!” he slammed down the phone.
Monroe hung up quietly. “Do we like that reason?” she asked the group in general.
Since I was included in that question, I took it at face value. “Sort of dumb to jack these folks on a whim.”
All eyes turned to me. I didn’t stop. This was weird, we all knew it. Who just happens to walk in a door, and take folks in the office prisoner? There had to be a better reason than wanting money.
“What’s the motivation here? He doesn’t even know if the company has that amount of money to pay out.”
“They don’t,” Monroe said solemnly. “Not even if they liquidated everything they own—lock, stock and barrel. They don’t have enough collateral to take a loan.”
“And how many banks will loan you cash for a ransom?”
“Not any I know of.” Clearly confused, she scratched her head. “Let me make some calls. Excuse me, Mr. Doyle.”
©2021 Dellani Oakes