MICHAEL BURKE - EMERGENCY CALLER
Joseph could feel his heart racing faster than he’d ever felt before. It’s okay, Joseph, this nightmare will all be over soon, I hope. He held his satchel tight to his side as he tried to keep his cool and draw as little attention to himself as possible, although he felt himself sweating bullets, he kept walking towards the front door. After giving a, somewhat, casual wave and farewell to the night guard he found himself outside and heading towards his car with some highly confidential company secrets in hand. This is bad, these people are way too shady to be trustworthy, and they’re definitely dangerous.
Joseph sat in his car trying to figure out what options he had when his phone buzzed showing the same mystery number that started this series of events threatening to ruin his life in a number of ways, the number that, several hours earlier, sent him a short video taken by a camera moving through his house. Whoever these people are, the message was clear; cooperate or we’ll be seeing your family soon.
“Hello.” Joseph answered, trying to gather his composure.
“I’m assuming you have the files we asked for, Dr. Strauton?” the mystery man said coolly.
“Yes, I do,” Joseph said. “But what do you want with them? Everything in these only applies to my companies’ products.”
“Well, I won’t tell you everything, Doctor, just know that my employers will be so very pleased when they get ahold of them.”
“I don’t know if I can go through with this, what if they find out who gave these to you?”
“If they do it’ll be too late to do anything, Doctor,” the man answered Joseph. “Don’t forget you have a lot of money coming your way once we meet, you won’t have to worry about anything for a long time.”
A lot of good that’ll do me if I’m in jail. Joseph thought. “What about the police or FBI?” he asked.
“They won’t know a thing, now meet us at the coordinates we are sending you, see you soon, Doctor.” The line went dead, and Joseph heard a notification sound in his ear, he opened the message and entered the address he found into his GPS and began his journey to the mystery location.
When he arrived, the building was clearly not open to the public, either under renovation or ready to be demolished, he couldn’t quite tell. Great, Joseph, this is how people go missing, or die, or both. As he sat there, he heard another notification and saw a new message.
It read: Do come in, Doctor, we don’t have all night.
You’re telling me, he thought as he got out of his car, bag in hand and slowly approached the front door. Upon entering he saw two people, one close to his age, hair slicked back and slightly gray on the sides, he wore a well cut, all black suit and shirt with a white tie. He sat casually typing a message as Joseph approached. When Joseph’s footsteps stopped, he looked up, smirked and pressed send on his phone as he stood to greet Joseph. “Ah, so we finally get to meet, Doctor.”
“Cut the formalities, what do you plan to do with these documents?” Joseph puffed out his chest, trying to act tough and confident.
Upon seeing this the second man laughed, as Joseph looked to him he saw the man was gigantic, the scars on his face presenting a brief glimpse into the man’s past, clearly he’s there to make sure nothing bad happens to the well-dressed man and that whatever this was ends on their terms.
“The simplest answer is they will give my bosses a view into where yours plan to take their company and thus we can cut them off at the pass and basically cripple them, you don’t have to the fine details.” Joseph stared in disbelief as his phone went off again. “Go ahead and look, Doctor, I think you’ll be surprised.”
Joseph opened his phone with shaking hands, he didn’t expect to see what was on his screen, a bank account, in his name, containing three million dollars with a bank he’d never heard of.
“You see, Doctor? We weren’t going to just take from you with no benefit to you.”
“I don’t get it, what am I supposed to do with it?”
“Whatever you want, you can just let it sit there for all I care, but it is there regardless, in your name.”
As he stared at his phone flabbergasted the bigger man approached Joseph, grabbed his bag and opened it to make sure that what they wanted was inside. Upon confirmation the well-dressed man turned to Joseph and said, “You see? That was easy, wasn’t it, Doctor?”
“Very,” Joseph said, “almost too easy.”
“And what does that mean?”
Suddenly the front and back door to the building were busted open as a small swat team filled the place with weapons aimed at the blackmailers and both men sank to their knees, angrily.
After both men were loaded into a van a swat member approached Joseph and offered his hand to shake. “Thank you, Doctor, you did the right thing calling us. Good thing you have a cousin on the force to help you the way he did.”
“Is my family okay?” Joseph asked, his mind flashing back to the video that began this whole thing.
“Yes, we have people sitting with them now, they know the situation and are alright.”
“Thank God, I need to go see them.”
“Of course, we’ll bring you home and someone will take your statement there.”
With a sigh of relief Joseph finally felt his heartrate slow to a steady beat for the first time all night.