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24

EVERYTIME the phone rang it was for the head FBI man. Harrington kept picking up the receiver and saying hello and some very male voice would invariably say, Let me talk to Bradford. Bradford was the head FBI mans name.

When the phone rang again at six-fifteen, Harrington said, Why dont you answer it? It wont be for me.

Right The head FBI man was very brisk. He spoke into the phone, nodded (which the other party surely couldnt see, even if he was a detective), and smiled in grim satisfaction when he cradled the receiver. Got them, he said.

Harrington sat up. You captured them?

No, we wont move in till tonight, not till were sure theyre all asleep. We dont want to endanger the boy.

But you know where they are?

Yes. The head FBI man was very pleased with himself and displayed that by flexing his muscles and by making a kind of closed-lip smile in which his mouth became a straight horizontal line with parentheses around it. Theyre professional, all right, our kidnappers, he said, but sooner or later they had to make one mistake, and now theyve made it. I was hoping they wouldnt think to get rid of that suitcase. His mouth corners drooped slightly, thoughtfully. Im surprised at that oversight, he said, and he sounded almost disappointed that he hadnt been outwitted. And Im glad the mechanism didnt get broken when you threw the suitcase over the bridge, he added. It must have landed on something relatively soft to break its fall.

And Im glad I didnt know about it beforehand, Harrington said. It would have made me a nervous wreck.

Theyd told him the story after Kirby had brought him back to the house. It seemed theyd bugged the suitcase; it now contained a miniaturized radio transmitter, beaming a continuous signal, which could be picked up from as far as a mile and a half away. Three small trucks equipped with radio receivers, always being careful to stay out of sight, had followed that signal from the moment Harrington had entered his Cadillac; they had trailed the suitcase from Harrington to the kidnappers, and then from the kidnappers to their lair. Triangulating on the signal, the three trucks had pinpointed that lairs location, and the kidnappers were now under intense observation.

Harrington said, Where are they, exactly?

Not twenty-five miles from here, the head FBI man said. He was washing his hands together with satisfaction. Theyve holed up in an abandoned farmhouse off a county road down toward Hackettstown.

An abandoned farmhouse? I thought theyd all been snapped up by commuters.

Theres still a few, the head FBI man said. My cousin found a deal in Rockland County that

The phone rang. Harrington said, You get that.

Right. The head FBI man picked up the receiver. Bradford. He listened, looking very stern. Right. He listened again. Keep them under surveillance, he said. If they leave him, move in. Otherwise, we stick to Plan A. With which, he hung up and turned back to Harrington. Theyve left the farmhouse, he said. With the boy. Apparently theyre planning to release him now. If they do, naturally well move in. If theyre simply transferring to another location

Youll stay with Plan A.

The head FBI man frowned. Exactly, he said, and the phone rang again. Ill take it, he said, picked up the receiver, and said, Bradford. Then he looked startled, and said, Hold on a minute. Cupping his hand over the mouthpiece, he called to the technician dozing over his machinery, Switch on! Switch on! To Harrington he stage-whispered, Its them! Her! She wants to talk to you!

Oh, Harrington said. He suddenly felt nervous and faint. He was intensely aware of the technician busily switching on and blinking his eyes to wake up.

Be very careful, the head FBI man said, and handed Harrington the phone.

Harrington put it to his face as though it were a spider. Hello?

The familiar voice said, Oh, there you are. Whos that Bradford?

Urn An FBI man.

Oh. Sounds like a jerk. (The head FBI man transformed his eyebrows into a bushy straight line low over his eyes.) Anyway, the kidnapper went on, I got somebody here to talk to you.

What? Harrington felt more and more nervous. Had the kidnappers discovered the transmitter in the suitcase? Were they about to make further demands?

Hello, Dad?

Jimmy! A flood of warmth suffused him. By golly, boy, its good to hear your voice.

You, too, Dad.

I wasnt looking forward to the ride out tomorrow without you, I can tell you that.

Well, Ill be there, Dad, Jimmy said.

I know you will, Harrington said, but when he saw the head FBI man gesturing wildly at him he realized he must be sounding too confident. It wouldnt do to make the kidnappers suspicious at this stage. That is, he amended, I was hoping you would.

Jimmy said, These people want you to know they havent hurt me, and theyre going to let me go in New York tomorrow morning.

In New York? Harrington and the head FBI man stared at one another, both startled.

Thats right. Should I come down to your office, or go on up to Dr. Schraubenzieher?

Well, Iwell

I think Id rather go to Dr. Schraubenzieher first, Jimmy said. If thats okay with you.

Yes, certainly, Harrington said. After this ordeal, Im sure youll want to see him, talk to him.

It hasnt been much of an ordeal, Jimmy said. Anyway, its almost over. Would you call the doctor and change my appointment? Tell him Id want to get there around noon.

Yes, I will.

And Ill call you from his office.

Thats fine, Harrington said.

Well, Id better go now, Jimmy said.

It was good to hear from you, Harrington said. Urn, perhaps we could have lunch. After your appointment.

Sure, Jimmy said. Ill he free all afternoon.

Fine. Good talking to you, son.

So long, Dad.

Harrington hung up, and the head FBI man said, Sounds like hes in good shape, considering.

Well, Harrington said, hes an intelligent boy, he wouldnt make a lot of trouble.

The head FBI man turned to the technician. Lets hear that again, he said.

I think Id rather not, Harrington said. If you dont mind.

The head FBI man frowned at him. Why not?

Well, I think I might weep or some such thing, Harrington said, and I wouldnt want to do that.


| Jimmy the Kid | c