“Stacks, do you believe there is a chance you will be able to find Candace?”
“I don’t know Mom; all I know for sure is that we will try. I have never hunted someone as unknown to me as Candace. The truth is that we may have a chance once you tell me everything she told you, if she told you anything that could be helpful. Let’s just make a fresh pot of coffee and then we will get started.”
After getting the coffee started, Stacks set out the cups they would need. As he walked back to the table, Stacks wondered if Candace would be alright. More than anything, he wanted to find her. He felt as if his heart would break. He was not sure how it had happened, especially so quickly, but he knew that he cared deeply for Candace.
As he walked up to their table, Stacks said, “Tommy, would you call Cory Henderson and see what he can find, if anything, on-line about Candace Baker? Tell him that she lives in or around the Fort Worth area. Be sure and give him a description of Candace. Tell him if Mom has any more information, then we will get it to him as soon as possible, but to get started on it now.”
“Will do Boss, but are you sure she lives near there? A lot of people commute to the cities to work or play, and live as far as one hundred miles or more away.”
Looking at Gloria for conformation, he asked, “Did she tell you where she lived?”
“The only time she mentioned Fort Worth was when she started telling me about her week. She said that she had her flat as she exited off interstate twenty onto Hulen Street. She was going to work somewhere in downtown, I am assuming. She never told me what direction she was driving in,” Gloria said as she massaged her temples.
“Before we continue, could you get me something for this headache?”
Stacks looked concerned and asked if she wanted to go to the hospital and have some x-rays done.
“No, I want to find Candace. I cannot understand why anyone would want to hurt her, but to kidnap her and do God knows what, it scares me to death Stacks. I told her to talk to you about this mess, but she did not want to involve you… Wait a minute; I do know how to find her home. Stacks go in the office and get my cell phone and my phone book. It is in the bottom drawer of the desk. Ed will have her address. You remember Ed Sanders don’t you? He was a friend of your fathers; he used to take you riding on his Harley, when you were little. Anyway, I remember when she told me the name of her mechanic, I recognized the name.”
Saying that he remembered the man, Stacks started to go to the office, when he noticed Sheila holding her left arm rigidly.
“Sheila, let me see your arm.”
When he reached over and touched the now bandaged arm, Sheila yelled.”Sheila, I think your arm may be broken. You need to get to the doctor now.”
“It was fine before you had to go and grab it Stacks. It is just banged up a bit. I will be fine. Let’s just see what we can do about locating Candace, I have a bad feeling about this Stacks, things are not adding up right,” Sheila said with a groan.
“No way Sheila, I will not let you take a chance this way. Besides that, how much help will you be if you are in pain like this? Now don’t argue with me. I want to find Candace as bad as you do, but if they took the time to kidnap her, then she has something they want. We just need to figure it out.”
As Stacks looked over at his mother he decided that while Candace was important to him, so were these other two ladies. He was just going to have to see to all three of them. He was happy that his friends were there to help. Time was not on their side.
“Rothman, I want you and Blaster to take my Mom and Sheila over to the hospital to be checked out. If they give you any trouble, carry them.”
As Gloria and Sheila started to complain, Stacks ignored them saying, “I will call Ed Sanders and then I want to have a look out back, to see if I can find any clues that the police may have overlooked.”
“But you need me to tell you what Candace said, and I never got my cup of coffee. I just need some Tylenol,” Gloria said with a moan in her voice, as she rubbed her temple.
Stacks dropped to his knees in front of Gloria. Taking her small work worn hands in his he said gently, “Mom, I will not make you and Sheila go to the hospital, but I love you and I need to be sure you two are alright before I can look for Candace. Please, the quicker you see the doctor, the quicker I can quit worrying about you and focus on Candace. When you two are seen to, then we will go over everything she told you and see if we can figure this mess out. While you are waiting to see the doctor, why don’t you and Sheila discuss what she said and perhaps you will remember more, or at least something that will help.”
Gloria sighed and leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek.
“Alright Stacks you win. I know you are right, but I am so worried about Candace.”
As she stood up, she looked to the tall rough-looking dark man, smiled up into his worried face, looped her arm through the young handsome mans arm and said,” Come on Danny boy, take me to the hospital.”
Gingerly raising herself up from her chair, trying to hold her left arm and her ribs, Sheila, the normally vivacious and robust blond said,” Do not even think about touching me Rothman, I hurt all over. It did not hurt so badly at first, but now I feel as if every bone in my body is broken. Just hold the door open for me and be there to catch me if I pass out. And make sure you do not touch my ribs if I do.”
As they walked out the door Justin raised an eyebrow and looked at Stacks. Grinning broadly he said, “Was that a new psychological tactic you just used on the ladies or what?”
“You bet it was. I have tried everything else this morning, to get them to go, and it was the only other thing I could come up with. Anyway, it worked didn’t it. Now let’s see if Collins has gotten any information from Henderson yet. I will call Ed as soon as it is late enough, but there is no way he would be at his shop at four in the morning. As soon as it is daylight, I want to take a look in the alley,” Stacks said as they walked towards the office.
When he walked into the office Stacks saw Tommy Collins with his head leaning to the right, holding the phone up to his ear with his shoulder, he was grabbing pages from the fax machine as fast as they printed and talking as he scanned them.
“You have to be kidding me Henderson; there are literally hundreds of Candace’s or variations of the name, and just as many Bakers. This shows that there are fifty-four Candace Bakers, and twenty-six of them are in their twenties. Can’t you get this down to a more specific search?” after a few moments he said, “Sure man I understand, just give me a call when you get anything, and thanks.”
After hanging up the phone, Collins said, “Ok boss, you heard what I told him, but he said that this could take some time, and that is if the information given is not fake. It seems that there are a lot of people who pretend they are someone; they want to be, other than who they are, when they put their information out on the web.
“Yeah, it used to be the criminals were the only ones who changed their identities, now it is almost everyone on Facebook or one of the many other social networking sites,” He said as he was rummaging through the desk drawer looking for his mother’s phonebook and his Mapsco.
“Come out into the bar with me, I think it is time we discussed what our options are. We will have Candace’s address in a couple of hours from now.”
“Collins bring the computer and your phone, we have work to do.”
“Mead, make sure the doors are locked, I need to raid our weapons vault and I don’t want anyone walking in on us.”
“Will do boss, but don’t pick the Glock for me, I want the good old Smith and Wesson fifty-two. I have a feeling we will have to be picking these cowards off. If they are willing to hurt women, they are willing to hide behind them. Oh and I also want my M-fourteen and lots of ammo,” Justin Mead said as he went off to check the locks of the bar.
“You know what I want Stacks, But just in case you have forgotten, I will come with you to pick mine out,” Collins said as he followed Stacks into the beer cooler.
Once inside the cooler, Stacks pushed a button on the far wall and then walked to the left side cooler. Putting his hand to the back of the cooler he flipped a latch that made it easily slid out from the wall. As it slid open, a large array of weapons were showcased on a pegboard.
“Wow boss, this is even more impressive than the last time I saw it. Did old Uncle Sam finally come through on the latest and the greatest or what?”
“They know that is the only way we will ever do any of their dirty work, all they have to do is accidentally misplace them and large sums of money, or we do not go in. Al Qaeda play for keeps and they have no morals,” Stacks said as he grabbed his favorite small hand gun and stuck it in his boot.
Stacks had his boots special made so that there was a pocket loop attached, which would securely hold a small hand gun, after their last trip to Iraq. He had almost been killed, if it had not been for their best sniper, Mead, he would have died.
After gathering everything they needed, he and Collins packed them in their respective packs, then they closed and locked the vault before heading back into the bar.
“Thanks boss,” Mead said as he opened his pack and inspected his guns.
They always clean their weapons before they put them up, but they also cleaned and inspected them each time they took them out. You never wanted to find a problem when someone was shooting at you. Stacks rules were simple, check and recheck often and each man guards the others back.
Inside their packs were the standard M-four Carbine rifle, as well as their own preferred hand guns and any other weapon that each man specifically chose. As in the case of Blaster, his bag held an array of explosives as well as his guns.
Sitting down at the table and drinking a cup of coffee, they begin to discuss their immediate plan of action.
“In about thirty minutes it will be light enough to take a look out back. I don’t imagine the police missed anything, but we need to see for ourselves. There has to be something somewhere that will give us a starting place on finding Candace. As soon as it is eight o’clock I will call the garage and see what I can find out. I don’t know if Ed will give out Candace’s address, but if he doesn’t then we will have to take matters in our own hands, to get the address,” Stacks told them.
“What boss, you mean like breaking in the garage and finding the copy of her receipt?”
“Yeah Mead, that is exactly what I mean. Except we are in America, so no one dies, especially Candace, Ed Sanders and any civilian casualties, or destruction of property on our parts, is unacceptable. Are you guys with me on this?”
Stacks knew they would be, but it always made him feel better to hear them say it.
As they voiced their agreement, stacks looked at his watch, stood up and told them that it was coming on daylight and he wanted to go outback to see what, if anything, they could find.
After thirty minutes of meticulously searching, they had found nothing, when Stacks cell phone rang. Looking at his caller id, he saw it was Rothman calling, answering he said, “Stacks here.”
Oh man, that bad is it? Will she have to stay there a few days or what?” Listening, Stacks said” “Yeah, if the doctor says so, then I guess it is ok. Just drive slowly, tell them it is because you do not want to hurt them. I have to get our bags in the car first. Yeah, alright then we will do that right now,” After hanging up, Stacks told the others that they had to get the van loaded and out of there, before Rothman and Blaster could bring the women back.
“It seems that Mom has a slight concussion and Sheila has two cracked ribs and a hairline fracture in her arm. Both were told that they needed to stay in the hospital overnight, but refused to do so. I have to get out of here now, or they will want to come with me.”
“Do you want us to come with you?” Mead asked.
“No, just stay here and wait for Henderson’s call. I will talk with Ed and try to get Candace’s address. Afterwards, I will come back here to see what Mom and Sheila have to say. I don’t believe the men who took her would be so stupid as to take Candace to her home. No, they have to keep her out of sight or take the chance of being arrested. I would think that the police will go to Candace’s this morning, so we go tonight, under the cover of darkness. I just want all the information I can find today,” Stacks said, as he grabbed a couple of the bags, and with Mead and Collins help, they loaded everything into the hidden compartment under the middle seats.
With his mouth set in grim determination, Stacks said, “I have to find her guys, before it is too late.”
To be continued…