With Abner safely tucked away in a sleazy motel on Lincoln Avenue, I reported back to my ex-wife and told her the ransom drop didn’t pan out. Nobody showed up, and there was no sign of her husband.
The lovely Renee wasn’t pleased. “They must’ve spotted you.”
“If they did, they saw no sign of their money and left. If you want him back alive, you’ll have to pay the ransom.”
Renee’s expression told me how she felt about that scenario which made me glad I’d forged a deal with her husband. Carlyle followed my plan and the next day another ransom letter arrived in the mail. This time it was delivered to Abner’s right hand man, Dave McGill. I’d planned to return to his place that day to guarantee my involvement in this caper, but he saved me the trip by rushing over to my office.
McGill confided he hadn’t believed my claims about his boss being kidnapped the other day. He’d thought Mrs. Carlyle was trying to pull a fast one. Now he demanded to know what I was going to do about the situation.
I recommended he take the note straight to the police. This horrified him. He pointed to the ransom demand and insisted the kidnappers would kill his boss if the authorities got involved.
That was great. I’d told Abner I’d bail immediately if the police were informed. The payoff wasn’t worth the risk; I had a wife and kid to think about.
McGill swore he’d make arrangements and gather together the half million.
“Can you raise that much dough?”
McGill assured me that Carlyle was a financial wizard, well worth twice that amount. I mentioned Renee and got a laugh. He claimed he wouldn’t need her cooperation. Abner’s assets were tied up in the business, and McGill didn’t need Carlyle’s wife’s agreement to pull money out. Smart man.
“Once Abner’s released, he’ll be able to rebuild his fortune. I’ve worked for him for seven years; the man’s a genius.”
Good to know. I revisited the option of police involvement. Satisfied that McGill was vehemently opposed to the idea, I let him leave my office to start assembling the payoff.
I kept in constant contact with McGill and Renee over the next couple of days. My ex wasn’t thrilled with the concept of parting with that amount of dough, but McGill was determined to buy Abner’s freedom. I had a cynical viewpoint on the matter. McGill’s motivation was easy to figure. If his boss died, McGill’s plum job disappeared. In contrast, Renee would be happier if the kidnappers were thwarted and Abner killed so she could inherit all his wealth.
So the only person financially affected by our ruse would be Renee. In case anyone ever wondered if my involvement was all about revenge—don’t forget, I’d saved her life. By foiling her husband’s plot to kill her and devising an alternate plan, Renee would live to snare hubby number six.