Finally, after hours of waiting, you see the editor drive up to his curb. Your hands start to shake as adrenaline pumps through your veins. A voice inside you tells you that you’re making a terrible mistake, that you should forget this stupid idea and go home. But you ignore the voice. You didn’t come this far to chicken out. Reaching down, you finger the revolver in your waistband. It strengthens your resolve.
You get out of your car and approach the editor. The editor doesn’t see you, his back is turned. He’s out of his car now, walking towards his house. You walk faster, catching up. When you are at arm’s length away, you glance around. Seeing that the coast is clear, you withdraw the pistol and press the muzzle against the back of his neck.
“Freeze,” you say in a menacing voice.
The editor freezes.
“Now turn around,” you say. “Slow.”
The editor does as he is told. Now he is facing you. His expression is quizzical, afraid. You point to your car, the faded blue sedan partway down the block. “See that car?” you say. “Get in.”
The editor asks you which car, why are you doing this, what’s going on? You tell him to shut up and get moving. You walk him over to your car. Opening the passenger door, you gesture for him to get in.
After the editor is seated, you reach in and grab the free end of a pair of handcuffs. The other end is attached to the right armrest. You order the editor to give you his hand, the left one. He reaches across his body. You snap the handcuff around his left wrist. You are surprised at how cooperative he is. A feeling of empowerment creeps over you.
You close the door, lower your weapon, hurry to the driver’s side. You look around to determine if you’ve been seen. You don’t think so; it’s nighttime, and the street is dark. As you open the driver’s side door you begin to relax a little. So far your plan is working very well.
You get behind the wheel and start the engine. You are still holding the gun, but now it is in your left hand. You don’t want it too close to the editor even though he’s secured to the door. You look at him. It is obvious he is very frightened. That makes you feel good.
As you drive away you realize that you are leaving the scene of a crime. A chill comes over you. Relax, you tell yourself, it’s too late to turn back now.
You look over at the editor. His back is mostly to you due to the handcuffs, but he keeps glancing over his shoulder. You notice that his face is sweaty, but has lost its frightened look. He appears more angry than afraid. He makes eye contact. Your eyes shift back to the road.
The editor demands an explanation. “What the hell is going on here?” he says. You are surprised by the tone of his voice. It reminds you of your father’s voice. Suddenly you feel very small. Then you remember that you are the one with the gun.
“Shut up,” you say.
Driving in silence, you are acutely aware that these first few minutes are critical. If anybody had witnessed the abduction, they would have undoubtedly notified the police. You keep expecting to hear sirens. You nearly jump out of your skin when the editor coughs.
A few more minutes pass. You begin to feel a little better. Turning on the radio, you are surprised to hear your favorite song, and take it as a sign. By the end of the song you’re congratulating yourself on a clean getaway.
Your eyes begin shifting between the road and your victim. You are trying to think of something to say, something witty.
“Hi, remember me?” you say.
The editor stares at you over his shoulder. “No,” he says.
“You sure you don’t remember me?” you say. You are playing with the editor now, messing with his mind.
The editor says, “I swear to God, I’ve never seen you before in my life. You’re making a terrible mistake.”
“I’ll give you a hint,” you say. “How about: The Man Who Ate Babies?”
“What?” says the editor. “What are you talking about?”
“The Guy Who Stole the Mona Lisa? Rat Fink?”
The editor is shaking his head. “Please,” he says. “Please.”
“What’s wrong with you?” you say, getting angry. You wonder what kind of game the editor is playing. How can he not remember these titles?