Brian Cashman got a voicemail notification. The caller was listed as BLOCKED. He slid his finger across the notification. He entered his voicemail password. He only had one voicemail. There was some digital popping and clicking. Then, a voice. A voice put through a voice modulator. Brian Cashman recognized it right away. He sat, stoic, as the message played. His face was expressionless, but his mind was racing — thinking about his next move, what the voice’s next move might be, and how to counteract it. He only had one option. Well, two options. But one was only for emergencies. He didn’t want to scorch the earth if he didn’t have to. Not yet. He deleted the message, put the phone on the ground, and smashed it with a nearby bat. He reached into his pocket for his burner phone. He called his office.
“Sandy, it’s Brian Cashman. I’m going to need a cab. As soon as possible. I’ll also be needing the team helicopter in about an hour. Can you do that for me? Thanks. If anyone calls, tell them I’m at dinner with Jeter. No don’t schedule it, just tell anyone who calls that’s where I am. Thanks, Sandy. You’ve always been a big help. No, nothing. I just wanted you to know. K, bye.”
He hung up, and let out a deep sigh. He put the burner on the ground and smashed that as well. He threw the pieces of both phones into a nearby garbage can. He went to his office, and sat down at his desk. He took his laptop and flipped it over. Grabbing a small screwdriver from his desk drawer, he carefully removed four tiny screws from one of the doors on the bottom of the laptop. He extracted the small plastic plate and flipped it over. A small metal key was taped to the underside. It was the key to a safe deposit box. He put the key into his back pocket, and reassembled the computer. He opened another desk drawer and removed a large, empty gym bag. He tucked it under his right arm and exited the office. He didn’t bother to turn off the lights. He made his way to the front entrance and entered the car that was sent. He sat in the back, behind the driver.
“First National Bank, please,” he said looking at his shoes. The car sped away.
Brian Cashman’s phone rang. The caller ID read HOME. Brian Cashman answered.
“What the Hell do you want?” he asked in a slow, reserved tone.
“That’s no way to talk to your wife,” said the voice on the other line.
“You and I both know that she’s already dead,” Cashman growled.
“You don’t know that. And I don’t know that,” the man replied. “But the only way we’re going to find out is if you go through with the plan we discussed.”
“God damn you,” Brian Cashman hissed through his teeth. “You honestly think I’m going to do one thing for you without knowing if my family is alive or dead?”
“Yes, I do. Because if you don’t, they’re certainly dead. But if you do as we say, then you have a chance. And a chance is all you can hang your hat on right now.”
“Look, I have money. Just name your price. We can all walk away from this.”
“My employer has money. Plenty of it. What he wants is something money can’t buy. Now, are you ready to cooperate?”
“Tell me what you want,” Cashman said in a choking whisper.
“Go to your car. Open your trunk. In your trunk will be a brown leather attaché case. In the case will be one syringe, one small vial of clear liquid, and an address. Use the liquid and the syringe to neutralize the target, and then drive him to the address. Our people will take it from there.”
The call ended abruptly. Brian Cashman shouted a string of curse words as he threw his phone against the dugout wall. All the players on the field stopped their warm-up activities and looked back toward the dugout. Brian Cashman let out a big breath as he stood up.
“Alex! Can I see you for a sec?”
Brian Cashman’s phone rang. Brian Cashman slid the answer button on the screen.
“Did you remember?”
“Did I remember what?”
“Don’t make me repeat myself.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“I’m NOT in the mood for games right now.”
“OK, settle down honey. I was just kidding. I remembered the dinner party tonight. I’m about to leave right now. Yes, I picked up the wine. OK. Love you too. See you soon. Bye.”
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