The Train Episode 29

Outside the saloon, Michael fought to calm down.

“I hope you’ve got a plan, Doc, ’cause I’m chomping at the bit to put this guy out of commission!’

“I have an idea, Michael. A good one, I think. Let’s at least give it a chance,” Dr. Ricer suggested.

“So what is this big plan of yours?” Michael asked.

“Let’s get back to the others, and I’ll explain,” Ricer said.

When they reached Nicole and Lucy, Ricer filled in everyone.

“Do we know where Hodge is?” Michael asked.

“I’m not sure what happened to him after he was taken by Lawson,” Ricer explained.

“He’s probably dead,” Nicole interjected.

“Well he was never seen again,” Ricer continued.

“Let’s hope he’s not dead,” Michael said. “If we go through all this trouble and he’s dead, I’m going to have some serious questions about why we’re really here. I mean if we’re not supposed to rescue this girl and reunite her with the man she loves, then what’s the point of dropping us off here?”

“We’ll know soon enough,” Ricer assured him.

“Since you don’t want me resorting to violence of any kind, Doc, I’ll have to bluff my way through this,” Michael said.

“I realize I’m asking a lot of you, Michael, but no guns,” Ricer pleaded.

“Got it. If it comes down to self-defense, I’ll just use my training and wits,” Michael said. “You have my word.”

“Please. You can’t just walk in there and convince him to let her go,” Nicole laughed.

“I have no intention of doing that,” Michael said. “I’m the distraction. I’ll keep them busy while one of you slips in and finds out where they’re keeping Hodge.”

Nicole nodded, “Now that makes more sense. I’m better at moving about undetected than you are anyway.”

“Actually, I wasn’t referring to you,” Michael said.

Ricer raised his eyebrows as his jaw dropped.

“Me?” he asked.

Michael laughed, “No, Doc. Not you.”

“Then who?” Ricer and Nicole asked in unison.

“If my calculations are correct, Lucy should be able to walk right in unnoticed,” Michael explained.

“Her?!” Nicole snapped. “Are you insane?”

“We each have a unique talent that makes us useful on this team,” Michael reminded them. “I’ve known for a while that Lucy wasn’t selected at random. When Roscoe asked her if she knew how often children are overlooked, that wasn’t an idle question. I started to suspect something, but it wasn’t until the hotel that I figured it out.”

Michael leaned forward, close to Lucy’s wondering eyes, and whispered,

“Remain calm, and I bet no one will see you.”

He rose up, looked over at Ricer and said, “Trust me. I wouldn’t put her at risk.”

*          *            *

Although Lucy was excited by the idea of helping, it took some convincing before Ricer finally agreed.

The four of them headed for Lawson’s estate and stopped behind some trees a little distance from the front gates.

“Now what I want you to do, Lucy,” Michael instructed, “is to walk right in, just like you were walking into your own house. Once you get inside, start looking around for anything that might tell us where Mr. Hodge is being kept. And keep your ears open in case they say something that might help us find him. Okay?”

She nodded her understanding and started walking towards the front gates where two men stood guard.

“What if they spot her?” Nicole asked worried.

“Then you will simply hurry forward, calling out for her like she’s your daughter who’s wandered off,” Michael explained. “But they won’t see her.”

Lucy walked on the soft grass right up to the gate and paused to look up at the two men. Neither one looked down or even flinched. She glanced back toward the trees, raised her shoulders, and covered a big smile with her hand. Then she turned around and walked right past the men toward the front door of the house.

Michael let out a long sigh and said, “See?”

Then he straightened his collar and announced, “Now it’s my turn. And, Doc, I will only react defensively. I promise.”

As Michael stepped out from behind the trees, he cleared his mind and remembered what his father had taught him.

The three most effective ways to get past a guard or bouncer:

Method 1: Bribery.

Most guards are working stiffs who aren’t interested in what they’re guarding and just want to get paid. With enough money, you can buy their loyalty for a few minutes or hours.

Michael felt in his pocket and came out with a handful of change. Clearly, bribery wasn’t an option. He saw that the guards were already steeling themselves, so he knew he had to think fast.

Method 2: Talk to the guard.

Some guards are regular people and might sympathize with you, if they’re given the right backstory.

With a smile on his face, Michael casually approached the men.

“Beautiful day, isn’t it? Name’s Roscoe Elliot,” he said, extending a hand. The guards stiffened and tightened the grip on their weapons.

“I have a business opportunity for your boss man Mr. Lawson,” Michael continued. He realized he was speaking with a slight twang he hadn’t planned on using.

“I understand he is in the market for some prime real estate. Now I don’t own any property myself, but I’ve been in contact with someone who might have—”

“Go away!” one of the guards ordered, interrupting Michael.

“But friend,” Michael protested.

The guard quickly raised the barrel of his rifle and pointed it squarely at Michael’s left eye.

Method 3: Name dropping.

This method is riskiest of the three. You must know everything about the person whose name you drop because 73% of the time, you’ll be quizzed.

Michael’s face went straight and his twang disappeared as he boldly announced,

“I’m here about Hodge.”

The guard with the rifle kept silent as he held the weapon steady. But the other man said,

“I have no idea who you’re talking about.”

“Dennis Patrick Hodge was a farmhand at Mr. Merril’s place. He fell in love with Gwendolyn Merril and they planned to be married, that is before your boss in there had him kidnapped. Now do I speak to Mr. Lawson or shall I bring back a U.S. Marshall to do my talking for me?” Michael threatened.

He felt his heart racing as he watched the men exchange looks.

After what seemed like hours, the guard lowered the rifle and said, “Come on.”

Michael quietly let out a breath as he followed the guard inside. When they stepped into a long foyer, Michael saw Lucy in a room to the left. She stood at a desk as she quietly went through a stack of papers. As soon as she saw the guard, she stopped moving the papers about and stood still, smiling at Michael.

When she waved at him, he smiled at her and slightly nodded his head.

“I take it we’re going to see Lawson?” Michael asked.

The guard’s silence prompted Michael to joke,

“Either that or you’re taking me out back to shoot me.”

When the guard still made no response, Michael readied himself for whatever came next.

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Published in: on October 19, 2013 at 8:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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