The man paid the taxi driver, closed the door behind him, and walked directly into the incoming traffic.
“What do you want me to do now?” the man yelled into his cell phone, holding up the briefcase in his free hand to try and slow the oncoming cars. Brakes squealed and drivers cursed out of their windows while the man stood in the middle of the road.
“Nothing,” came the reply on the phone. “You will stand there and make sure everyone sees you. Open the briefcase.”
“What?” the man yelled, horns honking and commotion building all around him.
“Open the briefcase. Inside there is a gun. Put it to your head and pretend like you are going to shoot yourself. Do not let anybody near you until I tell you to?”
The man in the street reached down to open the briefcase, sweat dripping from his forehead. Then he paused. “What are you going to do with…I need to know that my wife is safe?”
There was silence for a few seconds.
“Jake…Jake,” came a female voice on the phone. “Oh, please, God, Jake, come and get me, please don’t let me…”
The original voice on the phone came back on. “Your wife is fine. If you do what we ask, we will not harm her. We only need you to make a scene for a short while in that area and we will be done with our business. Time is running thin, though. Take out the gun and put it to your head, now.”
Jake fell to his knees and fumbled with the briefcase until it opened. The crowd had grown larger around him. He looked up and saw the frustration and confusion on their faces. Then he heard sirens.
He pulled the gun out and the crowd started to scatter, screaming as they ran. He didn’t say anything, only put it to his head. A couple of cop cars squeezed through on the side of traffic, stopped, and the doors opened with officers ready.
“Sir, drop your gun and get down on the ground, now!”
“You stay right where you are,” the voice on the phone commanded.
Jake looked at the officers and shook his head. “I can’t go anywhere.”