19

(1)

Ragen jogged eleven miles across the city of Columbus and, at seven-thirty Friday morning, reached the Ohio State University East Belmont parking lot. He had no plan; his only thought was to find someone to rob. From the curb between the College of Medicine and the lot, he saw a young woman park a gold Toyota. As she got out of the car, he saw she wore a maroon pants suit under an open buckskin coat. He turned away to look for someone else; he had no intention of robbing a woman.

But Adalana, who had been watching, knew why Ragen was here. She knew he was tired from the cross-city run and the amphetamines and vodka were getting to him. She wished him off the spot . . .

As she approached the young woman, Adalana saw her lean over the seat to pick up some books and papers from the passengers side. She took Ragens gun out of the holster and pressed it against the womans arm.

The woman laughed without turning to look. “C’mon, guys, stop kidding around.”

‘ “Would you please get into the car,” Adalana said. “We’re going for a ride.”

Carrie Dryer turned and saw it was not one of her friends, but someone she didn’t recognize. She saw the gun in his gloved hand and realized this man wasn’t joking. He motioned for her to slide in to the passenger’s seat, and she scrambled over the stick shift. He took her car keys and slipped in behind the wheel. At first he had difficulty releasing the emergency brake, but he finally pulled out of the parking lot.

Carrie Dryer observed his appearance carefully: reddish-brown hair, a mustache cut straight and neat, a mole on his right cheek. He was handsome and well-built, about 180 pounds, five feet ten or so.

“Where are we going?” she asked.    ^

“For a ride somewhere,” he said softly. “I don’t know my way around Columbus very well.”

“Look,” Carrie said, “I don’t know what you want of me, but I’ve got an optometry exam today.”

He pulled into a factory parking lot and stopped the car. Carrie noticed his eyes drifting from side to side, as though he had nystagmus. That was something she would have to remember to tell the police.

He went through her purse, taking out her drivers license and other identification, and his voice turned harsh: “If you go to the cops, I’ll get to members of your family.” He pulled out a pair of handcuffs and secured her right hand to the Toyota door handle. “You said you’re gonna have a test,” he murmured. “If you want to go ahead and study for it while I drive, that’s fine.”

They drove north of the Ohio State University campus. After a while, he stopped on the tracks at a railway crossing. A train was slowly moving down the tracks. He jumped out of the car and went around to the trunk. Carrie was terrified that he was going to leave her stranded there, handcuffed and with a train coming. She wondered if he was crazy.

Outside the car, Kevin, who had taken the spot from Adalana when he heard the tires thudding over the tracks, went to the rear and saw that the tires were okay. If there had been a flat, he would have run off, but everything looked fine, so he got back in and drove away.

“Take your pants off ” Kevin said.

“What?”

“Take your fucking pants off!” he shouted.

She did as he said, frightened by the sudden change of mood. She knew he was doing this to keep her from running away. And rightly so. Even if she hadn’t been handcuffed, she’d never run without clothes on.

As they drove, she tried to keep her eyes on her optometry book so as not to upset him. But she noticed he was taking King Avenue west, and then he cut onto Olentangy River Road north. He was driving her out into the country, talking at times to himself: “Just escaped this morning . . . beat him up with a baseball bat …”

They passed a cornfield, then a barricade in the roadway. He drove around it into a wooded area, past junked cars in a field.

Carrie remembered a pair of sharp scissors she kept between the seat and the shift console, and she thought of grabbing it and stabbing him. But as she glanced at the scissors, he said, “Don’t try anything funny,” and pulled out a switchblade. He parked the car, unlocked the handcuffs from the door but left them attached to her right wrist, and spread her buckskin coat on the muddy ground.

“Take off your underpants,” her whispered, “and lay down.”

Carrie Dryer saw his eyes drift from side to side . . .

Adalana lay back beside the woman, looking up at the trees. She didn’t understand why she kept losing the spot to Philip -and Kevin. Twice they had taken over while she was behind the wheel, and she had to keep wishing them off the spot. Everything was mixed up.

“Do you know what it’s like to be lonely?” she asked the woman lying beside her. “Not to be held by anyone for a long time? Not to know the meaning of love?”

Carrie Dryer didn’t answer, and Adalana held her as she had Marlene.

But this young woman was very small, and something else was wrong with her as well. Try as Adalana might, each time she attempted to enter, Carrie Dryers muscles went into spasms and forced her out—rejected her. This was strange and frightening. Confused, Adalan lost the spot . . .

Carrie explained to him tearfully that she had a physical problem, that she was seeing a gynecologist. Anytime she tried to sleep with someone, she got these spasms. Carrie noticed the nystagmus again, and suddenly he turned angry and nasty.

“Of all the damned girls in Columbus,” he snarled, “I had to pick on I couldn’t do anything with!”

He let her put her slacks back on and told her to get back into the car. Carrie noticed him change again. He reached over and handed her a paper towel. “Here,” he said gently, “blow your nose.”

Adalana was now nervous. She remembered Ragens original purpose for this trip—and she realized Ragen might get suspicious if she returned empty-handed.

Carrie watched the rapists concerned expression, the genuine worry on his face. She almost felt sorry for him as she wondered what was wrong.

“I’ve got to get some money,” he told her, “or someone will be very angry.”

“I don’t have any money with me,” Carrie said, starting to cry again.

“Don’t take it so hard.” He handed her another paper towel. “I’m not going to hurt you if you do what I tell you.”

“Do whatever you want to me,” she said, “but don’t bother my family. Take all the money I’ve got, but leave them alone.” He parked the car and went through her purse again until he found her checkbook. Her balance showed four hundred and sixty dollars. “How much do you think you’ll need to live for the week?” he asked.

Carrie sniffled through her tears, “About fifty or sixty dollars.”

“All right,” he said, “leave yourself a balance of sixty dollars and write a check for the four hundred.”

Carrie was surprised and pleased, though she knew there was no way she could replace the money she needed for books and tuition.

“We’re going to rob a bank,” he said suddenly. “You’ll come with me.”

“No I won’t!” she said forcefully. “You can do what you want to me, but I won’t help you rob a bank.”

“We’ll go into a bank and cash your check,” he said, but then he seemed to think better of it. “With you crying, they’ll know something’s wrong. You’re not mentally stable enough to go inside a bank and cash a check. You’ll foul it up.”

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me,” Carrie said, still crying. “I think I’m holding up pretty well for someone held at gunpoint all the time.”

He just grunted.

They found an Ohio National Bank branch with a drive-in window at 770 West Broad Street. He kept the gun hidden between them but pointed at her as she pulled out her identification. When she turned the check over to endorse it, Carrie thought of writing “Help,” but almost as if he’d read her mind, he said, “Don’t try anything like putting something on the back. ”

He passed the check, along with Carrie’s identification, to the teller, who cashed it. “You can report to the police that you were robbed, then stop payment on the check,” he said as he drove away. “Tell them you were forced to cash it. That way it’ll be the bank that gets ripped off.”

When they arrived downtown at Broad and High streets, the car got caught in heavy traffic. “Take over and drive,” he said. “If you go to the police, don’t give them my description. If I see anything in the newspapers, I won’t come myself, but someone else will take care of your family or you.”    .

Then he opened the door and walked quickly away, disappearing instantly into the crowd.

Ragen looked around, expecting to find himself in the Ohio State University parking lot, but instead he was walking past Lazarus’ Department Store in the. middle of the afternoon. Where had the time gone? He reached into his pocket and found a roll of money. Well, he must have done it. He must have robbed someone and not remembered it.

He took an eastbound bus to Reynoldsburg.

Back at Channingway, he put the money and the Master Charge card on the closet shelf and went to sleep.

Half an hour later, Arthur awoke, refreshed, wondering why he had slept so late. He showered, and as he changed into fresh underwear, he noticed the money on the closet shelf. Now, where in the world had that come from? Someone had been busy. Well, as long as it was there, he might as well get some groceries and pay some bills. The car payment was most important.

Arthur pushed the eviction notice aside. Now that the boys had been fired, John Wymer was demanding rent for the apartment. Well, the rent could wait. He had decided how to handle Messrs. Kelly and Lemmon. He would let them keep sending eviction notices. When they took him to court, Allen would tell the judge that these people had made him quit his job, move into their apartment complex as a requirement for the maintenance job, and just as he was settling in with new furniture on credit, they fired him and attempted to put him out on the street.

The judge, he knew, would give him ninety days to move. Even after the final eviction notice, he would still have three

days to get out. That should give Allen enough time to get a new job, save a few dollars and find a new apartment.

That night Adalana shaved off the mustache. She’d always hated hair on her face.

Tommy had promised Billy’s sister he would spend Saturday, the last day of the Fairfield County Fair, with her in Lancaster. Dorothy and Del were running a restaurant concession, and they might need help closing things down. He took the money he saw on the dresser—there wasn’t much—and told Allen to drive him to Lancaster. He spent a wonderful day with Kathy at the fair, going on the rides, playing the games, eating hot dogs and drinking root beer. They talked over old times, speculating how Jim was doing with his new rock group in western Canada and how Challa was doing in the Air Force. Kathy told him she was glad he’d shaved off his mustache.

When they came back to the concession, where Dorothy was working over the grill, Tommy slipped up behind her and handcuffed her to the pipe. “If you’re going to slave over a hot stove all day,” he said, “you might as well be chained to it.” She laughed.

He stayed at the fair with Kathy until it closed; then Allen drove back to Channingway.

Arthur spent a quiet Sunday reading his medical books, and Monday morning Allen set out to look for a new job. He made phone calls and filled out job applications for the rest of the week, but no one was hiring.

(2)

Friday evening, Ragen jumped out of bed, thinking he had just gone to sleep. He went to the dresser. The money—money he didn’t even remember stealing—was gone. He ran to the closet, pulled out a .25-caliber automatic and searched the apartment, kicking open doors, looking for the burglar who had broken in while he was asleep. But the apartment was empty. He tried to reach Arthur. When he got no response, he angrily broke open the piggy bank, took out twelve dollars and left to buy a bottle of vodka. He came back, drank and smoked a joint. Still worried about the bills, he realized that whatever he had done to get that money, he had to do it again.

Ragen took a few amphetamines, strapped on his gun, put on his jogging top and a windbreaker. Again he jogged west to

Columbus, reaching the Ohio State University Wiseman parking lot at about seven-thirty in the morning. Off in the distance, he recognized the horeshoe-shaped football stadium of the Buckeyes. Behind him, he noticed the sign on the modem concrete-and-glass building opposite the lot—upham hall.

A short, chubby nurse stepped through the doorway. She had an olive complexion and high cheekbones and wore her black hair braided in a long ponytail down her back. As she walked toward a white Datsun, he had the odd impression that he recognized her. Someone—Allen, he thought—had seen her a long time ago in a student hangout called the Castle.

Ragen turned away, but before he could leave, Adalana wished him off the spot . . .

Donna West felt exhausted after her eleven-to-seven shift at the university psychaitric hospital. She had told her fiance she would call him from the hospital to meet him for breakfast, but she’d worked late this morning after a terrible night, and all she wanted was to get out of there. She’d call Sidney when she got back to her apartment. As she walked toward the parking lot, a friend passed, waved and shouted hello. Donna headed for her car, always carefully parked in the first row facing Upham Hall.

“Hey, wait a minute!” someone yelled.

She looked up to see a young man in jeans and a wind-breaker waving to her from the other side of the lot. Handsome, she thought, like some actor whose name she couldn’t recall. He wore brown-tinted sunglasses. She waited as he came over and asked directions to the main parking lot.

“Listen, it’shard to explain,” Donna said. “I’m going around that way. Why don’t you get in and I’ll drive you around?” He sat on the passengers side. While Donna was backing the car out, he pulled a gun from inside his jacket.

“Just drive,” he said. “You’re gonna help me out.” Seconds later, he added, “If you do what I say, you’re not gonna get hurt, but believe me, I’m willing to kill.”

This is it, Donna thought. I’m going to die. She felt her face bum, her blood vessels constrict, sick deep down. Oh Christ, why hadn’t she called Sidney before she left? Well, at least he knew she was supposed to call him. Maybe he’d notify the police.

Her abductor reached behind the seat and picked up her purse. He took out her wallet and looked at her drivers license. “Well, Donna, drive to Interstate 71 north.”

He took the ten dollars out of her wallet. She had the impression he was making a big show of taking it, conspicuously folding the bills and slipping them into his shirt pocket. Then he took a cigarette out of her pack and pushed it toward her lips. “I bet you want a smoke,” he said, and lit it with her car lighter. She noticed his hands had some kind of stain all over them and under the fingernails, not dirt or grime or oil, but something. Ostentatiously, he wiped his fingerprints off the lighter. That terrified Donna—it meant he was probably a professional with a police record. He noticed her startled reaction.

“I’m a member of a group,” he said. “Some of us are involved in political activites.”

Her first impression was that he was alluding to the Weathermen, thought he hadn’t actually mentioned that name. She assumed, since he was making her take 1-71 north, that he was headed for Cleveland to make his escape. He was, she decided, an urban guerrilla.

She was surprised when he told her to get off 1-71 at the Delaware County area and made her drive on a back road. She saw him relax, as if he knew the area, and when they were out of sight of all cars, he told her to park.

When Donna West saw how deserted the area was, she realized this abduction had nothing to do with anything political. She was going to be raped or shot or both. He leaned back in the seat, and she knew something really bad was going to happen.

“I want to sit here a minute and get my head together, ” he said.

Donna sat with her hands on the wheel, staring straight ahead, thinking of Sidney and of her life, wondering what was going to happen. The tears started down her cheeks.

“What’s the matter?” he said. “You afraid I’m going to rape you?”

Those words and his sarcastic tone cut through her, and she looked at him. “Yeah,” she said. “I am.”

“Well, you’re so fucking stupid,” he said. “Here you are worried about your ass when you ought to be worried about your life.”

That was a sobering, shocking thing to hear, and Donna stopped crying immediately. “By God,” she said, “you’re absolutely right. I am worried about my life.”

She could barely see his eyes through the sunglasses as his voice softened: “Take your hair out of the ponytail.”

She sat gripping the wheel.

“7 said take your hair down.”

She reached up and pulled a barrette out. Then he undid the braid, caressing her hair, saying how pretty it was.

Then he changed again, becoming loud and mouthy. “You are so fucking stupid,” he said. “Jeeze, look how ya got yourself in a situation like this.”

“How did I get myself into this situation?”

“Look at your dress. Look at your hair. You oughtta know you would attract attention from someone like me. What were you doin’ in the parking lot at seven-thirty in the morning? You’re so fucking stupid.”

Donna thought he was right in a way. It was her fault for offering him a ride. She had herself to blame for what was going to happen. Then she caught herself and realized he was taking her on a guilt trip. She’d heard of rapists doing this before, and she knew better than to fall for it. But still, she thought, when you’re helpless and scared to death, it’s easy for the guy sitting there with a big gun to make you feel guilty.

She resigned herself to what was going to happen. The thought went through her mind: Well, rape isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to me.

“By the way,” he said, shocking her out of her thoughts, “my name is Phil.”

She looked straight ahead, not turning to see his face.

He shouted at her: “7 said my name is Phil!”

She shook her head. “I don’t really care what your name is. I don’t think I want to know it.”

He told her to get out of the car. Then, as he searched her pockets, he said, “As a nurse, I bet you could get a lotta speed. ”

She didn’t answer.

“Get into the back of the car,” he ordered.

Donna began to talk quickly as she got into the rear, hoping she could distract him by conversation. “Do you like art?” she asked. “I really like art. I’m a part-time potter. I work with clay. ” She talked on and on hysterically, but he seemed not to hear what she was saying.

He made her pull down her white pantyhose, and she was almost grateful he didn’t make it even more humiliating by forcing her to disrobe completely.

“I don’t have any diseases,” he said as he unzipped his fly.

It stunned Donna that he would say such a thing. She felt like screaming at him: I have diseases. I have all kinds of diseases. But by now she felt he was mentally ill, and she was afraid of agitating him further. Well, diseases were the last thing on her mind right now. She just wanted this over and done with.

She was surprised and relieved at how quickly he finished with her.

“You’re fantastic,” he said. “You turn me on.” He got out of the car, looked around and told her to get back behind the wheel. “This is the first time I’ve ever raped anybody. I’m more than a guerrilla now. I’m a rapist.”

After a short while, Donna said, “May I get out of the car? I have to urinate.”

He nodded.

“I can’t do it with someone watching me,” she said. “Could you walk away out of sight?”

He did as she asked, and when she returned, she noticed his behavior had changed. He was relaxed, joking. But then he suddenly changed again, assuming the same commanding tone and attitude he’d done before the rape, frightening her with violent talk, using foul language.

“Get into the car,” he snapped. “Get back on the freeway and go north. I want you to cash checks and get me some money.”

Thinking as quickly as she could, wanting desperately to get back to familiar territory, she said, “Look, if it’s money you want, let’s go back to Columbus. You’re not going to get any out-of-town checks cashed on a Saturday.”

She waited for his reaction, telling herself that if he insisted on heading north on 1-71, it would mean they were headed for Cleveland. She decided then and there that she would crash the car and kill both of them. She hated what he had done to her, and she was going to make sure he would have no use for her money.

“All right,” he said. “Take 1-71 south.”

She hoped he wouldn’t see how relieved she was, and she decided to press her luck. “Why don’t we take Route 23? There are lots of banks on 23, and we could get to one before they close at noon.”

Again he accepted her suggestion, and though she still felt her life was in danger, she hoped that if she could keep talking and keep him off balance, she might get through it alive.

“Are you married?” he asked suddenly.

She nodded, realizing it was important for him to think someone was waiting for her, that someone would know she was missing. “My husband’s a doctor.”

“How is he?”

“He’s an intern.”

“That’s not what I mean.”

“What do you mean?”

“What’s he like?”

She was about to describe Sidney when she suddenly understood that he wanted to know how adequate her husband was sexually.

“You’re much better than he is,” she said, realizing that if she complimented him, he might be nicer to her. “You know, my husband must have a problem. It takes him forever. It’s great that you were so fast.”

She could see he really got a big kick out of that, and she was more certain than ever that this young man was a schizophrenic, out of touch with reality. If she kept humoring him, perhaps she might get out of this.

He went through her purse again, taking her Master Charge card, her university clinic I.D. and her checkbook. “I have to have two hundred dollars,” he said. “Someone needs the money. Write a check for cash, and go to your bank in Westerville. We’ll go in together, but if you make one funny move, you try to do anything, I’ll be standing right behind you with the gun. I’ll shoot.”

Walking into the bank, Donna was shaking all over. She found it hard to believe that the tellers she passed didn’t catch on—she was grimacing and rolling her eyes frantically, trying to attract attention. But no one noticed a thing. Donna used her Master Charge card to make two withdrawals of fifty dollars each, until the machine receipt indicated she’d reached her limit.

As they drove off, he tore up the bank receipts carefully, then tossed the pieces out the car window. Donna looked through the rear-view mirror and nearly choked—a Westerville police cruiser was right behind them. O my God, she thought, clenching a fist to her temple, we’re going to be picked up for littering!

Reacting to her agitation, he turned and saw the police. “Oh, hot damn! Let the fucking pigs come up here and I’ll blow ’em away. Too bad you have to see this, but that’s the way it goes. Ill waste ’em, and if you try anything, you’ll be next.”

Mentally, she crossed her fingers, hoping the police hadn’t seen the papers thrown out of the car. She felt certain he would shoot it out with them.

The police cruiser ignored them, and she slumped back, trembling.

“Let’s find another bank,” he said.

They tried several banks, then Kroger and Big Bear stores, all unsuccessfully. She noticed that he would become agitated and aggressive before they entered each one, but once inside he would be playful, as if it were all a game. At the Kroger store in Raintree Center, he put his arm around her and pretended he was her husband. “We really need the money,” he told the clerk. “We’re going out of town.”

Donna was finally able to cash a hundred dollars using a check-cashing machine.

“I wonder,” he said, “if all the computers are connected.”

When she told him that he seemed to know a lot about the way banks and bank machines worked, he said, “I need to know all these things because it’s useful information for my group to have. We share information. Everyone adds to the group.”

Again she assumed he was talking about the Weathermen or some other radical organization, and she decided to divert him with talk about politics and current issues. When he thumbed through a copy of Time that had been lying on the floor of the car, she asked his opinion on the voting for the Panama Canal treaty. He looked confused and flustered, and she realized after a few seconds that he knew nothing at all about something that had been in the headlines and on the TV news. He was not the political activist he had led her to believe. She decided he knew very little about what was going on in the world.

“Don’t go to the police about this,” he said suddenly, “because I or someone else will be watching, and we’ll find out. I’ll probably be in Algeria, but someone else will be watching you. That’s the way we work. We all look out for one another. The brotherhood I belong to will get you.”

She wanted to keep him talking to keep him diverted, but decided to keep away from politics. “Do you believe in God?” she asked, figuring that was a topic someone could talk about for hours.

“Well, do you think there’s a God?” he shouted, pointing the gun right at her face. “Is God helping you right now?”

“No,” she gasped. “You know, you’re right. God isn’t helping me now.”

He suddenly calmed down and stared out the window. “I guess I’m really confused about religion. You’ll never believe this, but I’m Jewish.”

“Gee,” she said, without thinking, “that’s funny, you don’t look Jewish.”

“My father was Jewish.”

He rambled on, seeming less upset, but finally he said, “All religion is bullshit.”

Donna kept silent. Religion had definitely not been the right topic of conversation.

“You know,” he said softly, “I really like you, Donna. Its too bad we had to meet under these circumstances.”

Donna decided that he was not going to kill her, and she began to think about helping the police catch him. *

“It would be wonderful,” she said, “if we could meet again. Phone me . . . write me a letter . . . send me a postcard. If you don’t want to sign your own name, you could sign it G for ‘Guerrilla. ’ ”

“What about your husband?”

She had him, she thought. She had manipulated him and now she had him hooked. “Don’t worry about my husband,” she said. “I’ll take care of him. Write me. Phone me. I’d love to hear from you again.”

He pointed out that she was almost out of gas and suggested they pull into a station to fill up.

“No, that’s okay. I’ll have enough.” She was hoping she would run out of gas so that he would have to leave the car. “How close are we to where I picked you up this morning?” “Not far.”

“Why don’t you take me back there?”

She nodded, thinking how appropriate it was to be going back to where it had started. When they were near the College of Dentistry, he told her to pull over. He insisted on leaving her five dollars for gas. She didn’t touch it, so he slipped it under the visor. Then he looked at her tenderly. “I’m sorry we had to meet under these circumstances,” he whispered again. “I really love you.”

He hugged her tightly and ran out of the car.

It was one o’clock Saturday afternoon when Ragen got back to Channingway Apartments, once again remembering nothing of the robbery. He put the money beneath his pillow and the gun on the table beside him. “This money stays vit me,” he said, and went to sleep.

Allen woke later that evening, found two hundred dollars under his pillow and wondered where in the world it had come from. When he saw Ragen’s gun, he figured it out.

“Well,” he said, “might as well go have a good time.”

He showered, shaved his three-day growth of beard, dressed and went out for dinner.

(3)

Ragen woke Tuesday evening thinking he had slept for just a few hours. He quickly put his hand under the pillow, only to find the money gone again. Gone. And he still hadn’t paid the bills or bought anything for himself. Once again he asked questions inside, and this time he reached Allen and Tommy.

“Yeah,” Allen said. “I saw some money laying there. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to spend it.”

“I bought some art supplies,” Tommy said. “We needed stuff.”

“Fools!” Ragen shouted. “I stole it only to pay bills. To buy food. For car payment.”

“Well, where’s Arthur?” Allen asked. “He should have told us.”

“I cannot find Arthur. He is off somevere vit scientific studies instead of controlling spot. I am one who has to get money to pay bills.”

“What are you gonna do now?” Tommy asked.

“I do it once more. Is last time. No one must touch money.” “God,” Allen said, “I hate these mix-up times.”

            * * *

In the early hours of Wednesday, October 26, Ragen put on his leather jacket and made his way, for the third time, across the city of Columbus, toward Ohio State University. He had to get money. He had to rob someone. Anyone. At about seven-thirty, he paused at an intersection where a police cruiser had also stopped. Ragen gripped his gun. The officers might have some money. As he started toward them, the light changed and they drove away.

Walking along East Woodruff Avenue, he saw an attractive blond woman pulling a blue Corvette up the driveway of a brick apartment building. The sign on the wall said gemini. He followed her up the driveway around to the back parking area, certain she hadn’t seen him. He had never considered robbing a woman, but now he was desperate. It was for the children.

“Get into car.”

The woman turned, startled. “What?”

“I have gun. I need you to take me someplace.” Frightened, she followed his instructions. Ragen got in the passenger side and pulled out two guns. Then Adalana wished him off the spot for the third time . . .

Adalana was becoming worried that Arthur might discover she had been stealing Ragen s time. She decided that if Ragen was ever caught, he might as well be blamed for the whole thing. Since he had come out with guns, and certainly had intended to commit robbery, everyone would believe he had been out the whole time. If he couldn’t remember what had happened, it would be blamed on the vodka and the drugs.

She admired Ragen, his aggressiveness as well as his tenderness with Christene. There were qualities about Ragen she wished she possessed herself As the young woman drove her Corvette, Adalana talked about herself as if she were Ragen.

“I want you to stop at that office building over there,” she said. “There should be a limousine parked in the back lot.” When they saw the limousine, Adalana picked up one of the guns and aimed it at the car. “I’m going to kill the man who owns that car. If he were here now, he’d be dead. That man deals in cocaine, and I happen to know he killed a little girl by giving her cocaine. He does it to children all the time. That’s why I’m going to kill him.”

Adalana felt something in her jacket pocket. She found Tommy’s handcuffs and laid them on the floor of the car.

“Whats your name?” Adalana asked.

“Polly Newton.”

“Well, Polly, I see you’re low on gas. Pull into that service station.”

Adalana paid for five gallons of gas, then told Polly to take 1-71 north. They drove until they reached Worthington, Ohio, where Adalana insisted they stop at the Friendly ice cream store for a couple of Cokes.

As they drove on, Adalana noticed a river along the right side of the road and some old one-lane bridges crossing it. She knew Polly Newton was studying her face carefully, probably so she could identify her to the police. Adalana talked, pretending to be Ragen, making up stories. It would confuse Arthur and the others, and cover her trail. No one would know she had been on the spot.

“I killed three people, but I killed a lot more than that during the war. I’m a member of the Weathermen’s terrorist group, and I was dropped off in Columbus last night to complete a mission. I had to make a man disappear who was going to testify in court against the Weathermen. I should tell you I completed my mission.”

Polly Newton listened quietly, nodding.

“I have another identity,” Adalana boasted, “where I dress up, and I’m a businessman, and I drive a Maserati.”

When they came to a deserted country road, Adalana had Polly drive across a deep ditch and through the high weeds of an overgrown field near a small pond. Adalana got out with her, looked at the water and at the surrounding area, came back and sat on the hood of the car. “I want to wait for about twenty minutes before I have you drop me off.”

Polly looked relieved.

Then Adalana added, “And I want to have sex with you.”

Polly began to cry.

“I’m not going to hurt you. I’m not the kind who beats women and throws them around. I don’t even like to hear about that being done to women.”

“Look, you mustn’t scream and kick when you’re being raped, because that makes a rapist freak out and get violent. The best thing to do is lay back, say ‘Go ahead,’ and the rapist won’t hurt you. I have a soft spot for tears,” Adalana said, “but you don’t have a choice. I’m going to do it anyway.”

She took two bath towels that were in the car and laid them on the ground along with her jacket. “Lie down on them, put your hands on the ground, look up at the sky and try to relax.” Polly did as she was told. Then Adalana lay down beside her, unfastened her blouse and her bra, and kissed her. “You don’t have to worry about getting pregnant or anything like that,” she said. “I’ve got Huntingtons chorea and I’ve had a vasectomy. Look.”    .

Adalana pulled down her jogging pants to her knees and showed Polly a scar on the lower abdomen, right above the penis. It wasn’t a vasectomy scar at all. It was a diagonal line on the abdomen itself, a hernia scar.

As Adalana lay on top of her, Polly cried, “Please don’t rape me!” The girl’s cry of “rape” struck deep into Adalanas mind. She remembered the things that had happened to David and Danny and Billy. My God, what a horrible thing rape was.

Adalana stopped, rolled off onto her back and looked at the :sky with tears in her eyes. “Bill,” she said aloud, “what’s wrong with you? Get yourself together.:

She got up and put the towels back into the car. Then she took the larger gun from the front seat and threw a beer bottle into the pond, but at first the gun wouldn’t go off. She tried again, firing at the beer bottle twice and missing both times. Well, she wasn’t a marksman like Ragen.

“We’d better get going,” Adalana said.

As they drove off, Adalana rolled down the car window and Tred twice at a telephone pole. Then she reached over and bearched the young woman’s handbag. “I need to get some jnoney for someone,” she said. “About two hundred dollars.” She held up the check-cashing card. “We’ll go into Kroger’s md cash a check.”

At the Kroger office, Polly was able to cash a check for one mndred and fifty dollars. Then they went to the State Savings Sank on North High Street, which refused to cash her checks, finally, after a few other futile attempts at drive-in bank vindows, Adalana suggested they use her father’s Union Com->any card and try to cash a check with the card as a backup. ?he Union store at Graceland Shopping Center permitted her o cash a fifty-dollar check. “We could cash another check,” adalana suggested, “and you could keep the money yourself.”

In a sudden change of mood, Adalana tore a check out of the checkbook to write Polly a poem, but when she was done, she said, “I can’t give it to you because the police might be able to match my handwriting.” She destroyed the check and then ripped a page out of Polly’s address book.

“I’m going to keep this page,” Adalana said. “If you notify the police about me or give them the right description, I’ll send the page to the Weathermen group, and they’ll come to Columbus and kill your family.”

Just then Adalana saw a police car passing on her left. Startled, she slipped away . . .

Philip found himself looking out the window of a moving car. He turned and saw a strange young blond woman at the wheel.

“What da fuck am I doin’ here?” he said aloud. “Where y’at, Phil?”    >

“Is that your name, ‘Bill’?”

“Nah. Phil.” He looked around. “What da fuck is goin’ on? Jesus Christ, just a few minutes ago I wuz …”

Then Tommy was there, looking at her, wondering why he was here. Maybe someone was out on a date. He looked at his watch. It was almost noon.

“You hungry?” Tommy asked.

She nodded.

“There’s a Wendy’s over there. Let’s go get a couple of hamburgers and some fries.”

She placed the order and Tommy paid for the food. She talked about herself as they ate, but he didn’t really listen. She wasn’t his date. He’d just have to wait until whoever was out with her came back and took her wherever they were going.

“Is there anyplace in particular you want me to drop you oft?” she asked.

He looked at her. “The campus area’s okay.”

Whoever’s date it was had just jilted him. When they got back to the car, he closed his eyes . . .

Allen looked up quickly at the young woman driving, felt the gun in his pocket and the roll of money. Oh, Jesus Christ, no . . .

“Look,” he said. “Whatever I did, I’m sorry. Real sorry. I didn’t hurt you, did I? Don’t give the police my description, will you?”

She stared at him. He realized he had to confuse the issue in case she went to the police.

“Tell the police I’m Carlos the Jackal from Venezuela.” “Whos Carlos the Jackal?”

“Carlos the Jackal is dead, but the police don’t know it yet. You tell them I’m Carlos and they’ll probably believe you.” He jumped out of the car and walked quickly away . . .

Back home, Ragen counted the money and made an announcement: “No one is to touch money. I have robbed this for to pay bills.”

Arthur said, “Wait a minute. I paid those bills with the money I found on the dresser.”

“Vat? Vy don’t you tell me? Vy I am going around robbing people?”

“I thought you’d know when you saw the money gone.” “So? And vat about money from second robbery? It vas gone, but not from paying bills.”

“The boys explained that to you.”

Ragen felt he’d been made a fool of, and he stormed around the apartment in a rage. He demanded to know who had been stealing his time.

Arthur reached Tommy, Kevin and Philip, but all three denied stealing time from Ragen. Philip described the blond girl he had seen in the car: “She looked like a cheerleader type”.

“You were not supposed to take the spot,” Arthur said. “Well, shit, I didn’t want to. I just found myself sitting with this broad in the goddamned car without knowing why. And I took off as soon as I realized what was goin’ down.”

Tommy said he’d bought the same girl a hamburger at Wendy’s, figuring she was someone’s date, “but that was just for about twenty minutes. The money was in my pocket already. ”

Arthur said, “Everybody stay home for a few days. We’ve got to figure out what’s going on. Nobody’s to leave until we find out who’s been stealing time from Ragen.”

“Well,” Tommy said, “tomorrow’s Dorothy and Dels fourth anniversary. Kathy called and reminded me. I promised I’d meet her in Lancaster and she’d help me pick out a present.” Arthur nodded. “All right, call her and tell her you’ll meet her, but don’t take too much money with you. Just what you’ll need. And get back here as soon as possible.”

The next day Tommy went shopping with Kathy in Lancaster, where they bought a beautiful chenille bedspread for a present. Kathy pointed out that this was just about the date fourteen years ago that their mother had become Mrs. Chalmer Milligan.

After dinner with Dorothy and Del and a quiet, pleasant visit with Kathy, Tommy sat in the car and waited until Allen came to drive him back to Channingway.

As soon as Allen got back to the apartment, he flopped into bed . . .

And David woke up. He didn’t know why he was feeling so bad. Something was wrong around here, but he didn’t know what. He wandered around the apartment and tried to reach Arthur or Allen or Ragen, but nobody would come. Everybody was mad at everybody else. Then he saw the bullets from Ragen s gun in the plastic bag under the couch, and the gun under the red chair, and he knew that was very bad, because Ragen always kept his guns locked away.

He remembered what Arthur had always told him: “If there’s ever any trouble or somebody’s doing something bad and you can’t reach anyone for help, call the bobbies.” He knew “bobbies” was Arthur’s way of saying police, because Arthur had written the police number on the paper beside the telephone. He picked the receiver up and dialed the number. When a man answered, David said, “Somebody is doing bad things around here. Something is going on. Everything’s wrong.”

“Where you at?”

“Old Livingston Avenue, the Channingway Apartments. There’s something awfully wrong. But don’t tell nobody I called you.” Then he hung up. He looked out the window and saw how foggy it was, sort of spooky.

After a while he left the spot. Danny came and started to paint, even though it was getting late. Then he sat down in the living room to watch TV.

When he heard the knock on the door, he was surprised. Through the peephole he saw a man with a Domino’s pizza box in his hand. He opened the door and said, “I didn’t order pizza.”

While Danny was trying to help the man who was looking for Billy, the man slammed him against the wall and put a gun to his head. The police came in through the door with guns, and a pretty lady told him he had the right to remain silent, so he did. Then two men put him into a car and drove very slowly through the thick fog to the police station.

Danny had no idea why he was arrested or what was going on, but he sat in the jail cell until David came to watch cockroaches running in circles. Arthur or Ragen or Allen would come soon and get him out of there. David knew he hadn’t been a bad boy. He hadn’t done anything bad at all.

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