Paying The Price – Part 7

While Olsen set up the equipment and got ready to listen in on calls Strauss coached Jonny on how to keep their target on the line when he called.

“Now he might not suspect we’re tracing calls yet, it depends on how sophisticated this guy is. He’s sent two letters and he’ll know that we know they’re from the same person and will be looking into the matter seriously, but with any luck he won’t be expecting us to move this quickly. If he’s cocky and not too bright we might just catch him out tonight, especially if you can motivate him to stay on the line. The best way to do that is to ask questions.

“So, like what? Why are you calling me? What do you want?”

“Well, yes, that’s a good start. What you want to do is hook them emotionally. Say whatever it takes to push their buttons to the extent that they feel an overwhelming need to respond to what you’re saying. Then if they are keeping track of how long they’re on you have a chance of distracting them. We need at least thirty seconds. Another tactic is to pause before you respond to what they say. It eats up the time. But if they’re paying attention it may clue them in that the call is being traced. You have to be careful how you do it. I’ll signal you when to answer each time he’s expecting you to speak.”

Jonny wrote it all down in case he choked when the time came. He wasn’t happy about this turn of events but he knew he needed to cooperate fully. This thing was out of hand. Finally it was show time.

“Okay, another beautiful night in the city and you’re live with Jonny. Let’s get straight into it. Tell me what’s in your hearts or on your minds. Caller number one, what’s the low-down?”

“Hi Jonny. Listen, I saw that thing in the paper the other day about the letter the police got and I just want to say…”

“Caller, I’m sorry, but I’m not really at liberty to discuss that right now. It was probably just a prank anyway, nothing to take seriously. Thanks for your call.”

He cut the call off and Detective Olsen gave him a thumbs up, they didn’t want the target getting the idea that they were moving fast on the letters. Jonny was beginning to feel like he could handle the situation after all.

“All right then, moving on, caller number two, what do you have to say for yourself?”

“Not a lot Jonny. Just want to let you know I’ve been thinking about you.”

Feeling his pulse quicken, Jonny signalled to the detectives that this was it. They nodded and indicated he should speak.

“Ah, there you are. How’s it going tonight? Ready to tell me your name? I mean it’s only fair, you know mine.”

“Cut the crap Jonny. I’ll make this short and sweet. I want to know if you have any balls. You want to know who I am? Meet me then. I’ll call you later and make the arrangements. What do you say Jonny, are a real man or aren’t you?”

The detectives nodded and Jonny took a deep breath.

“Okay, sure, I can do that. Why don’t you tell me right now? Let’s let everyone in on it.”

Silence on the other end of the line. He had hung up. Jonny looked at the detectives but Olsen shook his head. Not long enough. The target was cleverer than they had hoped.

Tomorrow, part 8.

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