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Somebody Somewhere by Tom Lichtenberg

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Genre/Category: Crime, Thriller, Mystery
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Somebody Somewhere by Tom Lichtenberg
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Some psycho kidnaps his would-be girlfiend, gets chased by the cops halfway across the state, runs out of gas right outside your house, where you and your spouse are enjoying a quiet evening at home, and now you’re held hostage at gunpoint and surrounded by police. It could happen.


After midnight there is no one on these streets, except the occasional cops who sit in their cars and wait for fools like me who think they can make it home before they fall asleep. I didn't even want to be out there. I should have been dreaming already, all nice and curled up besides my girlfriend with her cat on my head and my hand on her hip. Instead we had one of those fights. I don't even know what the fight was about - I never really do - unless it was just for the sake of it, so we could be mad at each other for a couple of days and then have really good make-up sex on Wednesday. Maybe that's what it was about. Whatever.

The last thing I remember is her saying 'It doesn't matter what you say, you're still an asshole!', and me jumping up off the bed and grabbing my jacket and heading for the door. Damn, I only remembered when I started the car and was already on the road that I'd left my overnight bag back there. I hoped there wasn't anything in it that I didn't want her to see.

Sometimes you have to keep things back for their own good - they'd get the wrong idea, and wouldn't understand, and it would only lead to trouble that you don't need. I was pretty sure there was nothing in the bag,

but with her you never know what might set her off, especially in the frame of mind she was in that night. Oh, I remembered about the fight, of course. It was about those friends of hers, the ones we really don't like but have to go and have dinner with every now and then - Franklin and Jeannie.

She thinks that Jeannie thinks that Franklin thinks that I think that they're a couple of losers and I hate them, whereas I think that she thinks that Franklin thinks that Jeannie thinks she's the better looking of the two of them, and that's what's really bugging her - also that she thinks that I think so too, which I do, because it just happens to be a fact, but it doesn't much matter to me, which she thinks I'm lying about, which I'm not. Or something like that. I was pretty tired in any case, so it's understandable if I was a little fuzzy around the edges. But I wasn't so tired that I couldn't help notice that there were a lot of police cars blocking off the left turn only lane on to Bog Avenue, with their blue and red lights flashing and their radios buzzing with static.

A cop with a flashlight waved me through at the corner, and I thought, woah, there must have been a pretty big accident or something, because Bog Avenue is a major thoroughfare and you don't just go blocking the whole thing off because somebody stalled out or

something. I figured I'd turn on the radio just in case I could find out what was happening out there. Well, that's about all there was on the radio at that time.

Apparently, and this is really weird if you ask me, but some guy had gone and kidnapped his girlfriend earlier in the evening - this was out in the Central Valley; I mean it's more than a hundred and twenty miles away. And they came all the way over here, with the cops on their ass the whole way, and then they got off the freeway at the Bog Avenue exit, and turned down our street - I mean my girlfriend's street - and must have driven right by her house.

Damn. I mean, what are the odds of that? Then they must've run out of gas or something because they got out of the car and broke into someone's house and were holed up in there right now - just a couple of blocks away - just totally surrounded by cops and then when I heard about it on the news I looked out the window and saw the helicopter hovering overhead and the searchlights from somewhere panning the sky.

The weird thing is it could have been my girlfriend's house they broke into. It could have been anybody's house. From a hundred and twenty miles away. You could never see that one coming. On the news they didn't know if there was anybody home inside that house. They didn't

seem to know much of anything. They didn't know who the guy was, or who the girlfriend was, or what was really going on. But how could you really know what the hell was going on in a situation like that? You could get the facts, but you wouldn't really know, if you know what I mean. The last thing I wanted to do that night was kidnap my girlfriend - in fact, I was driving away from her as fast I could without getting caught in a speed trap.