See earlier posted story The Van for explanation on these two stories. Inspired by locations but completely fiction.
Will post installments every 8 to 12 hours for at least rest of week.
It happened while I was on the ferris wheel at Disneyland. Just ten minutes earlier it had been living up to its hype as “the happiest place on Earth” while his daughter and son and even his mom wore huge smiles as they went through the Small World ride. Sure, it required an hour-long wait but it had been worth it.
Then Jessica, 10, asked me to take her with her on the ferris wheel. Jack, 14, pronounced the ferris wheel “booooooring” and so he and mom announced plans to get a drink and then wait for us by the bench.
Seemed so uneventful. They waited 30 minutes and all was good until it wasn't: He noticed mom and Jack were not on the bench.
As the ride got going further he saw something he would never again unsee: Two strong strangers surrounding mom and Jack and his mom's face made her look 80 rather than her real age of 60. They were whispering things and motioning to something heavy-looking in their jacket pockets.
All four stopped to look at me for a minute, mom and Jack's faces full of fear and uncertainty, the two goons just giving me a hard look. The taller of the two said something to them that ended their uncertainty and the four of them awkwardly made their way toward the exit.
Jessica hadn't noticed any of this so I was giving her my happy face while I was running through questions ranging from “WTF?” to “Why would they be doing this?”
This was no longer the happiest place on earth. Two of the three people most important to me had just been abducted.
And I could do nothing about it until I got off this ride.
Then the ride stopped and we were still 40 feet in the sky.
I cut a look to the guy working the ferris wheel. He had restarted the ride.
He wore a smirk. It was hard to tell if he was smirking for me personally or it was that ever-present
smirk of a wealthy Southern Californian who knew he could go on any of these rides at any local attraction whenever he wanted. It was a smirk that said “enjoy your limited here than go back to whatever hellhole you live in that is free of the Disneys, the Knotts, the boats with whale watching.”
But then it changed from a smirk to a smile as he “accidently” stopped the ride, increasing my ire. Sure, I'd enjoyed it when a ferris wheel ride stopped when I was on a date, that fear factor had led to oh so many extra kisses or at least extra time holding hands.
But not now, not during those crucial first few hours after an abduction.
He cursed himself for watching too many crime shows on tv which were hiking up his fear, especially Without A Trace which had helped turn “stranger danger” from something kids were taught to something adults had instilled in them, as natural as their sense of when to eat and sleep.
Hopefully, this was all just some misunderstanding
That said, since when do people “accidently” abduct a mother and her teenage son.
No, this was no “accident” - something was happening and not only did he not know what to do but from his position at the top of the ferris wheel there was nothing he could do.
Except... maybe get a good angle of the vehicles leaving the parking lot?
He didn't see anything important right away.
Wait, now he saw something.
“What are you looking at, daddy?”
Damn. Jessica was watching now, noticing her dad's unusual manner and expression.
“I'll explain when we get to the car.”
“Yes, baby,” he said, talking slowly to try to hide the fear evident in his voice.
“Why is mommy taking Jack home?” She pointed and I saw it and shivered. “Did she forget about us?”
I prayed she didn't notice a key detail but having been taught to be observant she spotted it.
“Daddy, why are there two men in the backseat of mom's Volvo?”
I had no response to that.
“Mommy knows about stranger danger, right?”
“But why....” She saw my face and stopped, cold.
“Daddy, I'm scared.”
I gave her a hug but didn't tell her I too was scared.
The ride resumed and I watched as a guy in black pants and black jean replaced the other guy with the same outfit – probably a company uniform – in running the controls of the ride.
As we moved closer to the bottom I realized we had three choices. Well, four if you include calling the cops which I didn't want to do because that could turn abductions into murders or so I'd heard and saw on TV.
Option 1 – Follow the guy who was operating the ride when he made it stop as we lost a precious ten minutes. Problem: Don't know his name and couldn't see where he went.
Option 2 – Comfort my daughter. Give some big hugs and a drink of her choice.
Choice 3 – Leave as fast as I can stopping only to ask if those who sold them a drink noticed anything important. Time was precious.
He wanted to do option 2 but needed to do 3. He carried her – she was surprised but happy when he did this – and was going to head down Main Street to leave this place when they ran into a parade.
Jessica begged him to stop so she can watch and he was torn. He wanted to leave but didn't want a full-on meltdown.
As he slowed to a walk it seemed like Mickey Mouse was watching him extra carefully.
When it seemed like things couldn't get worse or stranger Mickey Mouse began walking over toward them.
Jessica screamed with excitement and gave Mickey a big hug. I leaned back so I could take a photo of them hugging.
Mickey handed me an envelope and then returned to the parade.
While Jessica watched him with awe I opened the envelope.
It contained three documents:
A typed letter I'd wait to read.
Photographs of my house, cars and family let me know these guys were serious.
The third item almost fell to the ground - it was that small. It looked like a bug.
Perhaps that was explained in the letter. I started to read it then heard someone say “stranger danger” and I turned terrified afraid I'd find Jessica gone too. I gave her a big squeeze and we resumed walking toward the exit.
“How are we going to get home?” she asked. I had been wondering the same question. I really didn't want to bug my ex-wife but maybe she could help. Heck, maybe she has an idea what was going on.
That plan to make it to the parking lot in ten minutes? Well, I forget about DT (Disney Time).
Jessica and I make it to the parking lot 30 minutes later – everything takes 3 times longer than it
should when stuck in the vortex of DT.
I was at my last straw but was just trying to keep it cool for Jessica. She was acting like a champ-
each surprise that scared the heck out of me – Mickey Mouse coming over and now bicycles at
our parking spot – she acted like it made pefect sense.
That's right – where our car had been there were now two bikes one for a girl and one for an adult
“These are great,” she said. “Who left them for us?” before I could answer she'd switched to asking, “Can we take them?”
I said I did not know which was true since I had no idea what the heck was going on.
We began pedalling to our house. I hadn't ridden a bike in at least 25 years so embarrasingly my daughter pedalled and moved faster than me. I was just happy to see nobody was watching me, nobody you-tubing me as I rolled down the street.
I ended up being wrong about that: Someone DID see me, tape me and I would later be shown the video.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.