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Project Aladdin Journal 05-17-2002

The call came early in the morning. My cellphone started ringing. I grabbed it eagerly, hoping for Gabrielle.


There was a sigh, like rough paper rubbing on canvas, and old sigh.

Well, hello Patrick. How are you?

His voice was accented, though I can't place it.

"Who is this?"

Oh, I think you know. Or you should. You're very good, Patrick, I must give you credit. Not just anyone could have cracked our organization.

"What organization? What are you talking about? I'm not interested in that. I just want my friend back!"

Ah, yes, Ms. Brantley. Or should I say, agent Brantley? Is that what you're called these days? Agents?

"I'm not an agent! I'm not working for anyone! I-"

Enough. That may have worked on some of our junior people, but it won't work on me. The situation is simple. We have your agent Brantley. She is, for now, unharmed. This will not be the case for long, however. I need you to come talk to me, in person. And in exchange I will release Ms. Brantley. Doesn't that sound nice?


You have twenty-four hours to think it over. Good day.

Then he hung up. What should I do?

Ironically, when I checked e-mail a few minutes later, I had one from Christine.

Good news, Patrick! We think we've cracked it. We should know in the next thirty-six hours. Wish us luck!

Project Aladdin Journal 05-17-2002

Patrick, this is Mister Gribbley - I've been quiet for a while but still keeping up. I had a thought about yesterday's post - where's Angela? Assuming Meaghan was at the apartment when she was taken (which isn't a given, I suppose - they might have ransacked the place independently) Angela would probably have been there, but you evidently didn't see her and whoever took Meaghan didn't mention her. Now, if they've got her you could at least demand her release in advance as a gesture of good faith before meeting. Otherwise if you can find out who was looking after her you might be able to check she's OK to reassure Meaghan. You should ask to speak to Meaghan before meeting whoever it is, anyway. And if you do meet, arrange someone to watch your back.
Bob checking in.

I'd say, go meet this guy...and take along a detail from the Baltimore police, because what you have on hand is a kidnapping. These guys are criminals. Major league. They need to be busted. You'll get Meaghan back, you'll get these guys put on ice where they belong.
My colleague SoundByte is right. If you haven't gone to the cops and media already, DO IT NOW!