Chapter 9 Tuesday, 1200 hours (Noon)
Late Tuesday morning, the police finally called the zoo. A communications Calfer put them on hold and rang up Brian who was getting ready for his noon broadcast. Brian was planning to handle it as a live call-in show, and was glad to have the police calling in. The techie routed the call to Brians desk, and kept the police on hold until the Broadcast was underway.
Brian gave a heartfelt justification for their take over.
Jack who was watching the broadcast at one of the zoos rare TV sets, rolled his eyes in disgust.
"Brian, Im worried about the hostages," said the negotiator.
"Theyre fine. Theyre our guests."
"Good, good. Do you think I could talk to one of them. My boss here thinks they might not be well treated. It would make him happy if he knew Id talked to one of them. Could you help me out?"
"Sure," said Brian. "In fact during tonights broadcast, you can talk to them live."
"Good. Thanks," said the negotiator, "I appreciate it. By the way, my name is George."
They chatted a little longer, thanked each other, and hung up. Brian gave the fade to black sign and the techies wound down the transmitter.
Jack had just flipped off his set when Brian called him by walkie-talkie.
"Did you watch the broadcast?" asked Brian.
"Well, I was just thinking that it would really look good on camera if we had some kids with us on the next broadcast," said Brian. He paused. "But I forgot. We're going to release the kids. I don't want to forget about it again. Could you take care of it. I mean to make sure the kids get out of the zoo without being eaten. Right after lunch would be good."
"I'll take care of it."
After lunch, Jack and Joshua whom Brian also asked to help, sought out a Calfer guard. The three of them went to the dormitory to collect the kids for release. The guard waited outside while Jack and Joshua went in.
Jack saw one of the kids, naked save for his briefs, standing in a clutter of discarded blue scout uniforms. Otherwise the room was empty. Jack noticed the open window and realized the other kids had flown the coop.
Jack was furious. It was his task to conduct the kids safely out, and now, except for one, there were no kids to so conduct.
"I want to go back to my father," said the kid.
Joshua shrugged. "Its OK with me," he said.
"O.K. kid," said Jack roughly. "Where are they?"
"Leave me alone," the boy answered, "and my name's Jeffery, not kid."
"Where the hell are they?" Jack shouted.
"Go pick on someone your own size."
"I said, Where are they," said Jack punctuating his statement by slamming the door shut in a fit of temper.
Jeffreys eyes widened in fear. He didnt answer, but backed off into a corner as far as possible from this man who seemed to be out of control.
Jack seething, leaned his rifle against the wall. He took off his belt and folded it double. "Bend him over the bunk," he said to Joshua.
Joshua nodded and, showing no emotion whatsoever, gathered up Jeffrey. He used one hand to pin Jeffrey's arms over his head while with his other hand, he pushed down between the boy's shoulder blades, positioning him efficiently over a bed so that his face was pressed against the mattress.
Jack brought the strap down on Jeffreys white briefs. Jeffrey trembled and then screamed. Five more times did the strap descend, and Jeffrey kept screaming.
Joshua said nothing, but his face showed a trace of a smile.
All through the beating Jack, who was in a fit of temper, shouted abuse at the kid.
"Stop. Please stop," screamed Jeffrey, "Ill tell you where they went."
Jack put down his belt and nodded to Joshua who, reluctantly it seemed, let the boy up.
"OK, Where?" said Jack, calming down.
"Theyre hiding out at the zoo cafeteria," said Jeffrey through his tears.
"All right then," said Jack threading his belt back through the loops. He looked down at the kid and found himself softening.
"Get your clothes on, kid." he said, not unkindly.
Jack opened the door and went through, aware of the accusatory eyes of the hostages and even the other Calfers, many of whom were not all that much older than Jeffrey. Jack could hear Jeffrey crying through the closed door.
Outside, Jack allowed himself to calm down. He found no pleasure in beating the kid. It was not a manifestation of his sadistic nature. He had just lost his temper.