Parking in front of the house, parallel to the curb so that she could use the driveway, he got out and grabbed his leather briefcase containing his students’ test papers that he would need to grade at some point during the weekend. It felt good to have the luxury of the two days to procrastinate should his wife provide a lengthy diversion for the evening.
He lifted the top of the mailbox and withdrew the mail that was deposited there, junk mail, electric bill, credit card solicitation—but then something odd. It was a small, plain white envelope such as a person might use to send a personal letter. But what made it strange were the two things he noticed immediately—there was no return address, and the address was printed in block lettering such as a child might use. It was also done in pencil, addressed to ‘Mr. South,’ with the rest of the address somewhat at a slant, as if the writer was accustom to printing with pre-lined paper.
After dropping his satchel on the floor of their combined computer room/den, he first opened the electric bill to read the amount and the due date, then filed it in the plastic box reserved for bills. Next he slit open the strange letter.
The single sheet of paper appeared to have been printed on a computer printer, Arial, twelve-point, he was sure, and contained no inside address, no date, not even a salutation. It read:
We have your wife. If you want to see her again live you must do what this letter says. Go to the lake in the park and sit on the bench near the boat ramp fasing the water at exactly 7 tonight. after you sit do not look around or move away from the bench. Someone will come behid you. Do not turn around to look at them. Do not talk. Have this letter in your suite pocket inside. Also have your checkbook and savings bookinside. Do this and your wife will be releaset unhurt later tonight.