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Never Kidnap a Crime Novelist
About the Author: Stan Dryer is the pen name for an author who lives in southern New Hampshire. He has been writing fiction for over 60 years. Prior to 1990 he published 17 short stories in magazines that included Playboy, Cosmopolitan and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. He has now returned to fiction writing after a gap of 30 years. and has recently had eight stories published (or accepted for publication) in such magazines as Fabula Argentea, Mystery Weekly Magazine and Adelaide Magazine.

Buck opened the door. Marla was standing there, sulky, long-legged Marla wearing glued-tight jeans and a cashmere sweater that Buck figured must have cost her husband the loot from two hours’ billing when he was still a lawyer for the rich and famous.

“What do you want?” Buck said.

“What the fuck do you think I want? I’m moving in.”

“Aren’t you supposed to ask me politely first?”

“Weren’t you supposed to ask me politely first if you should put my husband in the crowbar hotel for twenty plus?”

“Point taken,” said Buck. He stepped back and Marla glided through the door pulling a suitcase on wheels behind her.

“Where’s your bedroom?” she said. “And if I find some scumbag doxy’s clothes in your closet, they’re dumpster fodder.”

(The ending of the last chapter of Slammer and the Social Whirl by Martin Wielman)

The couple in matching ski masks snatched Martin out of his driveway, just as he got out of his car on a dark night in September. He had not even sensed their presence until he felt the gun pressed in his back and the woman said, “Just come along quietly if you value your life.” His first reaction was not a stab of fear but, what a hackneyed line. If I used that in a book, my critics would tear me apart.

If the line was bad, the gun was genuine, and he walked silently ahead of the couple down to the end of the driveway. They relieved him of his cell phone and wristwatch, then blindfolded and gagged him. They loaded him quickly into the back of their SUV, tied him down so he could hardly move, and threw a blanket over him as a bonus.

After that first command, the couple hardly spoke, just a few words here and there to coordinate their actions. They moved so quickly and efficiently Martin suspected this was not their first kidnapping.

The car doors clicked shut and the vehicle moved away from his house. They drove carefully; obviously they did not want to draw the attention of the police.

Buck Slammer would never have let this happen, was Martin’s first thought when his mind settled down. Buck, his tough, smart-mouthed detective, would have noticed and worried about an unfamiliar car parked at the end of the driveway. Whenever Buck viewed a crime scene or scanned the street in front of his apartment, his favorite comment to his sidekick Marla was, “What’s out of place here?” Even ex-socialite Marla understood that mantra. She was, after all, the one who had spotted a funny antenna on the car that turned out to be full of FBI agents in Slammer Goes Rogue.

But Martin had not noticed the SUV. It had been dark and he had been trying to work out at least a rough idea of the plot for his next novel. He had not yet reached the panic stage, but it was coming close. His half-million-dollar advance was based solely on the faith of his publisher in a dead-end first chapter and an incredibly shallow synopsis. He was going to have to ditch both that chapter and the synopsis, and start afresh. But with what?

He dragged himself back to the reality of the moment. He should be trying to figure out where his kidnappers were taking him. Buck had known within a block exactly where he had been taken for questioning by Slimeface Eddie in Slammer Goes Undercover. But Buck hadn’t been blindfolded, just forced to lie on the floor on the back seat of the limo where he could count the number of streetlights they passed by their glow. All Martin could figure out was that they were still passing through the center of his town as they stopped periodically, obviously for traffic lights. That was about it.

Then the SUV picked up speed and they drove steadily for what must have been over an hour, giving Martin plenty of time to think. Why had they picked him to kidnap? That answer was obvious. His publisher had made sure press releases describing his half-million advance had been sent to every major media outlet. The only person in the world who hadn’t heard about it would be a hermit living in a cave without Internet access.

This story appears in our SEP2020 Issue
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Reader Discussion

Very funny! Kick-ass writing!
By Susan R

Great story, I really enjoyed reading it. Fun to have a crime writer involved in a crime story and good to see the baddies getting their just desserts.
By Teffy Wrightson

Great ironic twist. I really enjoyed this. The writing moved so well; compelling.
By Elizabeth Varada

Really fun stuff, Stan! Loved the twist.
By Craig Faustus Buck

This is the second story by you I've read. Love the voice.
By Bonnie Hearn Hill

Stan Dryer, You've written a wonderful story. I finished the read at 3 a.m. today. You understand what it means. Simple, you have chosen a right profession as a writer. Good luck for your future writing endeavors. Of course, I write this comment 3:13 a.m.
By Ziaul Moid Khan

What a great twist on a kidnapping story :) Loved this and will be looking for other fiction in your name.
By Ellen Behrens

Fun story! I liked the no-nonsense main character and the tone.
By Ken Hueler

A masterpiece!!!
By George Garnet

Clever, witty and a fun read! Well done once again!
By Tina Jude

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