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Chapter Nine

Sergeant Orville Wrightman had joined the New Hampshire State
Police upon returning to his home state from Vietnam in 1971. Fellow
troopers soon nicknamed him "Border Guard" due to his unabashed
fondness for nabbing interlopers from Massachusetts. When he
stopped them as speeders he automatically assumed that this was the
least of their crimes. After all, wasn't the ultra-liberal People's
Republic of Massachusetts (as he called it) a haven for all sorts of
leftist agitators, flag-burners, drug dealers, sexual perverts, and weird
religious cults? Wasn't there a communist plot hatched at Harvard
("the Kremlin on the Charles") aimed at spoiling New Hampshire's
pristine purity with the export of drugs, pornography, and seditious
propaganda from Massachusetts?

So, when Orville Wrightman heard the bulletin about the Troulson
boy's disappearance, it was a natural assumption on his part that
child-abusers spurning red-blooded American transfusions would
head for the hills of New Hampshire. And he was determined to
capture them.

It was with more interest than usual, then, that he accelerated his
unmarked car to catch up with the noisy-mufflered, Mass.-plated
Thunderbird that dared trespass on his stretch of I-93. Pulling up
behind, and matching the T-bird's speed, he radioed the plate number
to headquarters for identification. Then he dropped back and
followed from a distance.

"It's registered to a Joseph Fontaine of 17 Baxter St., North
Bridgewater, Massachusetts," came back the dispatcher's report after a
few minutes.

"North Bridgewater!" the Sergeant shot back over the radio, "That's
where that kid was snatched from the hospital by those religious

"Yes, sir," the dispatcher confirmed unnecessarily.

"Send me a back-up car! No, make it two!" Wrightman commanded
as he turned on his blue lights and siren. "I'm not going to let this one
get away."

Joe had started to feel uneasy when he first saw the headlights pull
up behind and then drop back a bit, following him. But now the
flashers and siren flushed into his stomach a sour stream of acid that
threatened to burn right down through the car seat.

"Maybe we can outrun him," Larry offered with a smile that looked
really silly beneath the frown that was forming on his forehead. No
use; Joe was already applying the brakes.

"Tommy," Joe bellowed through clenched teeth, "this is the last
thing I'm going to say to you. Don't move! And don't make a sound!
If this cop finds you, we're finished."

"And, you, Larry," he continued in the same tone, turning to his
companion, "will you please try to be serious, for just once in your

The two cars slowed to a stop in the breakdown lane, and Sergeant
Wrightman silenced his siren just in time for the howl from an
assisting patrol car to be heard as it approached the scene. Watching
through the driver's-side mirror, Joe saw the Sergeant climb out of the
unmarked car and top-off his uniform by putting on his broad-
brimmed New Hampshire state trooper's hat. First the stern-faced
officer said a few words to Jack Holt, the driver of the cruiser that had
just pulled up beside him, directing Jack to park it in front of the T-
bird, and then he walked up menacingly, stopping just behind Joe's
door. A drawn gun was in his right hand.

"All right, fellas," he began, stepping back to look in through Joe's
now opened window. "Hands on top of the dashboard where I can see

"I-I know I wasn't speeding, officer," Joe stuttered, pleadingly.
"And I have an appointment to get that muffler fixed day after

Ignoring him, Wrightman barked his next command like a drill
sergeant: "Okay One at a time now, get out of the car--passenger first, then
the driver."

They complied.

"Hands on the roof of the car," Wrightman continued, gesturing
with his pistol, "and legs way back and wide apart."
Having seen enough arrests on TV and in the movies, the two
young men assumed the spread-eagle position without need of further

"Driver, let's see your license. Keep your right hand on the roof,
and hand me your wallet with the left."

Joe did as he was told and held the wallet out behind him, but
found no takers.

"Sir," he spoke hesitatingly, "you wanted to see my license?"

But Wrightman's interest was focused on the blanket on the floor
in the rear seat. He thought he had seen movements out of the corner
of his eye.

"Jack," he shouted to his back-up who was watching from his
cruiser, "call in a confirmation of our position, and come back here to
cover me."

With his fellow policeman's gun now trained on the suspects,
Wrightman walked around the Thunderbird and opened the rear door,
aiming his own pistol at the blanket and whoever or whatever was
under it.

"Easy, now," he cautioned, reaching forward with the other hand,
"I'm a police officer, and I'm holding a weapon."

With that, Wrightman grabbed the blanket by a prominent fold
and yanked it out the door, exposing a trembling little Tommy who
immediately put both hands in the air to signify surrender.

"It's okay, kid. Don't be afraid," the trooper assured him in a
fatherly tone, holstering his pistol and reaching to help Tommy out of
the car. "You're in safe hands, now. These fellas won't be able to hurt
you any more."

"They haven't hurt me, sir," the boy answered with a puzzled
wrinkle on his brow. "Joe and Larry are my friends."

"You're the Troulson boy, aren't you, son?--the one the Jehovah's
Witnesses kidnapped from the hospital?"

"Yes, sir. My name is Thomas Troulson. But I wasn't kidnapped.
I'm a Jehovah's Witness myself. I'm with my friends. They're just
helping my parents get me to a safe place."

"So, where are your parents, son?"

"They're driving up by another route. We're going to meet them at
. . ." Tommy stopped and swallowed the words that almost came out of
his mouth. He began to wonder whether defending his parents might
turn out to be a betrayal of them under these circumstances.

"Where, son? Where are you going to meet your parents?" the
sergeant continued, hoping to round up the whole gang of fugitives.

"I--I don't think I should say anything more," Tommy mumbled
apologetically, "at least, not until I see a lawyer." He, too, had seen his
share of television drama and knew those lines always appeared in
the script, implying to him that such rights must also appear in real

"Don't you fret about it, boy. We're aiming to help you, not to do
you any harm," the trooper reassured him. "And as soon as we get
these fellas put away safely, we'll get you that blood transfusion you

"Oh, please, no! I don't want a transfusion. I'd be breaking God's
law if I took blood."

"That's a lot of hogwash, son. You've been fed a lot of lies by this
religious cult. God wants children to live; he doesn't want 'em to die.
You need a transfusion to stay alive, boy."

Wrightman took Tommy firmly by the hand and escorted him to he
front seat of his unmarked car.

"The back seat is for prisoners. You can sit up front with me. Now,
sit still and rest up a bit while I take care of those two. You're in no
condition for all this exertion, son."

As the sergeant walked away, Tommy's eyes surveyed what he
could see of his surroundings: a second back-up cruiser had just
pulled in behind the unmarked one; headlights of passing cars
revealed open road ahead and behind; the combination of moonlight
and police flashers illuminated what appeared to be high ground to
the left across the divided highway; and the headlights from the four
stopped vehicles showed scattered woods and meadows sloping down
to the right below an embankment. Selecting his escape route for a
grand game of hide and seek, the pajama-clad boy slipped out of the
car unobserved, then under the guardrail, down the grassy
embankment, and into a tree-covered patch of underbrush. Entering
the darkness was scary, but not half as scary as the prospect of
receiving a forced blood transfusion.

Meanwhile, Wrightman proceeded to secure his prisoners.

"No funny business while I put these bracelets on you, Blondie," he
warned Larry, pulling his hands off the car roof and cuffing them
together behind his back. "Officer Holt has you covered, and he's a
crack shot."

"And you, buster," Wrightman addressed Joe, not yet handcuffing
him but instead pulling his right arm into a wristlock behind his back.

"Where were you planning to meet the kid's parents?"

"Excuse me, officer," Joe gasped, surprised by the painful wristlock,
and dropping the wallet he had been holding in his other hand, "don't
I have a right to remain silent? I haven't been read my rights or
advised of the charges against me. I thought you were supposed to
read me . . ."

Sharp shooting pain cut Joe off in mid-sentence as his captor
applied more force to the wristlock.

"So, we have a lawyer here, do we? The desk sergeant will book
you and read you your rights when I take you in. But for now its just
you and me, buddy. And I'm gonna squeeze until you talk." The
policeman punctuated his last sentence with sudden pressure that
exploded excruciating pain into Joe's arm.

"Officer, you're hurting him," Larry protested, his own normally
cheerful face contorted to mirror the agony he saw on Joe's. "Please
stop!" he continued, unable to bear the sight of his friend's pain.
"Please! Listen! I'll tell you everything. Brother and sister Troulson
are supposed to meet us tonight at the Pinegrove Motel in Gossville.
Then we're supposed to drive east to Portland in the morning and fly
Tommy out of there to a clinic in California that treats patients
without using blood."

"Pinegrove Motel, eh?", the inquisitor repeated, releasing his grip
on Joe's wrist. "You'd better be telling me the truth, Blondie, or you'll
be in for worse than your friend here."

Joe felt the handcuffs close onto his left wrist but the right was
numb and he had no feeling in his right hand, still paralyzed by the
crippling hold it had been in. In fact, when his left hand encountered
it in the cuffs, he thought for a second that it was someone else's hand
he had felt, not his own.

With both suspects now secured, Wrightman glanced over at his
unmarked car. Where was the boy?

"Watch them!", he commanded Holt, while signaling the other back-
up officer to follow him back to his vehicle. He hoped the youngster
was simply ducking below the dashboard. But, no, he was gone and
the door was ajar. The sergeant took three long strides toward the
embankment and vaulted over the guardrail before stopping himself
with the realization that it would be hopeless to run aimlessly into the
woods by himself. He flung his hat onto the front seat with a bitter
curse and radioed for a search party.

Then, emerging again from the unmarked car, he took out his anger
on Joe and Larry, roughing them up as he shoved them into the back
seat of Holt's cruiser.

"Jack, I want you to deposit these misfits for safe keeping at the
county jail. Remind Sheriff Robbins he owes me one--he'll know
what I mean--and tell him to stick them in the drunk tank for me.
We'll pick them up before our shift is over and take them in for
booking. Then meet me back here to help find the kid."

Slumped against Larry in the back seat of the cruiser where he had
been thrown, Joe whispered in his friend's ear: "This is Jehovah's
judgment on us for the kind of life we've been living." Larry replied
with a feeble smile and a toss of the head, but his tousled bangs fell
back down over his eyes, his hands cuffed behind his back and
powerless to assist.

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