Oscar sat in a chair that was two sizes to small for him. He was ver uncomfortable. His knees were almost touching his chin. He had on his usual dark blue suit, but he had taken his tie off on his way over to the school.
He was sitting in a long line of other parents waiting to speak with Marc and Matt's teacher Devon Moss. He had seen many parents go in and out. Surely it was his turn soon.
"Mr. Goldman?" Oscar turned in the direction of the voice.
"Yes. " He said as he stood up. "I'm Oscar Goldman." He saw a man dressed ina red sweater and kaki pant. "You must be Devon Moss." He said as they shook hands.
"Correct I am Marc and Matt's teacher. Please come in."
Oscar followed him into the classroom. 'At least they have a regular sized chair for me to sit in here,' he thought to himself.
Mr. Moss directed him to a seat. "Please have a seat."
"Thank you. This is new to me. This it the first parent teacher conference I have been to. You see they were my sister and her husband's children.Unfortunately they were killed recently in a plane crash and now I am raising them."
"Well just relax. I don't bite. Although some of the boys think I do."
"Marc and Matt have really nice things to say about you."
"Glad to hear it. Anyway Marc and Matt are doing very well even though they started late."
"I know, I had to move from DC and then had trouble finding a school here.""My main concern is that they don't interact with the other boys. You see them all the time off by themselves. And that language they speak."
"I know we are trying to break them of the habit. They just seem to prefer to talk to each other that way."
He handed Oscar two folders. Both had been drawn on and colored. Oscar opened the folders.
"This is some of the work we are currently doing. These first two sheets are stories that all the children were asked to write. Don't worry about the spelling on these assignments I told them to spell it the way it sounded."
"I see what you mean." Oscar said as he looked at the papers from both folders.
"I told them to write stories about anything they wanted. And then got alittle tired of spelling words every thirty seconds." Devon Moss laughed.
"That is understandable."
"The next few pages are math sheets. We are trying our hand at a little bit of multiplication. As you can see, the boys are doing quite well with it.They seem to enjoy multiplication."
"That's good I feel math is very important."
"There is something else I would like to discuss. I have talked to the principal and we think we have solution. I have, in my class right now twomore sets of twins. Our plan is to divide the class in half, hire a new teacher and separate all the twins. I have already spoke with the parents ofthe others and they all agree."
"I guess I do too. It would be good for them to make their own friends and do there own things." Oscar agreed.
"Then we will present it to the school board as soon as possible. We'll see if we can hire a new second grade teacher to accommodate us I truly think it's a very good idea I think twins should be in separate classes. They spend so much time with each other outside the classroom"
"That sounds like a good idea. And there are no problems? The boys are getting along al right? We had a little trouble in their last school. A bully was extorting Matt's milk money from him."
"We don't allow that sort of thing at Bates. To be real hones it's a pleasure having them in my class. They are both very good students. They seem to be quite smart. They catch on to things very quickly."
"I'm glad to here it. Now if you will please excuse me I have two other conferences to make it to tonight."
"Very well Mr. Goldman I'll keep you posted on the hiring of a new teacher."
The minute Oscar left the room Mr. Devon Moss reached for the phone. He punched in several numbers then spoke. "Is this Bob Wilson."
"Yes" the voice on the other end said. "Who is this?"
"Moss, Devon Moss. We spoke last week. I told you I had two students in my class named Goldman."
"I recall the conversation yes."
"Their father is Oscar Goldman. The Oscar Goldman."
"I wasn't aware Goldman had kids."
"He adopted them.They were his sister's kids."
"This is very interesting information you bring me Moss. Yes I just might beable to use this to my advantage. How close is he to the children?"
"As close as any father I have seen tonight."
"I must have them. If I had Goldman's kids, I could write my own ticket soto speak. Goldman would give me whatever I wanted."
"I thought you might see it that way. Now about the cost, I would say about$100,00 per twin."
"Oh he has twins. I will give you $75,000. But I want only one."
"We will discuss the financial end of it later you will get much more than $75,000 when you go to sell the information you blackmail Goldman for." He thought for a moment. "Only one, why?"
"Yes, yes I see your point $75,000 up on delivery, from there we can workout something. You ask why only one twin, the answer is simple. Goldman is likely to be more cooperative if he has one child crying for their twin.Please tell me they are identical.
"Yes they are."
"Good, very good. When can you deliver him to me?"
"How about tomorrow morning. I am taking the children on a field trip to the zoo tomorrow; you can plan on getting him then. I'll make some excuse to get one of them alone. Then I will simply turn him over to you."
"When and where?"
"Let's see" Moss thought. "How about the monkey cage at about 11:00?"
"That sounds fabulous. I will see you then."
"You will have the money?"
"Yes I will have the money."
"See you then."
"Now you referred to the child as him`. I take it they are boys?”
"Yes they are boys." Moss told him.
"Good, very good, then the price stays the same."
"The price would be what? Less for a girl?"
"Well our school has only boys."
"That is right, I remember you mentioning that one time. See you tomorrowThen."
Bob Wilson hung up without speaking anymore.
Oscar's last conference was with Joey's teacher. "Joey is doing wonderful!"his teacher said. "We are certain he will go into Kindergarten next fall. Mr. Goldman did you ever consider that Joey was misdiagnosed before?
"I have wondered that. He just seems so different since he moved in with me."
"We feel it is a combination of the two. Us working with him, and your nurse you have for him. We are astonished by his progress."
"So am I." Oscar stated.
"We want to keep testing him right now he is reading at a second grade Level." Joey's teacher informed.
"Are you serious?" Oscar was surprised.
"We are very serious. We will be sorry to see Joey leave us next fall but that is what we strive for." The teacher explained.
"I must say this is the best news I have heard all night." Oscar admitted.
"We will keep you informed." The teacher said.
"I would appreciate that." Oscar said as he stood to leave.
Oscar arrived home from the conferences to find everyone waiting up for him."Hi Rudy thanks for watching them. I mean Mary had tickets to that play and all I hated to tell her that she couldn't go."
"That's ok. If I'm going on that trip tomorrow it seems easier to just stay here tonight. That way, I don't have to drive down here in the morning."What time do I have to be at the school?"
"The permission slip said no later than 9:15, they are leaving the school at9:30.' Oscar informed him
"The teacher knows I'm going along?" Rudy asked.
"He sent a note home yesterday telling you what time to be there." Oscarsaid.
"That sounds great."
Oscar turned to the twins who were still up. "You two should be in bed." Hescolded. "Especially if you are going to the zoo tomorrow."
"We just wondered what our teacher said."
"He said you are doing very well, they are thinking of hiring another teacher and they are going to divide the class so you to won't be together."Oscar told them.
"What!!" The twins screamed. Their dark brown eyes registered sorrow and a little bit of fear. They were dressed in batman pyjamas.
"Guys you weren't together at your other schools. You need your own space,you need to make your own friends."
"We don't want to be separated!!" they cried.
"Well let's not worry about it tonight. It won't happen for a day or two ifit happens at all. They don't even have permission to hire the new teacher. So don't worry about it. Now off to bed."
"Ok" hand in hand Marc and Matt walked up to their room.
"I think it's a good idea.' Danny said. "Those two need some time apart.They are together all day and all night."
"I agree. I just hate to do it to them."
"Dad, don't let it bother you. They always had separate classrooms." Danny told him.
"Thanks for your reassurance.” Oscar said. "Now I think you better get offto bed too."
"Ok, I'll see you in the morning dad."
"What did Joey's teacher say?" Rudy asked after Danny went upstairs.
"She said that if Joey keeps going the way he is, next fall he will go to kindergarten."
"That's fantastic," He replied.
"That's what I thought. She even thought that Joey may have been misdiagnosed when he was younger.?
"That's a strong possibility." Rudy agreed. "Many things can mask themselves as autism but they find when the child gets older, they were wrong. Maybe Joey is just a very shy kid. Maybe he was sick the day he was tested. Who knows? I just know that since you have had him I have had my own doubts."
"Really. Why didn't you say anything?" Oscar wondered.
"I guess I didn't want to get your hopes up. I was waiting to hear what his teacher had to say. I would like to test him myself one of these days" Rudy offered.
"Thanks Rudy. I would appreciate it."
"I have his medical records from their Doctor in NY. Great man by the way."
"My sister wanted only the best." Oscar said.
"Well I believe she had him." Rudy confirmed.
"Outside of missing the boat with Joey."
"I'm not for certain he did. I won't know until I have read all the records and had a chance to examine him."
"When can you do that?" Oscar wanted to know.
"Next week sometime. Well If I'm going to escort a bunch of second graders through the National Zoo tomorrow, I better get some sleep."
"See you in the morning Rudy. Again thanks for watching the kids tonight."
"Not a problem" He gave a slight wave and headed for the guest room.
In New York where Bob Wilson lived he was busy packing for his trip to DC. He had just changed from his lounging clothes into a light blue shirt and blue jeans.
As he packed he thought that he just might have to make it his permanent home now. He did own a home there so that part would be easy. He was sure that no one from the OSI would be able to find it.
He got his suitcase ready then in the middle of the night caught a taxi in Mid-Town and told the driver to take him to Kennedy Airport.
"I want the next flight to DC." He told the ticket agent, a very pretty girl with soft curly brown hair.
"We have a flight that leaves at 5:45. Will that work for you?"
"I'll get to DC at what time?"
"You should arrive in between 6:30 and 6:45." The ticket agent informed him.
"That will be perfect. Thank you." He wandered around the airport trying to kill a little time. He glanced at his watch it was only 4:30. He had atleast an hour.
At 5:45 he boarded the very full flight to DC. 'This is good' He thought to himself. looking around the crowded flight. No one will notice me. 'I'm justa face in the crowd.'
They landed at 6:32. He took a cab to his house in Georgetown. And prepared for his new guest he hoped would arrive by noon.
At Oscar's house the usual morning routine was being played out, breakfast, getting dressed and in the car by 8:30.
The twins were dressed in blue jeans with red and blue striped long sleeved shirts.
Rudy shed his lab coat for the day and was dressed in gray trousers and a black turtle neck sweater.
"Rudy, try to get there by 9:15." Oscar said as they all headed out thedoor. As usual Oscar breathed a sigh of relief as they pulled out of the drive. He turned to Danny. "We did it again."
Danny laughed. "Yea it gets easier all the time.”
When Oscar dropped off the twins, he went inside to remind the teacher that his friend was going to chaperone the trip to the zoo.
"That's fine Mr. Goldman. I can use all the help I can get. Some that signed up have ditched me."
"I'm sorry to here that" Oscar said. “But Rudy will be here by 9:15."
After Oscar left Mr. Moss excused himself for a moment. Ms. Hershey would you mind watching them for a bit."
"Not at all Mr. Moss." His student aide agreed.
Devon Moss slipped out of his classroom and down the hall to the payphone. He put a coin in the slot and dialed Bob Wilson's number in DC. "Bob, it's Devon. We have a problem."
"If you are calling to tell me you can't deliver the goods, it is not I who has the problem, it is you who has the problem." Bob spoke softly into thephone.
"His father's friend Dr. Rudy Wells is going on the trip with us. We had asked weeks ago if someone could come along since he had two children in the class. Dr. Wells agreed."
"Don't worry we will work out something. I will have one of those twins by days end, even if I have to kill Wells to get to him." Once again Wilson hung up on Mr. Devon Moss. Moss hung up the phone and went back to his classroom.
"Well guys the bus will be here in about two minutes. So why don't we get with the people who came to help us out. Marc, Matt, Thomas, and Richard,You will go with Dr. Wells. I expect the four of you to behave yourselves."
Slowly he paired off the rest of the children with the parents that showed up to help out with the trip.
At 9:30 they headed out to the bus for their journey into the city.
Rudy held each of the twin's hands and kept the other boys in front of him.
When they got to the zoo, everyone got off the school bus and headed into the zoo.
"Ok" Devon Moss said. "Let's meet at the Monkeys at about 11:00 then we can decide where we will have our bag lunches and at 1:00 we get back on the bus."
Rudy's group wanted to go everywhere. "Let's do it this way. Everyone pickout what you want to see and we will make sure we get to it."
"I want to see the tigers." Matt said.
"I want to see the elephants." Marc said
"I want the bears." Richard said.
"And I want the reptiles." Thomas said.
"OK" Rudy said pulling a map of the zoo out of his pocket. "What is first? Let's go see the bears, then we can go to the elephants, the tigers and the reptiles. That will put us by the monkey house. Then we can meet up with everybody else."
He led the boys around the zoo. They all loved bears. They laughed at the elephants giving themselves a bath. The tigers were roaming around in their cages looking for something to eat. But they all like the reptiles the best."Look at that big snake" Matt said. "It is cool." Richard said.
Mr. Moss and most of the class were at the monkeys when Rudy and his kids got there.
Mr. Moss came up to Rudy. "The kids love the monkeys the best."
"Yea so do I."
Matt had gone off with a couple of other kids to look at a spider monkey. Marc stayed close to Rudy. He was more interested in the monkeys he was watching.
"You like the apes Marc?" Rudy asked.
"Yea they are my favorites."
Devon caught site of Bob Wilson. He stepped over to him. "See the boy in th blue striped shirt right there? That's Matt Goldman. I'll keep Wells occupied while you grab him. This is a very busy place this time of day. A lot of schools meet here to go to lunch. You shouldn't have any problem getting out of here with him. You can easily get lost in the crowd."
" I see what you mean. I won't have any trouble. He held out a palm-sized needle "All I have to do is touch him with this and it's nitey-night for at least an hour. That way I can make it out of here without him making a scene. Everyone will just think he's asleep. Just keep Dr. Wells busy so I can get through the crowd."
"No problem." Moss said.
Devon walked back over to where Marc and Rudy stood.
"Maybe we should get going on lunch?" Rudy suggested.
"Aw, give the kids a few more minutes."
"How bout it Marc, you want to watch the apes for a few more minutes?"
"Sure." Marc stood mesmerized.
Bob slowly approached Matt. "Do you like the spider monkeys?"
"Yea they're neat." Matt laughed.
"I like them too." He held the needle in his hand and placed his hand on Matt's right upper arm, Matt fell into his arms. The kids were so busy watching they never even noticed.
At the precise moment Matt got stuck with the needle, Marc grabbed his rightarm.
"OUCH!!" He cried.
Rudy noticing Marc had grabbed his right arm was instantly on alert. "What'swrong Marc?"
"I don't know it doesn't hurt any more it was just a sharp pointy I don't know."
Acting quickly Bob carried Matt through the crowd and out of the zoo to his waiting car.
"Is he all right?" Devon asked. He had just watched Bob carry Matt away without a fuss now he directed his attention to Marc.
"I think so."
Marc cried. "It's not me!! It's Matt. Matt, Matt. Where are you? Maaaatttt!!" He cried.
"Marc you better let me take a look at that. " Rudy was trying to look at his arm.
Marc pulled away. "Rudy it's not me I'm fine, something has happened toMatt."
"You stay right here." Rudy checked the crowd he walked over to the spider-monkeys Matt was nowhere to be seen.
"Call security" He called He grabbed the closest guard he could find. "We are missing a child."
"Ok, calm down describe him for me." Rudy grabbed Marc. "He looks just like this boy."
"Then it appears you found him."
"No this is his twin. Look Officer, I'm Dr. Rudy Wells. I work for the OSI. This boy is Oscar Goldman's son. He has a twin brother. I expect you to cooperate in trying to find him."
"Yes sir Dr. Wells. We are on top of it."
Rudy then bent down to Marc. "Marc, can you talk to Matt?"
"I'm trying but he won't answer."
Rudy thought for a moment. "That prick that you felt must have been a needle they gave Matt. He is probably unconscious. I'll call your dad."
By now Marc was frantic. "I want Matt, I want Matt."
"It's ok son we'll find him." By now the other parents had found out what was going on. "Is there anything we can do to help?" The other fathers asked.
"I don't know. I need to call Oscar. He'll know what to do." Rudy stated.
Rudy walked over to the payphone and dialed Oscar's private number. "Oscar,it's Rudy."
"Rudy? Good you're back. Come on down."
"I'm not back. Oscar, Matt is missing. I suspect someone took him.”
"What makes you say that?" Oscar was upset.
"Well Marc felt a slight prick in his right arm. I'm assuming they have Matt drugged." Rudy informed him.
"I'll get Steve over there right away."
"I don't think that will do much good. They probably took Matt some place else."
"Can Marc ask?"
"That was the first thing we tried. That's why I assume Matt is drugged."
"I'll send a car for you and Marc. Rudy don't let Marc out of your sight. I'm still calling Steve."
In a small house in Georgetown Matt was slowly starting to stir. "Wh whwhere am I?"
"Don't worry Matt. I'm not going to hurt you. I just want a little information from your dad, and then you can go join your brother. We will call your dad just as soon as you are awake enough to talk I'll be back in just a bit."
He left the bedroom closed and then locked the door.
"Are you sure you don't want to ride back with us?" Devon asked one last time before boarding the bus.
"No. Oscar said he would send a car for us. Thanks anyway." Rudy said.
Marc was still crying when Oscar arrived with the car. "Get in. Steve is waiting for us."
Rudy turned to Marc. "Try again son."
"MATT, MATT, CAN YOU HEAR ME. MATT."
"I HEAR YOU MARC. I CAN HEAR YOU."
"He hears me."
"Good, ask him where he is."
"MATT, WHERE ARE YOU?" Marc asked.
"I DON'T KNOW. I'M SCARED" Matt answered.
"I'M SCARED TOO." Marc admitted.
"He doesn't know where he is."
"Tell him to try and figure it out. Look for any kind of clue."
"MATT TRY, TRY TO FIND OUT WHERE YOU ARE. LOOK FOR CLUES."
"I'LL TRY. HE'S COMING BACK. PLEASE HURRY!!!"
"He said he's coming back. Whoever took him is a guy."
"What do you mean, Marc?" Oscar said as they pulled up in front of the OSI.
"I don't know, he said the he was coming back and we were to hurry."