ABBY, PHOEBE, SULAY AND NICO MAKE A PLAN
“I’ll be happy to take your business cards and get back to you,” Abby told the reporters. “But remember, we all want to be treated with respect, not viewed as devils. Please help us!”
Abby realized that Phoebe, Sulay, and Nico were kneeling around her, taking pictures. Sulay had her fancy video camera. The reporters continued to shout questions from the sidewalk, and Officer Harley tried to disperse the crowd. Two reporters insisted on their right to stand there, and Harley stayed at the gate.
Abby sat on the grass just in front of the bench, facing her three friends. They were now far enough from the street to speak softly and not be heard. “Go Abby!” said Sulay. “Nice job.”
“Yeah,” added Phoebe. “You might have won a few friends among that group. We need friends.”
“And we got good pictures too,” Nico said. “If any of them get nasty we know who they are.”
Abby looked over at the sidewalk thoughtfully. “I don’t think this crowd was nasty. They’re just trying to do their job. Our real enemies are not those people, and if they get aggressive it’s just pressure from their bosses. But I’m still concerned about stalkers, and maybe a reporter or two who wants a big scoop of some kind.”
“So how do we plan out this weekend?” asked Phoebe. “Stephanie told me I’m going with you!” She found it hard to keep her voice down. “What are the details?”
“I need the help of all three of you this Friday,” Abby said.
“I hope so,” returned Nico. “The last couple of days have been boring. What can we do?”
Abby took a quick look around and was satisfied that no one was nearby. “On Friday afternoon – 5pm to be exact – Phoebe and I need to meet a boat on the near side of the Half Moon just beyond Cemetery Bridge. We must not be photographed or bothered. We need a clean get-away.”
“Oh, I can’t wait,” said Phoebe, very pleased with this conversation.
“But your idea might be a little shaky,” Sulay told Abby.
“Let us help you,” added Phoebe. “What’s the plan so far?”
“It ispretty shaky. Sulay is right. I was thinking of going out the door between the church and the old school building to Old Stone Road, and crossing the street to Stable Lane. Part way down, almost opposite the back door of Sammy’s, there’s a gap between the buildings right across Marie Place. Then if you bend right there’s trees near the Main Street Bridge, and all along the River to Cemetery Bridge. The water is low, and Phoebe and I can walk under it to the far side.”
After some discussion they hammered out a strategy. At 4:50 Sulay would leave Sammy’s front door and walk up to the corner of Bridge Avenue and Old Stone Road. Nico would leave by the back door and wait at the alley near the back wall of the churchyard. If they spotted anything suspicious, either one could walk past the wrought iron door from Old Stone Road to the churchyard. Abby would be waiting there, and could be warned with a signal. A slight shake of the head would do. Meanwhile, Phoebe could stand on the back steps of the toy store and signal Abby if the coast was clear. If all went well Phoebe would follow Abby at a distance and warn her if they were followed.
“The plan depends on timing,” Phoebe pointed out. “We don’t want Sulay, Nico, or me loitering around for twenty minutes looking nervous. At 4:50, Abby must step out onto Old Stone Road and cross immediately.”
Nico and Sulay looked at each other with raised eyebrows. “That’s right,” Sulay told him. “We have the same idea. If Abby is followed, we’ll go after the stalker and take pictures. They get scared when we take their pictures now. Some of those guys probably lost their stalker jobs once their faces got shared all over.”
Phoebe agreed. “It looks good to me. Nico?”
“We got it. Perfect. It’s like a plan for a free kick in soccer. Everyone moves in sync.”
“If I’m not there, Abby, just go. I can get a ride on Saturday morning.”
Abby hugged her, and slapped hands with Sulay and Nico. The group parted in high spirits. The sidewalk was clear.