Doors locked. Check. Security alarm set. Check. Dressed for bed. Check. Wine generously poured. Check…
A glass of Chablis in hand and dressed in her favorite flannel nightgown, Lina leaned back on her sofa and put her feet up on the coffee table. For the first time since Baylor had entered her life, she was able to truly relax. Marley’s news from earlier in the day—that Baylor had been transferred—triggered such a rush of relief, all she had been able to think about her entire shift was this, being at home; fully relaxing with a celebratory glass of wine in the sanctuary of her own apartment. It was Friday night and she was looking forward to a carefree weekend. She and Kerri had plans to hit Metrocenter, Arizona’s largest shopping mall, drop some hard-earned cash at Diamonds department store, and watch the ice skaters from the second-floor food court while lunching on tacos and Margaritas.
On cue, the phone began to ring, as if just the thought of a shopping spree with her sister telepathically beckoned Kerri to call. It was late for a phone call—11:30 p.m.—but then again, it was a Friday night, so Kerri, like herself would still be up and wide awake.
Lina plucked the phone from its cradle. “I was just thinking about you!”
There was a long, dead silence on the other end of the line.
“Hello?” she asked.
Finally, a voice spoke; the sound of it made her skin crawl:
“I’ve been thinking about you, too.”
It was Baylor. And he was drunk.
“I asked you not to call me anymore.”
“I want you to listen to me very carefully,” said Baylor, in a voice so icy, it sent chills through Lina. “I’m at the Paradise Motel in Tucson and I’m holding a gun to my head…”
Lina instantly stiffened, her heart and mind racing.
“…it takes one hour and forty-five minutes to drive here from Phoenix, so if you’re not here in exactly two hours, I will pull the trigger and I will kill myself.”
Lina began to tremble. She’d been trained as a Com Op on how to deal with suicides: keep them calm and talking while radio dispatches an officer. But she was at home and not at work, so all she could do was try to talk him down. “I don’t think you really want to do that. Let me call someone for you.”
“No!” There was a tension in his voice that told Lina he was dead serious about killing himself.
“Sergeant Baylor, let me get you some help,” she pleaded.
“If you want to help, if you want to stop me from pulling this trigger, than do as I say. Do not call anyone, not our department and not the Tucson Police, do you hear me?”
“Yes, but I—”
“If you call the police, I will take out as many officers as I can before I turn the gun on myself. Do you understand?”
“NO BUTS! JUST DO AS I TELL YOU!”
“I will, I will,” she cried, too scared now to do anything but obey.
“Write down this address: seventeen-oh-one—”
“Wait!” Lina frantically searched the end table’s drawer for something to write with.
“—south Sixth Avenue. Room fifteen.”
Lina scribbled down the address
“Did you get that?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“Repeat it back to me.”
“The Paradise Motel, one seventeen-oh-one south Sixth Avenue.”
“FIFteen! It’s room FIFteen!!!”
“Fifteen, I got it, I got it, room fifteen.”
“You now have one hour and fifty-five minutes to get here.” Baylor then issued his last words to her before hanging up—possibly the last words he’d ever speak:
“The clock is ticking. Tick. Tock.”