Chapter 65

For several days Simmons sat in the motel while the men were assigned tasks. The room was typical motel, two chairs, two double beds, and a bathroom. They had added a few items they brought with them: a Styrofoam cooler for any food they might buy, Simmon’s German binoculars, five sleeping bags piled in one corner, and an assortment of duffel bags. The men were out shopping for food, a few folding chairs, and a plug in coffee pot coffee and some cups. It was what Simmons called, roughing it. The men were instructed to bring a curtain rod and lace curtains to hide behind as they watched the street.

They had rented a two-room apartment above a grocery store and moved in when the men returned. The curtain was hung. Simmons had learned where there were  holes in the lace to position his binoculars while he sipped the hot black coffee to stay awake. He was alone while the men set out on foot or in the cars to canvas the areas around Scranton on for any sign of the cult. One of the cars was rented to speed up the search. He figured the church group would soon be in need of cash, and the captives would pour onto the streets with their pencils, and pamphlets.  Cash was used to waiting. Sometimes his thoughts drifted to his wife’s good cooking and her patience to let them be apart for these long tedious stretches. The pay phone booth on the corner gave him a little comfort. Sometimes he drove for hours trying to find one to call home, which he did on a regular basis. If this job didn’t make him rich or permit much time with his family, they had resigned themselves to it. Every man should be happy with his work, and Cash had found his niche. He knew he was one of only a few who were hunting some elusive prey. Cults were on the rise.

They had zeroed in on several houses as possibilities and the men were assigned to ferret them out. On the third day several large cartons were delivered to one of those houses. The door was answered by a thin, straggly haired teen. From that point they concentrated their surveillance, moving from the apartment to an old dilapidated building within binocular range of the farmhouse. In the morning, after the others had left to scout the area. It turned out they had made a good move. Cash watched a group of young people being herded into a truck with no windows. They were each carrying a canvas bag and he assumed they were beginning to work the area. He studied Trish’s picture again. She wasn’t part of the group. The truck returned in a few minutes and another pack of them were taken away. It was a stretch of Cash’s imagination, but he was fairly certain that Trish was part of them. Jim had told him she was sporting a short haircut. Cash thought she resembled the picture.

He sat back.  Scranton was a fairly large city and from there they could be working Hazleton or Berwick, but the timing of the first load was only about fifteen minutes until the truck returned. That meant about seven minutes in one direction.  As he was reaching for a sandwich, a gold colored Cadillac parked in front of the house. A man in a dark business suit got out of the car and went into the house.  A few minutes later he was followed out by a shorter man. Cash took a picture with a long lens attached to the Minolta. When the car started away he took another picture of the license plate, though he doubted he would get it as this distance. He patted the binoculars for a job well done.