Jenny got up early this morning, because she had a lot to do before going to lunch with her dad. Jenny's dad was incredibly rich. He had started a small business when he was in his last year of college by cleaning computer keyboards for a reasonable price. Then as business grew, he began to upgrade computers quite cheaply, so that his customers saved a substantial amount of money. He was very smart and a hard worker and had earned his first million dollars before he was 25 years old. But, as so often happens in life, he and Jenny’s mother had separated, and eventually divorced. This lunch meeting with her dad was very important to Jenny, as she was going to try to convince him to buy her a nice, used BMW convertible.
Jenny had put on her strong glasses because she wanted to be able to find her way to the bathroom to put in her contacts. She hated that she had such poor eyesight, which still seemed to be getting worse at a steady pace. She was pleased that during the last year, it hadn’t changed, but for the previous two years, she had had her prescription increased 3 or 4 times a year. Now, her prescription was –14.75D in her left eye and -15.25D in her right eye, making her glasses very thick and she thought, ugly. Fortunately, she was able to wear contact lenses. The first thing she did every morning was to put in her contacts. Her doctor had suggested that since her eyes tolerated contacts so well, she would be a good candidate for extended wear contacts. After she had her dad talked into buying her the BMW, she would ask him to buy her the extended wear contacts. Once she got them, it would make things a lot easier for her, because she could then sleep with the lenses on her eyes, and it would then be possible for her to hide the fact that she had poor eyesight, if she ever slept with a boyfriend. It was always a problem for her to tell her dates that she was severely nearsighted. Jenny still remembered, with a lot of bitterness, how her ex-boyfriend, Jimmy, had treated her when they were nearing the end of their relationship. After a heated argument, he had gone to the bathroom, while she was sleeping, and had destroyed her contacts, forcing her to wear glasses for several days, until she could get new contacts.
Jenny finished putting her contacts in and then carefully put her glasses on the shelf under the mirror, so that she had them close at hand when she took her contacts out that night.
The two men sat in the old, black VW Rabbit watching the house at Laguna Beach, sharing the powerful binoculars by passing them back and forth.
"I think we know enough about this family. The father is extremely rich and will certainly be able to afford the ransom for his beautiful daughter," said the man sitting behind the steering wheel.
"Yes, I’m sure he will gladly pay us a very large sum that we will demand for her safe return," said the other criminal.
They had been watching the house for almost a week now and knew exactly how many people lived in the house, when they arrived and when they left and that sort of thing. They could put their plan into operation whenever they wanted.
And things started to move fast as they saw Jenny come out of the house by herself. They quickly decided that today would be the day. Jenny closed the front door and went toward the garage to get her mother's car to take downtown to meet her dad for lunch. She saw the old, black VW across the street and wondered why it was parked there again. When Jenny was about to open the door to her mother's car she saw the reflection of two people in the car’s window. Suddenly she felt panic. A hand with a dark leather glove covered her mouth, before she could let out a scream. She heard a voice telling her that she had better remain silent or they would have to kill her.
She nodded that she would. Then, suddenly she felt that glasses were being placed on her nose. Cable temples fastened them securely to her face. She blinked several times, but couldn't see anything through the glasses. It was exactly like when she had put on her own glasses while wearing her contacts. She had tried it once just for the fun of it. She then became very aware how strong her glasses were and how poor her eyesight was. Jenny was now shocked, unable to see or move.
"With these glasses on, we know you can't see anything. This is good for you, because you can't tell where we're taking you and you can’t see our faces and identify us. It will be as if you are blindfolded, but no one will be able to tell that you are, they will just think you wear these very strong glasses," one of the men said. "So be a good little girl and keep those coke bottles on your nose all of the time, because if you see us, we will have to kill you".
Jenny did not speak or move. The men forced her over to the VW. With the glasses on, Jenny couldn’t see a thing. Everything was very blurred. They put her into the backseat. She felt that one of her kidnappers was watching to make sure that the glasses stayed firmly on her nose and that she was unable to see out from under the glasses. Jenny tried to let the glasses slide down her nose a little bit, but the silicone nose pads and the cable temples did their job perfectly. They prevented the glasses from moving in any direction. The glasses must be very similar to my own prescription, she thought, as she closed her eyes to cut off the blur. She thought, I must find a way to remove my contacts and then maybe I will be able to see with the glasses on. They won't notice that I can see out of these glasses, if I can remove my contacts, Jenny thought. After they had been driving for an hour or so, Jenny knew that if she wanted to save her life, she had to remove her contacts. It was not going to be easy to achieve. Jenny felt the car slow down, and finally stop.
"Hey little girl, you stay nice and quiet and don't take those glasses off," one of the men said.
Jenny smelled gasoline. This meant that they were refueling the car. Maybe they would let her go to the washroom, she thought. This might be the resolution to her problem. She heard the car door open and said, "Hey mister, I need to go to the toilet, please".
The guy grumbled something about women and toilets. His accomplice came and led her toward a big, dark brown shape. She heard a door being opened.
"You can take the glasses off inside the washroom, but remember you must put them on before you come out again," the kidnapper said.
The door was slammed shut behind her. Jenny knew that she had to be quick removing her contacts. She removed the glasses. She saw that they weren't ugly, they looked quite nice, and of the type some girls wear for sports. Actually, they looked very much like the old sports glasses that she used to have. The lenses were a little bit thicker than the ones she now wore around home, because they were regular plastic. There was no soap to wash her hands. So she removed her contacts after just washing her hands with water, hoping she wouldn't get an infection in her eyes. She was fortunate that she had her contact lens case in her skirt pocket. She had just finished putting some of the solution that she had in a small vial on her contacts in the case, when the guy knocked at the door, telling her to hurry up. She put the glasses back on and was pleased that she could see reasonably well with them on. She thought positively that this might work. She flushed the toilet and pulled the door open. Soon, she was outside in the bright sun. The big brown, blurred shape she had seen before, turned out to be a gas station. She could see the elder couple that ran the station, looking out the window at her. If only she could signal to them that she needed help. But, Jenny saw that they were in the middle of nowhere, so even if she were to attract their attention, the two kidnappers would likely hurt the couple and kill her as they had threatened. She took a closer look at the guys who had kidnapped her. She seemed to recognize the larger one, but was unable to place him. Then suddenly, she remembered who he was. He was one of the workmen that had fixed the roof on their garage last fall, after the big wind and thunderstorm blew off some of the shingles.
Before she got into the car, she memorized the license number. Jenny had a good memory, and she would be able to easily remember the number in case she needed it for the police later on. They forced Jenny into the car and left. Jenny wished she could have gotten the attention of the elderly couple in some manner, but doing this would have shown the kidnappers that she could see very well out of the glasses that were intended to blind her. She would just have work out a plan to escape on her own. They had searched Jenny's purse, and it was just good luck that it contained no evidence that she wore contacts. Jenny had forgotten to put the contact lens case in her purse this morning. When she had realized that she had left it in her bathroom, she had gone back to the bathroom, and put it directly in her skirt pocket together with a small bottle of an all-in-one solution. She carried this solution to rewet her lenses during the day, in case she experienced any kind of soreness or other discomfort. She really carried the solution to ease her mother’s worries, as she tolerated contact lenses very well and had never needed to use the solution. But now, it was good that she had it in her pocket. It would allow her to reinsert her contacts, should it be necessary.
After another 40 minutes drive, they reached a very remote area. The whole time, Jenny had been able to see very clearly and the kidnappers had not noticed anything. The secondary road ended in front of a gate. One of her kidnappers opened it and they drove through. After a few more minutes of driving, they reached an old farmhouse. They again told Jenny that she must keep the glasses on all of the time. They then made her get out of the car and lead her to the front entrance of the house. She was then locked into a fairly small room. They told her that she could remove the glasses now, but advised her to put them on immediately when they knocked on the door. Jenny looked around the room and inspected it. It was nicely furnished and looked like a fair bit of time had been spent recently to fix it up. The one window had bars fastened over it. There was a small bathroom, with a shower with a small sliding door. Jenny took off the glasses and her vision immediately turned blurry. She had to be very careful not to reveal her secret to the kidnappers, or she was dead. So, she carefully laid the glasses down, making sure she could remember where she had put them. She opened the faucet and washed her face. After drying her face, she put the glasses back on. Having the bathroom right there was good, as she could wash her hands and insert her contact lenses whenever she wanted to. An hour later, she heard a knock on the door and was told to put the glasses on. She told the man she had them on. She heard the key turning in the lock and the door opened. The kidnapper came in and put a black mask over his head. He was holding a Polaroid camera in his hand.
“Now remove the glasses, as I want to take a picture of you to send to your daddy,” he said, giving her a newspaper to hold with the day’s headlines clearly visible.
She removed them and the kidnapper took them from her hand and threw them on the bed. She tried to follow where they had gone, but her vision was too poor. She felt a moment of panic, and wished that she had put her contact lenses back in, but soon the picture was taken and the hooded kidnapper left the room. Once the door closed, and she heard it lock, she felt her way over to the bed, and started feeling all over the bed cover for the glasses. It was difficult for Jenny to find the glasses on the bed, as she was essentially blind without some correction. She patted the bedcover, inch by inch, until finally she found "her glasses". She put them on again, and went to the washroom. She had just had a brilliant idea. Except for the few days it took her to get new contacts, after Jimmy had ruined her other ones, she had not worn glasses out in public. But that was in the summer, before school started, so hardly anyone saw her wearing her glasses. Then, one day during the fall term, she had developed an eye infection, and had tried wearing just one contact lens in the uninfected eye. She went for 3 days, wearing only one contact lens. She found that by keeping the infected eye closed most of the time, she could see well enough to function without letting any of the guys in her new school know that she was blind as a mole without glasses and had to wear thick, coke bottle glasses to see. So, now she put the one contact lens on her left eye, so she could see something with one eye, both with and without the glasses.
Jenny looked at the glasses, which seemed to feel so comfortable on her. The more she looked at them, the more she began to feel that they actually were her old pair. This familiarity, combined with the fact that her vision was so good with them, began to convince her that these were her old sports glasses that her mom had given to one of the places that collect old eyeglasses a couple of months back. She had gotten the lenses changed just after her last prescription increase, but had not worn them at all since she got her contacts, so her mom had taken all her old glasses, and donated them to a charity. The kidnappers were brilliant in thinking that someone who didn’t need the glasses would be too visually impaired, so as to be in effect, blindfolded. And the idea that someone wearing very strong glasses would not be noticed as much as a young girl that was blindfolded was a brilliant idea. But the very lucky coincidence of them “blindfolding” her with a pair of her own glasses was so absurd that she forgot about the severity of her situation, and started to laugh.
But the laughing soon ended. She was feeling very hungry, when a knock came at the door. She put the glasses on, and one of her captors brought in some supper. She ate, not caring what the food was. But it was good, and she felt much better after her craving was satisfied.
With nothing else to do, she decided that she might as well go to bed early, as it was starting to get dark outside. She thought that she should go to the bathroom, and remove the one contact lens, but she realized that if she were forced to stay here for any length of time, she would likely run out of solution. So, she decided to switch lenses only once a day, in the morning.
She had been asleep for a few hours when a knock came at the door. She grabbed the glasses and put them on. The smaller kidnapper took her by the arm and roughly guided her into the living room.
“Your father wants to talk to you, to make sure you are still alive,” the larger kidnapper growled. “Don’t say anything about where you are!”
Jenny thought fast while she made small talk with her dad. If he asked about her contact lenses she was in trouble. So, she told him that the kidnappers were making her wear really strong glasses instead of a blindfold to keep her from seeing them. Her dad caught on, and asked her if they were like her girlfriend, JJ’s. She replied that they were just like JJ’s old sports glasses. When he then asked if she was scared, she replied that she was more scared than she had been when she fell off the garage roof, just before the men came to put a new roof on. The big one ended her conversation and they took her back to the room. Jenny now felt a bit better about the situation. She had not fallen off the roof at all, and hopefully her reply to her dad might lead him to the men that had done the work. And, JJ was his nickname for her, which of course the kidnappers didn’t realize. If only she could have figured out a way to tell him the license number of their car. She thought of the license number, and realized that the letters were the same as her dad’s initials. The other letters were the year of her younger sisters birth. She thought about it for a long time. How was she going to tell him that the license number was KS1-989?
She had not figured out the answer, but she eventually drifted to sleep, knowing that she had done all she could for the time being.
When she awoke the next morning, she had trouble opening the eye with the contact lens, but she finally blinked and blinked, and got it lubricated enough so she could open her eye, and she went to the bathroom. Figuring that she would likely be cooped up all day, she decided that it really wasn’t necessary to put her other lens in, so she just put the glasses on. When the knock on the door came, she pretended to stumble and fall as she went over to the door.
“What happened?” he asked.
“I can’t see a thing with these glasses on, and I tripped on a fold in the rug,” she responded, as she opened the door.
She reached for the cart with her breakfast, pretending that she couldn’t see it, and was relieved when the kidnapper took her hand and guided it to the cart.
“It’s Ok little missy. You can take those coke bottles off as soon as you drag the cart inside and I get the door closed,” he replied.
She had fooled him. If only he could see her now, still wearing the thick glasses, and able to see just fine with them. The thought brought a shudder to her spine, and she realized that if they ever found out, she was dead. She carefully searched the room, frightened with the thought that there might possibly be a video camera looking at her, but she didn’t find any indication of one. Even so, having had that thought she went to the bathroom, and put the other contact lens in for the rest of the day.
Later they brought her lunch, and a while after lunch, the kidnapper returned wearing his black hood and carrying another newspaper. He again took a picture and left the room. The rest of the day dragged on, and it seemed like an eternity. Supper came, and after supper, one of the kidnappers brought her a small black and white television set. He set it up on the dresser, and turned on the news. The main story on the news was her kidnapping. Her mother, and her sister were both interviewed, and then her dad came on. Pictures of her flashed across the screen, and she was terrified that they might show one of her wearing glasses, but her dad must have told the police about the glasses that were being used to blindfold her. When the news went on to other stories, she breathed a sigh of relief.
She watched the television for a while longer. Another knock came at the door, and she put the glasses on, and pretended to stumble over to answer the door. The kidnapper guided her into the living room, where she was again allowed to talk to her dad on the phone.
It came to her in a flash. “Hi KS. How are you holding up. I bet you haven’t had this much excitement in your life since Amy almost died at birth in 1989.” There, she had used it in a sentence, and hopefully it was being recorded. No one ever called her dad KS, and Amy had had a relatively easy birth. She said a silent prayer that either her mom, or dad would realize that KS and 1989 were very important clues, and that the kidnappers wouldn’t realize that she had just given out the license number of the car they had used.
She talked to her dad for a couple more minutes and then the larger of the 2 kidnappers grabbed the phone from her hands. She heard him tell her dad that this was enough talking, and that unless he had the ransom on the following day, he would never see Jenny again.
She couldn’t sleep that night, worrying that her clues wouldn’t be understood. In the predawn light, she went to the window, and she was positive that she saw some dark shapes moving outside. She turned on the lights in the room, and went to stand in front of the window. This way, if the shapes were the police, they would know where she was.
A ladder was stood against the side of the house, and a figure climbed up. She saw that the figure was dressed all in black, and wore a bulletproof vest. He signaled her to be quiet, and he began to undo the bolts that held the bars over the window. He finally had the bars free, and passed them to another dark figure below. Jenny unlocked the window, and the policeman helped her slide the lower window up. The police officer helped her out, and together they silently went away from the house, and down the long gravel lane. At the end of the lane, the police had set up a command post, and she saw her dad standing there. She ran to him.
“Oh daddy, I am so glad to see you. I was worried that you wouldn’t figure out my clues.”
“Your clues were brilliant honey. Once we figured out that KS and 1989 went together as a license plate, it was easy. The plate was registered to a John Kazimanski, and we then discovered that he had worked for the contractor that fixed the garage roof that you never fell off. After that, it was relatively simple to find out who his associates were, and where he was living,” her dad told her.
The contact lens that she had on her one eye was bothering her, and she had been sure to bring the glasses with her, so she removed the lens, put it in the case, and slipped the cable temples of the thick glasses over her ears. The swat team was bringing the two kidnappers, their hands cuffed behind their backs, down the driveway. As they drew closer, the head officer asked Jenny if she could identify the two men as her kidnappers, so she walked closer to them, and stared through the thick lenses of her glasses.
“Yes, those are the two men that kidnapped me,” she replied.
The two kidnappers stared at her, and John, the boss asked her “how in the heck can you even see us through those coke bottles girlie?”
“It was really a brilliant idea to blindfold someone with these glasses. But, it was unfortunate for you that the glasses you used were my own, old ones that had been given to charity,” she replied.
On the way back to her mother’s house, she asked her dad if he would buy her a new BMW convertible. Of course, he said, “yes”.
Adapted by Specs4ever from a story idea by Andy, with further editing by Aliena.