I'm Terry Bell and this is my story. It's funny how lives can be changed so quickly. It all started the day I went on a fishing trip with two of my friends.
My wife Abby was sitting in her office for about an hour when she received the phone call. "Is this Abigail Bell?" the caller asked.
"Yes it is, how can I help you?"
"We've abducted your husband and holding him for a two hundred fifty thousand dollar ransom. You have twenty-four hours to get the money together or your husband dies. If you notify the police, he dies. I'll call you again at three o'clock at your house and give you directions for getting me the money."
"Is this a joke? Who are you?" Abby was scared and stunned. She wasn't sure what to do. I went fishing with my friends on Lake Erie for three days. I didn't even take my cell phone, because we didn't want anything interrupting this fishing trip with my two friends.
Me and my friends were out on my yacht on Lake Erie drinking beer and fishing, having a good old time. We never got away that often and all of us really enjoyed fishing. My yacht was a pretty good size, a 35-footer that could even sleep six if they were friendly, although we rented a cabin to stay in at night. We took this camping and fishing trip once a year for the last six of years.
As I was sucking down another brew, the Coast Guard came toward us at a high rate of speed, stopping next to the yacht. With weapons drawn they asked, "Is one of you men Terry Bell?"
"That would be me," I answered. "What the hell is wrong that you need to pull guns on us?"
"Sorry Sir, but we were asked to locate you. We were told that you were abducted and there is a ransom being asked."
"I can assure you that I am well and good. These are my two friends Joe and Al. They are also two of my employees. We came out here to fish for a few days. We decided no cell phones. We didn't want to be bothered, just wanted to fish. Would you mind pointing your weapons in another direction?"
"Sorry, Mr. Bell. We would like to board your yacht and take a look around. Do you have any weapons on board?"
"Just the standard flare guns and other emergency items you would expect on a yacht. You're welcome aboard."
They gave a quick search of the boat and checked the ID's of the three of us. Afterward they apologized but asked me if I would go with them. The police needed to talk with me at my house.
"Joe, Al, go ahead and enjoy the fishing. I'll see if I can make it back to the cabin tonight or tomorrow. No use in ruining your vacation. If for some reason I don't make it back, make sure the boat is docked and tied down securely. Clean and lock up the cabin and drop off the keys."
I left with the Coast Guard and headed to shore.
I met Al and Joe in prison twelve years earlier. I was convicted of accepting stolen property, which I'll explain later. Joe and Al also met up in prison. They both did time for assault and battery. It seems each had found their wives cheating on them and beat up his wife's lover. They could have been put in prison for attempted murder, but plea bargained it down to assault and battery. Needless to say they both got divorced.
While in prison the three of us had become good friends and had each other's back.
When I was soon up for parole, I told them that after I got out that I would do whatever I could to help them out when the time came for their parole. I had served three years before being released on parole.
My dad owned a salvage yard. I'd worked for Dad ever since high school, and eventually took over the business when Dad became ill and passed away.
A year after I was released from prison, Al and Joe were both up for parole. At the hearing, Dad and I told the Parole Board that we had jobs for both men in the salvage yard.
They needed a place to live and Dad mentioned to the Board that next to the salvage yard, he owned a mobile home court and that he would rent Al and Joe each a trailer to live in. Since they had a job offer and a place to live, they both got out of prison.
The paroles happened eight years ago and both men had Dad and me to thank. They were great employees and also now good friends of mine. They were each able to buy a used car at a good price at the salvage yard.
They became mechanics and tow motor drivers. They were Jack of all trades, there wasn't anything that they couldn't do at the salvage yard. All they needed was a new beginning. They even began dating and eventually got married and had homes of their own, each starting a family. There was no doubt that they were grateful to Dad and I for helping them out. They continued to work for us and were well paid.
The police took me home since I didn't have my vehicle. As I walked in the door, Abby ran up to me and hugged me. "Thank God, you're safe! I was so worried about you. Where were you?"
"Out on the damn lake fishing until the Coast Guard came up to the boat with weapons pulled! What the hell is going on?"
A man stepped forward. "I'm Detective Able; I'm in charge of this case. We need to know your whereabouts for the last twenty-four hours."
"Bullshit! You guys took me away from my fishing vacation and I want to know why before I tell you a damn thing."
"Fair enough. Your wife called us this morning and said she got a call at her work and that she was told that you were abducted and a ransom of two -hundred-fifty thousand dollars was asked. The caller said he would be calling at your home at three o'clock. We're set up and waiting for the call."
"This has got to be some kind of sick joke. Who the hell would try and abduct me? I own a goddamn salvage yard and a trailer park. You think they want car parts or a used single-wide? Abby, did they say anything else?"
"They said, 'You have twenty-four hours to get the money together or your husband dies. If you notify the police, he dies. I'll call you again at three at your house and give you directions for getting me the money.' I was so scared."
"They told you if you called the police they would kill me and you went ahead and called them anyway. Jesus Christ, if this was for real I could be dead!" Abby started crying.
"Mr. Bell, your wife made the right decision. She didn't know what to do. There is no way she could have handled this on her own."
"It's easy for you to say, it wasn't your fucking life in jeopardy. Mother fuck! What happens now? I'm fine, can't you all just get the hell out of my house? You can see I'm ok."
"Mr. Bell, we have to take every threat like this seriously. We will stay here and see if another call comes in. Now could you tell us about your whereabouts for the last twenty-four hours?"
"Sure! Joe and Al picked me up early yesterday morning. We rented a cabin on the lake for four days. We drove over and got my boat and headed out to fish. We came in last evening and cooked, ate and relaxed at the cabin. This morning we ate breakfast and headed out again until we were accosted by the Coast Guard. You know the rest."
It was almost three and the detective and officers set up a phone tracer on the kitchen table. He was going to have Abby in there to talk to the possible suspects if a call came through. I sat in the living room with two other detectives and drank coffee. They had a speaker phone on the coffee table so we all could hear any conversation.
Detective Able mentioned to Abby to say that she contacted her lawyer so she could get help getting the money together in case the call came through. The Detective was going to play the part of the lawyer. I just sat back and shook my head. I told the other officers, "dammit, I could be fishing."
The phone did ring at exactly three o'clock and Abby answered it. "Mrs. Bell, nice to see you went home early to take my call. Do you have the money ready?" asked the caller. The voice was disguised.
"Not yet, I contacted my lawyer to help me get the money," replied Abby.
"What? I told you if you contacted anyone your husband would be dead. Did you contact the police too?"
"No, no, just my lawyer. I'm sorry but I wasn't sure how to get this money together. You just told me not to notify the police. Please don't hurt my husband."
"Put the fucking lawyer on." She did as she was told and Detective Able took the phone.
"This is John Wells, I'm the attorney for the Bells. What do you want exactly?" We knew he was just wasting time and trying to get a trace on the phone.
"What the fuck is this! We want the fucking money or Bell dies! Is that plain enough? If we find out either you or Mrs. Bell called the authorities, he dies. This isn't some fucking game."
"I'm not playing a game either. Before we give you that kind of money we need to know you have Mr. Bell and that he is alive."
We could hear commotion on the other end of the phone. Then we all heard a voice. "Abby, it's me Larry. These masked men came in an abducted me right after you left the hotel this morning. Please give them what they want. Please!" Next we heard a thump and a groan. It sounded like someone was hit in the stomach.
"Mother fuck," I said. "That's my fucking loser brother Larry. What the fuck does he mean you were with him this morning?"
"As you see, Sweet Abby. We know you've been lying to us. Was that your husband yelling in the background? Does he know you've been fucking his brother? It seems that we got the wrong Bell. You see we went to the salvage yard yesterday and were told that Mr. Bell went on vacation for a few days.
"We went by your house yesterday morning to see if he left yet when we saw that you were leaving. We followed you to the hotel. Your room was registered to Mr. and Mrs. Bell, so of course we assumed it was your husband. After you left the motel this morning we abducted the wrong Mr. Bell. He told us over and over that we had the wrong man. We didn't believe him till he told us he had a twin brother."
"What do you want now that you don't have Terry Bell?" asked the Detective posing as the lawyer.
"Three hundred thousand dollars by nine tomorrow morning or Larry Bell dies. The extra money is for the fucking lies and trouble we went through. We'll call you tomorrow morning where to bring the money. No more games, no money, he dies!"
The caller hung up and I got up and started yelling at Abby. "You goddamn fuckin' slut! So now you're fucking my brother! I won't give a damn dime to save his ass! The creeps that got him will just save me from killing him myself."
Two officers got between me and Abby and asked me to please sit down. I went to the fridge and got myself a beer and turned on the TV set. "I'll have nothing to do with my gigolo brother or my whore of a wife. As soon as this charade is over, we'll be getting a divorce."
The detective told Abby that he needed to know if what the abductors said was true. He needed to know her every move from the time she left her house the morning before. She was really upset and crying but I acted like she wasn't even there. I didn't care anymore.
Abby did explain to the detective, but tried to talk so I couldn't hear, but I heard everything. She did meet Larry at the motel. His wife thought he was out of town. They had been lovers for a few months now. I sat there getting madder and madder for being played for a chump.
"After dinner last night we went to our room. I'm not telling you about our making love," replied Abby.
I yelled out. "Love? My fucking brother has never loved anyone. He just wanted your skanky ass because you were married to me. He doesn't give a fuck about you and now, neither do I."
Abby continued talking but was now scared of me. She was glad the police were there. "This morning we said goodbye and I would see him tonight. I went to work so everything would look normal. When I got there and settled in, I received the phone call that my husband had been abducted. It was then I realized how worried I was about him. I didn't know what to do so I called the police. I've told you everything else."
"Were you expecting to go back to the room tonight?" asked the Detective.
Looking away from me, she answered, "Yes, we had the room for two nights".
"Fucking whore!" I yelled out.
One of the cops jumped up to restrain me, but I didn't get up, although I wanted to. One time in jail is enough.
Larry and I were indeed twin brothers. We might have looked the same but were worlds different. I loved mechanical things, whereas Larry was more interested in girls. We usually got along while growing up but it was because I was the forgiving one.
We both dated but Larry always went after my girlfriends. He was the more suave talker and usually ended up with the girl, dumping them after he got what he wanted. My philosophy was there was a lot of fish in the sea and if the girls wanted Larry so bad, so be it. I was never in love with any of them.
Our mother died of cancer when we were eighteen and we lived alone with our dad till we finished school. Larry wanted to go to college and become a salesman. He had the gift of gab and would be good at it. The only person Larry really cared about was himself.
I on the other hand worried about my father. He owned the salvage business for most of his life. It might have just been scrap metal and junk to most people but was worth over a million dollars. Most of the money was tied up in so-called inventory.
I didn't go to college. I stayed home and helped out my dad. We worked our asses off and helped build the business even more. Dad was really proud of me and of the business.
One night I went to a party and met a young woman. We began dating and within the year got married. She moved into the house with me and Dad. Eventually Dad told us that we could live in the house and he would live in one of his trailers in his trailer court. It was all he needed and would give us more privacy.
My wife Beth and I had two children in the next three years. Everything was going fine till Larry returned from college. One day I saw Larry trying to put the moves on Beth and we got into it. Being the stronger of the two, I knocked him on his ass and I screamed, "If you ever go near her again, I'll fucking kill you!"
Beth had never said a word. She knew to keep quiet when I was mad. I never accused her of anything and she was happy about that. I did have my suspicions. Neither Beth or Larry ever denied anything I had said.
Larry and I rarely saw each other after that day. We did talk but Larry kept his distance from Beth. After graduating college he got a job as a sales rep for a window and siding company. He often spent a couple of days a week on the road but it also gave him the opportunity to meet a lot of women.
He had the gift of gab and always was with women who had money. He would live with them for a while, and after using them he would find another. His job paid okay but nothing near the life style he wanted to live. He lived high on the hog because of the women he was with.
Twelve years had past since my marriage to Beth. We had a good marriage but now I always had suspicions about her. But our kids seemed fine. They were the reason I never pushed any cheating issues.
It was about that time when Dad had become ill. He had a stroke but seemed to be working through it. I went out of my way and called Larry and asked him if he would like to join the salvage firm and he just laughed at me saying, 'He wanted nothing to do with our junk yard'.
Of course it made Lew, our dad, feel bad but I told him I would always be there for him. Then one day a man came in with a few vehicles he wanted to get rid of. Dad made him an offer under the table and he accepted it. Unfortunately, Dad had done it a few times throughout the years to get around paying extra taxes.
Because of this he never went through the trouble to check the vehicles against the VIN numbers. A few days later law enforcement came by with a search warrant. Apparently the man who sold the vehicles to Dad told the police he salvaged them at our lot.
They located the vehicles and were getting ready to arrest Dad on receiving stolen property. There was no way I was going to let Dad go to prison. I stepped forward to talk to the agents.
"Sir, I accepted those vehicles. My dad was never aware of it. I was going to do the registration but hadn't got around to it."
All they wanted was someone to arrest. I was arrested and pleaded no contest. I was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison. My dad was distraught and told me he would do anything for me. I hugged my father and he had tears in his eyes and told me how sorry he was.
I knew the day I was sent away that Dad couldn't survive prison. He already had a heart condition and I didn't want him dying in prison alone.
Beth left me and filed for divorce two months after I was sent up. She said she didn't want to live alone. She got the kids of course, and soon started dating an insurance agent and married him a few months later. I was rather distraught at losing my kids, but said to hell with her.
I corresponded with Dad regularly. He came every month to see me. A couple of his cousins were helping Dad out. There wasn't much I could do from prison in the salvage business. At least Dad trusted his cousins who were a little younger than him.
I did meet Al and Joe while serving time. I thought they seemed like pretty decent guys. They each told me a similar story about catching their wife with their lover. In each case they beat them bad enough that the lovers had to be hospitalized. I could see where this could happen. I almost did it to my own brother.
I told them when they were up for parole I would do my best to help them out. I even talked to Dad about it and he agreed to hire the men when the time came.
After serving three years of my five-year sentence, I was released. I was happy to be out and able to help Dad again. Dad made me co-owner of the business. He told me that way when he passed away it would be my business and Larry could lay no claims against it.
His cousins did a decent job and we kept them on. Dad said they seemed to work a little harder since I came back. It made us both smile. The following year we hired Al and Joe. We kept our promise to the two men. They said they would be forever grateful to us.
A couple of years went by and things were going pretty good and the business was going stronger than ever. I made sure every vehicle we received went through the total checklist. I wasn't about to be spending any more time in prison.
One day I had to rush Dad to the hospital. He had a heart attack. I called Larry and he got a chance to see Dad before he died shortly afterwards. As promised, I inherited the remainder of the business and trailer court, lock, stock and barrel. I also got the house that I had lived in with Beth and then again with Dad after my release from prison.
Larry got money. Dad left him his saving account, stocks and bonds totaling nearly three hundred thousand dollars. He went away happy.
Recently he had married a woman of means. Her husband had died and he was there to console her. Her name was Cora and she was smart enough to have a pre-nupt. Her husband and her owned a real estate business and had done very well for themselves.
I met Cora and talked with her a few times. She was a good-looking woman and seemed intelligent. I guess the loneliness drew her to Larry. She could do an awful lot better, I thought.
This brings us to me meeting my current wife Abigail. We met at a party given by no other than Cora and Larry. Abigail was a looker. Great body and nice looking legs. She would be the type that Larry would have gone after. Too bad she was friends with Cora.
She had been married and divorced twice, with no kids either time. She worked in an insurance office in downtown Cleveland. Abby and I started seeing each other on a regular basis. The sex was great and it was nice being with someone again. It wasn't long before we decided to get married.
I had the salvage business incorporated so no one could get their hands on it. Abby brought nearly four hundred thousand dollars into the marriage and hoped that I wouldn't mind having a pre-nupt also. She told me she thought we would be together for life but unfortunately she had been married twice before.
Needless to say, I didn't mind. It fact it protected my assets as well. I knew she built her savings from money from her exes. I really did care for her a lot but not sure I'd call it love. There were always too many unanswered questions about people for me to totally trust them.
My first wife, Beth, agreed to let me see my kids from my first marriage after getting out of prison. It made me feel good that they still called me Dad and I was in their lives. I was now helping put both of them through college.
Life for me was going quite well. The business was doing great. Al and Joe became my best friends and I could see my off spring quite often. I was married to a beautiful woman and the sex was great. Things couldn't have been much better.
A couple of months earlier Abby seemed to act a bit strange. I thought it might be some kind of woman thing and let it go. I did keep my eyes open even though I had no reason to believe she would cheat on me.
I mentioned to her that me and my friends, Joe and Al were going fishing for a few days. There would be no way to get hold of us seeing none of us were taking cell phones. We've made the fishing trip the last six years so it wasn't anything new. Just some time away with the guys.
I did tell her that if she had a true emergency she could always call the Coast Guard. Up until now it never happened.