An elderly man grew suspicious when he saw a beggar with a child that never cried or moved, so he decided to follow her. I suppose it all started because Brian Pemberley was missing his grandchildren. His only son had moved away from their native New Orleans all the way to Seattle, and Brian missed him.
His lovely wife and his Ford, boisterous delightful grandchildren, Brian’s wife of 30 years, had passed away four years before, and with his son and his family gone, he was feeling very alone. That was why he took to walking down to the picturesque French Quarter for a coffee and beignet every afternoon.
That was where he saw the beggar. For the first time, the woman was sitting on the pavement in front of a popular bar, and beside her, wrapped up in a bundle of ragged blankets, was a baby about one year old. She was a brunette in her 40s, with a hard face and a weedling smile that showed curious teeth. “Please, sir. I need money to buy food for my baby, sir,” she won Brian over.
He didn’t like giving to beggars, but something about the tiny form of the baby slumbering next to the filthy woman moved him. He reached into his pocket and drew out his wallet. He hesitated, then put a $20 bill in the woman’s cup. “Bless you, sir, bless you,” the woman cried, and she quickly took the twenty dollars and tucked it away in her bra. As he walked down the street, Brian could hear a whining voice.
“Please miss, it’s for my baby. I don’t have money for food.” The next day, the woman was there again, sitting against the wall, chanting the same plea for help to feed her child. The same thing happened the following days; only her tattered clothes changed. Sometimes her sweater was cherry red, and other times it was acid yellow or dirty purple.
What never changed was the baby. “It always lay by her side, eyes closed, debris in its soft blonde curls caressing the rosy cheeks. The baby was so still that Brian started to think it might be one of those awful Reborn Dolls he’d heard about. One day, Brian came up to the woman and gave her another twenty dollars. He bent down and caressed the sleeping baby’s cheek.
It was a real child, all right. It stirred slightly at his touch and opened pale blue eyes. The woman was pleased by Brian’s gesture. ‘What are you doing touching my baby? You’re some pervert! she raised her voice and started calling out to the people passing by. ‘This old man’s touching my baby! I’m a poor woman, but no one touches my baby!’ She screamed, and people were stomping and looking at Brian with hostility. One of the passengers gave him a shove and said, ‘Get out!
She shouted angrily, ‘Get away from that baby!’ Brian walked away quickly and saw the woman reach into her filthy backpack and pull out an iPhone. He begged her with an iPhone. Brian ducked behind a Colonnade and waited. Not long after, a fancy dark blue SUV pulled up, and a man jumped down.
He stole the woman’s bundles and put them in the back while she buckled the baby into its seat. The woman’s demeanor was completely different. There was something wrong here, Brian thought, but what could he do? Twenty years ago, he might have faced down the man and woman, but now Brian knew that he no longer had the strength or stamina. After a long sleepless night, Brian decided he was going to the police.
He walked into one of the downtown New Orleans station houses and talked to the desk sergeant about his suspicions. ‘There’s something definitely wrong here. The baby never moves, and the woman never touches it,’ Brian explained. ‘And the baby looks nothing like her at all.
I just have a feeling something’s wrong. The sergeant called Detective John Rita, who carefully listened to Brian’s story.” To his surprise, the detective took it very seriously. Indeed, these people are professional beggars on their own. An adult beggar makes about 30 bucks a day with a child. They can make up to 300 dollars.
You can do the math, and it works out to be six to nine thousand dollars a month, especially in cities like ours with a high affluence of tourists. A child, especially a baby, is worth a lot of money on the streets. They exploit their own children, as Brian explained to Detective Rita. Sometimes, the baby is rented out by its parents or even stolen. “Let’s go take a look at this woman and her baby tomorrow morning,” said Detective Rita.
The next morning, Brian walked by the woman on the way to his favorite coffee shop and watched out of the corner of his eyes. Detective Raiden and two uniformed policemen approached her. “Ma’am, may I see your ID?” the detective said as the woman struggled to her feet. One of the uniformed officers picked up the baby.
He cradled it and cried, “Sir, this baby won’t wake up. I think there’s something wrong with it.” Detective Rada took the baby in his arms gently and said, “Cuff this woman and call an ambulance.” Brian stepped forward. “Detective, is the baby all right? “I don’t know.
Sometimes these creeps drug the children so they won’t cry,” the detective shook his head. Just then, the ambulance arrived, and Brian begged for permission to accompany the baby to the hospital. Doctors took charge of the baby, who turned out to be a boy, while Brian waited anxiously for news. The detective arrived and told Brian that the baby matched their description of a child that had disappeared from neighboring Eunice, and its parents were on their way.
The doctor came out and told Brian and the detective that the baby was fine. Apparently, the kidnappers had put sleeping pills in his formula so he’d be quiet. The baby was resting and would soon be back to normal. When the parents of the baby arrived, his name was Billy. They were overwhelmed to find their lost boy. They cried and thanked Brian, and invited him to be the baby’s godfather. Thanks to Brian, the baby was rescued and returned to his family, while the two kidnappers were destined to spend the next decade behind bars.