Bill ends up loathing and terrified of little Johnny, the boy they kidnap. He is willing to do almost anything to get him off his hands. The humor and irony in the story turn on what looks like an easy money kidnapping becoming far more than the hapless kidnappers bargained for. At the beginning of their adventure, the twosome:
figured that Ebenezer would melt down for a ransom of two thousand dollars to a cent.
From the start, however, Johnny is a handful, pelting Bill in the eye with a piece of brick and putting up a fierce fight against being taken. Yet rather than being frightened, Johnny, who is pretending to be an Indian chief, thinks the kidnapping is a game. He thinks he is going camping. He has no sense he is in any real danger, and he wears Bill down with his antics to the point that Bill experiences utter exhaustion.
By the end of the story, when the father, Ebenezer, refuses to pay up, Bill is more than willing to pay him $250 to take the child off their hands. He says it feels like a bargain, asking what is $250 after all?
This story is an example of situational irony, where events unfold opposite from what is expected. One would expect the kidnappers to be in control of the situation, not the child.