The story is set in a small town named Summit in the state of Alabama:
The story is essentially ironic; in a series of comic reversals, the expected event is replaced by its opposite. From the name of the town where the story takes place, Summit, which is perfectly flat, to the end of the story, where a fat man outruns the thin narrator, that which the narrator anticipates never does occur.
The kidnappers have chosen this area since they believe a kidnapped child from the South willl bring in more money. (They have the idea that parernts will be more attached to their children here since family values are important.)
The would-be kidnappers are from Illinois.