I’ve had my share of sleepless nights in my life, with causes that have been both usual and unusual. Most were forgotten with the subsequent dawn, but the night before my first kidnap still haunts me. Even now, if I revisit those hours, the memory makes my heart race. As I play it back, it feels like a sequence from a movie. I almost need to suppress my own disbelief to accept that I actually did go through with the insanity of it all …
In order to reach the woodland rendez-vous before daybreak, I had to get up at 5. I had barely slept. Faced with the uncertainty of the coming hours, my body had suffered fight-or-flight adrenalin rushes throughout the night. I felt wired. The snatch was less than an hour away, but somehow it felt surreal. Perhaps I had imagined it all? Surely Mistress Pip and Mistress Kali were not about to kidnap me. The doubts were soon dispelled by the vibration of my phone. The text said it all: “Are you ready?”. It was real all right. There would be no reprieve.
Situations like this are bizarre. The immense excitement of the soon-to-unfold scenario dominates. Yet, scattered amidst its jangly noisy chorus, you hear the odd mundane note. I remember mine well. Moments before the taxi arrived I obsessed over a flashlight. I had to have one. It would be dark. I could fall in a lake near the snatch point and drown. My death was imminent without it. Eventually, I found one in the garage. It failed to calm me down though. Instead my panic simply found a new borehole. Now I suddenly realised that my local taxi firm were about to send a driver, to my house, to drop me off at a deserted carpark. What the hell would the driver think? Would he take me for a dogger? What if he collected me in the future when I was with friends? Thinking on the hoof, I told the driver that my friends were meeting me at the car park to play golf somewhere distant. And yes, I told them that they had my clubs too. Feeble. Luckily, I haven’t seen that driver since he drove off into the distance. I wonder if he remembers me?
The moments after he left were the loneliest of my life. I felt so exposed. And, even though the chorus was reaching its crescendo, I still had no idea of how the final notes would be powerfully struck. Standing in the dark with my headphones on and Tinie Tempah blasting at full volume, I was a kidnap waiting to happen. I didn’t have to wait long.