“It’s not important.”
“I said, IT’S NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU!”
He pulled out the gun, and pointed it straight at my head. I didn’t even flinch, but just tilted my head. He was a good guy. He could never shoot me.
He looked into my eyes for a second, and then he pulled away again, stowing the gun back into his pocket. Our eyes didn’t meet for a moment, and there was utter silence in the car. Then he moved again, and turned the key in the ignition. The engine started, but we didn’t move.
“I better get the money quick,” he said. “Then we can both go home.”
“Sure,” I said, nodding. “But can I turn the radio on?”
“What?!” he hissed down the phone pay-phone. “What are you saying?!”
“Problem?” I asked, not looking up because I was in the middle of a rapid Tetris game on my iPod.
“He can’t do it? Why the hell is he in prison?” he yelled, ignoring me. I paused the game, and looked up. This was different. It was serious. “He was arrested for pissing out of a moving car? Idiot! No, I haven’t got bail money! That's why I kidnapped – No, no, I understand. I’ll deal with it.”
He hung up, and banged his head against the payphone.
“Problem? Has your buddy let you down with something?” I asked tactfully, eating the bagel he’d bought for himself, already finished with the one he’s bought for me.
He turned around and glared at me. Then he relaxed.
“I’ll have to negotiate myself. I can’t keep you hostage forever. I’ve already spent all my money on your food.”
“Hey!” I said, outraged.
“Where’s my bagel?” he asked, glaring at me again.
I guiltily brushed the crumbs off my lap.
“Um…a big dog came in and took it off me.”
“A big one.”
“Look, we’ll have to stay in a hotel tonight, while I figure out what to say. Is that alright with you?”
I raised an eyebrow.
“You’re the kidnapper here. I think you’re calling the shots.”
That’s why I was about to book a luxury suite, with a guy I’d only known for a couple of hours, in the Las Vegas Plaza.
“Ok,” I hissed to him. “If you want to get in without raising any suspicions, we have to pretend we’re a couple.”
“Why? Can’t we just say we’re related?”
I gave him a minute to look at ourselves. Him, with his brown eyes and brown hair, me with my blue eyes and blond hair.
“Fine,” he said, giving in. “And I can’t let you take a room separately. You might escape. But you seem to be in charge here. I thought I was the kidnapper.”
“Are you paying for the room?” I asked.
He took another minute, to survey the hotel. It was beautiful, more like a palace than anything else. The gardens were tended and pruned, with beautiful flowers that looked exotic. There were some exquisite statues and fountains. The whole place screamed “EXPENSIVE HOTEL!”
“No,” he said, giving in now as well. Now I’d gotten to know him, he seemed very passive for someone to kidnapped someone and ransomed them for money. He listened to me, without arguing. And he barely ate anything. Just my type. “I’m not paying. But what I don’t get is, if you have money, can’t you just give it to me? Then we can go home. You have a credit card, right?”
I fingered the card in my pocket nervously. I really didn’t want to go home.
“No,” I lied. “I don't have a card. I left it at my house, when you took me hostage. What I do have, is about eight hundred bucks or so. That’s not enough right?”
“You’re right,” he said, sighing. “That’s not enough to bail my friend out.”
I’d meant, it wasn’t enough for the thing that had made him want to kidnap me, not to bail his negotiator friend out of jail (was that guy an idiot or something? Urinating out of a moving vehicle?! Being arrested for something like that did not scream “good negotiator”.) But I said nothing. I’d gotten what I wanted. I was kidnapped just a little while longer. There was no reason for me to say anything.
So we both walked into the Hotel. I was used to the glamour of hotels like this, but Josh probably wasn’t. I thought he would say something to me like, “Wow, its big!” or “Cool, an indoor fountain!” or something else sweet and naive.