Kells and I used to play this game in our early teens. It usually started with one of us posing some off-the-wall question or scenario.
One day during winter break, one of us asked – and now I don’t recall who –
‘What if you got kidnapped and held for ransom?’
‘Hmm. Depends maybe who the kidnappers are.’
‘OK. It’s not kidnappers, plural; but just one.’
‘The Lone Kidnapper. I like it. Man or woman?’
‘You pick.’
‘Yea, like who gets to choose who’s going to abduct them off the streets or climb in their bedroom window at night?’
‘I can tell you who I’d like to climb in my bedroom window during the night.’
‘That gives me an idea. Let’s say it’s someone you know, but they don’t have the balls to sneak into your house at night while your parents are there.’
‘You mean that they come by the library or something when I’m studying?’
‘Sure. And they tell you that your Mom sent them to pick you up and bring you home.’
‘Tough luck for them. I wouldn’t go. My Mom knows better than to try to drag me home when I’m studying.’
‘So, what if they say your little sister fell and got hurt and your Mom needs you to help take her to the doctor –’
‘Nope? I thought you liked your little sister. OK, Mr. Cool, how about if –’
‘Nope. Nope. And Nope.’
‘You’re not making this easy. Or fun. You tell me then, who is The Lone Kidnapper, how do they get you, and what do they want?’
‘Like you said, we both know who we would like to climb in our bedroom window at night and take us away, right?’
‘’Eeek! No! No! If you touch me, I’ll scream! Wait a minute while I pack my bag!’’
‘That’s right. It has to be Ms. Caldecott from English class.’
‘God, I’d give your left nut to be with her.’
‘Thanks. Just make sure you give it to her and that she puts it in a warm, moist place.’
I didn’t see Kells for the rest of winter break because his family was going away to visit aunts and uncles and cousins for Christmas and New Year’s. When he didn’t show up for the first few days after classes had started, I figured he must have come down with something, so I figured I’d drop by his house to check on him. I wrote down all of the homework assignments he had missed. No reason for him to have it too easy while I slaved away at school.
When I got to his house, a police car was just pulling away. Kells’ Mom answered the door. It looked like she had been crying, but she told me the family had thought it best for Kells to stay with one of his aunts for a while.
Funny though. Ms. Caldecott didn’t come back from break either. And there were no ransom notes for either one of them.

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