4Strangers Required to Marry to Keep Up a Cover
How cool would it be to grow up with parents who were spies? Movies such as True Lies and Spy Kids imagine benefits galore to having secret-agent parents. You get cool gadgets, thrilling adventures, quality time with terrorist leaders, kickass nicknames -- everything a kid could want. It's enough to make your comfy suburban childhood look perilously lame.
The only time we fought as a family was the night Dad tried PCP.
But it turns out real-life spy kids are less likely to get jet packs and more likely to end up deported with their parents. Or living the glamorous life of orphaned spy babies. Recently, 10 sleeper agents were arrested in the U.S. for being a part of a deep-cover program to spy on America. The operation was a multidecade, international insane-a-thon that assigned Russian spy couples to live in suburban America completely undercover. Sounds pretty badass, right? Sure, they were dirty commies, but you can't help but root for the plucky couple givin' democracy the old one-two.
Also, some of them were hot.
It sounds less awesome when you realize that these people weren't actually living with their secret spy soul mates. They were ordered into fake marriages by the Russian spy service. And to have hot, state-mandated spy-sex. Without the use of contraceptives.
And quite possibly without the use of eye contact.
Which led to state-sponsored spy tykes. Mom and Dad got better cover, Mother Russia got better info and the kids ... didn't know jack shit about any of this until people started talking about throwing their parents out of the country for international secret-swapping. Hey, but it was all worth it to give their cover that extra layer of authenticity, right?
3A Wife Gets Her Husband to Pay a Fake Ransom ... Over and Over
But let's not imagine that grossly cynical exploitations of love come only from governments and giant corporations. We're just as quick to run this sort of scam on each other.
Who among you has never exchanged a blow job for a romantic comedy?
For instance, how's your relationship with your exes? Strained? Awesome? Thank your stars that you never married Josefa Vargas.
In 2001, the daughter of Josefa Sanchez Vargas was kidnapped by "strangers." Notice the quotes around that last word, and picture us making them in the air above our heads with our fingers. These strangers demanded 30,000 euros, a ransom Josefa's estranged husband Pedro paid gladly. The next year, he paid 48,000 euros just as gladly when his daughter was again abducted, because whaddya gonna do?
Not every father can throat-punch like Liam Neeson.
Still in love but no more the wiser, Pedro headed back home and trusted that his wife wouldn't up and get their daughter abducted a third time, because what the hell would be the odds of that? She didn't.
His son, Emilio, was next.
This 36,000-euro ransom was demanded by a clothing wholesaler Josefa owed money to, because apparently in Spain people are allowed to take 36,000 euros worth of attire from middlemen without paying first. Pedro coughed up the money, but it wasn't enough for Emilio to not get kidnapped a second time in 2004, after he allegedly lost a package of cocaine worth 54,000 euros. Rather than freak the hell out over yet another family kidnapping, or the fact that his son was transporting cocaine, Pedro paid the ransom and let sleeping dogs lie.
"Psht. Fifty grand's worth? That's barely 'walking around' cocaine."
It took two more rapid-fire kidnappings for poor Pedro to wise up to the fact that normal families do not see this many kidnappings in one lifetime. After Josefa blamed an abduction of one of her children on a gypsy family, Pedro finally hired a private investigator, who confirmed what common sense would have told literally anyone but Pedro: His beloved wife was behind all of these "kidnappings" and ransom requests.
Josefa's last ransom came in September 2006. This time she persauded her son to call his dad and pretend to be under torture and threat of death, which he did. Dad paid, and minutes later Emilio was found, safe and untortured, having drinks with friends. Josefa was arrested and sentenced to 3 1/2 years for fraud, and Pedro renounced his right to reclaim back money -- because he "still had feelings" for his wife.
Now we don't feel so bad that our wives keep leaving as soon as they get naturalized.