They hugged the walls, the car swerved and the gun carrier pulled the bag over my head again. My assault didn't win me freedom but it won me their respect. Now these kidnappers knew exactly the type of human weapon they were up against, and it frightened them. I threw up six more times in my potato sack before the car finally stopped.
I was held for the night in a basement with a female captive, which was at first enticing and then disheartening when I realized she was more pregnant than I'm generally comfortable being around. Her husband was a Mexican dignitary and that this was her fourth kidnapping.
"It's getting really old," she said. "I've had to reschedule my ultrasound six times."
Andrea was full of useful information about rationing water and the best corners in which to defecate. She revealed that our captors were members of prominent Mexican cartel that was currently losing a significant amount of money to the local police and rival drug runners. In an attempt to recoup some of that money they relied on ransoms, pancake breakfasts and craft fairs.
"The sweaty one, with a voice like caramel. He makes beautiful socks."
Alone in our cell, we whispered encouragement to each other deep into the night. We discussed how much money they would ask for, if they ever tortured or killed their hostages, and why Mexicans insist on ruining their candy with chili powder. We fell asleep in one another's arms and didn't wake up until the gunman with the soft voice kicked me in the ribs and said we were going to meet his boss.
After a shorter car ride with considerably less egestion on my part we arrived at a mansion with a courtyard slightly larger than mine. It had a fountain. I was jealous. Vincente Carrillo Fuentes was waiting for us, lounging on a palmetto wicker sectional I recognized from Pottery Barn. This guy had everything.
"Do you know who I am?" he asked.
I nodded. "You are the leader of the Juarez Cartel and the Golden Triangle Alliance. You are the most dangerous man in Mexico."
"Yes, and you are that writer. My daughter has your poster above her bed." He looked me over while letting a cigarette burn away in his hand. "I am curious. Do you have friends, Mr. Bowie?"
I looked to the gunman and he shook his head. We were not friends.
"We contacted everyone you know. We have spoken to your family, old roommates, your editor. No one is willing to pay your ransom." Vincente stood and walked within a few inches of me. "That puts you in a very bad situation. Do you understand?"
I had heard stories of Mexican drug cartels cooking people who couldn't manage ransoms in vats of acid, they called it