With kidnappings as common in Caracas as annoying street performers are in other cities, we had a special name for them: Kidnap Express. It's like Pizza Hut Express, except instead of getting pizza, you get kidnapped. So they're actually not like each other at all. Sorry. Anyway, express kidnapping is almost stupidly simple. You either get forced into a car, or someone jumps into your car, waves a gun in your face, and tells you to start driving. Maybe they'll call your family and demand a ransom, or maybe they'll take you from ATM to ATM and store to store, maxing out your withdrawals and credit cards before ditching you somewhere. It can all be over in just a few terrifying and exhausting hours.
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"LET US TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE! I'VE GOT A HOSTAGE!"
"Dude, we've all got hostages. Wait your turn."
More serious kidnappings can last for days, weeks, or even months. In 2009, a banker was nabbed and held for almost a year by kidnappers who kept him locked in a room where cameras watched him and music blared to prevent him from hearing anything. He never even saw his captors. In a movie, they would turn out to be flamboyant psychopaths, or members of some apocalyptic cult -- who else could do that to a person? But in Caracas, it's just business. They were professional and detached. The human being they subjected to a year of unimaginable psychological torture and deprivation was just ... merchandise. That's how it is there.
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"I hit my yearly quota, thanks to you!"