I recently wrote a novel called How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers. Some people have used it as a guide, others have used it to balance wobbly dinner tables. It’s about a writer who one day impulsively kidnaps a book reviewer outside of a coffee shop, in front of dozens of witnesses. This is obviously not how one would successfully go about kidnapping a stranger. My novel is more of an anti-guide. Do the opposite of what my characters do, and you might actually have a successful abduction.
But now that I’ve gotten a few kidnappings under my belt, I’ve decided to hold some auditions for those who might be interested in being my partner. Today’s audition features Jay Wilburn. We will be discussing the possibility of kidnapping the protagonist from his novel, The Dead Song Legend Dodecology (Book 1: January).
MB: All right, Jay, before I agree to be your partner, you’re gonna have to answer a few questions. I don’t kidnap strangers with just anybody. Well, not usually. I have a long list of potential partners awaiting my consideration, so let’s make this fast. Who the hell are you, and why should I trust you?
JW: There was a man named Jay Wilburn. He was a good man, active in his church. He was a teacher and idealistic. One day that man had to be destroyed so that his dreams might live. I hid his body in the swamps of South Carolina, assumed his identity, quit teaching, and started writing zombie stories.
MB: That’s really rather creepy. Good. Provide examples of your criminal past. Any jail time served? Ever jaywalk or swallow your gum even though you knew it would stay in your stomach for years until eventually hatching into a horrifying monster? I need to know this kind of stuff ahead of time.
JW: Jay walking is the only way I know how to do it. I’ve been behind on my rent before. I ghost write stories. I wrote a few term papers for rich kids.
MB: Do you have any special talents? What can you bring to the table?
JW: I have practiced a little with a bow and arrow. If you need me to miss somebody, I’m your man.
MB: I recollect a story you once wrote about shooting a teenage girl in the ass with an arrow, so this checks out. All right, so if you’re wanting to work with me, you must already have a target in mind. Who are we kidnapping?
JW: Satchelmouth Murderman.
MB: That…that sure is a name. I was going to ask you what’s so special about him, but after hearing his name I’m not sure I want to know.
JW: He’s a former minor league baseball player that starts recording music after the zombie apocalypse. The post apocalyptic travel teams are willing to pay in can goods, if we can deliver him.
MB: Wait a minute. The zombie apocalypse has happened already? Holy shit. I need to get out more. So what kind of ransom are we looking at? Are we walking away with a few hundred thousand, a million, what? Or something besides cash? What’s in it for me?
JW: We can probably get some gasoline and toothpaste, if you are being greedy—pre-apocalyptic toothpaste, so…pretty awesome.
MB: Be honest. How dangerous is a person named Satchelmouth Murderman? Probably super murderous if I had to guess.
JW: He is pretty deadly with a knife and has a special bat designed for cracking skulls without splintering. It was mainly for zombies, but it will work on living people too. His friends are willing to chase after whoever has him, so it could get dicey.
MB: What location were you thinking? The best place to abduct this Murderman with as few witnesses as possible. Is there somewhere we can get him alone?
JW: He is burying his sister back in their hometown. He’ll be off his guard, I think.
MB: Okay, we have a target and a location. Now we need to discuss method. There’s many ways to kidnap a person. We could sneak up on him and throw a potato sack over his head. We could shoot him with a tranquilizer. We could order him a pizza and lace it with sleeping pills. The possibilities are endless.
JW: I recommend going in fast. People have tried before and most of them are dead. I think maybe I should stay with the car and be sure it stays running and the air stays cold while you grab him.
MB: That sounds awfully convenient for you, but okay. So now that we have him, how long until someone notices he’s gone? Who’s going to be coming after him? Should I be worried?
JW: Tiny Jones will know right away. Kidd Banjo will follow after that. They have been particularly murdery in the past. When you kidnap a man named Murderman, you have to expect a little trouble, right?
MB: All of those names sound absolutely insane. How could we convince them we mean business? They’re not getting Murderman back until the ransom has been delivered. Should we cut off some limbs or what? Shave a scalp, maybe? You know, once I filmed a hostage being forced to walk on a floor of legos, then sent the video to the guy’s wife. She paid up, like, immediately. What would work best for Satchelmouth? Try to be creative.
JW: He is really creeped out by zombies that are in pieces. If we put a bunch of those around him, he’ll be pretty freaked out. Tiny Jones is not cool with zombie children.
MB: How do you predict this hypothetical kidnapping ending? Will it all be smooth sailing, or is there a massive gunfight in our future? I don’t mind spilling a little blood here and there, I just need to be prepared.
JW: Almost definitely a gunfight. It will be an epic ending for anyone not in charge of keeping the car running, so you should be careful.
MB: I may need some time to come to terms with the fact that the zombie apocalypse happened without anyone telling me, and I’ll definitely need time to build up enough courage to take on someone named Murderman, but yeah, sure, what the hell, count me in. Let’s kidnap!