Monday, May 18, 2009

The Full, True Story of
"How I Was Kidnapped"

(Plus: our Contest Winner Revealed!)

Last fall, I was sitting alone in a small diner on a main thoroughfare near our home finishing up a post-choir-practice dinner (and contemplating dessert), when my cell phone rang. A rather breathless and agitated Ms. Part Cloudy (my daughter, The Girl) was on the other end.

"Dad. are you OK?" I performed a quick inventory.

"Yeah, I'm fine. What's going on?"

"Have you talked to (Brother)*? I tried to call him on his cell phone and he's not answering."

She and I both knew that this was not exactly unusual behavior, so I wasn't quite sure why it seemed to be a source of irritation on this particular evening.

"No - but I'll try to call him."

"Mom says he's supposed to be over at Joey or Tony's house**. If he doesn't answer, you need to go over and find him. And don't travel on Telegraph Road!" This ultimatum ended the conversation as she hung up.

My first thought was: I guess I'm not gonna get any dessert.

My second thought was: It's gonna be hard to avoid traveling on Telegraph Road - since this here restaurant is located on Telegraph Road - and there's no legal way for a vehicle to exit the parking lot of this restaurant without going on to that road. What with me not having perfected transporter technology yet.

The third thought was: Why the hell can't I travel on Telegraph Road?

In deliberate disobedience to my daughter, I left the restaurant and headed off to find The Boy. Within a few minutes, I had confirmed that he was safe and sound at Joey's house. I phoned The Girl to pass along this update. It was a brief conversation.

"OK, I'll tell Mom - but you better get home right away. Mom got a call from someone saying that they had kidnapped you! And the police are coming to the house."

When I shared with The Boy the news that I had been kidnapped, it made his night. He thought it was so funny, he had to go and tell his buds before we headed home. If all my material went over as well with the general populace as the story of my kidnapping did with teenage boys that night, I'd take this show on the road and kick Ron White's ass!

The Boy and I arrived home to some highly-agitated females (whom we proceeded to piss off with our devil-may-care attitude). What for us had been a hoot (since we both clearly knew we had not been kidnapped), had involved at least a few fearful minutes for The Girls until it became clear that the kidnapping threat was b*llsh*t.

The story from the Middle-Aged Woman's perspective was not too much different than portrayed in the flash fiction piece, except that - I did not arrive home during her conversation with my would-be kidnappers. Rather she was able to ascertain my safety by having The Girl phone me - and I subsequently verified they had not kidnapped my son either.

The cops did arrive at the house a few minutes later - but they were not too interested that we had obtained the phone number where the prank call had originated. They asked questions like: Do either of your kids do drugs? Or hang out with people who do drugs? (Apparently, drug-usage and prank kidnapping calls have been strongly linked in recent studies.)

The story kind of peters out at this point. I was in the doghouse again for a while because I had made light of the situation. There was no rash of prank calls in the wake of this incident. Life went back to (more or less) normal.

AND NOW: THE MOMENT YOU'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR (or actually, just one of you)!

The winner of the World According to Styro Contest is...Sprite's Keeper! (Hurray!)

Although she did not correctly identify any of the stuff I made up in the story (admittedly difficult since it was mostly true - at least in the spirit of what actually occurred), she was the only one to enter the contest. And since we all know that the people who rule the world are the people who show up...SHE RULES!

What is equally cool: She has never read The World According to Garp and so I'm really looking forward to hear what she thinks of the book. If she's willing, I may even propose some "He Read / She Read" posting to give some male/female, first-time reader/rereader feedback on the novel.

Anyway, that's the news from Lake Wobegon for today. That and - the Wings won the first game of the Western Conference finals. And I washed every piece of soiled clothing in the house. And...oh, you get the idea.

Take care.

* My son, whom I refer to as "The Boy"
** Two of The Boy's best buds. They live almost next door to one another, less than a mile from our home as the crow flies. Or the pterodactyl for that matter.

The Wings defeated the Blackhawks Sunday afternoon, 5-2,
to take a 1-0 lead in the best of seven series


Jess said...

Ummm, like I totally missed that there was a contest. That is crap. Do another one. NOW.

Sprite's Keeper said...

Yay! I can't wait to read it! I'm shoving the rest of my reading pile aside for this book! (And knowing how intimidated I am by MAW's reading pile, this may even get me some street credit..)
Sending you my address and thanks again!

Jim Styro said...

Jess: Honey, you got the wrong blog. We don't do tantrums here. You need to take that action to Sprite's Keeper or Capt. Dumbass (although I think he's got his hands full right now). You behave yourself and we'll get another contest soon as I figure out what we'll be contesting.

SK: Thank God, you're here. Could you look after Jess for a minute while I run to the store? I gotta buy this book and have it shipped to Florida. (Whatever you do - don't tell Jess!)

Pamela said...

That is a way better kidnapping story than you hear on the news. And also? I am so mad that I missed out on a contest. I took the weekend off (mostly)...actually, I haven't been reading anybody lately. The World According To Garp is one of my all-time favorite books. My most favoritest is A Prayer For Owen Meany. I cried for hours and hours.

Anyway. Glad you're out of the doghouse and not kidnapped after all.

Jess said...

The fact that you recognized my tantrum will satisfy me until you figure out your next contestment.

Captain Dumbass said...

May Detroit pummel the Black Hawks mercilessly. Beat them so bad they fire the team. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

Jim Styro said...

Pamela: I guess the contest thing caught a few loyal readers by surprise (for which I am sorry). I made the deadline relatively brief so that I didn't leave the people interested in hearing the rest of the story hanging. Next time, I will leave a full week for entries.

Glad to hear that I am not the only Garp-lover. A Prayer For Owen Meany is also a particular favorite of mine - I give Garp the slight edge due to fond memories. It was probably the first adult novel I read that moved me greatly - and made me want to write.

Jess: I'm glad we could come to this understanding. No hard feelings, I hope.

Cap'n: We are doing our best to dispatch of those young upstarts in short order. I'd love a sweep - but they have a hard building to play in. I'll say 5 games.