Excerpt from The Spirit of Villarosa

April 5, 2001
2:04 p.m.
My kidnappers ignore me and keep driving, talking rapidly among themselves in Creole, a language they assume a blanc like me would not understand. Having lived in Haiti most of my life, I speak Creole as well as I speak English. I even think and dream in Creole. They have no idea how well I understand their language, which gives me an advantage.

I listen carefully, trying to figure out their next move. Reluctant to believe I don’t have the one-and-a-half million, they aren’t sure what to do next. It seems they might have been secretly tipped off about the sale of Villarosa but are reluctant to say too much. They don’t seem to be aware that the sale hasn’t happened yet. Again, I wonder about their connections.

I study them as they begin to argue in Creole. The speed demon driver has the look of a hardened criminal, but as he’d found it difficult to put my car into reverse, I figure he is either extremely nervous or inexperienced behind the wheel. In the backseat, the fourth man is quiet and appears to be as frightened as I am. From what is being said, I surmise that he’s embarking on his first such criminal venture.

My earlier assessment of the leader is correct. Despite their current discussion, it is obvious that the “intelligent” one who’d demanded the outrageous sum of money is in charge. I need to concentrate on him because he will make the decisions and conduct the negotiations.

However, it’s clear to me that the sinister one sitting behind me with the Uzi is the one who will kill me. Earlier, I noticed his eyes looked wild, and now he is talking more rapidly and louder than the others. He seems high-strung and unpredictable, like he’s high on crack cocaine—a very real problem in Haiti today.

The shocking realization hits me between the eyes. Not only have I been kidnapped, but I’m dealing with a crazy man with an itchy trigger finger who is holding a loaded automatic weapon against the back of my head. There’s probably just as great a chance of his pulling the trigger on purpose as having it go off accidentally. I wonder if I’ll feel the bullet.

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