by Jerry Grandbois

The light quickly turned to darkness with a swift clunk. He wasn’t fully conscious, nor did he feel the need to struggle. Even when they opened the trunk to check on him, he was the perfect prisoner.  The less he did to aggravate them, the more time he had to figure a way out; this was the theory at least. It had worked in his favor before; this type of situation wasn’t new to Willem Cots. The first incident happened in 1996; he was locked in an old garden shed by an angry ex-girlfriend. This is where he learned the first rule of being un-willingly confined to a small space: don’t panic. It didn’t take long for the walls to close in on Will, and he blacked out for most of the three hour ordeal. He came to his senses three blocks away, fully naked. He’s still in love with her- “Crazy Bitch”. The next instance was by far the most bizzarre. After a quiet dinner with friends he was kidnapped off the side of the road. It turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. Three friends, looking to keep their coke binge going, thought it a good idea to kidnap a city official’s son and make some quick money. After some very hectic driving through town and a visit to their country hideout they finally worked out the misunderstanding. They spent the next three days dropping ecstasy and making bonfires. All in all it must have happened about a dozen times.

He could hear them speaking in German. He could understand the fuck’s, the sheise’s and the Villecock’, the last word was probably their attempt at pronouncing his name through their thick German accents. His nervousness grew gradually, as he didn’t think tonight would end over Bratwurst and beer. Now was probably the perfect time for a big finish, he thought.

Why did they tie his blindfold so tight? “Don’t panic…deep breath.” Figuring out the whos and the whys would be difficult. Unfortunately, Will Cots had an abundance of people who disliked him for various reasons. He could even think of several people capable of going this far. But to his knowledge there had been no Germans, at least none who could be easily identified as Germans. “Miles and miles, city after city – no fucking Germans”, he whispered to himself.

The car engines rumbled to life and the car drove  away from wherever it was. Cots had no idea where he was being taken, they had been stopped for at least an hour. He attempted to map out the drive in his mind like they do in movies, remembering the bumps and noises. “Bullshit!” he thought.

The car was now moving at a pretty good pace and the ride had become bumpier. They had gone off road. If ever you find yourself locked in the trunk of a car and the road suddenly feels as though you’re driving up to a remote cottage… you’re fucked. He needed to figure out what had gone so horribly wrong to bring him to this point.

Two years ago, to the day, Will Cots was steadily employed as a freelance photographer. Doing mostly weddings, he enjoyed the benefits of working his own hours and making a name for himself in the business. It was all going so well, for a while, but then it all came crashing down. For some reason Will decided to get blind drunk at a clients wedding and make a scene that is still whispered about by wedding planners across the city. The incident was still very blurry for Cots, his camera had been confiscated by the police and the guests at the wedding had no interest in helping Cots re-live the evening. The word spread, and it spread fast – quickly making its way through all the hoops of local media.

The first on the story was the local newspaper. They happened to have a staff member at the party and he used his voice recorder to get a couple decent sound bytes out of the drunk Wil Cots. The next morning the news paper had managed print a pretty decent article about the ‘Wedding from hell’. Needless to say, the incident ruined his credibility as a photographer and overnight everything had changed. “That one fucking night.”

The following 60 days were pretty easy; financially and emotionally Will was good. He had convinced himself it was all for the best and spent most of his time drinking coffee and being happy with his idled existence. It’s easy to cultivate one’s mind without the restrictions of the bottom line. Sixty-three days after being thrust into the unemployed column, Will Cots had 42 dollars, a full tank of gas, rent was due and he had no real prospect of legitimate income coming anytime soon. Something needed to happen, his journey of self discovery was over. The prospect of ending this lifestyle drove him to forget about it as soon as possible. Over his 30 years of existence Will always knew one thing for certain, the best way to forget your worries was to drink them away.

Pierre was a 33 year old French-Canadian hedge trimmer and Will Cots’s only real friend. They smoked joints and drank together to divert themselves from the outside world. Most often than not – they would talk for hours about ways to improve upon their current existence, or lack thereof. That day had been no different.