Allow me to make myself very clear: I do not negotiate with terrorists.
You may have my son, but I have something that costs the average man upwards of $2000 depending on the strength of the Canadian dollar and the resolve of the seller. I have a 1st Edition Holographic Charizard, and you will never convince me to part with it.
It was July 9th, 1999. I was a lowly upper middle-class 13-year-old white boy living in rural Ontario. On average, it took kids like me 15 to 20 minutes of whining, belittling, and wall punching to convince our parents to drive us to the nearest hobby shop, all to satisfy that most primal of human urges: opening a crisp, pristine, unsullied First Generation Pokémon Booster Pack.
But that day was different. Before I could even launch into the meat of my tantrum, father grabbed me by the collar and bellowed, “I’m not going through this shit again. Get in the fucking truck.” And I did.
He dropped me off in the parking lot out front of Mattress & More. To the uninitiated, this establishment looked to be nothing more than a mattress store (pardon the rhyme). Little did they know that the titular “More” referred to a small trading card collector’s haven, tucked away in the back of the shop.
They say there’s no greater smell in life than that of a newborn baby. I wholeheartedly disagree. Nothing compares to the intoxicating scent let loose after one plucks open a brand new card pack. Not even the scent of my first and only child, Paul, whom you currently have in your possession.
I entered the shop with a $10 bill I had stolen from my father’s wallet while he was busy droning on and on about his “failed marriage”, and how much of a “problem child” I am. I approached the counter.
“One Pokémon booster pack, please.”
The man at the counter obliged. He handed me the merchandise. I handed him the cash.
“Keep the change, ya filthy animal.” I had recently received a copy of Home Alone on VHS for my birthday and was riding high on movie quotes. I digress.
Pinching the top of the pack with my pointer fingers and thumbs, I carefully peeled it open like a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, my son Paul’s favourite of the Doritos family.
The smell hit me like a brick wall.
I shook myself out of it and refocused on the task at hand.
I pulled out cards, ten in total. I flipped past the Commons and Uncommons, as they meant nothing to me.
Left before me were two cards, a Bulbasaur stacked on top of the Rare card, which is guaranteed in every pack. Hands trembling, I slowly slid the Venusaur out of the way.
There he was, in all his glory. The 1st Edition Holographic Charizard. The very card you expect me to give you in exchange for my son Paul.
In that moment, I vowed to never let anything get between me and my Charizard. Upon returning home, I apologized to my father for everything I’d put him through. I explained the importance of what had occurred that day, and since then we’ve never been closer.
As you read this, my son Paul has already activated the cyanide capsule I lodged into his molar. Don’t bother trying to stop him, he’s already dead.
The police have already tracked your location. By now you can probably hear the sirens.
You may have kidnapped my boy, but you will never take my 1st Edition Holographic Charizard.
Clearly, you underestimate the sacred bond between father and son.