1. “Hi, greetings from your boss, the warlord! He sends his best.” (I used that in Congo once.)
  2. “Say, I’m out of money. Could I borrow a little?”
  3. “Sorry, but I’m the nervous type”—with a self-deprecating laugh—“do you mind not pointing that at my chest?”
  4. “I’m a reporter. Can I take your picture and tell your story to the world?”—i.e. if you don’t kill me. (That works remarkably well).
  5. “Oh, they’re not here yet? I guess that car full of rich people is behind us, coming along any moment.”