THINGS TO SAY TO A GUNMAN HOLDING YOU HOSTAGE IN SOME REMOTE COUNTRY

  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.”