Several years ago, Dangerous Doug got a job as an air traffic controller in Saskatoon, Canada. Six months before his contract started, he decided to go for a visit and get to know the place. While he was there he “somehow” found himself in a situation where, in his words, he could have “become a missing person, never to be seen again”. Want to find out what happened? Read on.
Doug spent several hours at Saskatoon Airport, becoming familiar with the tower procedures and getting to know the controllers he’d be working with. He asked them lots of questions and they were happy to answer. One of the things he asked was what part of town he should live in. They made several recommendations, but all of them stressed that he should stay away from the eastern part of the city. When he asked why, they said it was the “bad part of town” where all the criminals and drug dealers lived. He stored this information away and when he finished up in the tower he headed into town to get a bite to eat.
He sat outside, enjoying the late afternoon sun and soaking up the atmosphere. He was just minding his own business, having a beer, when a gorgeous blonde woman caught his eye. To his surprise, she walked right up to him and said he looked like he needed some company. He sat up a bit straighter as she went on to say that he looked a bit lonely and, if he wanted to, he could join her and her three friends at their table.
Wide-eyed, Doug replied that he would love to join them! Of course he would! His imagination went wild as he pictured himself in the role of Colin from the movie “Love Actually” (Colin, a Brit, arrives in the USA in the middle of winter, in the middle of nowhere and ends up in bed with four gorgeous women). Needless to say, Doug followed the beautiful woman back to her table.
Imagine his devastation when he discovered that her friends weren’t hot, sexy women at all, but three burly guys! As sorely tempted as he was to just keep on walking, he didn’t want to appear rude, so he decided to sit with them.
As it turned out, the group was celebrating. Dude #1 (the “leader” of the group – or the guy that talked the most, anyway) had just come into a lot of money after a diamond investment in Africa had hit paydirt. Seven figures paydirt. So, they had a few drinks and after a while the conversation turned to Doug. They asked him what he was doing in Saskatoon and whether he was there alone. When they found out that he was an air traffic controller who had worked in the Middle East for 15 years, they seemed impressed and one of them commented that he must also be pretty wealthy. Doug replied that he was doing “okay” for himself, and changed the topic.
When it started getting dark, Dude #1 told Doug that he was having a party at his house to continue the celebrations, and invited him along. Without thinking Doug replied, “Sure”, and they suggested he follow them in his car. Doug then made a “funny” joke, saying, “I hope you guys aren’t going to kidnap me for my ATM card and torture me for the PIN number!” His new friends all laughed uproariously. Oh, the hilarity.
They left the restaurant at around 5pm with Doug following the others. After a few blocks, he pulled up behind them at a red light and, with no warning at all, Dudes #2 and #3 jumped out and hopped into the back of Doug’s car, saying they were coming with him so he wouldn’t get lost. This was the first moment Doug had a creepy feeling that something wasn’t quite right. He would have several more before it was over.
Trying to make conversation, Doug asked them how they all knew each other. Dude #2 said that the blonde girl was his sister and when Doug asked how long she and the rich guy (Dude #1) had been going out, he was told that they’d only just met Dude #1 that day! None of it seemed to make sense, and as Doug was trying to figure it out in his head he suddenly became aware that, despite the numerous warnings he’d been given by the other controllers earlier that day, he was headed east. He was driving right into the part of town that they’d told him to avoid at all costs. He wanted to just turn around and go back to his hotel, but he was stuck with two weirdos in his back seat.
They directed him down several side streets, passing numerous culs-de-sac along the way, and soon he was completely disoriented and lost. When they told him to pull up to a very run-down house, overgrown with grass and bushes, he made the snap decision to wait in the car for the two guys to get out and then skedaddle out of there. But he hit a snag. The men wouldn’t get out of the car until he did. More red flags.
So he got out of the car, pretended to lock it (just in case he needed to make a quick getaway) and went inside, escorted closely by his captors… I mean “new friends”. As soon as they were in the house, one of them locked the door, which Doug found (appropriately) startling. As he sat down in one of the few chairs, he heard Dude #1 and the woman in another room whispering about something. He acted like there was nothing wrong, but his brain was on Code Red alert, his senses heightened, looking for a way out of this mess. He joked around and tried to act as normal as possible. Someone fetched some beers and Doug sipped his, looking around, trying to take in his surroundings. There was a small stereo, a lot of pirated DVDs, a TV, a battered sofa and a couple of crappy chairs. Not the furniture of a millionaire. And certainly no sign of a party.
Meanwhile, Dude #2 left the living room to join the other two, leaving him alone with Dude #3, a man that Doug describes as “a big bozo”. He could still hear the others in deep conversation, but couldn’t make out what they were saying. He was getting more and more paranoid but he was stuck, and there was nothing he could do. He told himself he would just have to wait for an opportunity to present itself, and make his getaway then.
Half way through his beer the others came back out and Dude #1, the supposed millionaire, told him that he simply MUST try some of his home-made wine. Doug said, “Sounds great,” and the guy went into the adjacent kitchen. Now, Doug swears that his hearing at that moment was better than an “arctic fox listening to a rodent under the snow”. And what he heard coming from the kitchen was the sound of a spoon stirring something in a glass. His imagination went into overdrive!
Dude #1 came out with a single glass and handed it to Doug. Believing it to be laced with sedatives (or even worse, poison), Doug took the glass, and pretended to take a few gulps of the stuff. He became aware that the others in the room had gone very quiet and were all watching him drink. He raised the glass and said, “It’s really good! I’ll finish my beer first and then I’ll keep going with this”. Dudes #2 and #3 glanced at each other with a “knowing look” which made Doug feel even more nervous, if that was possible. But he had to continue acting like nothing was wrong.
Dude #1 put on some loud heavy metal music, and suggested they go out back to light a fire. Outside, Doug encountered a huge dog that looked like a cross between a Rottweiler and a St. Bernard. Whatever it was, he was convinced that it was eyeing him up for dinner. The yard backed out onto a boggy field, and was obviously used as a dumping ground – if the broken cars, washing machines and old tyres were anything to go by. Once more, he found himself alone with Dude #3, as the others went back inside for some unexplained reason. Doug credits the bozo’s low IQ with what happened next. He told the guy that he wanted to get his video camera from the car, so that he could record what a great time they were all having. Great time? Video camera? It was a total fabrication. But it was the best idea he could come up with under pressure – and it seemed to work. Bozo just nodded his head dumbly as Doug crept in through the back door. On his way through, he heard the other three still whispering urgently in another part of the house. He quietly unlocked the front door, and very quietly, closed it again. He got in his car, locked the doors and drove away, waiting until he was around the corner before putting the pedal to the metal.
But his saga wasn’t over yet – Doug couldn’t make his way out of the maze of culs-de-sac. He just kept driving in and out of dead-end streets, getting more and more lost. He then had the brilliant idea of parking the car and killing the lights, just in case they sent out a search party. Brilliant indeed, because they did actually come looking for him. He slouched down low in his seat, thanking his lucky stars that his rental was a common make and model. He watched as they drove up and down a few streets before giving up and heading back to their house. He didn’t take any chances though and stayed put, until a bus drove past about ten minutes later. He tailed the bus back onto the main roads, and followed the signs back to town, and as he drove he reflected over what had just happened. He was all alone in the city. There was no-one to notice that he was gone and no-one knew where he was staying. He could so very easily have become a missing person, never to be seen again. Just another statistic.
His last thought before pulling into his hotel was this: Am I very lucky to get out of this situation alive? Or am I just an incredibly bad-mannered asshole for not staying and enjoying their hospitality? In the end he didn’t care about whose feelings he hurt. He was just happy to be alive to tell the tale.