‘I wish to report a kidnapping.’ Peter began his letter to the two major national newspapers. John will be proud of me, he thought, as he penned the letter, smiling across at the folder where he had stored all of John’s correspondence from last year. I do really need to type up all that stuff one of these days. It is great material. I need to have some way of being able to share it with some of my friends rather than let it gather dust.
He continued writing.
An elderly neighbour and good friend of mine has been kidnapped, and, as far as anyone can ascertain, he has not been seen in months.
There have been some recent exchanges with the kidnappers. However, they have made no demands that can be reasonably met. They are lovely people, apparently. They sound so when they find time to respond to the telephone. They assure me that my friend is safe, that he is in good hands. But they will not give him back or allow anyone to see him.
Peter considered moving his letter to a closing paragraph but decided to plough on. I do not simply want to meet John, he thought. I also want to make it easier for the thousands of others in the same predicament.
His experience with St Joseph’s had really riled him. He was glad that he wasn’t a close relative, or he would have suffered even more than he had already done.
‘There is a pandemic, you know’, he was told. ‘We cannot allow any visitors. No one. No exceptions.’
Faced with this uncompromising stance Peter had been pushy. He spoke to anyone at the home who answered the phone. He also spoke to the matron. He asked them if they had a visiting room available, perhaps one which could be regularly sprayed. He had been rude, or they implied as much in response, when he had suggested that they were not putting patients first. He had even found out from them that John had been recently vaccinated, but apparently that made no difference to their visitor policy.
He pressed on with the letter.
Maybe kidnapping is permitted? I sought to review their mission statement. But that was not so easy, despite my web savviness. I could have a statement of purpose or a safety statement. I could even make a comment, a compliment or a complaint, but no mission statement was available….