Taking the Shot is a novelette (not quite a novella but too long to be a short story) that was published as an e-book in April 2011 by Etopia Press; now included in my short story collection, “Let No One Weep for Me.”
A hood drawn roughly over my head made the night darker. The coarse fibers scratched my cheeks; the stale suffocating smell filled my nostrils. My vague sense of danger became real as the steps outside my hotel disappeared in a moment of chaos, filled with voices of Colombian rebels, their firm hands shoving, pulling. The dizzying whirl from sidewalk to truck disoriented me. A nightmare come to life.
They thought I was important, a member of the media, a figure to garner money. My disjointed and muffled pleas battered unconvinced ears.
“I’m not what you think. I’m no one. Just taking pictures for a book.”
“You work for an American newspaper in Washington, D.C.,” the man said as he hustled me into the back of a van. “They will pay to release you.”
“No, no! They won’t. I’m just a freelancer—I’m not employed by any one paper. No one will give you money for me.”
I had heard of the FARC, but in traditional American bravado, I had believed nothing would happen to me in Colombia. What would anyone want with me, a freelance photographer working on a coffee table book? My new companion, Rita—secured through a friend of a friend—served as my travel guide. We had spent the day exploring the beauty of the Parque National Natural Chingaza. Exhausted and content, we’d eaten dinner at a quaint restaurant and planned tomorrow’s adventure in the Amazon after a good night’s sleep. Just one more day to explore before I flew back to the States, back to my regular life.