Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

A Christmas Struggle

It’s Christmas Eve in New York City. Finn is watching TV in his apartment with his dad, Mark. Mark works as an NYPD detective. The phone rang,


“I got it,” said Finn.
“Who could be calling at this time on Christmas eve?” Mark asked himself.
“It’s for you dad,” Finn said.
“Thanks buddy,” said Mark. It was the NYPD calling, telling mark that there has been a
robbery in the mall and several citizens have been taken hostage. They want Mark to be the head negotiator.
“Ok,” he agrees.
“Where are you going?” asked Finn.
“I can’t tell you yet I’m sorry, be in bed by 12:00 pm. Bye bud,” replies Mark.
“Bye,” murmurs Finn. But Mark was already out the door.
“What could have happened?” Finn sighed. “I’m sure everything fine,” he told himself not
knowing the gravity of the situation.


Mark was on the way to the mall there he would find, sniper teams on vans, and on tall build- ings ready to pounce. And that, beloved bulletproof vest with NEGOTIATOR strapped to the front. Soon he was there. He got out of his car and he was handed the vest along with something that he would put on top of his mouth to communicate. He headed in through the main door with his hands in the air ready for anything. It was cold and misty inside, he could hear a group of people talking.


“Hello,” said Mark. “ I am the negotiator.”


The whole mall was quiet and empty. Every once in awhile Mark stepped on glass from the stores that had been robbed minutes earlier. In the distance, he saw the gang, they were a group of tall Rus- sian men. There must have been six or seven of them, he thought. Without thinking he continued to walk towards them.


“Hello, let’s take this very slowly, we can start by putting the guns down and untying the hostages,” he said in a firm but nice tone.


The gang ran towards him. Not knowing what to do Mark stood still and let the gang take control of him. He was put aside with the other hostages.


Mark waits for a few minutes for the men who had taken him hostage to be distracted some- how to call for backup in his earpiece. As soon as that moment came, “I need backup they are Russian and they don’t understand what I’m saying. There are not many civilians with me but I do suggest at least ten more people to take Them down come quick,” whispers Mark.

Soon after that message seven more NYPD detectives were sitting next to him all of them had ducktape to there mouths preventing them from talking.