Trisha Campbell, a 31-year-old charity worker currently chained to a radiator in Yemen, is reported to be spending most of her time between being bundled into the boot of cars and moved between hostage addresses ‘absolutely dreading’ her parents’ choice of photograph to distribute to news agencies covering her abduction.
‘It’ll be the cheesy graduation one from the mantelpiece, I know it,’ the gap year traveller told her kidnappers yesterday. ‘I’ve been begging them to take it down for years, but for some reason they love it. I don’t know why I ever thought that blouse was flattering, or what kind of statement those glasses were supposed to make. And how humiliating that my greatest achievement in more than three decades on the planet will be reported as a 2:2 in American Literature and Media Studies from De Montfort. If I’d known I was going to be kidnapped I’d have worked so much harder at university.’
After being seized by masked gunmen last Tuesday, Campbell was forced, in a chilling video recorded by her captors, to plead for the release of a dozen freedom fighters incarcerated in Israel in exchange for her life. ‘It was so traumatic,’ she sobbed afterwards. ‘At one point when they were holding a knife to my throat, I suddenly realised that everyone watching would have been able to see the henna tattoo on my neck that I got one misguided night in Mumbai. And I can’t believe my religious fundamentalist captors didn’t forcefully cover my hair during the recording – now all the pictures in the papers will reveal my unfortunate experiment with cornrows.’
But as Campbell imagined her distraught parents tearfully responding to questions outside the family home, possibly holding that picture of ‘their little girl’ when she was 13, had enormous braces and looked like a boy, it was then a more horrific outcome to her predicament occurred to her. She suddenly realised that anytime now, somewhere in a TV studio in London, the funny-looking charity volunteer that she’d somehow ended up shagging after her leaving drinks would be interviewed as her boyfriend and talk about ‘the Trisha I knew’ in that awful nasal voice of his.
‘Oh God, just kill me now,’ she begged her AK47-wielding guard.