Just hours before Valentines Day, a delighted 43-year-old woman was swept off her feet and whisked away to a secret weekend retreat by a delegation of tall, smartly dressed men wearing balaclavas and carrying automatic weapons.
Anticipating a surprise from her husband Darryl, Sonia Haslett reported being thrilled at having a pillowcase placed over her head, being bundled into the back of an unmarked van and driven at speed towards whatever romantic fate the weekend had in store for her.
‘They burst in unannounced through the windows and back door. God, I love it when a man takes control,’ said Mrs Haslett. ‘It was just like a Milk Tray advert, only without the chocolates and respect for breakables. But then Darryl knows I’m trying to cut down on my sugar intake. He’s so thoughtful like that.’
Mrs Haslett, who was blindfolded and manacled as she was chauffeured to a mystery destination, excitedly pestered her kidnappers throughout the journey for details of where they were taking her, what her husband’s plans for the weekend entailed and who he’d got to babysit the children. But their silence only served to heighten her expectations.
‘Darryl has really pulled out all the stops this time,’ announced the wife of 16 years. ‘It’s difficult keeping the romance in a marriage alive, but catching your spouse off guard like this is certainly one way to do it. And I’m not about to complain about being tied up. I’ve always encouraged Darryl to be more adventurous in the bedroom, and if he feels more comfortable experimenting with bondage in the back of a moving van, by enlisting the help of masked strangers and not actually being here himself, that’s fine with me.’
By the early evening neighbours reported a concerned Mr Haslett returning from work to an empty house. An hour later he began door-to-door enquiries.
Several hundred miles away, after being led blindfolded from the van in the pitch dark and marched at gun-point across uneven terrain, Mrs Haslett was now firmly of the view her husband had commandeered a remote rural cottage for the weekend, or had arranged an idyllic midnight bird-spotting trip and was awaiting her arrival in an expertly camouflaged hide.
‘A clue about what I should wear would have been helpful,’ commented Mrs Haslett after completing her third mile across country in lightweight ballet pumps. ‘But that’s just me being picky. I’m sure Darryl will have packed me a change of clothes.’
Her captor told Mrs Haslett to shut her mouth, keep walking and not to worry about childcare as both Sasha and little Jonny were in safe hands.