GLOBAL MYTHS NO 1

Another story from the travellers' grapevine

A BRITON studying in Chicago went with a large group of fellow students, for a weekend in Las Vegas to celebrate the end of the exams.

The flight arrived on Friday evening, and the next two days dissolved into a Hunter S Thompson-esque haze of drink, drugs, and gambling. On Sunday afternoon, he awoke in his hotel room with a Satanic hangover. His two roommates were comatose and clearly likely to remain so. After 10 minutes he abandoned them and headed downstairs to a secluded booth in the hotel bar for a soothing Bloody Mary or three. Halfway into his second drink he became aware of a man dressed in the casino issue red blazer and dark glasses sitting at the next table.

Was he, the man wanted to know, a member of the student party from Chicago? The casino would like to offer him a complimentary drink as a way of thanking the group for their custom, he said, and produced a large glass of champagne which the student downed.

The next thing the student knew, he was lying in a bath filled with ice in an unfamiliar hotel room. Pinned to the wall facing him was a large sign saying: "DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MOVE. PHONE 911 AND ASK FOR MEDICAL ASSISTANCE." There was a phone on a table next to the bath.

As he explained his situation to the emergency operator, a note of suspicion crept into her voice. She asked him to reach behind him to see if there was a plastic tube protruding from his back. There was. She told him his call had been traced and an ambulance was on its way.

In hospital, the doctors found that both his kidneys had been removed, clearly by a qualified doctor. He had become the latest victim of an organ-trading ring which picked up unsuspecting punters in the town's casinos. Send in the stories you've picked up on your journeys to: Global Myths at the address below

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