Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Too Little

I was inspired by a show I saw a number of years ago, The Man Who Knew too Little, with Bill Murray. In the show, Bill Murray’s character, intending to participate in a personalized live drama called The Theater of Life, gets caught up in a real adventure of murder, intrigue and mystery.

About a year ago I decided that the storyline could be adapted to a date with my wife for a birthday or anniversary. The birthday came and went without sufficient planning to pull off the event, but as our anniversary approached I began fine tuning the details.

Ideally the scenario needs 5 or 6 actors, but we made do with 4, starring some of my children and their spouses, each dressed for the part. All got pretty caught up in their parts, one in particular with makeup to portray a dead body.

Stage One was the First Contact to start the “assignment.” I had planned a telephone message, but couldn’t quite get the machine to accept the audio so had to settle for an email message. It went like this:

“Help me Obi Wan Kenobi. You’re m only hope.”

This was Princess Leia audio from Star Wars. The second part of the message came from an internet audio reader. I picked a British/Australian female voice that said, “Be at Barnes and Noble at exactly 6:03pm. Look in the 2nd Bourne Identity book from the left.”

Our Stage Two actor placed The Rules of Jason Bourne in the appropriate book just before we arrived then waited, hidden in the stacks for us to arrive. Hand written at the bottom of the rules were the words, “FOOD COURT ASAP SIT.”

After finding the rules in the book we proceeded to the food court in the mall, unknowingly followed by the actress from Stage Two. Almost immediately after sitting at the food court, my wife with her back to the approaching actor, a newspaper was placed discreetly on our table and the actress, wearing a scarf and sunglasses, walked on.

I use the word discreetly, but I was wearing a tuxedo looking 007 outfit, my wife her slinking dress and we both were wearing sunglasses. Amazing how few looks we actually got. You wouldn’t believe some of the other outfits we’ve worn to the mall.

In this Stage Three the newspaper contained a paper rolled up inside. Originally I was going to have an airsoft gun rolled up in the newspaper also, but it was too bulky. The clue paper had a picture of a prominent landmark in town and words printed like cut out newspaper letters that said:


We made our way through the mall back to the car and travelled to the landmark. I had set a time schedule for each stage of the drama, but needed to drive it ahead of time to make sure. Generally we were close.

In Stage Four at the landmark the next actress was wearing a white wig and wearing a black outfit. When my wife asked if she was our next contact, she asked for the passcode. My wife dutifully repeated, “Help me Obi Wan Kenobi. You’re m only hope.”

The contact showed us a Toppest Top Secret envelope, placed it in a briefcase and locked it. She handed me an airsoft gun, handcuffed the briefcase to my wife’s right hand and said, “Deliver this to the Institute. You know, the Institute.”

Note to self: when doing this again handcuff the case to the LEFT hand. My wife had her purse on her right shoulder, which now could not be removed; she couldn’t close her door by herself or fasten her seat belt properly.

The Institute was not very far away and we arrived easily 10 minutes early. We drove a few blocks away to allow the scene to be set. Our Stage Five contact, as we arrived, was seen, apparently dead (with great makeup) on the grass. Clutched in her hand was a blood-stained note. After we pried it from her hands we determined that it contained GPS coordinates in Spanish.

My wife translated the numbers (with a little help from me) and I put them into the GPS I had conveniently brought with us. Actually I had input the coordinates previously to save time. Here again, note to self: Go to the actual location sometime earlier and get the EXACT coordinates instead of trusting that the internet website is right, then try them at least once.

I had started our car and faced it towards the exit of the parking lot so that my wife would not see our Stage Five “dead” contact get up and run to her car to join her husband. At this point I announced to my wife that we were being followed. We drove away from the parking lot with the intent to “lose them” in a nearby parking garage. Unfortunately I went the wrong way and the chase car got stuck at the light. Since they knew where we were going they actually beat us there, but, not seeing us, proceed to the final location at Stage Seven.

Upon arriving at Stage Six, we, of course, were supposed to be unaware that we were no longer being followed and made our tire screeching trip to the top of the parking garage and back down again. This did have the added advantage of helping the GPS to get a good satellite fix.

On the way to Stage Seven, the GPS coordinates were not exact so I drove into the Applebee’s parking lot anyway. Our final contact was there dressed similar to me. He asked if my wife had something for him and she said it was locked in the case. He told her that the combination was a very important date for us. It was the combination in two digit month, day and year of our anniversary.

My wife opened the briefcase and handed him the sealed envelope. After opening it, he handed back a note which said, “Enjoy your anniversary dinner at Applebee’s.” The envelope also contained cash to pay for dinner, a key to the handcuffs and a note that said, “You already have a key to my heart. Here is the key to the handcuffs.”

At that point my wife and I went inside and enjoyed a delicious anniversary meal.

I put on my Facebook page that 31 years ago I made the best decision of my life and married my sweetheart. I’ve never regretted that decision.

Happy anniversary to us,