Musings, Relationships

The case of the sneaky birthday surprise

Top secret intel! Confidential

Report 10232017

  • Agent on duty: Aimster Birthday-Diva
  • Suspects: Traitorous Double-Agent Boyfriend and Messenger Unknown
  • Victim: Aimster Birthday-Diva herself
  • Kill date: October 23, 2017

 

On Saturday throughout 0900 and 1200 hours, I witnessed Boyfriend receiving a number of messages via the Top Secret Facebook Messenger app. This was the elusive Messenger who had yet to be identified. I tried offering to check his device for messages, but I was denied. He’s onto me. But I’m onto him.

Message decoded: My boyfriend was getting an unusual number of notifications from Facebook Messenger this morning. He’s up to something. My birthday is Monday. What’s he planning? He won’t let me check his phone… Darn… I’m right…

Perhaps at the orchard an ambush will be waiting. I’ll remain on alert.

Message decoded: We’re going to Tanner’s orchard for cider donuts. Who would he invite to surprise me? My family, maybe. Friends Yasmeen or Courtney? That could be the only plausible people. Right? 

At approximately 1300 hours, I thought I saw the culprit, the Arch-nemesis doppelganger-Aimster at the orchard, but no – her sidekick wasn’t there. It was a misnomer.

Message decoded: I thought I saw my sister at the orchard, but her boyfriend wasn’t next to her so it can’t be her. Confirmed: she turned around and, sure enough, it wasn’t her. 

At approximately 1400 hours, we left the orchard. No ambush there. I ventured to ask about the Top Secret app. It was no spy mission, he said. I must have been over-vigilant in my suspicions.

Message decoded: No one was at Tanner’s to surprise me. My curiosity got the best of me and I asked him, “Soooo what were all those Facebook messages?” He said it was his friends talking about a game night. Seriously? That’s what I was freaking out about. Sigh. Curiosity always gets the better of me. 

At 1630 hours we had a rendezvous with the Benefactors. We had to relocate our meeting by helicopter, so close to doppelganger-Aimster. The helicopter was shot down oh so close to her lair. I was wounded and separated from the Boyfriend, but we were reunited to make it to the final checkpoint.

Message decoded: We met my grandparents for dinner at Olive Garden, next to my sister’s workplace. When driving to my grandparents house for a game, Josh asked if we’d stop to see Anna right next door. “We have to meet the grandparents,” I said. “Any other time I would.” But we had to stop at Dollar Tree right next to Anna’s work for a birthday candle at least, Josh insisted. I ran to the bathroom and we met at the car. 

At the final checkpoint, it was a battle of the minds. I was separated from my cohorts once again.

Message decoded: We played Upwards (like Scrabble, but different.) I went to the bathroom again. (There really is no privacy in the digital age is there? I promise this has a point…)

Target locked.

Sunday at 1230 hours, doppelganger-Aimster intercepted my transmissions. “I have captured Boyfriend and demand a ransom. You have 30 minutes.” I agreed to the terms – my spidey senses were right about those messages yesterday! He is in cahoots! At 1300 hours, she arrived and released Boyfriend in no time at all. She had all she needed for her master plan.

Message decoded: Sunday afternoon, Anna called and said, “Okay, I don’t know how to say this, but I’ve been talking to Josh, and it’s about your birthday so I can’t tell you more, but I need to come by and talk to him.” I knew it! He was messaging her! I confronted him, he blushed and said, “I was caught in a lie!!!!!” I told him it’s okay as long as they’re conspiring for me and not against 😉 She stopped by and only spoke with him for 30 seconds tops. That was quick. Now what…

Target engaged.

Monday at 0800 hours, the Boyfriend was called on a mission far far away. I had my own mission, so we packed our stock of weaponry. “You have the code?” he said. “Yes,” I said and punched in the code. Since our mission was complete, we removed all evidence of the lair.

Message decoded: Monday morning, I had to get to work. He had to return to the land of Wisconsin, his home goshdarnit. When we were going back to the apartment for a second load of stuff, he asked if I had my key, I said “Yes,” and opened the door, no prob. Nothing special there, just your run-of-the-mill, me opening the door thing. Our pumpkins we’d carved were rotting, so we threw them in the dumpster.

1200 hours: I tell the other secret agents of Traitorous Boyfriend and doppelganger-Aimster, the Secret Messenger. What could the ambush be? Why the ransom demands?When will the attack occur? Today is the kill date, but with after-effects for a week. No telling when the ambush will happen.

Message decoded: I tell my coworkers of Josh’s secrecy, conspiring with my sister about my birthday. What will the surprise be? And why did they need to meet for 30 seconds when they could have just talked over the phone? Today’s my birthday, but we’ll have a dinner together next Sunday, so maybe whatever it is won’t happen til then. Who knows…

1300 hours: An epiphany! He had asked if I had the code, when he always punches in the code. Perhaps he transferred his code to doppelganger-Aimster yesterday. The lair has been compromised! Alert alert! I prepared to be ransacked, and then reminded myself not to get too worked up. My code was safe and secure. My lair was safe and secure.

Message decoded: I had wondered why they needed to meet, and I suddenly realized… He always has the key to the apartment in his pocket, so most the time I don’t worry about having the key. But he asked me if I had the key. Which meant maybe he didn’t have it. Maybe he gave it to Anna so she could sneak in with balloons or something. He couldn’t give her the key through the phone, of course they’d have to meet. She’s going to be in my apartment! Why would he do that? But ooh, what would I find? Wait now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, I’ll probably get home and open the door and be disappointed because I psyched myself up for nothing… It’s probably my overactive imagination… He probably had his key buried in the luggage… Silly me…

I return to the lair at 1700 hours and find it ransacked with a secret message. Doppelganger-Aimster has struck! Nowhere is safe! We’re all DOOOOOOOOMED!

Message decoded: I returned home that night and found a secret message (she actually did use our sisterly secret code to write it, that’s not my spy imagination story thing), dinner, dessert, and breakfast. I’m starting the holidays early and pigging out! 

I went undercover and questioned the culprits. I found every step of their plan and all it’s foibles and triumphs. Mission accomplished.

Message decoded: I asked Josh “How were you going to get the key to her?” He was thinking after Olive Garden we could stop at her work, but I didn’t go for it. However, I did not suspect when he asked, it sounded totally legitimate. Then when we were at Dollar Tree, he thought of running it over to her while I was in the bathroom, but he was worried I’d catch him in the act. Then when we were at my grandparents, and I was in the bathroom (again), he thought of giving it to my grandparents but thought (again) I might catch him in the act. He thought of hiding it in the pumpkins, which luckily he didn’t, because I insisted they were rotting and to throw them out. That would’ve been a flop! I asked if he thought I really did see Anna at the orchard, and he said no. Anna asked if they should have talked longer so I’d be less suspicious, but I don’t think that affected my suspicions. Anna talked about being stuck at work when he was so close and yet so far. How all these attempts to meet up were failing, so she decided to move things along and try for a hostage negotiation – err, I mean, a meet-up that I’m aware of – figuring it wouldn’t ruin the end surprise. She was right. I loved it. It was quite delightful! And I had to share the story with all of you blog readers 🙂 

Mission accomplished. 

This message will self-destruct in 5… 4… 3… 2…

for the Writers, Musings, Showcasing other Creatives

The story of how I became a storyteller

Today I am stoked to welcome my creative friend Maggie to the blog. Enjoy her post and share your own storyteller journey with us in the comments 🙂 


 

mags2The story of how I became a storyteller goes all the way back to when I was in first grade. Life was easy back then. Days were filled with coloring book pages and thinking blocks, both which helped light way to my passion for creativity. It didn’t take much to amuse me in those younger years. I would sit in front of the doorway of our house, battling harsh sunlight and racking my brain for the perfect solution to an imperfect array of building blocks. It was there where I constructed the first of many masterpieces. And it was there where I used to proudly gather pastors and patrons under the safety of makeshift sanctuaries. When I was not playing church, I could be found scribbling away my free time. Occasionally, if the mood and temperature was just right, drawings of helpless horses and terrifying wolves would come to life.

These are my earliest memories of visual narration. While there inevitably must have been more instances in-between, it was not until my fourth grade year that I really reunited with my roots as a storyteller. In a new town with some new friends, I strung together countless episodes of a recess superhero saga. I was featured as “Ice Princess,” a kick-butt heroine who welded magnificent powers similar to that of Disney’s Snow Queen.

mags1Later that year when my days were not as filled with Frozone imitations, I found myself able to pursue other activities such as jump rope and church picnics. This is how, in short, I met one of my long-term running best friends. We instantly bonded over Littlest Pet Shop, and together configured names for hamsters and lizards alike. It was not long before we decided to take this obsession with small animals to a whole new level. Together, we crafted a story inspired by an episode of Pet Stars, one of the most interesting and entertaining shows at the time. Perhaps even more unique though, was the story we produced as a result of the series. It centered around a dog who could do math and used his abilities to tutor those in need. One of his primary pupils was his owner, the ever-troubled and renowned actor, Josh Hutcherson.

Fast forward a year or so. I had dropped stories of ridiculously cute celebrities and division-doing dogs. I exchanged them for two starkly different twin sisters and a set of handsome, case-cracking brothers. Crime-fighting protagonists and justice-serving plots came easy to me. All-too-easy, if you ask me. Considering my obsession with Franklin W. Dixon at the time, it was really no wonder. His writing was fresh and cool, and I was young and naive and didn’t care much if my stories were just like his.

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With my writing skills in check, I took the liberty to adopt yet another form of storytelling. In the simplest sense, this medium was play acting. My co-writer and I found ourselves continuously drawn to the idea of hashing out different scenarios in real-life. It was through these exercises that we were able to establish most of the credibility for our story as a whole. It felt risky and unnatural to embody the live’s of other characters. However, I found peace in knowing this was exactly the sort of thing the March sisters did in Little Women.

After a while the theatricals lost their touch as did the stories that formed them. Eventually, I let myself venture onto “greener pastures” (if you could call them that). It was here where I allowed myself to experiment with other fables; but they only managed to hold my attention for a small time. I struggled with developing full-on plots and fleshed-out storylines. For this reason I once again turned to a new medium. The philosophy I soon adopted read as follows, “If I couldn’t tell a story with words, I would do so using pictures.” As a result, photography became my new and improved mode of storytelling. Through the medium, I discovered editing as a niche of mine and used that skill to create fantastical images of my little sister performing mundane tasks.

I came out of the phase with a few mentionable awards and direction for my life study, but this was not enough to dampen my desire for the mastery of new things. In the spring of 2014, I put my thoughts online for the first time. Thanks to some pretty effective feedback, I have been an active part of the blogosphere ever since. Over the years, blogging has taught me an enormous amount, but I would argue that storytelling as a whole has taught me even more. If it wasn’t for long afternoons spent with friends on the playground, I would have never learned the value of imagination. If it wasn’t for mishaps in writing, I would have never discovered my love of photography. It was through these experiences that I realized the importance of not limiting yourself to one specialty. With constant experimentation and the desire to learn, one can readily produce items of worth. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t stop trying. Live vigorously. Accept failures. And maybe just, maybe you’ll create something amazing along the way.

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mags

Maggie Schoepke is a Graphic Design Major and bonafide Japan-lover. She spends her time outside, preferably under the shade of a weeping willow and the appeal of a melancholy tale. When not having a good cry, Maggie enjoys pursuing art, writing, and above all, her Divine Creator. When asked what annoys her the most, she will probably reply with the tacky saying, “There are never enough hours in the day, but always too many days before Saturday.”

 

You can find more of Maggie’s musings at https://teatimewithsenpai.wordpress.com/