When I was a kid, every month I would wait anxiously for my Top Secret Adventures kit to arrive. On that glorious day that it was dropped off on my door step, I would immediately set up camp on the floor of the TV room. I’d put on a little Are You Afraid of the Dark? (and let me tell you, the answer to that question was generally a resounding yes. I still get creeped when I think about the episode where the girl moves into the new apartment and ends up living next to the elderly lady who’s actually been dead for a number of years. Gives me the heeby jeebies.) and roll up my sleeves.
It was mystery time.
I’d read my guidebook to get a better idea of the terrain I’d be traveling and then take a look at the possible culprits. I loved pulling together all the clues and narrowing down my pool of suspects. When I reached that ultimate moment where my culprit became clear, it was a magnificent thing. I was wired. I was the greatest detective who had ever lived. No criminal could elude me. It almost wasn’t fair. But I didn’t care, because I was the Queen of Justice. Had it been around at the time, I would have totally gained membership into the Unicorn Success Club for my crime-solving prowess alone. Never mind my sharp fashion sense.
When this was all said and done, I’d pack up the month’s kit and put it away with all my other saved kits. I couldn’t, after all, get rid of them. If I threw them away then I couldn’t take them out from time to time and bask in the warmth of a job well done, grinning smugly, as I sat there in one of my many roller coaster t-shirts, and laughing over how they thought they could get past me. As if that were ever even a possibility.
But my pint-sized ego trips were not the only reason that keeping these kits ended up being beneficial. Those villain cards were a gold mine. A particular set of friends – a lovely trio of brothers – my sister and I liked to play Robbers & Robbers. The game was just more fun if we were all on the same side and trying to outsmart the same cops. (Plus, as I’ve clearly demonstrated here, it wouldn’t even have been fair to have me as one of the cops. You know, due to my awesomeness.) So, at the beginning of each game of R & R, we would pick our new aliases from the Top Secret kits. Some of the others liked to change it up, but, being the creature of habit I am, I always went straight for my regular card: Kelly Green.
Grabbing that increasingly creased piece of paper, I was transformed from normal Kelly into criminal mastermind – or at least, criminal – Kelly. If I needed help in this transition, all I had to do was look at the back of the card:
Height: 6 feet
Weight: 150 pounds
Characteristics: Kelly has devoted her life to plants and crim. When she’s not raking, she’s taking. She has a green thumb, along with similar shades on her other fingers. Her green fingerprints usually lead police to her.
Criminal History: Kelly pluck prize-winning roses from Ned’s Nursery. She also stole the grassy diamond from Dodger Stadium.
Clearly, I was a force to be reckoned with. The others, finding similar strength in their new alter egos, quickly joined me and we became the ultimate crime syndicate. A bunch of crooks specializing in entirely different areas of bizarre crime without any uniting goal. It was perfect.
And though I’m sure they tried mightily, those imaginary cops never could quite keep up with us. It was too bad they couldn’t sway me to their side. ‘Cause I would have caught us in a second.