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Friday, April 13, 2007


I asked, and you answered.

Right now, Daphne is zipping up her suitcase in New York. Then, after spending a few hours attending to important agently business at Unfeasible Enterprises, she will board a fast jet and hurl herself across the Atlantic in my direction.

And then, the Great Harrods Caper begins.

Caper Central

I have probably mentioned that Daphne and I lived in London together after we graduated from college. We spent a long, hot summer here, during which we were Extremely Broke. I mean, living on change, eating cereal as a form of nightly entertainment, breaking in to our own apartment by climbing over trash cans, saving up to go to Pizza Hut kind of broke. When things got better and we were only Somewhat Broke, we spent a lot of time hanging out at each other’s places of work. I worked at a pub, so Daphne logged a remarkable number of hours there, and she worked at a major West End theater in the management office, so on occasion we got to crash big theater parties, where we would quickly eat all of the snacks and drink all of the drinks before the actual famous people showed up. Boy, did we impress them when they got there.

Things are different now, friends. We can buy snacks.

I am now armed with a video camera (Oscar’s, of course). I have a cup of tea next to me, nice and hot. And I am making the final list for the Great Harrods Caper, which starts in 24 hours. You wrote in with so many good suggestions that I am starting to think you all work at NASA, such is the quality of your thoughts.

One of the reasons I am doing this challenge is that Harrods plays a huge role in 13 Little Blue Envelopes, and this would both fascinate and horrify Keith. Harrods is BIG. It has 7 floors, 28 restaurants, and its own casino, bank, and airline. There are a handful of stores in the world that are bigger (including Macy’s in NYC), but none, I would argue, are as confusing and bizarre as Harrods, which has departments hidden inside of departments, and freely mixes up pianos with swimsuits and pet supplies.

So, tomorrow, I will meet Daphne at her London hotel, and then we will proceed to Harrods at around 2 in the afternoon. We will begin with a drink in one of the 28 restaurants, during which we will come up with our battle plan to tackle the following:

Ride every single escalator/elevator and going on every staircase

Find the cheapest and most expensive items you can

Find the weirdest thing with a Harrods label

Collect as much loose change as you can find and tally it up

Get a photo of you hiding inside a display tent

Find a friend for FREE MONKEY

Find the absolute ugliest dress in the store.

Find a stun gun (they don’t sell them in England, as far as I know, but I can try to find something close)

Find a Vespa

Find all 28 restaurants

Find the creepiest looking doll in the toy department

Find a trampoline

Find a Canopic jar

Daphne quickly latched on to the “go to the wedding dress department.” This is now as dangerous as taking Daphne to the shoe department. I’m kind of afraid that the Caper will come to a grinding halt the minute Daphne sees those poofy white dresses. She will go very still, her eyes will dilate, her lips will quiver. I will see a little flash and feel myself falling backwards as she propels forward, and that will be that. So I think we might have separate challenges here. She’ll try to find the dresses, and I will try to hide the entire department.

I don’t exactly know how this will all go down—all I know is that it will be recorded and put here for your examination and comment.

Along with your suggestions, some of you also let me know about some other important issues.

sarah said...
I have a doll that looks like she could kill me. That's why I worship her and stuff...you know, keep her satisfied. Maybe then she will wake up in the middle of the night and strangle my enemies. Or at least sit on their faces or something so they wake up screaming.

And here it is:

Believe it or not, this is the same doll that Daphne uses on me when I am late on my deadlines. I wake up to find this sitting on the foot of my bed. So here’s a top writing tip from mj: NEVER GIVE YOUR AGENT KEYS TO YOUR HOUSE.

kiersten said...
why does justine hate unicorns so much? i dont like them either but she absolutly HATES them. (or so it seems on her blog.)

No one knows. But you know what? Justine and Scott are off at the Texas Library Association conference right now, and she’s not updating her blog. This is a GREAT opportunity to sneak in there and FILL her comments section with unicorn-related remarks. Just an idea.

nuwon wearspants said...
I love reading your blog. If there was a Blog Award of The Year, you'd win. <3 - I write without pants.


kiersten said...
i also saw free monkey on john green's blog. free monkey stole the show.

Didn’t he? He’s like that everywhere he goes. And he will be coming tomorrow.

Please leave any last minute requests, wishes, complaints, and other remarks in the comments.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAHA that doll comment made me want to laugh out loud, except it's a verrry quiet day at work. well, i'll save the laugh for home!

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YAY! I'm glad you liked my loose change idea enough to actually use it in the Harrods Caper. To make it even more interesting (I actually wonder how much you can find...) I would say donate all you find to Decreasing WorldSuck. :) Even if it's like...5 cents. That way you'll certainly know that you've helped John and Hank while having an amazing adventure in Harrods. Have fun! I can't wait to see the blog that comes from it!

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gud luk tomorrow. oh and beware of this one guard who is stationed near the food court and likes to throw innocent teenagers out. all we did was pretend the the bakery section was the jewelery section instead and try different items on! Injustice,i tell you,Injustice!

Rock on!

ps. i think i may b havin nitemares about dat doll tonight...

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That doll is so creepy. What's its message, "See how I have no mouth? That means I must write like you're supposed to be doing. Here, Writer, I give you an apple."? Whatever it says, I'm sincerely creeped out by it.

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should totally look for a stuffed ostrich. It just came to me. I mean who said God doesn't have a great sense of humor? God has a great sense of humor! Look at ostriches!

10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The dolls were created by an art college student. They're supposed to represent children who have died from an unnatural cause, like murder or a fatal disease or something. All of these children inhabit an afterlife of sorts called the Inbetween. As part of the process of being brought to the Inbetween, their appearances change: their skin turns white, some of them lose their eyes, their mouths are wiped away. The apple is a symbol of a guardian who protects the children from evil spirits--the pins protect the apple itself from being eaten.

Anyway, I'm very, very excited to hear about the Great Harrods Caper! I really want to go to London someday--it sounds like a lot of fun from what I read about on the blog.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

o. my . god!!!!!! Im extremly excited! i cant wait to hear all about your trip to harrods. and im also very excited because you put something i commented on your blog and answered me. TWICE!!!!!! *feels very special* and i just wanted to add that that doll is very scary. VERY scary.

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and the story about the doll might be even scarier than the doll itself. although that would make a good horror movie. "when little children get brutally killed and come back as dolls with apples to seek revenge"

11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i commented justine's blog. tehehehe

11:59 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

ooh, ooh, I thought of something you should find: clogs

like these ones: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/89/Wooden_Shoes-willow-plain_wood.jpg/485px-Wooden_Shoes-willow-plain_wood.jpg

if you're not coming to the netherlands you should at least search for something dutch! the sad thing is that people in my town actually still walk on them....

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wheee I'm glad that you liked my 'Find a friend for Free Monkey' idea. I hope you have a WONDERFUL time during the G.H.C. and I hope you write a very detailed blog when you're finished.

BTW that doll scares me. Alot.

3:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i started reading devilish today and i have three words for you so wicked awsome! im almost done it and its really good. yeah. thats all. have fun at harrods!

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is totally like too late but should you ever do this again--hunt down employees and find one that looks like richard!

2:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha Yay! a blog that has had a post in the last 24 hours!!! (not counting Justine's) Scott really really needs to update his! haha that sounds like so much fun! I wish I could do that but I'm just a mere teenager living in the middle of no where(Arkansas)

Ohhh I was looking in the book section in Target one day and i just happened to stumble upon your book..buuuuut I couldn't buy it because my mom wasn't in the store with me and she is my only source of money :(

I Hope Free Monkey finds a friend!

6:51 AM  

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