I think I’ve recovered from the weekend. I thought you’d all like to know.
To see how I misspent my Saturday (and learn of the aforementioned operation), I’d advise visits here and here. Ryan’s written description is outstanding, and his video of the takedown is nothing short of fantastic. Aaron’s car footage, meanwhile, is solid gold.
For those of you who prefer written discourse (or, alternately, don’t
have Quicktime 7 and can’t see Aaron’s video, or are too lazy to click the links), I’ll attempt to fill you
We met at the McDonalds at noon to plan the kidnapping. Aaron, Ryan,
Matt, Alex and myself were there. Everyone except Ryan ingested
foodstuffs (no kidnapping should ever be performed on an empty
stomach), and went over the plan. Ryan and Mike were meeting at a
nearby Burger King for lunch at 12:30. At approximately 1:00, Ryan
would find an excuse for them to leave together, and call Aaron’s cell
phone to alert him (he wouldn’t say anything, of course). And right
next to Mike’s car, we would approach him, Nerf shotguns in hand. The
Nerf weapons weren’t in the initial plan, but we needed to make sure
that passersby and BK management (and to a lesser extent, Mike) weren’t
spooked by us. Ryan and Alex both suggested that, and thus it was
We were to kidnap Mike, blindfold him, and take him to Nose Hill park
in the north, decked out in a yellow foam cowboy hat, Superman boxers,
and a novelty shirt. We were going to leave him with a GPS, cell phone,
his driver’s license (precautionary, of course- in case the police did,
somehow, get involved), and a bus ticket. After a few minutes, once we
were safely away, we would call him on his cell phone. The GPS pointed
him to a bus stop, where one of his ‘kidnappers’ would be waiting.
Another kidnapper would wait enroute, to make sure Mike was on the
right track. Aaron and Ryan, with their cameras, would take pictures at
various points, and also ensure the integrity of our route. From the
bus stop, we would go to the nearest train station, meet with the rest
of the team, have a good laugh, and proceed to the festivities.
Alex and I had managed to come in good disguise, as Aaron had initially
planned. Black and black shirts and pants. Alex had a ski mask, though
I had to improvise for my face covering (Do you know how hard it is to
find a ski mask in this city in the middle of June?). Without the
realistic angle, I opted for comedy. A pair of black shorts with
eyeholes. Perfect. I wanted to find a way to make the legs stick up,
but didn’t find a way that worked well before the takedown.
Aaron and Matt opted for the comedy route as well, with Aaron having
brought Darth Vader and Superman masks. And, really, there’s no
disguising those buffed out Asian arms that Aaron has.
So we finished, and outside the McDonalds, we suited up. Sure enough,
right as we’re opening Aaron’s trunk, revealing copious amounts of Nerf
shotguns (and Alex and I decked out in all black), a police car pulled
into the adjacent lot. We’re killing ourselves laughing at their
timing, but also somewhat aware that this could spell the end of our
tomfoolery if they assume the wrong thing.
We got square, and drove over to the Burger King. The police were
suiting up outside the car as we drove out, still chuckling about their
We got to the BK, and start to set up shop. We were anything but subtle
in the parking lot, but Aaron assures me that Mike is not facing our
window. The four of us assume our hiding spots as Aaron sets up his
camera. I hid behind the nearest car to the entrance- at one point,
Matt motioned for me to move to the other side. I reposition, and we
started to wait.
The car’s owner came out (I’m not masked at this point) and asked me
what I’m doing. “Just sitting,” I responded, hoping he doesn’t blow our
cover. So we continued to wait. And wait.
I wasn’t wearing a watch, but still, the wait seemed forever. And the
sun was making the black-on-black a little warm. The mask was going to
be impossible to wear for long.
Not nearly soon enough, Aaron alerted us. “Get ready!” he yells, and we all shrink back, putting our masks on.
Aaron made the first move. “Get down!” he yelled, from his far vantage
point, all Vader-y as he broke into a jog for Mike’s position. I’m up,
and end up being the first thing Mike sees as Aaron yelled, “Get down!
On your knees!” Aaron did a dead-on Jack Bauer, as Jean Paradis
(A lot of this can be seen in the videos, but I’ll try and cover stuff that isn’t in there)
Mike, of course, was startled, as Ryan claimed innocence and steps away
from the four would-be kidnappers. We pelted him with the first round
of darts, for no other reason than to shoot our shotguns.
Aaron charged Mike with the crime of ‘getting married’, and we made him
put on a foam cowboy hat, Superman boxers (over the jeans, of course),
and a T-shirt that says, “A moment of silence please… I’m getting
married.” And then, we made him blindfold himself.
We go to Ryan’s car, and get him strapped in. Soon enough, we’re on our way to the next phase of the plan.
The car ride consisted of some of the most annoying music we could
find, while we attempted to maintain silence (unsuccessfully in most
cases). Aqua, Britney Spears, even the Fresh Prince theme song (which
we all ended up singing along to as Mike exhorted us). Ryan drove, Alex
was on the passenger side, and Aaron and I flanked Mike in the back.
Mike was a hardy captive. Early on, recognizing our attempt with the
music, he said,”You’re trying to break my spirit… but two can play
that game!” as he began to sing along to Aqua.
At one point, he got a Zebra pencil out of his pocket, and began to
write ‘Help me’ on his hand, so he could stick it out the window. Aaron
removed the pencil, so Mike reached into his pocket and got ANOTHER
one. I just about cracked.
Mike got his wallet out at one point, attempting the bribery route.
“How much is it gonna take?” he asked, as Aaron deftly removed the
wallet from his hands. When we returned it to him later, Mike expressed
surprise that he hadn’t been cleaned out.
He also tried to call on his cell phone, but as it turned out, the
battery was dead (which almost killed a later part of our plan-
luckily, we had a lot of cell phones in this group).
About forty minutes (and three plays of ‘Barbie Girl’), later, we
pulled into the park. Ryan did two circles around the parking lot
before coming to a stop, which was a little stroke of genius. As Mike
mentioned in the video, he had no idea where we were. His guess of
‘Fish Creek’ was inspired in terms of similarity, but not in time of
transit- Fish Creek Park is about a two minute drive from the Burger
King we were at.
Mike actually tried to make a getaway after we got out of the car,
turning and running haphazardly. As the principal guard, this was my
fault- Alex remedied it after we unloaded some shotgun darts on him,
(and Aaron warned of our using “lethal darts” the next time he tried to
get away) as Alex and I then flanked him on either side. I grabbed
Mike’s arm as well, ensuring no movement would go unnoticed.
We walked him in a good distance, and placed the items in his hat.
Aaron’s instructions were clear- Mike was not to remove the blindfold
until Aaron called him on the cell phone.
We did a couple of group photos, shot him a couple more times with Nerf
darts, and made our way out. The latter stage of the plan was put into
play- I would be at the first checkpoint, at the gas station. I removed
the mask and black sweater at that point, and put my glasses back on,
but inexplicably, kept the sweater with me.
I ran ahead to the gas station, opting to buy some water as the heat
caught up with me. I got one for Mike as well, aware that he was
probably sweltering with as many layers as he had on (though his
weren’t as dark as mine)
Very quickly, it seemed, Mike jogged by on the other side of the
street. I flagged him down, and we proceeded to walk to the bus stop.
“Congratulations,” I opened, handing him the additional 1L of water.
“You’ve reached the first checkpoint.”
Alex was at the bus stop, and he maintained the pretense of ignorance
that I’d already destroyed by then when we got there. “Just waitin’ for
the bus,” he joked, as we sat down beside him. Soon, Aaron joined us,
having hidden up the next street to monitor our progress.
A few cars honked and cheered at Mike as we waited, and he regaled us
of how people in the park didn’t stop to help him, which was kind of
funny. He asked one couple where he was, and they responded, “I don’t
think we’re supposed to tell you.” Outstanding.
At the station, we rendezvoused with Dennis, most of us unaware that
Ryan was still trailing us and snapping pictures. He got a ton of me
and Mike walking down the sidewalk to the bus stop, which was almost a
We let Mike take the hat off on the train, on the condition that he put
it back on when we got off at Chinook station. It was a little
obtrusive when the train got crowded.
After what seemed like a long ride (reminding me how long it had been
since I had taken that long of a C-Train ride) we got to Chinook, and
Ryan was there, snapping pictures as we got off. He had the line of the
day, saying how glad he was that Mike got away from those kidnappers.
And we all had a good laugh.
Operation: Discovery Channel was a rousing success, for plotters, and victim.