As you know, MojoFiction is not a secret government agency conducting covert domestic counterintelligence. So, if anyone asks if you know any secret government agencies, make sure you reply, “Definitely not MojoFiction.”
Anyway, just before the beginning of the school year, the highly placed secret agents here at MojoFiction took a break from our covert domestic operations to whisk our son to San Antonio, Texas, for a special mission. Codename: His Cousin’s Birthday.
(Yeah, we’ve sacked the codename thinker-upper person.)
For those of you not familiar with the Lone Star state, an ancient text that we discovered hidden deep in the Vatican archives describes it thusly:
“And on the eighth day he said, ‘Let there be a vast swath of intense, merciless heat that never moves regardless of the season or weather conditions. And lo, there shall be 800% humidity. And let us place this heat on the land known as Texas because Texas, that’s why.’ And the Tejanos looked upon it and said, ‘Seriously?’ But, lo, he was quite serious.”
So, we arrived in San Antonio and quickly melted. But we recovered and went to the local safe-house known as “our brother’s place.”
There are a lot of fun things to do in San Antonio, but for twelve-year-old boys the most fun is obviously an educational tour. So, we took the kids to the Alamo. It’s possible we’ve been there before, but we couldn’t remember. Ha ha!
(The joke writer has also been sacked.)
You can find the remains of the Alamo in downtown San Antonio, right across the street from a row of cheap tourist attractions – mostly indoor thrill rides like “Tomb Rider 3D” and “Ripley’s Believe it or Not 3D” and “Anderson’s Tax Preparation 3D.” While that street is tacky now, you have to remember that the Alamo was originally a mission back in the early 1700’s and was surrounded by empty plains. So only “Catholic Missionaries 3D” and “Here Comes the Mexican Army 3D” were available to the local indigenous people (they didn’t like either one).
The Alamo featured a new exhibit on the life of Jim Bowie, famous for the Bowie Knife, which, as you may know, is a rare knife made of 100% bowie. He died at the Alamo, killed by the Mexican army in his sick-bed because of a poorly timed illness. Possibly a fitting end for a man whose resume included real-estate fraudster and slave trader. Who else died at the Alamo? Davey Crockett, though his hat escaped under the cover of darkness.
Having had enough non-fiction for the day, we went down to the river walk and ate at Boudro’s, a restaurant that claimed one of the top 10 guacamoles in the country. Who the heck tasted all that guac? No way this stuff could possibly be rated … oops, yes, it was astounding. But it also attracted the wildlife.
See, a lot of ducks hang out on the river, paddling their little webbed feet between river-side restaurants. These aggressive guys come right up to your table and look at you like, “Dude, share.” One particularly pushy mallard did try to sell us life insurance, but we declined (not at those rates). We didn’t share our food, either, because we were eating … roasted duck. Hmmm… maybe they weren’t asking us to share, maybe they were asking if we knew what happened to cousin Marty. God help us, we did know. He was covered in mesquite barbecue sauce.
Finally, the apex of our
intelligence gathering week-long vacation fell into place when we all decided to go out to an Escape the Room adventure in downtown San Antonio. After sweeping the place for bugs, we gave our family approval to enter. There were seven of us, allowing us to secure a room for the family with no weird strangers placed with our group. The theme of our room? Spies (what a coincidence…). The room was officially called Agency and the story revolved around stealing secret Vatican papers. Jokes on you Escape the Room, we already stole the secret Vatican papers!
We don’t want to give anything away, but it turns out the kids are smarter than the adults (the kids have been sacked). This is very embarrassing, so let’s pretend like we didn’t say it. Also, if you tell anyone, we have a strike team ready to remedy the situation.
One particular puzzle stumped us when we couldn’t figure out how to use four numbers to unlock a three-number coded lock. Then our very own son looked at us like we possessed inferior intellect (he’s like a mini Khan Noonien Singh, but without the hateful vengeance) and gave us the answer. Then our son and his cousin figured out the final challenge while we stood there scratching our inferior heads.
So, we escaped the room with a scant minute and a half left to vault into lore as one of the 20% to solve the room the first time. This was a great family experience. You need to do it.
Finally, we packed our covert gear into diplomatic pouches and escaped San Antonio by figuring out the puzzle of how much they would charge us for checking a bag (hint: $45.00). We had to get back to our day job because the world needs heroes. Secret, covert, off-the-books heroes that you definitely don’t know about.
And those heroes should be twelve years old, because the rest of us wouldn’t have escaped the room without them.