The Great Buzz Lightyear Caper


Susan Lambert (my boss), Kevin Ambrose, and Terry Mayer had some fun with me while on my job rotation to California during five weeks in February 1996. They conjured up a guy from Human Resources named Gerald Stanley who e-mailed me an invitation to be fêted along with others for my contributions to educating the new engineering staff in the Vienna office. There was even a gold watch to be given at the banquet! Terry had set up a fake phone extension, a fake e-mail box and everything else that would make me believe that ``Gerald'' was real. The conspirators were all set to let me show up at a hotel, in a suit and tie, only to discover that there was no banquet, no Gerald, no nothing. How sick ... [SMILEY]

Only thing is, Susan was too nice to pull the thing off and Kevin and Terry had told the whole world about it anyway, so it fell apart, but not before a lot of people had a good laugh at my gullibility. The next day I got an e-mail from ``Gerald'' informing me that he had perished in a tragic tater tot accident.

Well, we're all good sports, but paybacks are hell, so here goes. Enjoy!
(Kevin can keep looking over his shoulder ... )

This has to be one of the greatest jokes of all time. I wish I had thought of it. While Terry was away at training, someone came in to his office, stole the Buzz Lightyear doll next to his monitor, and left the following ransom note:

The instructions were Fed-Ex'ed the next day:

Here's what was waiting for Terry in the stall:

Well, Terry missed his ``payment'' so the kidnappers sent him this note and picture:

Buzz between two pieces of toast.

What followed is probably the funniest part of this whole thing. Terry had failed to deliver the goods once more and so the kidnappers sent Buzz's gloved hand with red magic marker stains over the wrist (looking like blood) to Terry in a box. Here's the note that was attached:

Well, Terry finally delivered the goods. The kidnappers then made the following demand:

OK, this is where I get involved. Kevin saw Terry bring in a Barbie doll, instantly swiped it, and brought it to me. For good measure, he took Terry's Woody doll, too. We still had no idea who had kidnapped Buzz, but we knew Terry would be up a creek without a paddle when the kidnappers were disappointed:

Yes, this is a toy dog eating Buzz

Things were getting desperate for poor Terry. He asked Jim Davis, the sales rep for FBI, to produce the following profile of the kidnapper (Funny how 80% of it describes me, even though I hadn't kidnapped Buzz!):

Meanwhile, Kevin and I sent Terry an e-mail from "The Shadow" demanding that if Terry ever wanted to see Barbie so that he could ever see Buzz again, he was to wear a Washington Redskins T-shirt on Tuesday (Terry being a psychopathic Cowboys fan and Redskin hater). He failed so we had to warn him. We were going to tell him that we were raping Barbie three times a day and forcing Woody to watch, but he would have known it was us, only because there is no one else in our office that sick. Just for grins, we added a fake signature from our new TRW refugee, Dave Cox, to bring him into the war, kinda like Saddam Hussein firing missiles into Israel:

The Buzz kidnappers were not idle, however. They sent this puzzle of Buzz in pieces to persuade Terry to deliver Barbie, not knowing that I had her:

It was right about now that one afternoon, at the end of the day, two people, one of whom I had never met, came looking for me in my cube hollering about how I had Barbie. They found out because I had told Calvin Fox at a party a couple of days earlier and he knew who the Buzz kidnappers were: Donna Coleman and Judy May from SunService. Donna wanted to get Terry back for the garbage he had given her for the Cowboys/Steelers tête-à-tête at the Super Bowl that year. After genuflecting at the two of them for the most brilliant joke I had ever seen, we decided to join forces and become the ``Alliance'':

We decided to forge an e-mail to all 350 people in the building on Terry's behalf, begging for the dolls back, because we knew Terry would never do it himself, pride being the most crippling deadly sin:

Terry saw the fake e-mail the next morning and, after sifting through over 40 other e-mails from people expressing sympathy for the loss of his ``woody'', he sent the following message to everyone in the building:

As with all of Terry's plans to elicit sympathy, it blew up right in his face:

How about this one:

I naturally had to give the knife a twist myself:

By this time, Donna, Judy, Kevin, and I were having more fun than humans should be allowed to have, so we decided to call it quits and give Terry some hints as to where he could find the dolls. Donna and Judy had Buzz hanging by the neck in a closet on the fifth floor and I had Barbie and Woody in a disk array stashed away in the loaner pool.