The names of participants involved have been changed to protect the innocent—and guilty. Not to mention I hate labeling people like “The Victim” and “The Friend” as I have done in previous stories.
The target of Operation Wedding Bells
Let me preface this story by saying that this operation was not my idea; that's the God's honest truth! I, however, endorsed the plan wholeheartedly once Loraine suggested it at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the office that we had already been working out of for a month. As the ceremony ended Loraine had a handful of the cut ribbon and said, “We should put this on Belez's car like he just got married!”
“I'm in,” I replied after giving a moment of thought to the possibilities.
Later that day, Katrina came by my cubicle and said that she had heard about the plan for Belez's car and wanted in as well. Now all we needed was the ribbon and the operation was a go. I called Loraine and discovered that we had been completely shut down before the plan ever got off the ground. The company wanted to keep the ribbon. I figured that was the end of this tale and immediately gave up on the operation.
A few days later, the idea of doing Belez's car was brought up again. I mentioned that the ribbon had been confiscated by the higher-ups of the office, but we decided to go forward with the plan and just bring in our own supplies. Another accomplice, the sinister mind of Nikita, was brought into the operation. The final supply list included car paint, cans, ribbon, and a sweet little princess crown antenna topper I would find at Disney World later that weekend. We considered toilet paper, which I thought was a brilliant idea, but then we thought better of it. Belez usually parks right outside of the break room and the last thing any of us needed was for upper management to see a toilet-papered car sitting in the parking lot.
The car paint and streamers
The princess crown antenna topper
We set the mission date, but still needed a plausible excuse to get Belez out to his car to see our handiwork. Waiting for him to finish working was out of the question; he works way too late for any of us to wait around. We thought about having him drive us to lunch, but Corky usually drives us to lunch every day, so asking Belez to take us to lunch would be completely suspicious.
Then, I remembered that Corky was about 2,000 miles overdue for his oil change. I let Corky in on the operation and approached him with an idea, which he agreed to. Corky would take his car into the shop for the oil change in the morning and then pick it up later on. Belez could then be asked to take us to lunch without arousing any suspicion.
Mission One: The morning of the operation had finally arrived. I went to the car shop to pick up Corky and take him to work. As we arrived at the office, he asked me if I had read Belez's email from the previous night. I hadn't actually seen the message since it was wedged between 4,000 or so server warnings that were sent that night. The email read:
“I had a fantastic blowout tonight. Looks like i'll be getting some new tires tomorrow morning before coming in. Good thing I wasn't on a date.”
A fantastic blowout? Fantastic?! My initial reaction was that Belez had caught wind of the operation and was screwing with us. Corky pointed out that Belez had copied our manager on the email; that was enough to convince me that the operation hadn't been compromised. Still, we had the problem of not knowing if or when Belez would be coming into the office. I gave him a call and he said he would be in around noon—a bit too late to use the lunch plan. A few ideas were bounced around and we ultimately decided to have Corky ask Belez to drive him to the shop to pick up his car.
Mission Two: Ok, so the operation was delayed a little bit—no harm, no foul. Belez finally strolled into the door that afternoon and the operation was on. After getting a look from Katrina as she walked by, I figured we were heading outside so I grabbed my camera and princess crown and headed out. When I reached the front and met Loraine, she pointed out the torrential downpour occurring outside. No problem, we'll just wait until the rain stops and then head out.
I ran the new mission time by Nikita and she showed me that the car paint must be applied to a dry surface. This entire operation was turning into a fantastic failure. We decided to just call it quits and try again the next day.
Mission Three: The next morning Belez appeared at work bright and early—about an hour before his usual time. Once my cohorts arrived, we would strike. We set the final mission time and met out front, supplies in hand. We made quick work of Belez's car. Nikita handled the car painting, Katrina did the streamers, Loraine tied the rubberbanded soda cans to the back of the car, and I did some painting and put on the antenna topper. We decided to use his dog's name, Sabrina, for the woman that he had just married.
Belez professes his eternal love for Sabrina
The view from the front
Belez + Sabrina 4 Ever
The rubberband cans
Mission Four: We still needed an excuse to get Belez out there. My limited imagination had already been stretched the day before. Nikita brought up the idea of having Loraine call Belez informing him that somebody said one of his tires was flat, to which he would hopefully venture out to investigate. I thought this was a good idea, but Loraine wanted more deniability than that plan would allow.
I went to Corky, desperate for schemes. “The Visitor,” a fellow Gator, was at Corky's desk at the time (I know I said that I hate labels, but I like using “The Visitor”). We came up with a plan for him to ask Belez to help him bring in equipment from his car. This was a very hasty and sloppy plan. I wanted to lead Belez on and let him dwell on exactly who was involved in the operation—much like he has done to me in the past. Now, that I have had some time to think about it, we could have at least moved “The Visitor's” car to that side of the building and thrown some equipment in the trunk. Then he would have had an excuse after Belez saw his car. However, we were anxious and in a hurry for some payoff for all our efforts. So we proceeded with “The Visitor” plan.
We set up behind some tinted windows and filmed this footage of the grand reveal:
“The Visitor” had to cajole Belez into walking over to his car and checking it out. After he finally did look over his car, we ran back to our cubicles. Belez came by afterwards and immediately interrogated me. I didn't crack, but I didn't exactly put up a good front either. I knew that the reveal was careless and my alibi was full of holes. About an hour after my weak attempt at covering it up, I showed Belez the footage that was shot of him examining our creation. He deadpanned with absolutely no facial expression, “That's funny.” I've known the man for nearly 17 years; he was amused.