Special Agent Conrad Uno

The other night at about midnight i was getting ready to go to bed and Adrienne was up talking with her sister when the doorbell rang.

Adrienne got to the door first, and there was no one there. I grew up calling that “ding-dong ditching” which looks remarkably stupid when you write it down (but sounds suave when you say it. At least when I say it, I don’t know about you dorks).

About 20 minutes later, ‘ding-dong’, no one there again. Adrienne went out the front door and I ran out the back. I already had my suspicion about who was ringing the bell. Our back yard abuts the side and back yard of the neighbors’ house (we live on a corner) where my 14-year-old friend lives. To maintain his anonymity I will call him Nate. Wait, that’s his real name. Let’s call him Nate Dog. Perfect.

Ever since Nate Dog found out I can dunk I became his buddy. Nate Dog sits by me at church and talks to me about basketball. Nate Dog is completely unimpressed by the fact that I played volleyball in college, Nate Dog would much rather hear about my rather pathetic high-school basketball career–pathetic except for the time that I played against Keith Van Horn and blocked his dunk (What’s up Keith?! I bet those millions of dollars and fame have done nothing to take away the pain of that memory).

As I ran out the backdoor I heard a noise in Nate Dog’s backyard. It looked like Nate wanted to play.

I went back inside and changed into black and gray clothing. I grabbed a large flashlight and headed back out. I crept to the side-corner of the backyard where I could lean against the fence and a tree and observe most of the front lawn and the sidewalk back to Nate Dog’s house. I then promptly fell asleep.

I woke up with a large spider on my nose and very calmly, yet forcefully and repeatedly, hit myself in the face with the flashlight. I don’t think I was spotted during the spider removal.

I decided to go to bed, but as I went inside I knew the doorbell would ring again right as I closed my eyes. Instead I made my way around to the front of the house, staying in the shadows. Years of elementary school army-man training came rushing back to me–I was undetectable.

Unseen, I slipped between a seven foot evergreen shrub and the bay window. Only six feet or so from the front door, and sitting in the shadows, I was in prime position to catch Nate, I mean Nate Dog, when he came back. And he would come back, for he is 14, and no 14 year-old could resist ringing the bell one more time.

I was tired, but after investing this much time in surveillance, I was not going inside until I caught the boy in the act. I ended up falling asleep in the bushes again.

I woke up to the sound of muffled voices and beeping walkie-talkies (for sure the dumbest word in the English Language). There were 5 boys on the other side of the street quietly making their way towards my house. Three of them ran behind a stand of Quaking Aspen on my neighbors lawn and established some sort of command post. One slowly walked by the house and then reported back on the radio (I have now abandoned the absurd “walkie-talkie” in favor of radio. I hope you understand).

Two of them sprinted across the street and hid behind a van on my driveway and then ran and ducked behind the trash can on the curb, while I tried not to laugh.

One of them, I believe it was Nate Dog, but it was dark, ran across the lawn. I contemplated tackling him, but decided to stay put. He veered wide and instead of going for the door he dove commando-style and landed hard on his stomach behind the Aspen on my lawn. I am still not sure the purpose of that move.

The last kid, I will refer to as Tom Green because he bore an uncanny resemblance to the actor (minus the facial hair), lurchingly, I think it was a failed attempt at ‘cautiously’, made his way to the front door.

It took a full three, very awkward, minutes for Tom Green to cross the lawn. He was now only six feet away from me.

‘Click’, the full power of my Maglite hit him square in the face. “What’s up super spy?” I said as casually as possible. He casually wet himself (I am not positive on this, but I feel fairly confident) and raised both hands in the air while making this face. I think he thought he was under arrest for a second.

Nate Dog and the other commandos abandoned their buddy without looking back. Tom Green made a gurgling noise and then ran blindly across the lawn. I was hoping he would run into the tree, but no such luck.

I tried to run after them but I was laughing so hard it took me a second to stand up. I managed to get to the corner just behind them, but they were gone. No doubt they had called in a helicopter to extract them.

I wiped the tears from my eyes and went inside. I turned on the sprinklers (or as I like to think of them, the perimeter defenses), hung up my Maglite and went to bed.

Update: So I ran into Nate on saturday while I was mowing the lawn.

He was trying very hard to be casual as he rode his bike past the house. I stopped the mower and said, ‘Hey super spy!” He looked really sheepish and walked his bike over to talk to me. He said it was his cousin that was ringing the bell, and that they were all so freaked out that they ran home and tried to pretend they were asleep.

I gave him a hard time, but I told him not to feel bad. I am 28, I have twice the experience he has.

15 responses for Special Agent Conrad Uno

  1. old prof says:

    Love it. I have finally stopped chuckeling but I may begin again at any time. . Life is never dull at your house. Or, I am beginning to understand, it need never be dull for a man with imagination. I bet that spider thought he had hooked the big one and could retire. Keep those stories coming. I for one am hooked. Let me know if anyone drops a large rubberband ball anywhere near. I absolutly loved that one too. I forget. Did that happen to you or was it international in character. You’re not related to Robert Benchley are you? Your father must be proud.

  2. joe says:

    that was as funny as those monkeys with the red behinds!

  3. Norah says:

    Oh my word, Josh, thank you for making my day. That’s one of those things that will pop into my head while I’m taking a test in class, and I won’t be able to smother my giggles.

  4. Becky says:

    hmmmm, that was fun. Tom Green’s face is still making me laugh out loud, or should I say “LOL”? I have to say that I sure missed this site while it was down, and for the brief period that Josh forgot to leave the link up for us to comment on his superb articles.

  5. dave says:

    We called it Nicky-Nicky-Nine-Doors. We were hanging out with this loser who was about 7 years older than us and he got us into it. We knocked on one door and then ran off. When we came back to the same door, my brother knocked and before he even had time to turn and run, this huge dude exploded through the door right for us. He ran past my brother and ran passed me and caught our loser older friend and beat the snot out of him. Four great slugs to his back. I can still here the dull thuds. My brother and I just let our faces hang out as we silently watched this guy. slug the breath out of our friend. Funny, up till that point it seemed like our older friend (we’ll call him Brad cause that’s his name) was unstoppable and awesome. He always beat us in bicycle races, he always beat us in running races, and he had this full spiderman suit that his mom made for him, he’d wear on any given day to impress us. I guess some people get their thrills easier than others. My point is that it was sure funny to watch people open the doors and look around to find no one. But the night that this dude beat up our leader, the fun was over.

  6. josh says:

    So I ran into Nate on saturday while I was mowing the lawn.

    He was trying very hard to be casual as he rode his bike past the house. I stopped the mower and said, ‘Hey super spy!” He looked really sheepish and walked his bike over to talk to me.

    He said it was his cousin that was ringing the bell, and that they were all so freaked out that they ran home and tried to pretend they were asleep.

    I gave him a hard time, but I told him not to feel bad. I am 28, I have twice the experience he has.

  7. martin says:

    Now that’s good closure!

  8. small words says:

    please excuse my silence

    I have officially reached the “panic” stage of my bar preparation. (I have been assured that this is completely normal) If I happen to…

  9. oldprof says:

    Thats prtty good closure. What I would like is interviews with each of the culprets and photographs using the people involved in a recreation of the infamous incident. Ok, I’m not easily satisfied.

  10. jsaon says:

    you should have stayed hidden in your observation post and nailed them with a hose. also, i would recommend getting a neighbor to man the post so you can take shifts sleeping. maybe i am a little too into this subject, it is pretty much my job.

  11. jenny says:

    I think that both “ding-dong ditching” and “nicky-nicky-nine-doors” beat out “walkie-talkie” to take the title as “Dumbest Word In The English Language.” The only real competition would come from “crotch,” “slacks” or “feminine napkin.”

  12. dave says:

    Boy do I feel silly. I was sitting there thinking that my “nicky-nicky-nine-doors” was way cooler than “ding-dong ditching”, and I was also really pleased with how it played out looked in script. I was even thinking that it was one of the more clever things invented in General, because of the way it rolls around in the mouth before it all comes out. If you were the leader of a gang of giant monkeys, “nicky-nicky-nine-doors” would sound similar to your battle chant, or gathering cry or something. I think that you’re a little hard on “slacks”, I wrote a song a little while ago called “my slacks”.

  13. dave says:

    My little song was not so much about my love for slacks, but more about my contempt for jeans. Sorry, that’s all from me.

  14. keeg says:

    the title was a song. ah hah!

  15. nancy says:

    “Slacks” is not so bad, but I will agree with you on “feminine napkin.” Tell us more stories, pleeeease. I am truly sorry, I will never make that sound again.