I promise, I didn’t intend for things to go this far. But you know what they say about intentions.

From: Kamps, Jack
Sent: Monday, June 26, 2023 5:41 PM
To: Special Collections, Archives
Subject: Special Recollections?

Hi all,

I spent the past weekend helping Josh Parks and his spouse move out of their apartment (sadface), and I now have the distinct honour of having access to their belongings until they move to Charlottesville in August. I was wondering if the Special Collections staff and student workers had any special recollections (such as many tiny photos of Brian) they might like to bequeath to Josh and Bethany (read: have me smuggle into their boxes of books for them to discover when they unpack in a few months) as they make their way to a new institution.

Feel free to email me back with ideas or pictures or a summons to the Archives, or come find me in the Cataloguing Office at any point from now till August! I look forward to our future shenanigans. 

Cheers,

Jack

It was a typical summer Monday afternoon when I sat down after work to write the above email. What I had in mind was something like the sorts of things I had heard (from Josh) that the fine folks of Special Collections and Archives would sometimes get up to during their slower days. I was unsurprised when I received a delighted response a few days later that brainstorming was in motion. What I did not expect was the particulars of the heist-movie level prank of which I was now the unwitting instigator. 

From: Kamps, Jack
Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2023 9:56 PM
To: Special Collections, Archives
Subject: Re: Special Recollections?

This is amazing!

Wow, y’all have gone above and beyond. Props to Jackie for her forgery skills. When should I pick up the facsimile? I know that Josh is planning to be in Princeton that first weekend in August, but it’ll be a quick turnaround for the moving process. I can also let you know when move-in day is so you can plan out what and when to text him to set the trap accordingly.

Let me know how else I can be of service!

Cheers,

Jack

When I finally got around to walking down the hall from Cataloguing to pick up the goods, I was impressed to see with my own eyes the level of detail that had gone into this forgery—down to the handwriting on its manila folder and the wonky scissors job done on an accompanying slip of paper. Because of course someone had to go into the book box to show me the original leaf and the facsimile side-by-side so that I could appreciate the student work hours put into this prank that now involved at least five people as well as money and resources from the department. Other student workers on shift gathered around in awe to compare the two manuscript leaves, and there was the classic heist-movie beat of “Wait—which one is the real thing, again?”

From: Kamps, Jack
Sent: Tuesday, August 8, 2023 4:30 PM
To: Special Collections, Archives
Subject: Re: Special Recollections?

I forgot to let y’all know—Josh moved into his new apartment this past Sunday (Aug 6)! My partner and I opted to put the goods in one of his boxes of books, since the kitchen items seemed to out-of-place and most likely to get unpacked immediately upon arrival (not to mention my partner was the person to wrap and pack it all) and we couldn’t find a box of specifically office/school supplies. So hopefully the leaf won’t be found until after you have asked after it. 

Happy pranking,

Jack

We left the actual smuggling till the last minute—the evening before our friends were due back. After confirming that the key to the apartment serving as summer storage unit was under the mat, my partner and I self-consciously refamiliarised ourselves with the boxes stacked by the door, boxes that we had helped pack and move downstairs over a month ago. It was a ground-floor apartment, with a large sliding glass door facing a central parking lot, and I realised as we began going through the various box options and debating which one would be the most plausible that perhaps we should have scheduled our riffling for an hour that didn’t turn the apartment into a well-lit fishbowl for our heist. Every car that went by looked like Bethany and Josh’s to my (book nerd, Pisces sun, recovering rule follower, conflict-averse) brain. As we made our way back to our apartment and I tried to slow my racing heartbeat, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this could very easily go very wrong. What if Josh freaked out and tried to drive the forgery back to Princeton before anyone told him that his leg was being pulled? What if he found the leaf too soon, before Special Collections could make casual content about its being missing, or months later, after finally acquiring a bookshelf to house the books Sam had lovingly sandwiched the page in its folder between? Not for the first time, I wondered if I shouldn’t have let Bethany in on the prank, in case things became too much and someone needed to pull the plug.

From: Kamps, Jack
Sent: Friday, August 18, 2023 1:05 PM
To: Special Collections, Archives
Subject: Re: Special Recollections?

Any news? 

Jack

It turned out I didn’t have to wait for an email response—I ran into the student forger herself that very evening at a Barbie-themed party, who regaled me with the Special Collections side of the story (which apparently included a truly mortifying text about having to update a reference to a potential employer regarding the ‘theft’) before assuring me that Josh hadn’t been left hanging for too long. 

“I will understand if our donut privileges have been revoked,” I nervously texted Josh a few days later, in reference to an upcoming visit to Charlottesville that was in the works. “I sincerely hope you have recovered and also that our friendship is not terminated.”

(Reader, I am pleased to inform you that we have retained our donut privileges.)

1 Comment

  1. Alex Johnson

    Bwahaha. My sincerest apologies to the post calvin community members who I left hanging in putting up this post late because my, what a delight of a tale

    Reply

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