Dear cache of thoughts,
While going through my things, I found this old account I wrote when I was young and the world was bright. May it serve as a warm reminder of the joy I had.
Operation Car Alarm #409-81
As we all know, Carmen makes the most interesting heists ever to be concocted. After hanging around the water cooler long enough, I have learned the details of quite a few of them. This one in particular caught my eye (or ear). This is the case of...
Operation: Car Alarm
By agent 200309
March 23, 1997, the Caribbean
At this point in time (and she still is) Carmen was on a mask kick. Don't ask me why. Ever since this grand heist Carmen hasn't been able to get enough of them. Rumor has it
she will decorate the new lodge hall with them. It started a long time ago, about a month, when she saw this exquisitely carved mask in a reference book, a.k.a. Carmen's gift catalog. As usual, when Carmen wants something, she just goes out and gets it. But this proved to be a problem.
Step one of any heist is to locate the site of the object. This was at the Alvo Pacifica Grande Museo. Next one checks security. Now it is boasted in security clubs a certain seismic system that is used in government offices around the world. One can make not one sound, not touch the floor for a second, and not possibly break in without this irritating little device going off.
Alvo Pacifica just so happened to have one of these.
Our hero stood on a hill about 500 yards away from this museum for days, peering at through her 85x scope, wearing a Hawaiian T-shirt and culottes (you haven't lived
'till you've seen Carmen in this!) looking for some way to get around this minor setback.
You can't destroy the alarm, it will go off.
You can't go in as a guard, the area is off limits to guards after closing time. Why? The alarm.
You can't steal before closing time, the shifts are 3 hours long and there are cameras.
Yes the cameras CAN be rerouted but that might cause just a little suspicion.
You can't come in as a tourist. Where are you going to stuff a mask that big? In your hat?
Maybe if she didn't make a sound....
We called in a dedicated ninja from division 820 (Japan) and sent him in. True ninjas make no sound at all, but this darned alarm went off anyhow. The guards swarmed in and arrested poor Kasagi but we intercepted the police car and sent him home with a bonus on his paycheck.
Now Carmen was SURE there was no way around this alarm.
"Ach!" said she.
But our hero had not given up yet!
That point didn't come until about a week later.
Saddened by her defeat, Carmen went out to the supermarket to get herself a treat. Exit Carmen with a bottle of sherry and dried apricots. As she passed a rather beat up car next to hers, she brushed up against it ever so slightly and a booming alarm was set off. This was very unexpected!
Being the thief that she is, Carmen ducked between the two cars and waited for something to happen. It took a second for her to realize it was only the alarm of the car next to her. She stood up and surveyed the scene. No one was looking, no one was running toward the car, yelling and screaming.
No one cared!
A slow a steady smile appeared on her face.
A day later Carmen called a meeting in the center square of 410 (Jamaica) Everyone who residentially worked there plus a few others were seated in a semi-circle. The sun was hot and Carmen still hadn't shown up yet. Some were threatening to leave, when suddenly Carmen pulled up into the middle of the square in an old brown car that looked very similar to the car that drove the laundry downtown.
She honked the horn merrily, her cheerfulness bouncing off the puzzled faces.
Carmen stepped out the car and faced them, then pushed a button on her key ring and the car beeped. The crowd waited for something to happen but nothing did. A man in the second row asked the inevitable.
"Carmen, did you just set the car alarm to that thing?"
"Why? That car goes off at anything! It's a pain in the neck!"
A second woman set in. "You don't think your car is safe? What are we, criminals?"
The crowd laughed and Carmen with them. Then she answered with a plan that could only be marked as the genius that was Carmen.
"Note the car. It has a very, very sensitive alarm. It goes off at just about anything."
Carmen kicked the car and the arena was filled the blare of the car alarm. She shut it off.
"What do you do when you here the sound of a car alarm?"
"Nothing" answered guy #1.
"Because the dang thing goes off so much you know it's probably just a malfunction. You kicked it. Doesn't mean you were stealing it."
"So car alarms are disregarded because they go off for next to no reason."
Carmen looked very happy at this point.
"What other very, very sensitive alarm can we think of?"
The light bulbs began to appear over various heads in the audience.
"Good God Carmen that's brilliant!" shouted one.
"Capital idea, Mad'am Sandiego!" said another.
"I don't get it." said a third.
To which Carmen the Patient replied, "As thieves we have come to fear many types of alarms, especially the ones we can not hear. Lucky for us, the seismic in Alvo is quite loud and quite irritating."
"And this is good, how?" asked Number 3.
"Car alarms! Loud and noisy and irritating as they come. But what makes them different is no one pays any attention to them. Why? Because they are so defective, no one takes them seriously! A thief could sound one and still get away."
"It's true!" came a call from the back.
"I've done it too!"
The calls of many proud car thieves filled the air. Carmen clapped her hands and all were silent. Except one.
"Carmen, the seismic 62 is not a car alarm. It is quite efficient."
To which Carmen the Benevolent replied, "The system is so sensitive, anything will make it go off. We must set it off numerous times until the police believe the system ineffective, thus eventually giving us enough time to slip in and out. It is as simple as throwing a rock through a window, over and over again." and at that, Carmen kicked a small stone at the car, sending it once more into a fit, which she righted quickly.
"Carmen, won't the police find the rock and know someone was doing it and it not just the alarm?"
"Why yes, if we where using a rock, but we aren't. Instead, we will be using... ice."
"Sculpted into pellets, the ice will be shot through an air duct in the ceiling. Seeing as Alvo is in the Caribbean, the pellet won't last long after it's purpose has been fulfilled. No evidence, no mess, except a small drop of water. We will keep close tab on conversations until we feel that the situation is ripe, and then, it is ours for the taking."
The crowd looked at her, stunned. She was a beautiful woman, in her red light linen blouse around and matching palazzo pants. A straw hat shaded her face but one could still see it beaming, the blue eyes sparkling.
Standing there in front of that beat up brown car, stood a genius.
The crowd cheered!
She was their genius, their boss, their thief!
"Nothing can keep her down!" they cried.
Good ol' Carmen comes through again.
* * *
And so it went, Carmen and a few selected would climb to the top of that hill and shoot the pellets over and over again. Every time the alarm went off. Every time the police responded diligently...until the forth or fifth time, that is. Now, the police know that if there is an alarm sounding, they must respond, but there were much more important things to deal with and the temper was growing short towards Alvo Pacifica.
They were demanded over and over again to have the system fixed. And each time it was checked, but for obvious reasons, no glitch could be found. Soon they would be ordered to replace the system or scrap it all together. A seismic 62 would cost millions to replace. True it was insured, but for the life of them, they could not find proof to prove it to the insurance company, thus the cost would fall completely on their shoulders. So they began to weigh the odds. True, a ninja had just tried something, but other then that, all had been quiet. What more could they do but keep checking the system?
And so it went.
Alvo Pacifica, Caribbean. Thursday, May 7, 1997. 1:27am
It was now a month later. By now the police all but ignored the signal coming from Alvo Pacifica. As well, the guards decided that the evening soccer game was far more entertaining than seeing who was "breaking in".
Which was fine with Carmen.
She strolled around until she found what she had come for, then flew up through the skylight again. It slowly occurred to the guards that someone should shut off the alarm. A guard rose out of his comfortable chair and ambled down the hallway without a care in the world. Until he saw the empty display case.
"El diablo es aqui!" he cried. Soon the building was swarming with police as well as two familiar detectives.
Boy George (agent #200899) was the only one close enough to make out what Zack and Ivy were saying, though he didn't make out everything. So what he couldn't hear, he ad-libbed as best he could.
Detective dialogue according to Boy George: (Stuff we are pretty sure he
made up is in parenthesis)
Ivy: (God d--n it!)I can't believe we fell for something so obvious! No duh it was a Carmen crime!
Zack: Don't blame yourself.(Carmen's just the best thief in the world! We didn't stand a chance!)
Ivy:(Yeah I guess your right) But she just walked right in and swiped the (couldn't pronounce the name of the mask so he called it the voodoo mask) Voodoo mask! All this time and it had just been a trick!
Zack: Well we know she can never try something like that.
Ivy: I bet she would.(And we'd probably fall for it again too.)
Zack: Well, we have a run away mask on our hands and no clue yet.
Ivy: I think that was all she wanted to do, Zack.
Ivy: You know what really boils my pasta? She used a crime detection unit against us! The irony of it! (makes me so God d-ned mad! If I ever get a hold of her I'm going to kill her!)
Zack: That's Carmen for you. Ya gotta admit, it was a good idea.
Zack: Well it was.
Ivy: (@#$%!)Hey, there's someone in those bushes over there!
Ivy: There! (and my God what a hunk a man HE is! D--n he's hot!)
This is where he goes off the deep end. Needless to say, Boy George got a beat down from Ivy when she caught him. His description of that scene typed would have so many parentheses with dashes in them that there would be basically no text. I'll just say it wasn't pretty and leave it at that. Now before you all think everyone here is like that, they aren't.
Boy George has a bit of a cursing problem and he's incredibly narcissistic.
What is common however, is a general fear of Ivy, because, well, Sandiego rules state we can't hurt them, but Ivy sure can hurt us, and she takes the liberty quite often.
Still, it was kinda funny to see Ivy chasing him. Boy George is such a womanizer and Ivy was just the perfect justice.
Wait a minute, I'm getting off track here!
As I was saying, that is what conspired between our detective friends. Meanwhile Carmen has changed clothing and has escaped using the metro. At 2:00 in the morning, public transportation isn't as low on Carmen's list as it is during the day. Besides, everyone would be combing the air and sea for her. They would never suspect getting on a common subway.
Ah, the genius of Carmen.
She came up at a rendezvous point and was picked up by an ordinary looking cab that one of our guys drives part time. We all regrouped in the basement of the Blue Shell Inn.
Then, we partied!
Everyone who had been a part of the crime was in (I helped! I had to carry equipment, but I helped!) which was about twenty people. It was a very good party indeed. The best part of these victory parties is when we all get Carmen to stand on a box or a table and have her make a speech about what great thieves we all are and that together we could take over the world and such.
Once we all started singing Gospel music. The entire time Carmen spoke we kept crying out, "Yeah Sister! Say it loud, Sistuhhh!"
It takes a while but Carmen eventually gets into it.
So like usual Carmen made her speech and we acted like a bunch of idiots until about 6 in the morning when the owner kicked us out because he would be opening for business soon. Carmen had a glass of wine or two, then left at about 3am. She usually leaves early. Many others did as well.
She went back to this huge stone hovel inn the rurals and had a good sleep.
We, on the other hand, continued to roam around the countryside until 7 or 8 then went back to camp. Carmen generally doesn't mind or even care what we do off-duty. So long as we were ready to go by 8:00 on Monday, we could do whatever we pleased (To a point of course).
We all woke up in time the next day to see our beloved leader on TV.
Needless to say, it had been a success. The media was all over the story, all inadvertently praising Carmen's genius. Most of the reporters caught on to the idea of a car alarm, and hailed her even more. Ivy's quote about Carmen using a crime detection unit against the law was repeated several times and the legal system was scolded over and over again for letting something like this happen.
Carmen was in a very good mood for the rest of the week. The next night she started a string of thefts all relating to the mask theme, but none would compare to what she had just pulled. I believe that particular crime wave is over now, but sure as the sun rises, Carmen's already started something else. That is for sure. She couldn't keep away if she wanted to. And if that wasn't assurance enough, another volume of Carmen's "gift catalogue" is missing.
"Whoever says I do it to prove myself intelligent is correct, but what I really wish to prove that a solution can be found for any situation... and that I will always find it." - Carmen Sandiego
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