Did you know this blog is hosted by a champion?
I can’t say that I’m one for “titles,” but I did have one shining moment where I like to reflect back upon occasionally. When I was in the third grade, I was the after-school Clue champion. You remember that old board game everyone played? It brought out the amateur sleuth in all of us.
It all started the Christmas when I was seven years old. We have a large family so rather than buying gifts for everyone, we did a “Secret Santa” drawing at Thanksgiving to determine who buys for whom at Christmas. That year, my cousin Tina drew my name.
Let me tell you about Tina and her parents. I’m won’t go too much detail here, but suffice to say they were a little self-absorbed.
As directed, I came up with a list of suggested items Tina could get for me. I had Stewardess Barbie, Eye Doctor Barbie and Product Manager Barbie: all empowered, career-oriented women just trying to make their way in the world.
I got my gift and though I’d hit the jackpot. The package was about as tall as a Barbie box but much wider. I assumed it was actually the three Barbies side-by-side-by-side. A trifecta of empowered Barbies. (Side note: my seven year-old inner monologue used the word “trifecta” that day.)
I opened the gift and the tears started immediately.
There was no Barbie; my gift was the board game Clue. My mother told me to be nice and graciously thank Tina for the gift, but I couldn’t. Add to my disappointment my ineligibility to play the game: I was seven and the box said for players from 8-80.
Of course Nana, Uncle Ed and my parents told me the age range was a suggestion, but I wouldn’t have any of it. The packaging from the Hasbro Corporation, LLC stated the minimum age was eight. That’s all there was to it, this game would have to sit.
(Looking back I may have been a bit of a difficult child. In my mind, though, these rules are put in place for a reason. If we do not obey the rules, then we not a society. If we are not a society, what then have we become?)
Luckily, my birthday is in late January so I had just over a month to wait out until I could actually use my Christmas gift. Mom cleared the dinner table one Saturday evening after I turned eight, and we sat down to play as a family. Since it was my game, I got to choose my player first.
Of course, I selected the yellow character based on its resemblance to my own golden locks. My dad picked up the rule book and then informed me, “Jenny, the yellow one is Col. Mustard. That’s a man.”
I was in my room bawling. I locked the door and everything. I just sat in there thinking I’d like to run away. Some place far away. Like St. Louis with that big giant arch.
The next day, I cooled down a bit and we tried again. This time I was the red character: Ms. Scarlet. Oh, she was a tricky one that Ms. Scarlet. It turns out she offed the victim herself in the Conservatory with the knife in that inaugural game. I actually ended up winning. Me, an eight year old not only beat my baby sister but my mom and dad, too.
This was huge and I was totally hooked. Soon I was getting anyone I could to play Clue with me. When our principal Dr. A.K. Lee wanted suggestions for an after school club I was successful in leading the charge to get “Clue Club”approved.
As the president of the Clue Club I was in charge of the statistics and providing the official game board. The benefit I was afforded for doing all of this was the fact I always got to be Ms. Scarlet!
During third grade, I amassed a 21-3 record when it came to our round robin playoffs I organized. I then systematically took down Laurell Hamilton, Johnny Goodman and Al Hirschfeld to get to the championship.
So I’m in the final game against Cornell Haynes. He’s been on fire removing suspect, weapons and rooms from his clue list. Even though I didn’t have my whole sheet filled out, as I always did before making my final guess, I know I’m in trouble and I’m going to need to take a chance to win the game.
With Cornell smiling, figuring he had me beat, I elected to take and unexpected guess at the right answer, knowing if I get it wrong, the championship goes to Cornell. Slowly, deliberately, I announced the following:
Cowboy Bob Orton . . . with the gooey butter cake . . . at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery.
Wait, you say. There is no Cowboy Bob Orton, no gooey butter cake and no Anheuser-Busch Brewery in the game of Clue?
This isn’t Jenna. It’s her friend, and fellow author Steve Akley.
I hijacked her blog today to give you this fun, and completely fictional blog post. I decided to go with a Clue theme since I thought it would be fun to drop a few clues along the way. Even though you had no way of knowing this was going on, there were a few things that may have you scratching your head as you read it:
- To my knowledge, there has never been a “Product Manager” Barbie. That’s my “real” job and thought it would be fun to incorporate that into the story.
- I’m from St. Louis, so I had Jenna considering a run away to the home of the big giant arch as she sat crying in her room about the Col. Mustard situation (I also love the fact I made her a “difficult” child to deal with, too, by the way).
- Her principal, Dr. A.K. Lee (my last name is Akley, pronounced Ache-Lee).
- All of the kids Jenna beat were famous St. Louisans. Laurell Hamilton is a fairly famous author who lives just a few miles from my house, Johnny Goodman would be John Goodman, the famous actor (his mother lived in Oakville, the small town I live in suburban St. Louis her last few years and I actually saw John in the grocery store with her once), Al Hirscheld is the famous celebrity caricature artist and Cornell Haynes would be none other than recording artist and St. Louis’ own Nelly.
- Jenna’s final answer was once again all St. Louis. Cowboy Bob Orton was a professional wrestler, gooey butter cake is a traditional St. Louis dessert and the Anheuser-Busch Brewery is still one of the largest employers in the area.
I hope you enjoyed this special column. Don’t worry. You get Jenna back tomorrow!
Steve Akley is a St. Louis-based author with a diverse catalog of work. The driving force behind the creativity is a simple mantra of writing about what interests him. As long as a subject matter has his attention, he believe he’s delivering the best possible work he can for his audience.
He can be found on Twitter or Instagram with the username of @steveakley.
Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP
If you care to see what I (Jenna) wrote for Steve’s blog readers, click on this link.