I ended up telling this story the other day, and afterword’s I remembered it has been more than 20 years since this happened, so I decided to write it down, before I forget anything else about it.

<DISCLAIMER>
First, before I start telling this story, I want to be clear that *I* was the person who was being crazy here, and the girl in question was put into a very uncomfortable position.

I was an over zealous lonely geek who was willing to try whatever it took to impress my first real crush.

Personally I blame 18 years of watching romantic comedies, watching guys doing outlandish things that got them the girl, where in the real world it would just get them a restraining order or arrested.
</DISCLAIMER>


Back Story
I was 18, never been on a date, never kissed a girl, and was a card carrying member of Nerds of America. In most ways I am sure I was similar to tens of thousands of nerds all over America, socially awkward, looking for acceptance, and starved for affection.

The one thing that I did have going for me at the time was that I landed a good paying job (for 1988) at a post production company that colorized old movies. AFT paid me ten dollars an hour, and I thought I had won the fucking lottery

The Girl
I had a few minor crushes in High School, but my first real all consuming crush I ever had, let’s call her Kim (I have changed the names to protect the innocent).

I met Kim through some mutual friends, and was instantly smitten, not only was she nice to me, she was interested in similar nerdy/geeky things, had a bit of an air of mystery about her, and shared my sense of humor, oh and she was smoking hot.

What she did not share with me was a mutual attraction, and that is where our story really gets started.

The Idea
Also during this period in my life I became good friends with one of the guys at AFT ,Gary, and Gary was REALLY into buried Treasure books.

I don’t mean the “Where is Black Beards Gold” books, but instead books where the author has buried something of really high value, and then writes a book with clues on how to find it.

The first of which was called Masquerade painted by Kit Williams, the book gave clues to where he had hidden a jeweled golden hare had he had created and hidden somewhere in Briton. Needless to say it was a huge hit, and sparked creation of the second such contest.

The current book that Gary was trying to crack was “Treasure, Search for the Golden Horse” and as I was helping him try and find the solution, I had an idea, and idea that ultimately became what you could call one of the greatest bad plans I’v ever had.

I decided that I had one shot at going from friend to something else and Kim’s 18th Birthday was approaching in Oct, approximately 8 months away.

My plan was to create such a wildly imaginative, romantic, time intensive gift, that she would see me for who I really was.

You can see where things are about to go pear shaped.

The Plan
Although I’m fantastic with ideas, I’m not an artist, which means i would have to outsource just about everything, so I had to have a complete plan before I could start farming the pieces out.

In a nut shell I wrote down everything I could think of that she liked, and from that list, create a mythology, a prize, and clues that would ultimately become the building blocks of the project.

Kim played the flute, and loved medieval imagery, dolphins, adventures, emeralds, puzzles, fantasy art, etc. So I started to work out how to involve all of these into the aforementioned hair brained plan.

Design

Synopsis: I would give her a book for her birthday detailing a story of a Princess (yes of course it was her) that had to rescue her little brother from demons that stolen him in the night.

Somewhere along on her adventures she was given a silver flute that she would ultimately use to summon a spectral army to defeat the demons and return her bother back home. Only the next morning to realize she had lost the silver flute at some point during the battle.

My first problem was that I needed to get a writer to write the story for the book, since it obviously wasn’t going to be me, so I hired Gary to be the writer, and had him place the elements into the story that needed to happen, I guess Gary could say this was his first spec writing gig.

Although Gary did a great job, I ask another fiend Ted, to come in and make some changes, and punch it up a bit story wise. Ted also did all of the original illustrations for the book, about 12 pieces in all, and did a bang up job on each of them.

Then of course I needed to get it printed, this was before laser printers were around, so I used a contact at a type setting company to type set the book for me in a nice looking layout/font, and then got it bound in leather.

Next up was trying to find someone that could make a solid silver flute, it’s not what you would call an everyday item, especially since I wanted it to look like something out of a fantasy novel, so after a few months of hunting around I found a local silver smith who would take the job on. Four months later I was handed a solid silver flute, and really nasty bill.

Next up I found a local graphic artist to create the map, I wanted something challenging, and yet not something that was going to have her still working on it day later. So we created a really nice parchment map that had her astrological constellation in the middle, with a poem around the outside.

Looked like something out of Time Bandits if you remember that movie, then if you folded the map just right, the star constellation changed to that of a map to a park near her house, and the poem if you followed these lines said something like “Look you under third tree from right, park of childhood youth”

I made the wooden box for the flue since I couldn’t find anyone to do it, and I placed the flute in it, and locked it with a little emerald encrusted key.

All in all it was about eight months of my life working on the project, and wouldn’t you know it, about two months before her birthday she started casually seeing someone.

Obviously this sucked balls, but I was to far down the path to stop, I had spent so much of my time, energy and creativity on this thing, I had to see it through.

Execution
The night of her Birthday came and went, and well, you can guess how this story ends. I’m sure she was very flattered, but in the end it wasn’t going to change how she felt about me, and stress of putting her in such an uncomfortable situation took a toll on our friendship so we ended up drifting apart as friends.

In the end though, I’m glad I did it, I’d rather be the person that was capable creating something like that, even having failed, than be the person who aways thought about it, but never tried. I would rather be The Man in the Arena.

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