The Long Con


The Misdirection

Urgency Day 6

500 Things Item 496: The Shark

  • History: More like back story—read on
  • Value: Beyond priceless
  • Parting pain: Glee! Until it returns.  And it always returns.
  • Unpossessing: That’s TOP SECRET!

My 6 favorite heist movies:

  1.        Brothers Bloom
  2.        Ocean’s 11
  3.        Charade
  4.        National Treasure
  5.        Thomas Crown Affair (1999)
  6.        The Sting
  7.        The Wrong Trousers

Yes, I know. Lame. No Reservoir Dogs or Usual Suspects. Anyone who knows me knows my well-established aversion to violence. Mayhem I like, hence The Wrong Trousers. A criminal mastermind wreaking havoc with trapdoor Techno-trousers; an attempted escape on a careening train; a chicken-disguised penguin– all as part of an elaborate caper to steal a magnificent diamond? Pop the corn, baby!

And yes, I can count. This list of my 6 favorites has 7 titles. Some “experts” do not count Charade as a heist movie. Please. There are conspirators, there is a theft, there is frolicking, there is <sigh> Cary Grant. Maybe the “experts” don’t think there was a heist, but my heart was stolen.

I love a good heist. I love a clever plot with lots of twists, betrayals, unexpected reversals or triversals, and a roguish hero or 11.  Oh, and by the way, I’ve been involved in real-life con job for 34 years.

A very long con.

In my story, there isn’t any stealing. This con is about dropping off a very specific Package to the other player in the most diabolically clever way conceivable. What is the package? What have my nemesis and I been delivering to each other via planes, cakes and waiters for over three decades?

This  rubber shark.

The Package and The Cat

Drops over the years include the shark having been:

  • Frosted into the hollow center of a bundt cake;
  • Inflated into the middle of an enormous helium-balloon bouquet;
  • Delivered by tuxedoed waiter on a covered-silver platter with an accompanying sonnet to a fancy country club soiree;
  • Sent from Florida to Scotland where it was picked up by my brother-in-law John and flown to the States where it was delivered after a marathon run through Chicago
  • Mailed in a very unfortunately suspicious box as the Anthrax crisis began;
  • Mailed in a box addressed to 3 year-old Sam and tucked inside a polar bear hand puppet.

The last one actually scared me more than the unintentional “Anthrax” box. Sam, however, loved it.

<shaking fist at the heavens>


Oh, did I not mention? My arch-rival of 34 years, since I was 15 and she was… my mom’s best friend (you do the math)? This dearest, most adorable and proper fiend is the lady every kid calls “Grandma Jenny.”

I just call her Sly.

The shark is being “downsized” in a thoroughly, wonderfully devious way, worthy of over 3 decades of intrigue. After confirmation of the drop, I will reveal the latest plot development. Stay tuned…

The Eagle Scout, The Writer and Sly


2 Responses to “The Long Con”

  1. Donna Says:

    OK, I can deal with the fact that there are movies with which you are familiar that I don’t know, but to have two of your top “six” favorite heist movies that I have never even heard of is hard for me to fathom. You know I love lists, and so there are a lot of things about which I know nothing, but I have at least heard of them because they were on some list. Movie number one and movie number seven are totally new to me.

    And the shark!!! Haven’t heard about the shark in years. Thought he’d swum away to colder waters. Such surprises!

  2. sthibeault Says:

    Okay, take my advice: Breathe! You do know #7. It’s Wallace and Grommit. But #1, yes. A real low-flyer, and one I would urge you to find. It’s a small gem of a movie. Just plain delightful.

    The Shark last surfaced at your house when my plan to “drop” it was foiled. Above all, The Long Con demands patience.

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