So I hear the usual ping. Which may not sound strange to you but it is for me. I mean, I can pretty much account for all my usual peeps—every one of them gets their own ping tone. So it’s not one of them.
And I know I should ignore it. But I can’t. I mean it’s probably spam. Or maybe even a wrong number.
By now I realize some of you might be thinking, “why don’t I just look at the damn phone and get it over with” which would demonstrate to me, that you, would be unaware of my present situation. You see, ever since the night my mother likes to call “l’affaire of the LARP” my electronic toys have been placed in durance vile – aka jail – aka the far wall of the living room of the apartment where the guards – aka my parental unit – sleep right along the other side of that wall.
Sleep. That’s what I should do. I should ignore the ping and go back to sleep. I look up at my glow-in-the-dark constellations strewn across my ceiling, seeking out Andromeda, “the chained lady”. I do love a bit of irony.
And you know I might have made it back to sleep, but for the follow-up ping. You know, the second one, reminding me I’ve missed the first one. And that’s the one that gets me. Which I suppose is the point. But that would be a debate for another night.
Tonight, it’s time for the Pink Panther sneak. I pull on my thickest socks, cue the theme song in my head and get my toes tipping. I remind myself to stick as close as possible to the walls. I read somewhere floorboards are more prone to squeak in the middle.
I peer around the corner. There it is. My contraband phone. Resting against my laptop, teasing, taunting, a mere two-sofa lengths away.
I wait, hidden against the hallway wall. I count to sixty. Inhale. I am so Ripley on a mission. Exhale. Go!
I pull the phone from its cord. The light blindingly flashes on. Fluck me! I freeze for just a second, gather my nearly exploded nerves and tip-toe-tear-the-heck out of there.
Victory. . . . . . Of a sort.
I slide down to the floor, use my blanket to create a walled city of darkness and turn my phone on. It’s 3:20AM.
I look to see who pinged me. It’s a blocked number. But the two-line preview to the message leaves little doubt they know me. “Sid. . .thought you should see this.”
“Curiouser and curiouser said Alice.”
You know that might be a great quote for Mr. Clifton’s final exam!
No. Not now. Now is not the time to digress.
Time. That’s it. I look at the time on the message. 2:43AM. Over half an hour gone by already. Of course they didn’t need to be online to send it. They could have used a zillion services to ping me at a predetermined time. But who would pick 2:43 AM? Well, if I think about it, I might—if I wanted to seem casual about it, even if I wasn’t.
And it’s only to me. No Jimmy, Imani, Vikram or Ari. I wonder if this would bother me if I got it at 2:43 in the afternoon and not the middle of the night? But then, how would the sender know for sure when I’d find it?
I feel my arms kind of tingle. And suddenly my neck needs to twist. Maybe this is what people mean when someone says their “spidey senses” are at work?
All right Sid! Enough! You’ve risked being sentenced to permanent isolation for this. Open the attachment.
It’s a picture. Of a large purse, open at the top with what looks like the edge of a passport just peering out. And I don’t understand it. Why would I want to see this?
Talk about deflation.
WWVD, Sid! What would Velma do?
There must be something I am not seeing. So I two-finger enlarge and I two-finger enlarge again. End result is the checkered pattern gets fuzzier and fuzzier. I circle the edges, but there’s nothing there I can make out other than some kind of white wall and maybe an edge of a marble table thing?
And somewhere I must have drifted off, because enshrouded in my blanket tent, I do not see it, but I do hear it. Hear what, you ask? I hear the sound of sunrise aka the sound of my demise. It sounds like a very soft knock on my door.
I manage to wince out, “Oui, Mama.”
“It’s 6:30. You have thirty minutes to be ready.” For just a second all is quiet. But I know we’re not done. “And we both know you will come straight home.”
And my night, which began with a ping, ends with a clank. And this time, my jailer will keep her keys just out of reach.
You can read more about Sid in On A LARP, the first book in the NEW “Sid Rubin Silicon Alley Adventure” young adult mystery series.
Question: Do any of you know the truly scary part about being seventeen?
Answer: Your brain doesn’t actually know, understand or care what it can’t do; and, while this sounds great in theory, in my particular case, my under-developed brain apparently didn’t know I couldn’t fly.
So I jumped . . .
And I plummeted . . .
And I promise you, if I somehow manage to survive this act of immature-brain-encased-in-unbelievable-stupidity, I will gladly tell you exactly how I got here.
Which, for the record, is chasing a dark-web killer through the middle of a live action role-playing game, better known as a LARP.
On a LARP introduces readers to teen coder, Sid Rubin, a smartass—and super-smart—high school kid with a strong conscience and a knack for solving problems. This high concept, frenetic ride dives into the fascinating world of interactive role-playing when Sid recognizes the photo of a murder victim during an AP field trip to a police station. What starts out as an Aha! moment soon finds Sid and her unlikely posse of friends chasing a dark web killer through the middle of a live action role playing game. Sid and the gang work to unravel a deeply encrypted mystery while simultaneously enduring pop quizzes, endless Ted Talks, teenage heartbreak, suspicious parents, cosplay, and the irresistible lure of the NYC Public Library.
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Meet the author
Stefani is an award-winning author and television producer. On A LARP is the first book in her new, critically acclaimed, young adult mystery series, A Sid Rubin Silicon Alley Adventure.
Stefani’s debut novel, The Carousel, won numerous awards and her writing has been featured in many publications, including, Curve magazine, Outdoor Delaware and a host of contemporary blogs.
As a television producer her resume includes TV series such as Haven for the SyFy Network, The Dead Zone and Brave New Girl, Dresden Files and Missing.
Along with producing five seasons of Haven, Stefani finally succumbed to the allure of acting, “starring” as the off-camera, and uncredited, radio dispatcher, Laverne. When not traipsing around the world filming, she calls Sarasota, Florida home. Stefani would love you to visit her website at stefanideoul.com and to connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
All comments are welcomed.