Easter is here, and that means it’s time for my two favourite things—excessive chocolate consumption and crushing my loved ones under the sheer weight of my competitive pettiness.
I probably need to explain that last one.
A few years ago I was so sick that medical appointments were one of the only reasons I left the house. Short version (and perhaps now the whole world is in quarantine you can relate without further elaboration anyway), this was very frustrating. By Easter, I was determined to do something.
So I came up with a Cunning Plan.
I asked a friend to buy me a packet of Easter eggs (I was too sick to go to the shops) so I could make a surprise egg hunt for my partner. I would sneakily hide all the eggs—perhaps while my partner had his morning shower—and then not say anything. I would just wait for him to notice.
The day came. He got up before me because even factoring out the chronic illness I have never been a morning person. But I was committed to my Cunning Plan, and my religion of Cunning Plans has no room for divorce. Once I’m in, I’m all in. One time a friend kidnapped my iconic shark keychain and tried to ransom it for one of my partner’s kidneys, and I had a Cunning Plan.
I trekked to every butcher’s shop in the suburb before finding one that had some sort of animal kidney.
… Obviously it was from a butcher’s shop.
Point is, when a Cunning Plan is at stake, I put in the miles.
So, with super-human effort, I dragged myself out of bed, slithered down the hall, and oozed onto the couch to regroup. But then, as I blinked blearily at the living room cursing all times between 2am and 10am for existing and trying to formulate clever ideas for egg hiding …
Jolted into full wakefulness, I looked around again.
My Cunning Plan was not so cunning after all. I was not the only person to come up with it.
Before I was even awake, my lovely partner was already up and about making a fun Easter egg hunt at a time when I had very few activities open to me. How considerate. How wonderful. How sweet.
How dare he.
I considered abandoning my own hunt, pretending I never had any Cunning Plan, and being sickeningly delighted by what he’d done, but quickly wrote this off as a brain-misfire due to not having my morning cup of tea yet. I considered fessing up, handing over the eggs I had obtained for him, pretending to be amused that he got in first, and then finding the ones he hid for me. But that didn’t sit right either.
Instead, I had a new Cunning Plan.
Ignoring all the eggs he had hidden for me, I hid mine anyway. Only better. He hadn’t tried that hard. His was child egg hunt. His eggs were sitting in where foil would catch the light, on tops of books in bookshelves, in little clusters on tables.
I could do better than that.
I hid them in mugs that went back in cupboards. I put them in the tea tins. I stashed them in drawers, in high places, under things that were rarely moved. I made sure none of them were visible if you just wandered in and looked around the room. Some would be stumbled upon through daily tasks, others would take concentrated searching.
And then I sat back on the couch and read a book.
He acknowledged my genius. We had a good laugh about it. We did each other’s egg hunt. I found his in about five minutes. He took longer.
He found the last one over a week later. It was in his coat pocket.
Ever since, Easter has been an opportunity to destroy each other with chocolate.
And I always win. My time record, so far, is …
But last year I decided to change the game.
We have a small end-table cupboard thing. It doesn’t have anything in it because for some reason it has both a door that will only stay closed if it is locked and drawers. Very awkward. But it came from my grandparent’s house, and I always thought I could paint it and change the inside or something. Of course, I haven’t got around to it. We don’t store anything in it. The key sits on top in a little jar of odds and ends.
Last year, my husband hid his eggs before I got the chance, and I found most of them before hiding my own. He hid an egg in that key jar. And as soon as I saw it, my brain sparked with my best yet Cunning Plan.
As part of Phase 1, when it was my turn to hide eggs, I put about a quarter of them in the weird internal cupboard drawers and locked them in.
He worked it out within an hour. They weren’t even the last remaining eggs from that hunt. He’d remembered the key-jar from when he hid an egg in it, so he thought to check almost straight away.
… As I expected.
I acted disappointed. I can play a long game.
Over the next year, I primed him to think of that cupboard as the hiding place. In the weeks following, I reminisced about my failed hiding attempt often. I sighed wistfully and said if only he hadn’t hidden an egg in the key-jar first. I hid his birthday presents. One was in the cupboard, and it was the first one he found.
This year was Phase 2.
We decided it would be a special hunt. We ordered a box of extra nice eggs each from a local chocolatier (support local businesses through the Rona Ragnarok where possible, guys). Mine were coffee hazelnut crunch. His were almond praline. The deal was we’d each hide each other’s eggs.
I locked every last one of his eggs in that cupboard. Then I took the key and taped it to the back of the clock.
In its old place in the jar, I left a riddle …
… Which led to another riddle …
… Which also led to another riddle …
You get the gist.
Until the final note …
And no, that was not too evil. Even if he really struggled, the longest the hunt could possibly go would be until he changed the clock for daylight savings time.
Unfortunately riddle number three didn’t go quite as planned.
And thus my Cunning Plan was thwarted by sheer dumbassery.
I just … just … still don’t know how to process this.
I thought I’d covered everything. I took the key a week early so he couldn’t use it for his hunt before I got to it. I made sure ‘egg’ was the first riddle-answer because it was the most likely to be stumbled upon by mistake, and if it was I didn’t want it to mess up the riddle-chain. I had back-up hiding places for all my riddles in case he had used any for his hunt. After I arranged everything, I even went around the house slightly tweaking cupboard doors and moving things to mask my actions. I mean, he didn’t even try googling the answers! That he might do that was half the reason they were a red herring! I had contingencies for cheating, but not for him being terrible at riddles.
Serves me right for overestimating him.
Fortunately, this will just make Phase 3 even better.
I can play a long game.
Responses on my last comic indicated my cat is in fact very appreciated, so I made sure to include him in one of the comics. You’re welcome.
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