I Was an Accomplice!, Sunday, March 5, 2017

My friend Kerry Winston Ward, aka “fulltiltward” on YouTube, posted on Facebook that he had another caper planned for his Corporate Explorer Training (CET) company. The job was going to be Sunday, March 5, at the Palms Resort Casino in Las Vegas, and he was recruiting a team. Three of us from the Los Angeles area volunteered for the job, so on Saturday afternoon I headed for Vegas, picking up aerial specialist Nick Bower in Anaheim Hills and strong-arm specialist Ted Brody in Fontana.

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Cheetah, Nick, Kerry, and Ted at a cold and windy breakfast

We arrived in Las Vegas around 8pm, and then killed some time at the Hard Rock Casino until it was time to rendezvous with Kerry, who was flying in from his lair in Cabo San Lucas via San Francisco, at McCarran International Airport. Then it was off to our hideout for the night.

We were being sheltered by Cheetah and Rhiann Platt, who in addition to sheltering notorious miscreants are international jet setters who have a cover providing equipment to aerialists under the name Aerial Essentials. The Platt’s will be setting off on their second biennial Worldwide Wedding tour in April. Their wedding count, I believe, is now up to 58, and will be augmented in the 13 countries on their new itinerary. Rhiann would be joining us on the caper, while Cheetah would be working on ensuring that Aerial Essentials was ready to thrive during the upcoming absence of the principals.

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We were up early in the morning, and off to breakfast with Cheetah at The Cracked Egg in Summerlin, where to toughen ourselves up (or maybe because there was a long wait) we ate outside in the frigid wind. As we ate Kerry briefed us on the job–we were going to kidnap Amelia Earhart! No, not THAT Amelia Earhart, but close. This was Amelia Rose Earhart, code-name AER, who had been named after THAT Amelia Earhart, and who circumnavigated the globe piloting a single-engine plane, albeit with a co-pilot.

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AER was going to be the keynote speaker at a conference of the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA). We were masquerading as hotel staff, and our job was to snatch AER after her talk. Then Kerry would lead the assembled multitudes through a series of activities culminating (hopefully) with a rescue of AER. Brilliant plan, and it came off without a hitch! We were lucky that Ted was on the team. As you can see from the picture above, Ted very much stands out within the CET gang, and it turned out that AER in heels was just about as tall as Ted.

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Security camera captures the abduction

I am happy to report that after qualifying on the Zing Air Z-Curve Bows (blindfolded, nonetheless), mastering the Two 2×4 Team Slide, and demonstrating proficiency as Police Sketch Artists, the participants were able to decode the Caesar Cipher and rescue Ms. Earhart!

After cleanup it was off to Sushi Kaya where Kerry demonstrated that in addition to being a Master of Ceremonies he is also a master of the all-you-can-eat sushi bar! Nick, Ted, and I then headed back to LA, while Kerry boarded a red-eye to Newark, only to immediately board a plane back to LA to lie low before the next job, a cardboard boat build at USC for students in the Marshall School of Business scheduled for Tuesday.

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