Ella the Spy and the Case of the Mysterious Letter

It is a well known fact that I like a good real-life mystery, even better if it is coupled with a prank.

When I was nine, I hid in a basement window for over an hour so that I could scare someone by telling them I could see the future and mentioning plans for the next day that they hadn’t told me about yet.

And yes, I did spy on Tal several months back and creep her out by telling her exactly what she and a few other friends were doing, with messages like “Tell John to take his fingers out of his mouth. He might choke on a fingernail.”

Along with Cecelia, I’ve sent George weird magazine collages while she was at German camp, including one that was covered with eyes and said nothing else. We mailed them from another town and made my sister address them so that she wouldn’t recognize the handwriting.

I was even planning on texting Sadie with a bunch of information I had gathered about her college (I had found it online while researching something else. I am not so strange as to spend hours thinking these things up.), but she wasn’t there and immediately caught on to what I was trying to do.

I know how to do a creepy mystery and how to do it well. I could maybe even add it to my list of special skills on my résumé, though I doubt it would improve my chances of employment.

I am not, however, used to being the but of a case that is too hard to crack.

But that happened today.

In the mail this afternoon I received this:


There is no return address, the envelope is typed, and the note is written by handwriting I don’t recognize. It’s an article about retirement, which could possibly be a reference to all of the “active adult retirement community” flyers I keep getting in the mail. I have yet to express any concern about my investments or retirement funds to anyone (I’m eighteen, and some guy at an investment bank works with my parents to handle my money.). The town it appears to be sent from is one I do not know, nor is near the college or house of any of my friends or family, and the list of people I know with J as a first initial is very small.

I will figure this out, and I will report back with my findings. Ten-year-old Ella would be very disappointed if I gave up on the case.

Ella and the Mail

Perhaps it’s because I’m still mostly a kid, but the thrill of getting anything in the mail, and I’m talking anything–magazines and brochures with my name on them are exciting–still hasn’t worn off in the slightest. If I notice a package or hear the mailbox, I come running, usually exclaiming, “MAIL!”

So pulling into the driveway after ten hours at work to discover that I had three packages and three letters was almost as good as suddenly being able to sleep normal hours (More later about how I’ve only slept for ten hours in the past seventy-two hours). Not only do I have all of the new SCBWI mailings, a package from DFTBA (hurray for new tee shirts and the John Green audio book of The Fault in Our Stars), and unexpected late Christmas gifts, but I also discovered that after someone sends you one envelope filled with confetti, you should open any future mailings from them with great amounts of care. Some colleges take their acceptance letters very seriously and like to add even larger elements of surprise, of which I heartily approve.

So please excuse me while I curl up with a ridiculous amount of chocolate, 30 Rock, sparkling cider, and all of my new, shiny things and doze.

You can also find me collecting lovely images and words on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/.

In Which Ella Pedals Like a Madwoman to Mail a Present

Today, I biked over a mile in well under five minutes to mail my cousins birthday presents, and managed to fly into the post office three minutes before it closed.

Now, I hadn’t intended to cut it so close. I was supposed to be there hours before it closed, but it turns out that wrapping presents takes a really long time, or at least it does when you wrap presents the way my mom and I do. Nothing gets hastily covered in thin paper with reindeer or snowmen. We go all out.

I am also not as good at wrapping things as my mom is. My folds are never as crisp, and nothing I do ever ends up being particularly artsy. I like my geometrical shapes and colors. Whenever I try to sew the wrapping paper it rips and me making anything complicated out of wrapping paper is just plain comical. But I get by.

I spent a long time cutting out squares of fancy paper and choosing colors and all of a sudden it was two hours later and I was nowhere close to finishing all of the presents I had to wrap. I had also stupidly not done any of them in order of priority, so while Christmas presents for other family members were all put together, there were still a few birthday ones not done. But I managed to get all but one done on time, and the one that wasn’t complete got wrapped in tissue paper and placed in a Rugrats gift bag for maximum classyness. My uncle will probably find it less amusing than I did when Cecelia gave the bag to me three years ago.

It wasn’t until I walked into the post office that I realized how ridiculous I looked. My hair was a disaster, the result of being unwashed, not very well combed, and the helmet, and I was wearing glasses, a geeky tee-shirt, and a ski parka. I don’t think that I have ever left the house looking like that ever.

But all of the birthday presents are in the mail, and that’s what really matters.

Then, I biked into the fence in our backyard because I saw a cat.

In other news, cats make very disturbing noises when they cough.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.