Timmy LeGraves was 14 years old when he went missing from the streets of Milford, Maine twelve years ago. Search parties were formed, the FBI took over the case, and all forms of life that inhabited the state helped to look for the high school freshman.
Not an inch of Maine was left untouched. Mole Men tunneled into the earth in case he had been taken underground. Gargoyles and Dragons searched the skies. Zombies were rounded up and searched for any hint of the missing teenager. Spacecrafts were dispatched to the points in the galaxy where the Probing Aliens were known to conduct their experiments.
They never found any sign of him. It was as if he has vanished into thin air…
Until today. Timmy LeGraves, 26, strolled into downtown Milford and announced that not only had he returned, but that he was also the Ultimate King of Hide and Seek. Needless to say, people were shocked. No one had any idea that such a title existed, and many were upset that they had never had the opportunity to try to earn it.
Some people were thrilled to see Timmy, and a kind soul even bought him a cup of coffee, but most natives of Milford were still asleep at that hour. Those who even remembered the long lost man’s story didn’t seem too surprised or excited that he had finally returned. In case you haven’t been able to figure it out, it’s a pretty sleepy and laid back kind of place.
This Modern Philosopher was excited at the news, though, and headed out to get the scoop on this amazing story. I had to know where this person had been for a dozen years, why he had finally returned, and what the heck the deal was with this Hide and Seek angle.
We met at Tiki’s, the town’s hole in the wall diner, and I prepared myself for the story of a lifetime. Timmy seemed happy for the attention and intrigued by my toga. He was clearly eager to tell his tale. “I was fourteen, I was bored out of my mind, and the only thing I really cared about was finally winning a game of Hide and Seek,” he smiled and took a quick look around the diner and its three other patrons. “As you can see, life is still pretty boring around here, so Hide and Seek dominance was a huge deal.”
Apparently, the plan had been in the works for months. Timmy had saved up money all summer from mowing lawns and had hidden it, along with a rucksack of food and clothes, in the woods behind the school.
“My plan was to get the game going, and then make a run for it,” he confessed. “It was the last game of the summer, and I was going to win it. It wasn’t like anyone here was going to miss me. My parents were going through a divorce and I was the only kid. Luckily, I had an older cousin who left his driver’s license sitting around and I snatched that. Since I was tall for my age, I was able to use the license to pass myself off as 18.”
Before the rest of the kids from the game had gone home for dinner, Timmy had managed to sneak across the Canadian border. “I knew the other kids were are intense about the game as I was, but I counted on none of them having the dedication to track me down in another country. Clearly, I was right.”
Timmy was able to get a Canadian license, establish residency, and pick up some awesome health care benefits by the time his parents got around to calling the police to report that he’d been gone a few days. According to the police reports, each parent blamed the other and assumed their son was staying with a friend and still playing hide and seek. “He was addicted to that game,” Meryl LeGraves was quoted in the official report.
Timmy got himself a job on a cruise ship and set off to the see the world, all the time checking over his shoulder to make sure none of his friends was sneaking up on him. “I started off loading luggage and changing sheets, and slowly worked my way up the ranks over the years. I traveled all over the globe, met amazing people, and saved a ton of money. You don’t really have any expenses since you live on the boat and get fed five times a day as part of the job. I was living the good life.”
Didn’t he miss life in Maine? “Not at all,” he answered very quickly. “There was no one I was really close to. The other kids were just the competition. They weren’t friends. Well, there was one person I missed. Her name was Rachel, she was a couple of years younger, and lived down the street. I had a huge crush on her, but I could never bring myself to talk to her. I wrote her a bunch of times during my travels, but would always throw out the letters. I missed her for sure, but I don’t even think she knew I existed.”
So why did he finally return now? This one took a while to answer. “I got bored. After you’ve seen the world a couple of times, it starts to get boring,” he finally told me. “The world doesn’t really change. Plus, I started to develop seasickness. After all this time, it was just a weird thing to happen and I took it as a sign. In the end, I think I just wanted to come home and claim my title as the greatest player of Hide and Seek to ever. Also, I wanted to spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars I’ve saved up since I left.”
My fellow Modern Philosophers, you know I have seen some wild things and met some very strange beings during my time in Maine. This one, though, might just take the cake. Of all things, it’s a fellow human that knocks me off balance and makes me question the sanity of things. All this effort just to win a silly game? I mean, sure, the crown he purchased for himself in Morocco is stunning, and I’d love to be able to wear it around for a day, but I don’t think I’d give up my teenage years and most of my twenties in order to earn the right to wear it. And who would want to spend that much time on a boat? Ugh!
What do you think, Modern Philosophers? Would you go to such wild extremes just to win a game? What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to come out a winner? Would you ever be able to spend twelve years on a boat? I think I’d start to pray for icebergs if I had to be afloat for that long.
I look forward to your comments. Tag…you’re it!