Open letter to Hollywood’s fake spies

What a saint…

To all the spy fiction creators…

Authors who have told stories of espionage in print.

Actors who have portrayed the intense and/ or hilarious spies life on TV.

Directors & screenwriters who have shown the glamorous, globetrotting life of not-so-secret agents in cinema.

Thank you for your inspiration!

A bit of ancient history…

Growing up in the 70’s, I watched a lot of your spy TV shows and old secret agent movies-of-the-week. All your kids detective/spy shows inspired me to spy on my friends & neighbors (and helped me overcome my fear of the dark!). Being a spy was incredibly empowering! Discovering the neighbor kid’s hidden candy stash, following that McD’s robber without being noticed, and cracking my brothers bank safe were just the sorts of things that I dreamed of doing when I saw your work. And let’s not forget the gadgets & weapons! Owning a cap pistol that had a detachable silencer, that obviously never worked, inspired hours of pretend vanquishing of henchmen as I infiltrated scores of secret lairs. And with my folding binoculars, I could keep track of any mark I chose, as long as they walked by my cardboard fort. In the days before video games, no kid could ask for more!

I spent my high school & college years in a small rural town that didn’t really have anything to do,  save what we made up. My friends & I invented lots of games, but by far the best was something we called Spy vs Spy. It was essentially Capture the Flag in public with toy pistols. We played all over town and once in a while, even took it to a nearby big city like Denver or Boulder. Lots of the espionage tropes that you taught me were designed into and lived out in that game. Asking for a back way out of a restaurant because enemies were out front? Yes! Pretending to be drunk to evade the watchful gaze of a sentry? Yes! All these and more!

Fantasy becomes reality…

Eventually, I made my way to San Francisco and played it here with new friends. Needless to say, it was so much better in the Big City! In fact, I started a business centered around Spy vs. Spy, which I renamed Jericho and started offering it as a sightseeing /team building activity. Over the years, we’ve trained thousands of amateur spies (here in San Francisco, as well as all over the country) and gave them their own secret-agent-wish-fulfillment dreams, which you so graciously supplied.

Ten years later…

In January, Foxhound Urban Adventures Inc, my company, will be celebrating 10 years of spying with the public. We’re celebrating with an entire weekend of free Jericho games. I’d love to celebrate with you! While I can’t fly you here or put you up in a hotel, I’ve got a 10th anniversary, limited edition, Jericho Nerf gun waiting for you. Let me know if you are coming & I’ll hold one for you, as well as take you under my wing for a night of espionage you won’t soon forget!

You have given me so much over the years, and I look forward to paying you back.

THANK YOU!

—Shannon