Now it can be told...
The "good evil plot" that I was involved in all week came to fruition last night. The result: Halfling is now the proud owner of a Selmer Paris alto. I'm sure he'll talk about it on his own site, but here's the story from my end:
It started a few months ago when Russ, an old college roommate of mine, was looking to unload his Mark VII alto. While many horns in that line produce too dark a tone for good jazz playing, this one had a big sound and thus the capacity to play both styles well. Once I tested it out, I knew that Halfling was the prime candidate for it, since he's headed to UNT and didn't have the requisite Selmer yet. He played it and loved it, but his parents weren't ready to buy at the moment.
Then, in February, I got an email from Russ, basically saying he didn't care about the money as long as it went to a "good home." I checked on this to be sure he didn't actually mean a free horn (what an awesome graduation present that would have been!), and it turned out that, since he was out of work at the moment, it couldn't be a freebie, but he would unload it for the low, low price of $1000. Now it was just a matter of figuring out where the money would come from.
The rest of that month was spent preparing for the two auditions for UNT, which have been chronicled in these pages. The Mark VII sat on the sidelines, though Halfling would play it sometimes when he was here. When it came time for his jazz concert a week ago, I let him take it for an extended "test-drive"...and that was the smartest thing we could have done. His parents noticed the huge difference in sound quality, and on Monday I got an email from his mom asking a few final questions but basically greenlighting the deal...oh, and could I broker it in secret, so they could surprise him?
Thus commenced the plot, and let me tell you, my poker face was at full strength all week (hanging every day as we did made it a challenge sometimes). In the meantime, I got hold of Russ, who agreed to type up a receipt in advance of getting the check. I then "accidentally" ran into him at Lab Band Night on Wednesday, moving over to another corner of the Syndicate "to talk" and have the receipt slipped to me...the guys were none the wiser, just thinking that I'd run into an old friend (true, but only part of the story).
From there, Halfling's dad came to my mailbox yesterday morning, put the check in and took the receipt out. All I knew after that was that they would tell him "sometime over the weekend." When his dad called on the way back from our racquetball game yesterday afternoon, inviting him and Angie to dinner with them that night, I knew the deal would go down then, and sure enough...he got the coolest "dessert" ever. It took a while to sink in, of course, and he was totally amazed that I knew about it for four days already. I was out bowling with TD/D that night, but when I got home I had a very happy IM window waiting for me.
Conspiracy can be fun when it turns out like this...
(NEXT DAY UPDATE: We put the finishing touches on everything on Sunday afternoon, meeting up with Russ in Lewisville and getting him the check, thus allowing Halfling to meet the instigator of this sweet deal...and hear some really interesting cruise ship stories.)