The Kikkoman Holiday Phantom: A post three months in the making

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This post is about my slightly misguided imagination. It’s about having a steel trap memory. Most important, it’s about not wanting to end up in my local police department’s weekly crime report.



A few months ago I heard my co-worker lament about not having any soy sauce to complement her lunch. Without telling her I took a quick look in my office drawer but was doubtful I would have any. I’m not a big soy sauce fan unless it’s mixed with wasabi and I’m dipping a piece of sushi in it.

Later that day I was in the grocery holy grail known as Wegmans and noticed a condiment shelf filled with packets of duck and soy sauce in the checkout line. As I blankly stared at the soy sauce wondering why it was important to me I remembered my soy sauce-less co-worker. I grabbed a bunch of packets on my way out the door to give to her later.

I basically never leave the office so my co-worker was out the door well before I could deliver her soy sauce. I opted to leave them on her desk but failed to leave any type of post-it note indicating I was the provider. I didn’t think she needed to know it came from me as long as she had soy sauce at the end of the day.

Well it turns out she had no idea who left her the soy sauce. The next day I heard her talk out loud that she had no clue who gave her the bounty. I could have lifted my hand and said “Hey it was me,” but I chose not to.  A few weeks later a third co-worker who remembered she asked for soy sauce went to hand her some directly. His generosity reminded me that she never identified the first provider.

So I decided to see how far I could keep the gift giving going without her knowing.

I came up with the idea to give her soy sauce on every single holiday as the Kikkoman Holiday Phantom. I figured Kikkoman is a pretty big soy sauce distributor and phantoms are pretty stealthy–a quality I would need if I was going to successfully pull this off.

The First Drop

The first drop was at my co-worker’s apartment complex which up until that point I had only been to once for a housewarming party. I obviously couldn’t ask her roommates for the number so I decided to look in past Facebook events for an address. Since this was around the Christmas holiday I wanted something to reflect holiday cheer:


I tailgated into the complex while she was at a happy hour and mounted a poster on her unit’s door with mounds of magic tape so it wouldn’t fall off. In the process of taping the neighbor across from them saw me in the act. As if what I was doing wasn’t creepy looking enough I said to her, “You never saw me here.”

Hours later this popped up on my co-worker’s Plixi page (otherwise known as a Twitter picture album):


The Second Drop

Since Valentine’s Day was approaching I knew I had to plot the second drop soon. I knew two places were out of the question: our office and her apartment complex. This time it needed to be her car.
Finding soy sauce packets wasn’t as easy as it was the first time around but I managed to get my hands on some after a work assignment.

On a sidenote: F*ck this place for making me PAY for said packets…


Like some soy sauce crack addict I gave up and forked over the 70 cents for 10 packets. The guy standing next to me at the carryout restaurant window asked why I needed that many. Without elaboration, I replied, “It’s for a project.”

“Must be some project,” he said.

Flash forward to a few hours later back in the office: My opportunity presented itself when she asked if I wanted to play skee ball downtown. I seriously contemplated the offer but realized her being in D.C. gave me time to make a poster and find her car. Knowing her parking garage of choice, I trekked there during one of the most obnoxious, windiest days EVER and found her car easier than I found her apartment number for the first drop.


I placed it under her windshield then went to Whole Foods and called it a night. I was waiting for some type of Plixi post like the last time but was kind of disappointed not to see anything.

The next day at work I emerged from a backroom to find my co-worker calling out to me from across the office asking if I was the stalker leaving soy sauce messages wherever she went. I struggled to restrain every muscle in my mouth from curving into a smile when she asked me this. Somehow I managed to play it off like I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about.

“Wait…what is this?” I asked.

She then proceeds to tell me what I already knew and went through a laundry list of possible people who could have done it which–thanks to my amateurish acting skills–I was crossed off of. I even helped her in a process of elimination of who it could and couldn’t be.

I spent the rest of the work day finding the strength to not laugh out loud. Unfortunately, the suppressed laughter ceased when I overheard our co-workers suggesting she file a police report.

Oh shit.

The Third Drop

I knew I was going to have to reveal myself if she was getting legitimately freaked out which was evidenced by her last Facebook post:


Very quickly I came up with the idea for a fake third drop. I told her that someone had left a poster for me too, except this time it had less to do with soy sauce and more to do with Sriracha Chili Sauce (which until an office bottle ran out played a prominent role in my bloodstream during the lunch hour).

I said to hold on so I could e-mail her the photo as an attachment, which ended up being a poster I whipped up fast that said the following:


She already said she’s plotting revenge so if you’re reading this….I like SRIRACHA CHILI SAUCE. Damn really wish I had some SRIRACHA CHILI SAUCE.

The end (and kudos to you if you made it this far).

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