Backfire

I used to revel in April Fool’s day jokes. I played pranks on everyone and each year the pranks would get better and better. At least I thought so – I would laugh and laugh and laugh. My last big prank happened many years ago when I worked at UNK. We had a tight group that worked together in the computer department. And the story goes…

My last several pranks involved cars. In years past I had put a car up on blocks… but just barely so they wouldn’t notice. The year before that, my unsuspecting victim had red dye in their windshield washer fluid. So this year I needed to up the ante. I had read about this little trick and thought it would be perfect for a friend of mine. He was pretty mechanical and so would wonder what the heck was going on. So the game was on.




Creative Commons Image -Some rights reserved by ‘las – initially’ on Flickr.

I snuck out into the parking lot with my bag of goodies: a roll of aluminum foil and a bag of popcorn. I popped the hood of his car and carefully wrapped the popcorn around the manifold with the aluminum foil. The idea – when he would start driving, the manifold would heat thus popping the corn and making all sorts of racket under the hood! Oh it would be great! I was snickering all day just waiting for him to take a drive.

We always took an afternoon break at Bob’s Kwik shop across the street from the college at 2:30. On the button. You could set your watch by it. So the crew went over to Bob’s. But Jeff wasn’t there… hmmm… I bet he was driving his car. Oh sweet! He came in about 10 minutes late. No car. He had a drained look on his face. He was white as a ghost. Someone asked him what was up? He said, “I have just been at the police station. My car caught on fire at Wal-Mart when I went there over the lunch hour.”

I sunk. Everything shut down. I couldn’t hear anyone talking or see what anyone was doing. They kept talking about the car and what Jeff was going to do. It wasn’t insured and he had no way to pay for it. I was just sick. Literally sick. Ready to barf my soda and pretzel I had munched on.

“Jeff… I think I might know what happened,” I said in a very timid voice – not usual of me. “WHAT?” he cried out! “Well I was trying to pull an April Fools joke on you and so I put popcorn on your manifold. It must have been what caused your car to catch fire. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry!” I didn’t know what to say or do. He just stared at me. Deadpan look like ‘what am I going to do now?’

Then he shouts – “April Fools! My car didn’t catch fire!” The laughter rolled out of Bob’s Kwik shop all the way to the college. Backfire! Oh – how did I fall for it? How did he know? I was still sick. I couldn’t believe it!

So, moral of the story – think before you pull a practical joke! Serious consequences could ensue! I’m just glad it didn’t really catch fire!