Prank Wars

January 10, 2011
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My family does a good job of keeping the world under the misconception that we are all mild mannered, go-with the flow, tranquil citizens. I’m a bit soft-spoken, and both my brother and I are honor students who rarely get into trouble. My dad appears to be the relaxed, fluid guy that repels stress like honesty repels politicians. While all of that is true to a degree, most of our neighbors and friends are under the happy illusion that not one of us possess a mischievous bone in our bodies.
Sigh. How I snicker in the face of that ludicrous idea.

In reality, we’re constantly engaged in a prank war with each other, and, in our games, white truce flags don’t exist outside of emergencies. My brother steals my dad’s keys in order to watch our father wander around the house helplessly and bemoan how he loses everything. My dad, in turn, often intentionally gives me wrong directions while driving, just to take delight in my facial expression when I realize he’s gotten us lost in the middle of whoopty-do-nowhere. And those are only some of the many tricks we participate in to strangle a laugh from one another.

Mundane tasks of our lives are therefore not just another daily event, but an opportunity for the sweetness of revenge. This, apparently, included grocery shopping at Safeway.
My memory is a bit fuzzy on the actual shopping bit, but my best guess is we decided to make this particular shopping trip into a race, not something unheard of in my family. So we tore the shopping list into three pieces and divided the items up between us. It was a very simple game; whoever got all of the items on their list and got to check out number one first won the race. Each of us grabbed a cart and tore down the aisles.
I can only imagine how we harassed our co-shoppers while we were sprinting down the aisles and weaving our way around the store like maniacs. In the times we’d played this game before, my dad had even gotten the store employees to call out the location of items he desperately couldn't find over the intercom, and announce it to the entire store. I still think that’s cheating.

Now, all three of us argue over what happened next. What more then likely happened was that Nick won this race, somehow, and my dad and I were a bit more interested in getting back at him than usual. Nick, of course, would only be to happy to remember it that way, so I’m not entirely sure how accurate his statement can be taken into opinion.
Anyways, heading back to the car in the parking lot, my brother happily volunteered, “I’ll take the cart back as soon we load up the groceries, okay?”

My dad smiled one of those smiles proud parents get when they see their kids do something they didn’t have to ask them to do. “Okay, we’ll pick you up over by the carts!” My dad doesn’t recall this next part, but I do. That sweet smile changed into a devious, treacherous smirk when he got in the car. “You know what would be really funny, Jory?” my dad asked me, looking quite thoughtful.

I hesitantly smiled back at him. “What?”

“Well...let’s say we were just to start driving before Nick got in the car,” he carefully offered, eyes twinkling. My powers of memorization are not quite great enough to remember his exact words, but I know that was the general gist of it.
I considered this twist for maybe half a second. Then I reflected my own vindictive smile at him. You know what they say. Like father like daughter. “I’m in. Do it,” I told him.
But, to our surprise, Nick wasn’t waiting by the cart disposal lane, but walking back over to the car. Later, he explained he thought he’d be able to make it over to us before we started driving, so he’d impulsively decided to high tail it back to the car before we backed out.
This played perfectly into my dad and I’s evil plot.

So, as Nick was heading back to the car, my dad backed out of the parking space, pretending not to see him. I caught a glimpse of my brother’s confused, somewhat alarmed expression out the window, and recalling it now still brings a happy smile to my face.

As we drove over to the cart disposal to, quote on quote, “pick him up”, my brother dashed after us behind the car. My innocent eleven year old brother was frantically running after the car, waving his hands wildly and hollering. My dad and I, in contrast, were cracking up inside.
“He’s not here,” I mused aloud to my dad, mockingly confused. “Better go look back through the parking places and see if he tried to walk back to the car.”
My dad, snickering, agreed.
So, for a good two minutes, we toured around the Safeway parking lot with Nick sprinting after us, just slow enough for him to nearly catch the car, but not quite. If Nick’s red, out of breath face was anything to laugh at, that was nothing compared to the onlookers. They were thunderstruck at what they were witnessing, either too dumbfounded to say or do anything, or waving their arms to gain my dad’s attention and pointing to Nick behind us. We gained quite a few audience members as we passed by.
When we had to stop behind a truck, Nick got close enough to start banging on the truck of the car. My dad relented and pulled over to let him hop in, figuring the joke had gone on long enough as he either experienced a moment of mercy or great weakness.
Nick opened and then slammed the door, panting. “What a bunch of idiots,” he growled at us, completely baffled at how we could have missed him,.
My dad and I exchanged looks, and then, to my brother’s dismay and then eventual amusement, laughed all the way home. “Sorry, we’re sorry,” we chorused as he pointedly refused to ever take the cart back ever again. “We didn’t mean to.”

Did I mention it was only recently, when I was interviewing him for his side of this story, that he learned my dad and I had schemed his unfortunate laps around Safeway, and that, indeed, it hadn’t been an accident? Once more, my dad and I had a good side splitting laugh at my poor brother’s face.

Ah, family. You’ve gotta love them.

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BlackFTW said...
May 3, 2012 at 12:17 am
One time I taped the bottom of one of the teacher's mouse at school, much to our dismay he slammed his mouse into the monitor. Yes, you read that right, into the monitor... Another year my friend Miranda told me to look out of the hallway, being a student who was popular while maintaining good grades I reluctantly agreed. Turns out she had stolen the teacher's key and dropped it into the sewer, first time I've talked about it... True story.
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