It all began when Ashley called me this morning, letting me know that our plans to go visit our new niece, and sister-in-law Raquel had been canceled.
“I can’t go, “she lamented.
“What?” I ask in dismay, and my thoughts start going in a dark, downward spiral. They grasp at a spark of hope.
“Wait a minute…April fools! Ooooh, clever!”
“No, I really can’t go…”Ashley’s weak protests are cut off by her good humored laughter. “What gave me away?? I can’t even lie on the phone.” Ashley can’t lie to save her life.
“Don’t worry. You had me going for a second there. That was a really good joke, better than anything thing I could think of this morning…” I trail off. I’d been trying to think to think of jokes to play on Don, I’d thought of everything from the mild, and over used, “Your shoes untied” to covering the toilet bowl with Saran wrap. My better judgment decided against the latter, too messy, and it was just asking for trouble.
I hang up the phone and shake my head. Ahh…April Fool’s Day. I have a love-hate relationship with you. The last time I ever really tried to prank someone was probably back in second grade. And what a prank it was. I’d saved my snap pops all the way from the 4th of July. And then when April 1st arrived, I snuck into the bathroom, and strategically placed a few underneath the toilet seat. Then I cracked open the window that looked into the backyard, so I could hear the surprise of my victim. I waited, innocently swinging on the tree swing. And my face broke into a smile of impish delight. What I hadn’t planned on was my mother being the next person to use the bathroom. I can still hear the loud pops, the surprised scream that assailed my ears, and I can still feel my panic at my April fool’s joke back firing. I got in enough trouble that I haven’t tried to punk anyone for a very long time.
But a terrible idea formed in my mind as I shook my head after Ashley’s phone call, one that brought a second grade smile to my face. I tried to fight it. Really. But this, this was like a chicken jumping onto a fence-sitting vegetarian’s lap, and then plucking and dousing itself with a whole bottle of BBQ sauce. What else are you supposed to think besides,” this chicken wants to die”??
So before I’d realized it, I’d dialed Aubrey’s number.
“Hey, I just got a call from Ashley and she said that you guys weren’t going to be able to make it today?” My tone is mildly inquiring, asking in subtle undertones if she knows anything about it.
“What?” Aubrey sounds put out. “That’s not what she was saying last night.”
“Yeah, she said that they had a meeting come up. She didn’t really give me any details. You should call and ask her about it.”
Aubrey is not happy, and agrees to call Ashley to get the scoop on things, and then call me back. I laugh delightedly as I snap the phone shut, thinking how of how tricky I am. Aubrey calls me back in about five minutes. And I fight to keep the smile out of my voice as I answer.
“What did she say?” I ask nonchalantly.
“She didn’t answer.” Aubrey replies back.
I start to sweat a little bit; I hadn’t planned on Ashley not answering. What if Aubrey never gets a hold of Ashley? What if Aubrey blows off all of the plans and doesn’t get ready to go? What am I going to tell her in order to go then? That I’ll drive up to Logan and pick her up and take her to Raquel’s myself? It’s a bit of a gamble…
“Well, keep trying until you can get a hold of her.”
“What did she say exactly?”
And so I mumble through a half-baked lie, and repeat what I’d said before only in a different way. I realize for the hundredth time in my life what a crappy liar I am. Lucky for me, Aubrey can’t see my face, and she’s has a really time hearing tone on the phone. Her world became a lot better after caller ID.
We hang up, and I start doing the dishes. I’m halfway through washing a spoon when I get another call. It’s Aubrey.
“Well?” I ask the trepidation in my voice earnest this time.
“She can’t go. She has a meeting.” Aubrey confesses.
Bull crap. “Hmm…” my eyes narrow. Aubrey is in on it. “What did she say, exactly??”
“Just that she had a meeting today, and so she couldn’t take it off. In fact, she won’t be able to get home until her regular time. I was really looking forward to going and seeing Gracie. I’ve been looking forward to it all week.”
I decide to let the sham slide. “Whatever. What did she really say?”
“That she can’t go,” Aubrey honestly responds.
“Bull crap. Was she surprised when you called her??” I don’t even try to hide the excitement in my voice.
“What are you talking about?” Aubrey sounds confused.
“Oh, come on! Ashley is a crappy liar. I’m positive she caved. Admit it!”
“Ashley can’t go.” Aubrey is adamant.
“Come on, you can drop it now. It was all a joke. April fool’s!”
“This was all a joke?” Aubrey asks, anger creeping into her voice.
“I know you know about it. Ashley had to have told you!”
“Well, one of you is messed up! I just called Raquel and told her that Ashley and I aren’t coming!”
I can feel the laughter flicker out of my face. What-oh. “You did not,” I hedge incredulously, not wanting to believe it.
“I doubt she’s going to think it’s funny.”
“Why the heck did you bring Raquel into it?” I panic.
“This is your fault!”
“How was I supposed to know you’d jump to conclusions before you knew what the heck was going on!?” I ask, my voice creeping higher. “I told you to call me right back!”
“Obviously you didn’t, or else we wouldn’t be having this conversation.” I simmer.
“Whatever. I’m not calling her back. One of you two pranksters can call her and tell her about this whole mess.”
“Don’t be mad.” I say in my best soothing voice. “You have to admit its kind-of funny. In a couple days you’ll laugh about it…or maybe a year,” I amend.
“It’s not funny.” Aubrey’s voice is humorless.
We end the call, and I exhale. Then dial Ashley’s number. No answer. Crap. I bite the bullet and call Raquel.
“Hello?” She answers.
“Hey!” I cut to the chase, “you’ve probably heard from Aubrey, right?”
“…No, I haven’t.”
I’m skeptical, “not at all today?”
“Your call is the first one.”
I still press her, “She didn’t call you at all?” I ask hollowly.
I can almost feel the egg running down my face. Sunnofa!!!
“Well let me tell you a story…” I laugh dryly. Raquel was a very attentive and polite audience, and even said she would try to think of a way to get Aubrey back for me. I told her my wounded pride would appreciate it. Really, I should know better than to go up against Aubrey.
Five minutes later Aubrey called me back, “April fool’s!”
My “dark chocolate side” as Ashley calls it, gets me into trouble. But after everything, I’m a bit relieved that it didn’t end up worse, so I bite into my just deserts with a smile.