I don’t do practical jokes often. Like everyone, I’ve done them. Of course, from me, people think I’m being mean. But I don’t think its because mine often include some combination of blunt force trauma and glue boards. I think many people just can’t take a joke much less a practical one.
But I have a friend, an electrician, who takes practical jokes to a new level. He’s set some up for long times. He’s serious about this. He has squirt guns (guns, multiple guns) in his freezer just in case a water fight breaks out. That’s someone who’s always prepared.
In all the years I’ve known him he’s only got me once. And it was nothing. Your garden variety squat and pop when someone’s turning a corner. But he’s told me elaborate stories that are, I’ll admit, pretty damn funny.
But there’s one thing about him that is a little bothersome. How proud he is that no one has successfully got him back. I can understand how that happens. He is always prepared for attack. A foe on high alert is a difficult foe. But not an impenetrable foe. Its all about surroundings and timing. But, most of all, patience.
He’s doing some electrical work around the office. Normal stuff. He’s here quite often. He’s comfortable here. And he probably doesn’t even remember the last minute jump and scare he pulled on me oh so long ago. But everything has to set itself up organically if its going to work. I have to be ready when the opportunity arrives.
And it just fell into my lap.
He’s above my office. Also above my office are two large speakers. They’re rarely on. When the building is closed and we have work to do we might crank them up. But, most of the time, they sit up there with the ladders and decades of old files. And a couple of marionettes. But I don’t want to talk about them.
I can hear him setting up. I can’t see him but know exactly where he is. He’s going to be pulling some cables for a new camera system. He’ll be there for a while. I can hear him putting some tools on a table. He picks up his radio and turns it on. He has it on one station all the time. And I happen to know what it is so I set the receiver to that station.
I know how he works so I’ll wait until I hear fewer footsteps. That’s when he’s setting up his supplies to start the job. He’s concentrating on making sure everything is perfect before he starts. I wait until I hear some shuffling of feet, he’s moving toward the speakers. I flip on the amplifier. For a moment there is no sound. And then. . .
A few seconds of anarchy.
In the ensuing quieter moment the array of items crashing to the floor seemed endless. The combination of cries and swears are pretty impressive. Even to a potty mouth such as myself. He’s still up there screaming as I try to unfold myself from laughter to successfully walk out of the office so I can see him.
And I do. His face is still stricken.
“You piece of shit. That scared the shit out of me. I thought my radio exploded.”
I continue laughing and looking up at him. I compose myself just long enough to say,