He swayed in and out of consciousness as the alarm rang through his ears. He started to tune out the noise to drift back to sleep when his mind startled him with the words, close the blinds, lock the doors. Energy surged through his body as he jumped out of bed, disregarding the alarm now blaring through the house. He went to the counter where he had written a checklist on what all he needed to do. First, pull the cars into the garage and make sure the garage is closed and everything important from outside is brought in. Make sure the phone lines are unplugged and the television is off and so on. Most importantly, that the door is locked. With the rush of adrenaline, he accomplished everything in thirty minutes, less than half the time he thought and planned for to prepare. He sat on the couch searching his mind full of April first memories to make sure he thought about every possibility and how to counter it. He remembered back to the year the yard was filled with flamingos, and the time they TP’d the house and it took days to undo. How could he prevent that from happening he thought? In a panic as he was running out of time, he scrambled to the closet, pulling out the freshly bought package of toilet paper. He rushed to the yard, tearing open the package. He began throwing the toilet paper over the house and tree branches, making sure the pieces dangled low enough that they would be easy to take down and he wouldn’t have to go onto the roof. He made sure to scatter the yard with as much as he could, and stepped back, seeing the white outlines stand out in the darkness of night. He still felt uneasy despite his efforts. Running inside he pulled out an old box of eggs. He splattered them randomly on the house and windows, making sure some were on the ground so it would be noticeable to anyone who walked by. He knew it would be easy enough to hose off, and this way no little brats could get the satisfaction of doing it themselves, and he wouldn’t have to deal with their laughter and chuckles and pointing fingers. It was almost sunrise as he looked at all his work.
As the adrenaline faded away, the exhaustion of his fast-paced morning started to catch up with him. He sat on the living room couch as his fingers ticked with anxiety. He felt his mind slip away as he tried desperately to stay awake, stay alert. He rolled back into memories which flooded his thoughts... It used to be his favorite time of the year...
Back in high school he struggled to fit in. He always wore the same Pokémon t-shirt, oversized jeans and unevenly cut hair as he couldn’t afford good clothes or a professional barber. Billy Jackson… the name was scorched into his brain. Billy Jackson would always bully him and find ways to make him look like a fool. Tripping him in the cafeteria, pulling out his chair in class, and rigging the sink so it would spew out when he used it. He could never forget Billy’s laugh echoing against the walls of the room as the embarrassment burned his cheeks. One day he had enough.
Billy would always drop his things off at class and then go to the halls to talk and mess with others. He decided to take this opportunity to get back at Billy, just one moment of glory. He grabbed the soda from the side pocket of the backpack, carefully unscrewing the top. His hands were shaking as he reached for the mentos he bought the other day. He glanced at the door to make sure no one was looking as he slipped the whole pack into the soda, quickly shoving the cap on top. He watched it begin to bubble and the sizzling sound was quickly drowned out as the students filled the room and class began. Billy reached for the soda, and seconds after unscrewing the cap a slight bit, the pressure burst through and it blasted all over Billy’s face and clothes. The whole class pointed and laughed, as he felt satisfaction and pride for what he had done. The girl sitting next to him leaned over, “was that you?” she whispered. He was not sure if he should say yes, would she rat him out? Then he remembered that Billy had bullied her too, just the other day making fun of her braces and laugh. He slightly nodded with a satisfactory grin on his face. She just smiled at him, her eyes bright, he was surprised he hadn’t noticed her beauty before.
That day at lunch she came up to him, asking how it felt and why he did it. She stared at him wide eyed as he shared, she seemed so amused like he was her hero. He felt like it, and it was a good feeling. In the days following they talked more and more. He found they had a lot in common, and he looked forward to lunch every day. One day at lunch he was waiting patiently at the usual table in the back corner. He watched her as she smiled walking towards him with her lunch tray in front of her. Moments later, everything felt like slow motion. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Billy snickering, sticking his foot out in front of her. She tripped, falling onto the floor, her face and clothes now drenched with the sticky food from the lunch tray she was holding when she fell. The whole lunchroom filled with laughter. He jumped up, running over to her helping her up, she pushed away, crying, and ran to the bathroom. He waited outside for a while for her to come out, but all there was, was crying. She asked him to leave her alone.
In the days following the lunchroom incident, they started sitting outside for lunch. She was quieter than usual.
“Are you okay?” he asked. “He’s a real jerk, I’m sorry he did that. I’m going to get back at him.” Her eyes drew up to meet his, “What?”
“April 1st is coming up and I have a plan, I’m going to prank him so good he’ll be so embarrassed!” he said laughing with excitement.
She took a moment to think, her face grew angry as she thought of all the terrible things Billy had done. She looked back at him, saying adamantly, “I want in”.
They met at his house the next day, going over the plans, along with a few trips to the store. Then, the day they had been waiting for finally came around.
He sat outside the school as the parking lot filled with students’ cars and watched as Billy pulled up in the same spot he always did, at the very front. He texted her to come out, telling her it was time and they both casually walked up to the car. He knelt, pulling the paint cans and paint brushes out. They both giggled as they drew various words and images on the car. Afterwards, they snuck back into school, just in time for class. As lunch time came around, he had picked up a shift in the kitchen. When Billy came around for his burger and fries, he reached for the specially ordered hot sauce he brought with him, making sure it was all over the burger. She sat in the corner and watched anxiously as did he from the kitchen. Billy took the first bite, his eyes began to tear up and he yelled in high pitched screams and everyone began to laugh at him. With frustration he stormed out of the school and headed to his car where he found it, riddled with mean nicknames and inappropriate drawings. He kicked the tire in his fit of rage and slammed the door harshly behind him, speeding off. After school that day they both laughed and hugged, high fiving at their good work. With the rush of happiness and adrenaline, she stood on her tip toes, pulling him close and kissing him. He was surprised but happy. They smiled and laughed. It would be a day they would never forget.
From then on, their love grew, as did their passion for pranking. They made it a tradition each April 1st to pull off something new and extravagant together. They both loved that day as it was a reminder of their love sparking, and when they got back at Billy for years of bullying. They later got married and began a beautiful life together. 3 years after their marriage, they planned a prank like never before. They had planned it for months and it would be the biggest prank yet. They were going to do it on one of her old friends, Ashley. They planned to fake kidnap her and take her to the amusement park which was her favorite place to go, and there they had some tricks in mind as well. The night before, they dressed in black gear and silly masks. He still remembers her laughter and excitement before they left early that morning.
“She is going to be so freaked!” she exclaimed. They sat outside of the house, preparing to go in and pull off this prank.
“You ready?” he asked, “oh yeah” she said confidently. They quickly got out of the car together, running for the door with their painted black squirt guns in hand. They burst through the door where they heard a crashing sound in the kitchen.
“Hands up!” They shouted as the frightened Ashley put her hands up shaking. She ran over and put a bag over Ashley’s head and began to lead her out. He ran out first to start the car when he heard a loud bang from inside the house. He took his mask off and ran back inside. Ashley was crying in the arms of a man holding a gun. He told him to stop as he entered through the door, so he raised his hands up.
“Charlie?” she said as she moved her hand to lower the man’s gun.
“What are you doing here?!” Her voice cracked and tears were running down her face.
He looked down the hall and could see blood coming from the living room. “Melia!” He screamed, running over to her lifeless body. The rest was a blur of tears and pain. A day which was cherished above all, the day their love first sparked, now a day of terror and sadness.
He was startled awake by a harsh knocking at the door. Quickly he sprung up from the couch, making his way over.
“Charlie? Charlie!” It was his sister, Emily.
“Emily? Please go away!” he responded.
“Charlie, please let me in! are you okay?” she exclaimed.
“You’re not going to get me; I won’t fall for it!” He shouted to her.
“Charlie, why would I prank you! I have not, will not, and will never do anything like that! Please, I just want to make sure you are okay.” She responded kindly.
He took a minute to think. Well… the company would be nice. He cracked the door open, scouring the area to make sure no one was lurking around.
“Come in.” he said.
“What happened to your house! Do you know who did that?” She asked referring to the mess he made of his house earlier. He knew she would judge him so he said it must have been the neighborhood kids. She looked confused.
“Why would they do that, that doesn’t make sense.” She said quietly.
“Its April 1st.” He replied.
She swallowed, looking guilty. He started to calm down and his mind settled as he and his sister played board games. She was kind enough to make him dinner. She was more accommodating and kinder, not the usual jokingly mean she had always been. It was getting late, so she got ready to leave.
“Thank you for being here today, it is nice not to be alone today.” He said with a smile.
“Of course.” She smiled back and left out the door. Shortly after he decided to go on a midnight walk. He walked out to find Emily outside, taking down the many rolls of toilet paper.
“What are you doing! I can clean all this up.” He exclaimed holding his hands out to take the rolls she had picked up.
“No, no, you don’t deserve this” she replied.
“It’s just silly kids” he said urging her to stop.
“Charlie, I know you did this.” She said calmly.
“No, why would I do this to myself?”
“I don’t know, but it had to be you.”
“Why? Why would you think that?”
She let out a big sigh. “It’s not April 1st… its actually April 2nd.” Silence flooded the following seconds as he searched his brain wondering how he could make that sort of mistake, how could he mix up the days, especially THIS day. “A while ago I changed your calendars and clocks a day behind… You know that trip I was on? To Mexico? Well, I wasn’t supposed to get back until early morning April 2nd. I knew April 1st was especially important and tough for you and I did not want you to be alone. I changed it so you wouldn’t have to be or feel alone on April 1st. I’m sorry.”
He was shocked and couldn’t decide how to think or feel about it all. He felt a smile across his face, and he began to laugh. Her teary eyes got smaller as she laughed along with him. Through the laughter, his choppy words came out, “All this work I went through, just so I can avoid being pranked, and you pranked me by changing the day, and making me believe today was the 1st! I know it wasn’t meant to be a prank…” his laughing broke out louder, “but it was basically huge prank out of love” he smiled and gave her a long hug.