Chester Huffinpuff was known as a practical joker to all his friends, family, and coworkers, but each year on April Fools Day, Chester would be on his guard instead of pulling pranks. He knew that someone was going to try their best to get him back for the jokes he had played on them throughout the rest of the year.
When he awoke on this sunny April first morning, Chester went through his daily routine. As soon as his eyes opened, he would get out of bed, shower, dress, and go downstairs for breakfast. His breakfast usually consisted of two eggs, sunny side up with two slices of bread, lightly toasted. To drink, he would have a small glass of orange juice followed by a cup of fresh-brewed coffee, black with two sugar.
Chester then approached the calendar that he had hanging on the kitchen wall and marked an ‘X’ over the date, April First. Ironically, this was the only day out of the year that he chose not to prank people because he thought that they would be expecting it.
When he was ready for work, Chester put on his coat and carefully opened the front door, checking to see if a pail of water was perched above the door, or if something was on the ground outside the door that he may step in, but nothing was there.
He walked slowly down the steps, cautiously looking in both directions up and down the street just in case a surprise attack was looming. Still nothing. Chester approached the car and circled it three times checking for nails under the tires or food stuck in the exhaust pipe. All clear so far, so he got inside and started the car up.
Chester worked as a mail clerk at an advertising agency uptown. He had been there for eight years now, and everybody knew about his hijinks. He was tolerated, but not well liked by many. The only person who genuinely was friendly with Chester, was a security guard named Jake. He was ten years older than Chester, but they became close friends, despite his ongoing practical jokes. Jake was something of a joker himself but preferred telling jokes over performing pranks. His dream was to become a stand-up comedian one day.
As Chester arrived at the advertising agency and parked in his designated spot, he carefully scanned the parking lot to make sure nobody was going to jump out from behind a car to try and scare him. Once again, nothing happened so he walked inside. Jake sat at the front desk and greeted Chester as he came through the door.
“What’s up, my man?” Jake asked.
“Not much, Jake. Anything exciting happening around here?” Chester replied.
“You know that things are pretty dull around here until you show up,” Jake said with a laugh.
Chester laughed as well then told Jake goodbye before catching the elevator to the basement where he worked. He stood against the back wall so nobody could stick a sign to his back that read, “KICK ME” or something to that affect. After the doors opened, he waited for the other employees to exit before he left the elevator.
Still paranoid, he dashed into the men’s room and checked his back in the mirror to make sure nothing was there. When he reached the staff lounge, Chester looked over all the snacks and the coffee urn to see if they had been tampered with, but it all looked safe to eat. He did not trust anyone around the office. He knew that they all had it in for him and he was expecting something around every corner.
In the mail room, several employees worked steadily sorting out letters and packages for the employees on each floor of the six-story building. Chester dreaded going up to the top floor. That was where the President of the company had his office along with the CEO and the Vice-President. None of them had a sense of humor and the last time Chester attempted a prank on any of them, they threatened to fire him. He would normally start his rounds at the President’s office then work his way back downstairs. The closer he got to the basement, the lighter the mood in the offices seemed to get.
On the third floor, Chester had a secret crush on a brunette named, Daisy. He would personally hand her the mail each day instead of setting it on her desk like he did to the rest of the staff. Daisy rarely even acknowledged Chester’s existence, but the one time that she laughed at a prank he pulled on another employee in her section, she laughed out loud, and Chester instantly felt like she was in love with him.
His walkie-talkie chirped on his waist and he heard his name being called. He was asked to pick up a special delivery at the Vice-President’s office immediately. This was an unusual request, especially so late in the day, so he began to think that this was the prank that he was expecting. His coworkers knew that he would never expect the executives to pull a prank, so who better to do it, he thought.
When Chester arrived at the Vice-President’s office, his secretary handed Chester a large envelope and said that it needed to be delivered by courier today. Chester pondered how this envelope could lead him toward a practical joke. He held it up to his ear and shook it around slightly until the secretary insisted that he gets it mailed immediately. Chester left the office with a look of confusion and headed back to the mailroom. He set the package in the courier bin and labeled it with a stamp that read, “URGENT”.
The day continued, and Chester consistently watched over his shoulder and searched for any indication that someone was attempting to pull a prank on him, but as his workday came to an end, nothing happened. He began to think that his coworkers just did not care about April Fools Day anymore. He felt somewhat disappointed as he walked out of the building that day.
On his way home, Chester stopped off at a fast-food place up the street from his apartment and ordered himself a burger and fries for dinner. Then he stopped by a convenience store and bought a bag of chips to snack on later and a newspaper.
Back at his apartment, Chester finished off his meal and sat down in the living room to read his paper. The headlines read, “APRIL FOOLS JOKE GOES AWRY”. He thought that it was strange that there was news about April Fools jokes in the news already, but he read on.
“A man is in hospital following an April Fools joke that went terribly wrong yesterday. A man in his thirties, identified as an employee at a retail store in Bradford, was taken to hospital after the toilet he was using exploded beneath him. He is believed to be in serious condition. Witnesses claim that another employee was known to prank people regularly and was not seen in the store following the incident. Police are now asking the for the public’s help in apprehending the suspect. The suspect is described as dark hair, about six feet tall, slim build, wears black-rimmed glasses, and goes by the name of Wilbur Harrison. If you have any information of his whereabouts, please contact the police immediately.”
Chester was confused. Why would someone do an April Fools joke before April first? He looked closely at the date under the headline. It read, April 2, 2021. That means Chester had missed April Fools Day altogether. He took out his cellphone and called Jake.
“Hey, Chester, what’s up?” Jake asked.
“This might sound strange, Jake, but what is today’s date?”
Jake chuckled. “It’s April second, dude! Why do you ask?”
“It’s strange, but I went through the whole day thinking it was the first, but then I got the paper, and it said it was the second. I guess I forgot to mark off the day on my calendar yesterday.”
Jake began to laugh loudly. “Chester, my friend. You have been the victim of the greatest prank ever!”
“What do you mean, Jake?”
“Dude, the newspaper you read was made just for you. I knew that you went there every day and bought a paper. I just asked Mr. Wong at the store to give you that paper when you came in. Everyone at the office was in on it too. I let them know what I was planning, and they agreed not to pull any April Fools jokes on anyone while you were around. Chester, you have been pranked. The King has fallen. Long live the King.”
Chester could not believe what he was hearing. Nobody has been able to prank him since he was a teenager. He felt his blood pressure rising before responding.
“THAT WAS NOT FUNNY! HOW COULD YOU DO SOMETHING SO SNEAKY? I THOUGHT YOU WERE MY FRIEND!”
Jake laughed more as he replied. “Oh, Lord, Chester. You need to lighten up. I thought it was time that you received a little payback for all the pranks you pulled since we met. Don’t let your pride get in the way. Tomorrow is another day.”
Chester was silent for a moment, then began to laugh as well.
“Okay, you got me. I admit it. You are the reigning King of pranks. Just watch your back because I will take the crown back again one day.”
“You are on, dude. Challenge accepted.”
The two men laughed some more as Jake filled Chester in on all the details of his plan. In the months and years to come, Chester’s practical jokes lessened, and his friendships began to grow. The people around the office started seeing a new side of him that he had never shown in the past. A more mature side with a high intellect. He even took Daisy out on a few dates. Though deep inside, Chester still plotted his greatest joke ever that he would release when they least expected it.