I step back to look at my creation. “It's perfect, isn’t it?”
“Yep,” my best friend, Oliver, pronounces. Right now, we’re standing on the front porch of my archnemesis, attempting to create what could soon be the biggest prank of all time.
“Finally, we’ll be able to make her pay!” And then, I hear it.
The creak of the door, the sound of the doorknob turning, my unheard cries, they’re all heard at once, and all happen in one swift movement. I hear it tip, here the water slosh and splash, and then—
All ten gallons of water come down on her, soaking her from head to toe.
A very disgruntled and very wet Mia stands in front of me, wiping away water from her eyes.
“Sorry!” I say quickly. Her black coffee hair, her chocolate skin, even her cold hazel eyes seem to be drenched in water and anger.
“I came to see what you were doing. Apparently, fueling your obsession with Annie.”
“It’s not an obsession! I hate her!”
“Yeah. It's an all-consuming hate,” Mia points out.
“So, what’s your ‘big plan’ this time, genius?”
“Get back at her.”
“You're always trying to ‘get back’ at people. Why’s she different?”
I shrug. “Well, do you want to help, or are you just gonna stand there?”
“Stand here,” Mia says, crossing her arms. She’s so stubborn. I guess we have that in common.
“Fine.” I don’t need her anyway.
“Hey Alex?” Oliver calls. He seems to be surveying the damage. “I think we might need a new bucket.” I peer over his shoulder. There’s a large crack down the side. I groan.
“Seriously?” I complain. “We don’t have time for this! She’s gonna be home in a few hours!” I turn. “Does anyone have a bucket?”
“I do!” Oliver sprints out the door, leaps off of Annie’s front porch, and runs to grab a bucket. I tap my foot impatiently, and finally plop onto Annie’ porch swing. Mia is still standing there, crossing her arms, leaning against the porch railing. “Why are you so nervous?” She asks. For once, she sounds somewhat sympathetic.
“I just want this to work.”
“Why is it so important to you, though?”
Oliver runs back to us, carrying a small bucket. “It’s not great, but what can we do? We don’t have time to get a bigger one.”
“We can do this.” I glance at my watch. “We still have at least an hour or so until she gets back.”
Oliver and I work to balance the bucket on top of the door. I drag a hose up the ladder and fill the bucket with water. The sky is beginning to darken. We need to work faster.
“Oliver!” I yell as the bucket is knocked off the top of the door. Water is everywhere. “Grab a towel! And get the hose again!” I’m panicking. We don’t have a lot of time to finish the plan.
I thought this was going to work. I thought this would be the best prank ever pulled. I thought I would finally have my revenge, that the event I’d been planning for a year would work. I guess I was wrong.
Oliver is wiping the ground profusely, and Mia is even dragging the hose up the steps to the porch. I know her relationship with Annie is complicated, but I’m surprised and happy that she’s helping us.
“Who’s that?” Oliver momentarily stops wiping the ground with the towel, and points to a shiny black car coming our way. He squints. “I think I see someone. It looks a bit like—” His eyes bulge. “ANNIE! We gotta get outta here!” He tugs at my hand, but I don’t budge. He looks around nervously. And then, before I can stop him, he sprints, flying over the steps and out of sight. I try to call out to him, but it’s no use. I sigh. I’m not giving up that easily. The plan is almost finished! I scramble to attempt to get everything in place, and even Mia looks anxious. But before I can add the finishing touches, Annie is out of the car, looking confused.
“What are you doing here?” She says, proceeding up the stairs, “Mia?” Mia looks uncomfortable. She shrinks into the shadows.
“Um, hi?” I say.
Annie puts her hands on her hips. Then, she sighs, giving up. Her hands drop to her side. “It’s April Fool’s.” Standing there, looking defeated, she looks slightly—powerless?
“I’m sorry. We just—got off on the wrong foot. I’m Alex. And this is, well, you already know her. Just don’t go through that door. You’ll regret it.”
I can’t believe myself. All this planning, all this strategizing, for nothing? But, at the same time, my feet feel a bit lighter, as if I’m walking on clouds. Because Annie isn’t scowling. She’s smiling. And then, she’s laughing.
“Why are you doing this? Why are you telling me this? I thought you would love to see me walk through that door, and be pied in the face, or trip and fall, or something.”
“I don’t know,” I say. “It just didn’t feel right.”
“Unless—” Annie moves to the door. I try to stop her, but I’m too late.
It’s as if I see it in slow motion. The bucket is tipping, falling off the door, and finally drenching Annie. She gasps, dripping in water. And then, as if that weren’t enough, the bucket comes to land perfectly on her head, covering her entire face. She lifts it up slightly, breathing hard. But Mia and I cannot stop laughing. We’re almost rolling on the floor, like wild animals. At first, Annie crosses her arms, pouting, but then, her face lightens, and she starts to chuckle a bit too. I can tell she’s trying to hold it back though.
“I’m sorry,” I try to say through giggles. Mia stops laughing momentarily, glancing down at her phone. I peer over her shoulder. She’s watching a video. On the phone screen, the bucket tips again, leaving Annie drenched. The bucket again lands on her head. Mia chuckles.
Annie is grumbling, a slight smile on her face. She races upstairs, water plopping onto the floor every few steps.
“What can I say?” Mia says, grinning. “That was pretty funny.”
I scratch the back of my head. “Yeah…. I feel kind of bad for her, though.”
“She totally deserved it. And she’s fine. Her ego might be a bit wounded, but she’ll bounce back. She always does.” Mia stares off into the distance, in deep thought.
“I miss her, you know? I miss her.”
As the sky turned a deep shade of navy blue, we finally stepped off the porch and started down the road. A silence passed between us; neither one of us wanted to break it. Silence is a delicate thing. Easily broken. But this was one moment where silence seemed to go on and on forever.
Glowing stars above our heads, we marched on, having done our job. We grasped hands as the sun finally lowered into the horizon.