Shivering inside the flimsy bivouac Ally sighed. in the time she’d spent eating a breakfast she considered hearty, freshening up, putting together a Go Bag and faithfully consulting Google Maps she’d failed to check the weather forecast. A pretty basic slip up considering her morning’d felt a lot like a disaster evac scenario.
’Just as well my windjacker’s also waterproof and I chose Doc Martens over sandshoes.’
At least the rain had given her time to set up camp. But for its unwelcome arrival she’d brought the makings of a rather pleasant day.
”Snacks, water, jacket, book, crossword book, and Ipod. Can’t forget mg Playlist. Music to go.” Except as it turned out coffee would’ve been a preferable beverage.
Still, she’d put herself beyond the reaches of April 1st pranksters. Based on humiliations past this year Ally Steele wasn’t about to open herself up to a repeat performance. ‘Never again.’
Of course that meant putting in the effort, which she could definitely tick off. She imagined the landline ringing, while her mobile went to answerphone. Their frustration’d definitely be mounting.
Last year they’d suckered her good n proper. She’d spent half an hour answering questions for a supposed Greenpeace survey.
“Because, according to the very enthusiastic sounding telemarketer (or rather as it turned out the so called telemarketer) “since Greta Thunberg’s thrown down the gauntlet we have to start taking climate change seriously. That’s why this public transport strategy is of such vital importance. It’s all about lowering that carbon footprint you know, and I have it on good authority that you drive a car.”
”Er yes.”, she’d replied. What she’d really wanted to say (besides demanding this good authority’s name) was ”Mind your own business.”
Except as a good Green supporter you didn’t argue with the Thunberg moniker. Even when you couldn’t quite recall the referenced public transport strategy or how you’d missed it on social media, So loyal to the cause Ally had put considerable thought into her answers only to be greeted with howls of laughter rather than a polite acknowledgement at the end. “April Fool. Such enthusiasm there comrade.”
“Oh very funny. I’ll give them comrade.”
The year before that her workmates (boss included) had presented her with an exquisite looking morning tea cupcake. Supposedly from a certain pricey bakery she’d been unpleasantly surprised by the old salt for sugar switch. ’Yeah funny ha ha and even the boss’s wife was in on it. She baked the darned thing.’
This time Ally Steele was out of harm’s way. Mrs Boss Hog would have to find another recipient for her kitchen nasties. Maybe even her smart alec of a husband. ‘Should’ve reported him to Worksafe for failing to provide a safe working environment. I mean how did Machiavelli & Wife know I wasn’t allergic to salt?’
It was just too bad about the damned rain. It was setting in, and a rather enthusiastic breeze had sprung up. Not exactly flimsy bivouac, water and snacks friendly weather. Ally pictured the roadside diner she’d passed before turning off to this spot. A hot cup of coffee would go down a treat. Except that would entail retracing her steps to the car, and driving back the way she’d just recently come. Settling for water and a fruit stick she told herself this was about short term pain for long term gain. Or temporary discomfort (albeit unexpected) for making herself completely Prank Proof and keeping the pride intact. She wondered if even now the so called telemarketer was targeting a new victim.
Meanwhile Ally’s friends noted her absence. She’d rang into work sick. Except Mrs Boss Hog had decided tocall around with hotpot and a box of Lemsip. The door had been answered by Mia one of Ally’s flatmates. A university student this was a lecture free day. No, Ally wasn’t home. Earlier she’d gone somewhere in the car. Maybe to see her Dr. Mrs Boss Hog wasn’t convinced. She took both hotpot and Lemsip away with her. Perhaps it had been a mistake to get involved with her husband’s staff. Her in-laws certainly thought so. Staff needed clear boundaries in the workplace. When management got too familiar it blurred those edges. Ally Steele was obviously taking advantage. Off joyriding or in some shopping Mall maxing the plastic, and no doubt laughing up her sleeve at having suckered the boss. ‘A boss who happens to be my husband,’
Perhaps she’d arrange to be there when Ally’s suckered boss told her she’d been sprung They should present a united front, especially when she’d been the one to discover the great deception.
Watching her go Mia sighed. This wasn’t the time to start mucking your boss around. So many people were losing jobs, and Ally was in a good situation. Not many employers’ wives called on sick (or supposedly sick) employees with hotpot and Lemsip. She wondered if Ally were in some kind of trouble. If the lie was actually preferable to the truth and if she’d fill them in tonight when she got home. If she got home. That rain was settling in for the long haul. She hoped Ally was at least under shelter.
By what she guessed to be around five-ish ( the darkness becoming a tad darker) Ally had succumbed to worsening weather. By now the flimsy bivouac resembled a sieve, Ally was soaked jacket notwithstanding, the crossword book was wet and water’d somehow gotten into her Ipad. The roadside diner was a definite
prospect. She’d have coffee, a hot meal and maybe book in for the night if they had rooms. On American movies those roadside places usually had accomodation,
“Except this isn’t America.”a small voice echoed.
“Yeah, yeah I know. So what?”
All the way down a by now slippery track Ally consoled herself with visions of hot coffee and a filling, homestyle dinner. She’d have the chops with a generous serving of mashies. ‘Can’t go past my mashies,’
Except in a bizarre twist her prank proofing exercise hadn’t quite finished its inverted mind-muck. To her dismay Ally discovered a flat battery. She’d left the motor running and was out of cell phone range. There were no other vehicles in the carpark and no nearby houses from where help might be summoned. She didn’t fancy an unscheduled marathon trek, but needs must. As she would later recall just past the turnoff a passing motorist took pity on her. She reckoned it was the drowned rat appearance. He drove her back to the car and jump started the battery. However on hearing what had brought her out into the middle of nowhere he couldn’t help but chuckle. “Prank Proofing. Well I must say that’s a first, but I’m surprised you didn’t notice when you tried you cell phone. Or even before you set out.”
To which he‘d replied showing her on his own mobile. “The date of course.”
And there on the screen it read April 2nd 2021.
So much for Prank Proofing. Now the joke was on her and the pranksters would dine out on this for years.