“One Prank Deserves Another” by Susan Sundwall
This story appears in the Baby Boomer anthology “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Stupid Kid.”
I don’t remember what I had going on that night, but when I got home, Mom informed me that my younger sister, Shari, had taken a babysitting job that was ordinarily mine. In a family of seven kids, money for extras was scarce and those sitting jobs were a nice little income stream for me. I babysat for about half of our immediate neighbors, as well as for others a few streets over.
Grumpy about missing out on the job, I headed for my room. Opening my dresser drawer, I took out an envelope—the one full of my babysitting money. Well, maybe not full, but the $7 inside represented a goodly number of hours, especially at 50 cents per hour. I hoarded every greenback in those days. But tonight, thanks to Shari, there wouldn’t be any additional greenbacks to stash.
As the prankster in our family, I tucked my money away, and then thought of Shari watching the little girl and her brother only two doors down. As I stewed, the demon of pranking came and hopped onto my shoulder, and the brilliance of the plan he offered was too much to resist. What if I put on that stupid vinyl coat Mom talked me into buying, the one that goes down to my ankles, and grabbed one of Dad’s old hats from the hall closet, and go scare Shari? It was a great plan! I would slither out of the house when no one was looking, sneak through the neighboring two yards to where Shari was babysitting, and surprise her! I knew the property there, both front and back. I knew the latch on their side gate had no lock. Wouldn’t it be hilarious to creep through the gate and knock on the back door, speak in a deep scary voice, and die laughing when Shari nearly passes out from fright? My secret hope—and ultimate goal—was that she’d shriek and wet her pants.
I had to wait until everyone else in the house was busy before I could successfully launch my plan. My younger siblings were glued to the television, Mom was in her bedroom and Dad was in the garage. When it seemed safe, I grabbed the coat and hat and managed to get out of the house undetected. I quickly made my way across two lawns, hoping no nosy neighbors were outside at that hour. My heart was hammering as I put on the hat and coat. I got to the gate, slipped through and stood at the back door. I knocked.
At first nothing happened. The back door was off the laundry room and I could see light from the living room just beyond the washing machine. I figured Shari was in there on the sofa, watching television. The kids were probably already sound asleep.
I knocked again—louder this time—and then saw her head pop around the corner into the dark laundry room.
“Who’s there?” she asked, tentatively.
“Is Sharon here?” I replied, gruffly.
“What?” she said, still with only her head showing. Her eyes were huge!
“Is Sharon here?” I asked, a little louder.
“Who is it?” she asked in a shaky voice, gripping the wall. “What do you want?” Her terror was on the rise, and my mirth overflowed.
That’s when I lost it. I whipped off Dad’s hat and started laughing. “Did I scare you?” I gasped. I knew I had, but when she recognized my voice, she charged through the laundry room at me, shaking with rage. I got the prank gene and she got the rage gene—I should have remembered that!
“You creep!” she yelled, whipping on the back porch light. “You scared me to death. I didn’t know who you were!”
Which was the point, I thought. But the wrath in her voice was palpable and what she said next wiped the joy off my face.
“I’m telling Mom! She’s gonna kill you!”
Now, mind you, I’d sat at the sibling negotiating table many a time. This was the place where you brought your arsenal of held-back knowledge—knowledge of sister wrongdoings with which to negotiate. And now I had to bring out the big guns. Creeping around late at night in dark clothing and scaring the poop out of my younger sister was a mobster-worthy prank.
“If you do, I’ll tell about you and Wendy smoking out behind the 7-Eleven,” I shot back. Wendy was our next youngest sister.
“Oh, yeah? I saw you sneak out with that Roger guy the other night! You were in the alley kissing him!”
Man, things were getting dicey here. I’ll have to be a bit more cautious with my sneaking out from now on. We traded volleys for a while until I finally decided the only thing I could do was apologize. So I did. By that time, Shari had settled down, the kids had slept through our argument, and I skedaddled for home.
The next morning, Shari and I eyeballed each other across the breakfast table. Each knew what the other was thinking—to get even! And you probably already know this, especially if you’ve ever been accosted by the demon of pranking yourself: a good prank is something that just keeps on giving!
Susan Sundwall is a freelance writer, motivational speaker and author of the Minnie Markwood mystery series. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and loves entertaining visitors at her blog www.sundwallsays.blogspot.com.
Again, this story appears in “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Stupid Kid,” under the chapter title “Sibling Shenanigans.” This book is filled with 59 silly and crazy stories by Baby Boomers who survived growing up. Purchase this book today from your favorite retailer, Amazon (http://amzn.to/1vpRWoW) or Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/1FGUs1d).
To submit your stories for consideration in future NYMB titles, go to http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com and click on the “Not Your Mother’s Book” tab.