I committed to an “April Writing Challenge”. My plan is to write every day during the month using a daily writing prompt.
Today’s Challenge? Tell us your best practical joke story.
Back in 1984, I was a freshman at Eastern Illinois University. I lived on the first floor of an all-girls dormitory – Pemberton Hall. I shared a room with Mary and Marie – two old friends from high school.
Long before the first semester ended, I met most of the other ladies who resided on the floor. Aside from the two weirdos across the hall – the other fifteen rooms housed plenty of new friends.
Millie lived next door.
Millie was older and wiser than us. I can’t remember how much older – but she was definitely seasoned. And we were impressed.
She ordered blue-tail flies at Ikes’s Four O’Clock Club every Friday while the rest of us would pool our quarters and take turns springing for a pitcher of Lite.
Smoked dope on the regular – she had a roach clip that hung from a cracked open dorm window and a can of Aqua Net at at the ready along with a bath towel stuffed under the door in the event our RA was on rounds.
Millie liked to watch MTV – we spent hours watching video premieres. I remember she loooovvved Simon LeBon.
We always knew there was a Duran Duran video on by the shrieks we’d hear out of Room 131 – long before Chandler’s gal Janice made the phrase famous – Millie would shriek Oh.My.God on the top of her lungs as our wall shook from the sounds of “Hungry Like The Wolf” blaring from the other side. After the “OH.MY.GODDDDDDD” came the proclamation of what a looker he was. “HEEEE.IS.BEEEEEEEAUTIFUL!! OH. MY. GODDDDDD.”
Millie had a laugh that was infectious. We were instant friends.
Right after Thanksgiving Break, Millie asked me to start saving pop tops. Seems her cousin (without a name) was suffering from some ailment that required him collecting pop tops.
Every day I would knock on her door and give her my tops from the day – I drank coke like an addict and had a fridge stocked with beer – we had plenty of tops.
Right before Christmas break, Millie offered to remove the tabs from the cans herself…reasoning that my generosity in the six to twelve tabs I was giving her daily was, I believe her exact words were “awe inspiring”.
Millie provided me with a big hefty bag to fill with my empty cans. I asked if she minded they weren’t rinsed out. She said not to give it a second thought. And I didn’t.
I just kept filling the bag and she kept emptying it. Until April.
I woke up early ahead of a bright sunny April day – my nineteenth birthday. A big day at EIU in the Eighties – an April 1966 birthday would get a kid access into all Uptown bars in Charleston. I had a big day ahead of me.
Grabbing my shower bucket and a towel I was headed to the bathroom down the hall as I opened the door, I couldn’t see the hallway because the doorway was dressed with streamers.
Happy Birthday to Me.
As I pushed through the streamers I heard a loud crash. A crash only four months worth of tin cans could make.
And then I heard the laugh. The hysterical laugh of my neighbor.
Well played, Millie. Well played.
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