With surgery scheduled for Tuesday morning, Hubs and I knew we had to execute our prank on Son early in the day. The night before, my partner in marriage and crime accompanied me to our secret headquarters (read: IHOP). Hubs busily poured syrup on his waffles while I called the meeting to order.
“So, what should we aim for? Trouble with a teacher? Extra homework?”
“Nah, that’s too…blah.”
I thought about events of the past week and it hit me. “Got it! When you were a young boy on the brink of the teen years, what was the most horrifying prospect you could possibly imagine?”
“Having my friends find out I have parents?”
“I thought that was currently your worst fear.”
“Right. Okay then. And what’s more embarrassing than parents’ existence?”
“Parents in the context of kissing, dancing, baby pictures, home movies, underwear or pajamas.”
April 1, 2008
Hubs is in position, outside Son’s bedroom door. He calls the land line from his cell phone. There is no caller ID on the phone downstairs, so we don’t worry about covering our tracks. Hubs lets it ring three times before hanging up; enough rings for Son to register that it’s ringing, too few for Son to get to the phone in time to answer it. Moments later, we hear Son moving around in his room. This is my signal to ring the front doorbell. I press the bell, quietly close the door, and slip up the stairs. Then I run down the stairs making as much noise as I can, throw the door open and exclaim cheerily, “Good morning! I’m not sure if he’s awake yet, but come sit down and I’ll go get him!”
Hubs waits two or three beats then pounds on Son’s door. “Son? Mrs. Neighbor’s pipes burst during the night and the kids in the church youth group are going over to help.” I arrive at Son’s bedroom just as he opens the door and gets a look at my morning attire. I have taken pains with my appearance and am looking glamorous in mismatched socks, faded pajamas (from two different sets), and the remnants of the previous day’s mascara under my eyes. Not that Son looks much better; he’s getting ready to shower and is wearing a towel and a milk mustache left over from an apparent midnight kitchen raid.
“Hey what’s the hold-up? Your friends are waiting.”
“Oh right. April Fool’s!” Son shouts, looking extremely pleased with himself.
“Huh? What are you talking about? Look, all I know is the youth leader called and a few minutes later your friends showed up. Didn’t you hear the phone ring or the door bell? You’ve got to get moving!”
“But…wait...it’s April Fool’s day. I know what you’re trying to do.”
“Listen, Kid, I'm getting ready to take your mother to the hospital, for heaven’s sake. Do you really think I’m about to just hang around and play games with you this morning?"
"Yeah," I add. "Hello? I am having surgery in an hour. I don’t have time to goof around. So put some clothes on and get upstairs. NOW.”
“People? Upstairs?” Son’s bravado falters a little bit. He glances at me again, before moving on to do a head-to-toe survey of his father. Garbed in worn sweatpants and an undershirt, Hubs runs his fingers through a hairstyle that looks as if it could only have been achieved with the help of a tube of styling gel and a blender. Son looks back and forth at us while Hubs heightens the effect of Early Morning Chic by scratching and belching a couple of times. I wrap my arms around Hubs and kiss him noisily on the cheek. Horror begins to spread across Son’s features.
Sensing victory, Hubs pushes forward. Yawning and stretching again he points out, “Dude, seriously, if I were you I’d get it in gear and put some clothes on before those girls see you.”
“Girls?” It comes out as more of a squeak than an actual word. “Upstairs? And you answered the door like that?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Your mother answered the door.” Oddly, Son doesn’t seem comforted by this assurance.
“What? This is what I'm wearing to the hospital. They’re just going to make me put on a hospital gown anyway, and besides they said no cosmetics or hairspray.” Hubs and I head upstairs. “Honey, since I’m ready to go, I’ll go talk to Son’s friends while we wait.”
A few minutes later, the top of Son’s suspiciously well-groomed head appears around the door. He peers carefully around, inspecting the room closely before concluding that it is indeed teen-girl-free.
“I knew you were kidding,” he boasts. “I knew it was just an April Fool’s joke. I knew you wouldn’t let anyone see you dressed like that.”
“Of course you did. That’s why you went from wearing nothing but a towel to being fully dressed and groomed in less than five minutes.”
“Whatever. I’m going to get you guys for this.”
I’m not worried. The phrase “I will chaperone your next school dance” will give us the upper hand for years to come.