The best April Fools’ prank I ever played was on my then-husband, in 2001. We were about halfway through our short marriage (we only made it a little over a year). The Saturday night of March 31, he had gone out drinking with a buddy. I don’t recall where I was when he left, but I wasn’t home.
Around 1 a.m. on April 1, I woke up to find he still hadn’t made it home. I slept restlessly the rest of the night, expecting to hear him come stumbling in any minute. I realized around 5 a.m. that he probably wasn’t coming home.
Around 6:30 a.m., I got up. Standing at the screen door, looking out into the driveway, I pondered how mad I should be about the fact that my husband stayed out all night without even bothering to call me. My gaze settled on his prize 1994 Mustang. It was a burnt orange color, with a decal on the back of the tinted glass window, portraying a bucking wild mustang and the words: DRIVE IT LIKE YOU STOLE IT.
And I had an idea.
Around 9:30 a.m., a white Ford truck pulled into the driveway, carrying my hungover husband. I saw it pull up, but I hurried back to the back bedroom and busied myself, pretending to do school work (I was in college at the time).
Eventually, he ventured into the house. Rather boldly, I thought, for a man who had just stayed out all night without so much as courtesy call to his young bride.
I heard him rustling around in the front room, then by and by making his way to the bathroom, and I guess he got a glimpse of me at my desk in the back bedroom, and he started.
“I didn’t think you were home!”
Casually, I looked up, “Where else would I be?”
His eyes widened, “Wait! Where’s the Mustang?”
I raised my eyebrows, “Did you forget where you parked it last night?”
“What do you mean, where I parked it?”
I stood up from the desk, “I assume you drove it home.”
“Um, yes, today. What are you talking about?” I forced my face into the most incredulous look I could muster.
“I didn’t drive last night. Jack picked me up!” then I saw a wave of realization cross his face, as he deduced what must have happened, spinning around to run through the house out the door, to the driveway.
I followed after him, calling, “What is your problem?”
“The Mustang! Where is the Mustang?”
Standing in the middle of the driveway, he seemed to be inspecting the gravel, “Was it here when you got home yesterday?”
“No, I thought you drove it to Jack’s.”
“NO! JACK PICKED ME UP. CALL THE POLICE! THE MUSTANG’S BEEN STOLEN.”
He was seriously in despair.
In the corner of my eye, in the upstairs window of the house next door, I saw the curtain move. My neighbor (my accomplice) was watching from above.
Opening the window, she hollered out, “What’s all the commotion about?”
“Gina!” my husband cried to her, “When was the last time you saw my Mustang?”
Gina screwed her face up thoughtfully, “Your orange car?”
“YES, YES MY ORANGE CAR! MY MUSTANG.”
Gina shrugged, “I guess I saw it … yesterday when I got home from work.”
“Well did you see anyone around here? Someone stole my Mustang!”
“Oh, surely not! I would have heard someone if they were here. I mean, you didn’t leave your keys in it or anything, did you?” Gina offered, helpfully.
“Of course I didn’t leave my keys in it!” he turned to me, “Where’s the other set of keys?”
I nodded towards the house, “On the hook by the door, like they always are.”
“Call the police!” he repeated, as he began pacing the driveway, inspecting the gravel, “Do you see any unusual tire tracks?” he asked Gina.
“You want me to call the police?” I asked him.
“Well, I don’t know what else to do!”
“Well, why don’t you call the police? Do you not know how to use a phone?”
“Ginger! Just call the damn police!” he snapped.
“I just wondered. Maybe the reason you didn’t call me to tell me you were going to stay out all night was because you don’t know how to use a phone?”
“Waylon stayed out all night?” Gina piped in.
“Ginger, can you worry about that later! MY MUSTANG’S BEEN STOLEN!”
Calmly, I said to him, “Waylon, do you even know what day it is?”
He squinted at me, “It’s Sunday. What’s your point?”
“But do you know the date?”
Waylon sighed, “Ok, I’ll call the police my damn self!”
As he was heading to the house, Gina called out the window, “Wait, think about this a minute, Waylon! What’s today’s date?”
“I don’t know what that has to do with any fucking thing!”
The screen door slammed.
Gina, laughing, stage-whispered to me, “You better tell him before he actually calls the police!”
I ran after him, now on the verge of laughter myself, finding him rummaging through the a kitchen drawer, fishing out the phone book. “Do I call the non-emergency number, you think?”
“Yeah, but I don’t know if the police department is open today. You know, it being a holiday and all,” I informed him.
“What holiday is it?”
“It’s April First. It’s April Fools’ Day. And your car has not been stolen. Gina and I took it and hid it at my mom’s house. And you, my dear, are an April Fool!”
While this was processing, I added, “And next time you’re going to stay out all night? Your ass better call your wife.”