The prompt: In honor of April Fool’s Day, we asked you to write about a time that a prank, joke, or piece of gossip twisted out of control, producing unexpected results. Unexpected doesn’t have to mean negative!
This was not my prank. I wasn't old enough to remember this prank. But it's one of those pranks that sort of takes on a life of it's own and lives in re-tellings and memories.
The church camp shared a town with a prison. You saw the prison and knew that the long road trip to camp was almost at an end. I don't ever remember anyone being scared that a prison was nearby, but there's always that threat that lingers in the back of your mind.
That lingering threat was used for this prank.
A voice came on over the intercom system, sending everyone to their cabins early. They were to head straight to their cabins, stopping for nothing. The dorms were split by age groups and the counselors for the oldest cabin of girls immediately locked the doors and informed the teenagers that an 'ex-murderer had escaped'.
One of the counselors, for a made-up reason that I can't remember, had to leave the cabin. The girls inside began to hear screaming and what, to them, sounded like gun shots. One of the counselors went to the window and said that her fellow counselor was being beaten to death. The girls all got down on their knees and, through their tears, began to pray.
What was actually taking place outside was two women swatting off fire ants and one woman using a stick to hit the swamp cooler. The women outside did not know that A) the stick banging against the swamp cooler sounded like gunshots on the inside or B) the counselors inside weren't telling the girls to look out the window, which would end the prank. That was the plan. But after waiting for the girls to come outside and laugh along with them, the women outside finally gave up and went back to their own cabins.
Little did they know they'd face an angry group of teenage girls the next day! They thought the counselors inside would immediately begin laughing at the 'threat' outside or that the girls would catch on to the words 'ex' murderer. There are no 'ex' murderers. But there are 'ax' murderers, which the girls mis-heard.
To try to smooth things over, the two ladies who were outside (plus the counselor who was being 'beaten') re-enacted the prank for the whole camp. They looked pretty ridiculous slapping at fire ants and banging a stick... so everyone laughed it off. Except for the cabin of teenage girls. No one can hold a grudge like a teenager!
As I said in the beginning, I wasn't old enough to even remember this prank. The basics of the prank are accurate but I might have gotten some of the details confused. If so, I apologize!