Betty Noe, Poetry Panel Editor
In honor of yet another April Fool’s Day, easily my least favorite holiday on the Gregorian calendar, I’d like to take this time to remember the worst April Fool’s prank I was ever on the receiving end of.
Let’s set the scene: I was a junior in high school trying to cram for an AP Bio test I had that day in seventh period. The date was April 2, 2013.
I woke up on this particular day to a series of texts from my 19 year-old sister saying that she had slept with a friend of hers a few days before, had not taken her birth control in weeks, and forgot to take Plan B after this all happened.
After revealing this saga of teenage irresponsibility, she begged me not to tell our parents and told me it would still be a couple weeks before she could take a pregnancy test, so all we could do right now was wait. The best part was that I read all of this with my mother right next to me and, if she were a different kind of parent, she easily could have looked over my shoulder and seen all the texts.
But why was I reading these texts the day after April Fool’s Day, you might wonder. The answer is simple and pretty indicative of how responsible I was at the time. I had a habit of wearing my phone’s battery down until it died (always to my surprise), plugging it in somewhere to recharge, and then walking away and immediately forgetting where I put my phone. As you could imagine, people loved trying to make plans with me. On that April Fool’s Day my phone died before my sister sent her texts and I didn’t make any effort to find my phone until the next day when I was faced with a full day of school without my phone.
I then spent the rest of the day frantically texting my sister to try to get any more information about what was happening or how she planned on getting the money for an abortion without telling our parents. I didn’t find out that all of this was a joke that landed a day late until my sister woke up at around 1 p.m. to text me, “…April fools?”
As much as I hate to say it, when I look back on these texts, I can recognize my sister’s masterful execution of this prank. I would argue that her writing in these texts rivals the deceptive talent of even Lee Israel’s famous forgeries. But where Lee Israel was a master in imitating the voices of late literary giants, my sister was a master in imitating herself in crisis. Her tone, her form, all the way down to the way she separated the story out into a number of short, frantic texts modeled exactly all of the nervous “I messed up” stories she’d sent me in the past. And just as Lee Israel looked back on her forged letters as some of her greatest writing (and I would argue she was right), I look back on these texts from my sister as some of the greatest unpublished fiction writing I have ever read.
So if you’re a writer looking for a good prank to play this April Fool’s and you’d like a chance to flex your literary muscles for your friends and family, allow me to suggest anything other than telling your sister you’re pregnant; instead, try texting your significant other to say that the test came back and it’s definitely chlamydia.