If Jimbo made a living off his pranks, he’d be a rich man. It’s just not safe around him unless you’ve had him in sight for the last twenty-four hours, and even then he’d get you from time to time.
He didn’t play favorites, and he had no sacred boundaries. His boss, Melinda, had given him several warnings. At home, at work, or at play, his mind was always working on something, big or small. Sometimes it got us in real trouble.
Jimbo works at a donut shop, we’ll call it Dumpy Donuts, the name changed to protect the guilty. Its arrangement and decor was a lot like those old soda fountains you see in the movies sometimes, the storefront almost entirely window. Well, come around 10:45 PM last night, he smears a thick layer of angel cream on the main telephone’s speaker and tells me to call it on my cell as soon as his replacement gets there.
This girl was a twenty-something blonde with a tightly-curled perm. I’d met her before and she seemed nice enough, Kathy or Karen or Kara, something like that. I figured by now she’d probably been on the receiving end of any number of pranks and was used to them. Boy was I wrong.
I had the phone keyed up and ready to go, so I hit ‘send.’ It worked like a charm. She picked up on the second ring and splatted angel cream all over her ear and hair. The next sound I heard might have come from a screaming chimpanzee just as a lion ran it down. Karen or Katrina or Katie was not amused.
She grabbed some paper towels and wiped the side of her head, then went back to the employee bathroom, gurgling and crying.
“Holy bananas,” said Jim. “I didn’t think she’d take it that bad.”
I was starting to feel a touch of guilt for my part of the ploy. In my usual eloquent way I said, “Man.”
A few minutes later she came back. “I’m sick and tired of this shit,” she yelled. “I’m done with this place.” She grabbed her purse, tromped out to her car, and drove off.
“Oh, for cryin’ out loud,” said Jimbo. “Who’s going to work her shift now?”
I laughed. “Sometimes the joke’s on you, eh?”
I laughed again. I hung around to keep him company before he had to help with production, and long about 12:30 AM Kara’s or Kathleen’s or Kitty’s car pulled up, but a brute the size of a bear opened the door and pried himself loose from the drivers seat, the car’s suspension bouncing up a full half foot when he got out.
“You know this guy?” I asked.
“Huh-uh,” said Jimbo.
I could swear the ground shook with each step as he walked in the door. “You guys think you’re funny?” he asked.
“No,” said Jimbo. He stood behind the counter
“You like making a mess out of my girlfriend’s hair?”
There was no counter between him and me, and I was feeling extremely vulnerable. “We thought she would laugh.”
He stepped up to me, but I stayed sat. I didn’t want to do anything to provoke this hulk. He pushed his longjohn-sized finger on my sternum, and I had to grab the counter to keep from falling off my stool. “Well she didn’t laugh, did she?” I shook my head.
“I’m going to teach you both a lesson,” he said. “Do you know what I did to the last guy who belittled my Kandy?” (Or Keely, or Kassie). We shook our heads. “He was in the hospital for four days. And he was my friend.”
“We could be your friends,” said Jim.
“Yeah,” I said. “We’re a lot of fun to be around. Good friends.”
“I’ve got more than I need, thanks.” He tensed his fingers and closed them into basketball-sized fists. “I’m going to enjoy this very much. In fact…” he pulled out an iPhone. “Why should I have all the fun? Let’s Facetime Kendra (or Courtney or Cori) so she can watch.” He tapped at his phone and when a cold voice said ‘hello’ he said, “You want to see this, honeycakes?”
“Yes. Hurt them, baby. Hurt them bad!”
I looked at Jimbo, his eyes wide like mine. The ogre propped up the phone on a napkin holder, and they could see Katja’s or Colleen’s or Kupcake’s face scowling at us. “Let me say something to them first,” she said. “All right, you punks. I’m going to enjoy every second of this. But you want to know what I really want to say to you?” Another face came on screen and moved her slightly over, framing the both of them. It was Melinda. “Gotcha,” they said.
I emptied my lungs like a popped balloon, bent over, and groaned.
“Son of a bitch,” said Jimbo.
The hulk pulled out his wallet. “Give me a dozen glazed to go.”