Monday, 13 October 2008

Part II: The Two Blondes


It's time to go back to the business, and when I say it's time to go back, then the entire planet starts spinning in the opposite direction, because I say so! I'm in such a good mood at the time of writing this that I'm basically fibrillating. I don't know if that's a verb, but if it isn't, you're going to have to live with it - I refuse to take it down.

The matter at hand: I was trying to teach to you guys everything you need to know about pranks. And since I'm doing this, let me tell you one rule that you always need to keep in mind: pranks are for men. They're not something you ought to go sharing with women (much less doing to women, because they'll get offended like you've just ironed their cat with a Mercedes). The thing is, you see, that women have this sort of secret alliance going on within their sex. If anything, absolutely anything gets planned that involves some sort of conflict, and if this conflict happens to be polarised between men and women, they'll side with the women whatever the conflict is about, even if it's about rescuing the Holy Grail.

Me and Alex found this out because of our other two housemates, Lorna and Aiken, two short-haired blondes of remarkable wit. One night me, Alex and Lorna were in the lounge, and me and Alex were boisterously boasting (bloody hell I love this alliteration) about the 'monster in the closet' joke. So while we're expending all the hot paraphernalia of words necessary for any man to honour his testosterone, suddenly we hear the soft footfalls of Aiken descending the stairs and going towards the bathroom.

It took me and Alex about 0.6 seconds to decide to play the prank on her. It may have been getting old, but we were still feeling like exploiting every last drop of pathos there may have been in it. Lorna's presence was of course a tremendous source of compulsion for us, because even though neither of us were into her (and she already had a boyfriend to boot), the masculine instinct to show off anything, from your mother's ashes to your uncle's stuffed komodo dragon still smelling of the 1912 abandoned putrefactive loft where it was recovered by six kids playing the Scooby Doo adventures, such an instinct, I say, was enough to make us eat hot coals and dance on the backs of dragons.

Quickly the first matter of contention became evident: who's actually going to play the prank? Alex wants to get in as he claims he's the one who invented the joke, but I'm the one who first suggested doing it tonight, so I'm somewhat unwilling to back down on the opportunity. The matter is about to escalate into an (equally manly) fistfight, which given the two competitors would have been about as appealing to Lorna's eyes as a blind leukaemia patient slugging it out against Richard Nixon when he was seventy-five (didn't live that long? Precisely), but common sense prevails, and what we decide is this: we shall both go into the closet together.

Once inside, I figure that 'common sense' isn't really the expression to define this. I thought the place was tight when I was in it alone, but standing in there with Frankenstein is making it unbearable. 'Get your elbow off my neck, you git,' I whisper him. 'I can't,' he responds, 'it's jammed against the jam.' I'm about to tell him what I think about his puns being forced on me while I have my arms stuck still, when we discover that the door won't close - we're just taking up too much space.

'Lorna,' I call, 'could you give us a quick hand here in getting the door shut?'

'Sure,' she replies. She then comes to the other side of the door and starts pushing. The wood creaks inwards as me and Alex are practically having sex now, but as soon as it shuts, I hear an ominous 'click' coming from the key-hole and a mermaid-like laughter ringing outside: that bint has locked us in!

'Oh, very funny,' comes Alex's voice as my brain is still elaborating the new scenario. 'Lorna,' he calls. 'Lorna!' I try bending down to see if I can take a look at the lock from our position, but it's darker than the inside of Paris Hilton's head and I'm more constricted than if I'd been locked in there with a boa. 'Lorna!' Alex's voice now comes out as a sort of high-pitched wail and he's banging on the door.

'Will you stay still for half a minute?', I hiss to him. 'I'm trying to figure out how we can get out of here.' It may sound convenient that I'm painting myself as the one who managed to keep his head in there, but it's no flight of my own kite at all because, as I soon discovered in the minutes that followed, Alex is actually slightly claustrophobic. He'd obviously managed to cope with this closed spot for the thirty seconds it had taken him to wait for me, but the idea of being closed in there and with no exit is now getting to his head. He doesn't just lose his calm; he goes fucking berserk. He's banging on the door and screeching Lorna's name now with such terrified and distorted intensity that if you were standing outside our closet you'd probably think that someone was strangling a Pterodactyl in there. At a certain point he starts flailing his arms in that goddamn hole and within five seconds I've received at least three elbows in the mouth and have blacker eyes than a mongoose. I might as well have cheated on Margaret Thatcher while she was doing weights (I don't know if she did, but I'm sure she could have beaten me senseless either way).

The thing about that closet, though, is that it had two doors. One main door, on which Alex the Lionheart was banging (me) right now, and one lower door for the tiny space to the left where the owner has left his collection of old shoes. Lorna therefore has the brilliant idea of opening that smaller door and sticking her hand through it (in case it isn't completely obvious, I'm being sarcastic on its being a brilliant idea). As luck would have it, her hand ends up grabbing Alex's calf, at a moment when neither me nor him had realised there even was another door. To say that Alex 'jumped,' in that occasion, would not do justice to the magnitude of the event. Alex screamed and managed to leap four feet in the air without even having the space to bend his legs, and the tremendous 'thump' that I heard above me I assumed must have been him braining himself on the roof. After managing to hit the roof with his head, gravity kicks in so he obviously lands over me and I go down like a sack of potatoes, which I suppose makes me very apt to my location. But the thing is that as Alex comes down he grabs the shelves next to him in an attempt to regain his equilibrium and tears them down - straight onto us. There is something like a storm of tins and onions and the collective nutrients of a student household plane-bomb onto us. Alex hasn't managed to kill me yet, but these damn cans are doing their best to finish the job.

A few moments later we are both piled up in a ruinous burial of vegetables and tins, and the door opens above us to reveal Lorna standing there and laughing. How people could laugh at things like this is something which seriously infuriates me. Scaring and fooling people and getting them to risk their lives is not funny, especially when it's done to me.

'Grand,' I mumble, while Alex looks at her like she's a manifestation of the Virgin Mary. That's just like Alex. He doesn't consider for a second that it was her who locked us in here in the first place. The fact alone that she let him out is enough for him to consider her a goddess.

At that point, the door of the bathroom opens and Aiken walks out, seemingly indifferent. 'What's going on?', she asks - with a tinge of disdain, I believe. Admittedly the sight of me and Alex crumpled on the floor before Lorna, under a carpet of cucumber and tinned tomato passata, must not have been the most awe-inspiring of sights. But still.

Lorna laughed, and as for our reaction to the question, we did not reply. Our masculine spirit rebelled to the idea of telling her, 'We've been royally fucked over.' It's only funny when we're the ones doing it to other people.

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