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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Family · #2317189
Eddy thought wrong. Very wrong.
Sometime between the elbow to his stomach, the spin-kick to his face and the coup de grace knee to his balls, Eddy realized the guy he thought was his old friend Max, wasn’t.

It was meant to be a joke, a prank. It was one of those things that seemed funny at the time, and like all things said to have “seemed funny at the time,” this one, too, turned out wrong.

Eddy had been standing in the mouth of an alley off Jefferson Avenue. He’d been in there for almost twenty minutes, and it was getting darker, and Eddy was getting cold waiting for his old friend, Max. They were supposed to meet at the Sawmill Lounge, which was three doors down. It was Max’s birthday, and it was April first and knowing both these things, you might think you know the rest of the story and maybe you do. Then again…maybe you don’t.

Eddy was about to give up and go inside, get himself a beer. He figured it wasn’t a particularly good prank, anyway. It was a kid’s prank. The old index finger in the back and “Gimme all yer money!” one. Nobody is ever surprised and rarely does anybody laugh, other than you, and you only laugh because you need to pretend it was funny. Or you meant it as funny. In any case, Eddy had decided to give it up and go inside just as he heard footsteps coming quickly down the sidewalk. Someone twenty minutes late. Someone whose birthday was on April Fool’s Day.

And out of the alleyway pops Eddy, full of fun and surprises. “Gimme all yer—"

You know what happened next, but it's still a little fuzzy to Eddy. He can remember his shoes being pulled from his feet. Then his pants and shirt. Then his watch from his wrist. He remembers seeing lights blinking a cacophony of swirling colors and policemen, eight of them, two groups of four twins, all wearing surgical gloves. And he remembers being pulled to his feet and handcuffed.

He has a lopsided vision of people watching from inside the Sawmill Lounge and how they didn’t look worried or scared or happy or sad. They looked frozen. Frozen people with frozen faces standing still with their mouths open. Eddy remembers looking back at them as he was being shoved into the back of a police car. Minutes later he realized he was naked.

Hours later when it was light outside the hospital window, and the nurse asked if he wanted to see his friends and family and somehow missed him shaking his head emphatically No!-- into the room they came with smiles and balloons and oversized get well cards.

Weeks later, when his jaw was no longer wired shut and he could once again see out of his swollen eyes and breathe out of his broken nose, Eddy would tell these people how the guy looked just like Max. How he’d been wearing the same kind of coat. Had the same haircut. Same shoes. How anyone would have thought it was Max.

But at this moment now, with his friends and family standing on both sides of his hospital bed, all Eddy could do was listen. He had to listen to Max’s squeaky voice orating a drawn out, detailed description of the look on Eddy’s face as he was being put into the cruiser, and then laughter and then something about his big flabby butt, and more laughter, louder laughter; the stop it, stop it, I can’t breathe kind of laughter.

There weren’t a lot of things clear in Eddy’s mind at that moment, but he did know that he hated all his friends, and that he hated his family. He knew he was going to divorce his wife and sell his house and move to a beautiful island somewhere. And most of all, he knew he'd think twice before trying another April Fools' prank.

--648 Words--
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