Tami Parker Other Duties as Assigned

Finish the Story: Practical Joke


Join in for a lighthearted, no-pressure writing prompt. Leave your perfectionist at the door and follow a dangling story thread to see where it leads you.

I always post my story doodle in the comments, and I’d absolutely love to see yours as well if you feel comfortable sharing it!

It began as a practical joke. But by the end of the day, nobody was laughing. It seemed innocent enough at first, because Jerry and I have a history of playing practical jokes on one another. He was the one to start the whole thing, if I’m not mistaken. He …

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  • put a jar of spiders in my lunchbox.

    I know that sounds terrible, especially since I have a healthy fear of spiders. But it’s not like the jar was open or anything. The spiders were never supposed to get out. I imagine the point was to hear me shriek when I grabbed my sandwich.

    That was before Brian Williams, biggest and baddest kid in school, decided he was going to take my lunch.

    Usually he and his cronies left me alone, but their normal target must have been out sick or something and I had the terrible luck to catch his eye at my locker between second and third class.

    Of course I gave it to him. Heck, I probably would have done it with a smile if I’d known Jerry had already swapped my apple juice for spiders, but I swear I didn’t have a clue.

    We heard the screams at lunch, though. Everyone in the cafeteria did. I didn’t realize Brian’s voice could go that high.

    Jerry and I compared notes, and I admit we laughed at first, thinking he’d gotten his just desserts.

    But then the screaming didn’t stop, and more voices joined in. We stopped laughing pretty fast after that, but it got chaotic fast. Kids nearest the epicenter pushing away and kids who couldn’t see pushing towards.

    Jerry and I got under the lunch table and waited for the chaos to end, but it just got worse once the teachers started blowing whistles and screaming.

    I mean, it was just a jar of spiders. Jerry said his dad had loads of them in his office. He’s a scientist, see? Some big time geeky bug researcher, not the sort of thing you talk about with your best bud at school.

    So when the spiders started growing, we were as surprised as everyone else. By the time they were the size of a labrador, we’d left the table and joined the press of people jamming up the only exit points.

    I think I stepped on someone, but I don’t know for sure. It was all so fast. So unreal. Like a horrible dream.

    I heard someone say Brian opened the jar on purpose. That he was going to dump them on Kamal’s head at lunch to freak him out.

    Can I see my mom yet? I know we’re all being quarantined and I’m trying really hard to keep it all together but everyone seems really scared and I just want to make sure she’s all right. This is the fifth time I’ve told this to you people and you still won’t even tell me your names. Are you from the government?

Tami Parker Other Duties as Assigned