I’d been meaning to get around to prankin’ my Uncle Jim ever since he taped all of my silverware to the ceiling of my apartment then called the police, tellin’ them that I was trying to eat him. As you can believe, it was one nasty tangle I had to get myself out of. Took weeks to convince the police that it was only a stupid prank and then they made me pay a hefty fine for it.
For weeks I’d been wrackin’ the creative part of my brain, which, even I’d admit is a rather small part, for an idea of how to get him back. Then, one evening, it struck me. Or, more accurately, I struck it.
I was driving at dusk on the Interstate highway and hit a big old deer. I know the deer was old because I think he had a grey beard when I saw him in my headlights. Also, he was smart. When he saw me coming at him he leapt clean into the air and galloped across my roof. I only really hit one of his hoofs, I think. I pulled over to try and spot the animal and saw him dashing back into the woods with only a bit of a limp.
Feeling relieved that I hadn’t hurt the old guy too much, and even more relieved that he hadn’t hurt me, I took to examining my old Ford. His name is Hopeless—my car, that is. Long story how he got named that, so I won’t bother tellin’ you now. If I did, I’d never get finished tellin’ my prank story.
So anyways, I know that deer was big, not only because he was big in my headlights, but because he left big, hoof-shaped dents in my roof. Poor old Hopeless was not too happy about it, and neither was I. Then again, the whole deer hoppin’ over my car would make a great story, and here was proof that it had happened. I was havin’ a little chuckle over that, and stillin’ my jumpy nerves when the idea struck me.
What if deer were to visit my annoying Uncle Jim?
So, next day, between callin’ up just about everyone I knew, including Uncle Jim, to tell them about my weird and hilarious near-accident the night before, I made some preparations.
Two nights later it was time to enact my plan. I plopped my supplies into my trunk and started the engine. The drive there went smoothly and Uncle Jim’s car was not in the driveway, as planned. It was his seventeenth anniversary and he and his wife were out at a restaurant. I guess I wasn’t giving him a very nice anniversary gift, but I was eager to get the prank done, and it was very convenient that he would be out until late. Besides, Uncle Jim deserved what he was gettin’.
I got out of my car, fetched the things out of the trunk, and headed over to the back entrance, trying to act cool and like I was meant to be there, so that the neighbors wouldn’t get suspicious, you know. I soon had the lid off the can of black acrylic wall paint and was dipping my homemade prints into it. I had made them by carving a couple of potatoes into the shape of deer hoofs—mimicking the ones on my car, you know. Then I’d stuck a couple of medium length dowels into the backs of them, so that I could make the prints while standing up. My back’s always causin’ me trouble, so I figured that I might as well do this a painlessly as possible.
I was soon poundin’ the little hoof prints all over the back yard, and front yard, and over his spare pick-up truck, and on the roof of his shed. Then I even got up on the roof of the house and made the pretend deer do a skittish dance all over there. I was in the backyard again when I noticed that the door out onto their porch wasn’t locked. Careless of them. So that’s how my deer got inside the house.
I was printing my way down the hallway and into the kitchen when I got the second surprise of my lifetime that week. A man jumped out, shone a bright flashlight in my eyes, grabbed my potato prints right out of my hands and started wackin’ me with them! I turned and fled back out into the yard, shock and fear giving my feet wings—er, at least makin’ them go super fast. I’m not a coward or anythin’, don’t get me wrong. But honestly, tell me, if you were sneaking around in the dark in somebody’s house and someone did that to you, what would you do?
He chased me clear out to the front lawn and I kicked the paint bucket over in my hurry so that I was adding human prints to all the deer ones. I made for my car and was just driving off when it occurred to me that the stranger might be a burglar. It certainly wasn’t my Uncle Jim or his wife, and they didn’t have any kids. I’ll tell you now, that it turned out not to be a burglar, but some guy Jim knew who was from somewhere far away and had surprise-visited them and was spendin’ the night. But how was I to know that?
So, once my nerves had stopped shakin’ my hands, I pulled over and dialed the police on my cell phone, tellin’ them that there was a burglar at Jim’s place. I had to lie quick so that they wouldn’t know what I’d been doin’ there, and said that I’d been dropping something off for Uncle Jim when I saw flashlights wavin’ inside. I also said that I was in a big hurry to get to my sister’s house because she was very sick and had only just called me to tell me that. So that’s why I couldn’t stay and be a proper witness. I promised to make a formal statement the next day and gave them my two phone numbers and my address.
I decided that I’d better go home and take a shower and put my clothes in the wash before the paint dried. So I turned onto the Interstate and was speeding home through the recent dark when suddenly that big old deer—I’m sure it was the same one as before—loomed in my headlights. This time I was quick enough to stop before hitting him. Hopeless came to a jarring halt only a few feet from the creature’s majestic legs. Third shock of my life that week.
Funny thing was, he didn’t run away this time. I guess he wasn’t so scared of me, after having run over my roof. So I honked my horn. And still he wouldn’t move. So I opened my door, thinking I’d scare him away in person. I went up to the old fellow, waving my arms and actin’ real big, you know… to frighten him off. But the silly old thing wasn’t any more scared of me than he was Hopeless. He just stared at me with those big watery eyes that sparkled twice in my headlights. He definitely had a lot of grey on his chin, too.
I guess I got too close, because the last thing I remember, he was buttin' his head at me at me and then there was a pain in my chest and I flopped over backwards. I must have hit my head on the pavement because I blacked out.
And so it came to be that they found me lying on the Interstate covered with hoof prints.