The Cast: Myself (a Joker), Rachel (upset), Stacey (ruined).
As you may already know, I am Batman, but due to a summer camp experience, I had put together a pretty sweet Joker costume. So, for one Halloween many years ago, I opted to be my own arch-enemy (because, after all, aren’t we all our own worst enemy?). Additionally, this particular year, our group of friends from high school had planned a Halloween party. This would be a perfect time to try something new.
Erich had already seen my Batman costume up close (a birthday fright I will write about later) and was, unbeknownst to me, telling all our friends about it. See, my little family lived (and still does) quite a distance away from most of our friends—so they wouldn’t have seen my great Batman suit. This was also before Facebook and the common cell phone. People used cameras. Cameras with film, few digital.
Oh, we’re off-topic. So I had planned to surprise our friends with my warped mind and a calmer sense of fun (not deadly like in the comics), and smiley-faced Joker costume. Complete with pranks and gags. I had the classic hand buzzer, chattering teeth, and a few extra gags of special proportions. I had no-one person I was going to target. I wasn’t out to victimize any one person in particular. I chose my victims in true Joker style—If this should happen… Then they get this… Keep that in mind. Remember, you’re on my side.
During the long drive to the party, I took the time to apply my white face paint. I wasn’t going for the Heath Ledger Joker (those movies hadn’t been made yet). I was doing a classic Joker with green hair, white clown face with red lips, purple pin-stripe suit, and all the accoutrements. Along the freeway drive, I happened to look out the passenger van window to see a woman turning pale herself as she looked upon my white visage, and then she sped up her drive after I gave her my full Joker grin.
The party was being held at our friend’s (Dia & Andy) condo clubhouse. The door has an auto-locking mechanism, and even though people were inside—as the party had already begun—Cindy, myself and our children were locked out. Cindy rang the bell, and the people turned to see a harlequin standing next to a white floating head bearing a wide grin. Cindy was Harley Quinn and my suit was dark, as was the landscape behind us, so my body blended into the background. Erich was visibly shaken for a moment. Then it dawned on him who was at the door. We were let in and I shook hands with Andy (I think) and surprised him good with my wind-up hand buzzer.
Later, when it had come time to eat, Rachel said to me something like, “I can’t wait to see you try to eat that.” Referring to any one of the large slices of pizza that was to be dinner for that night. I responded with, “No worries.” Pulled out my chattering teeth and placed them on the counter, where they chattered and bounced around the counter. Rachel just rolled her eyes in disgust and walked away. I laughed (I have a pretty good Mark Hamill-like Joker laugh too).
As the night drew on, I watched and waited for opportunities to play my two greatest pranks. The turning of a liquid into a solid, and a fart bomb. Childish? Yes. Effective? Oh yeah.
Amongst the games played that night, one involved bags of candy. You could lose individual pieces of candy, gain pieces of candy, or even have your bag taken and replaced with someone else’s bag of candy. I made up my mind that if anyone—whoever they may be (including my own wife)—stole my bag of candy, I was going to slip the fart bomb into my bag and hand it over. Stacey got it (Richard’s wife). Within a few moments, we almost had to evacuate the building.
See, the fart bomb (I’m giggling as I type this because I keep writing ‘fart bomb’—it’s childish I know) is simple. You press the bag, something breaks, a chemical reaction takes place, the bag swells, pops, and expels toxic gases that would make a pile of rancid garbage smell like a bouquet of sweet petunias.
There was an audible ‘Boom!’ and Stacey squealed and jumped a little. Then the odor leaked through the paper bag that was the bomb’s former confine—as well as some of the chemicals, which dripped onto Stacey’s pants and bleached where they hit. I felt so very bad about that, but Stacey was a good sport about it. Only the cuff of her pants were ruined and the pants were old. I like Stacey, she’s good people.
At first, the smell was just a little bad and only in a small area. There were only a few “Oh, man” comments and some waving of hands in front of noses. But the little bad smell began to grow up into a big stench. You see, science has taught us that gases adjust to fill the container they are in—the clubhouse. That gas grew alright. It grew up into a full-blown gag-gas of garbage air. Thank you, ceiling fan.
The toxic-tornado was turning into a terrible trial of tantrums for the party-goers. There was coughing and choking, people running in all directions and calling for every window and all the doors to be opened. Calls for “Air! Fresh Air!” were tentatively yelled out as people were to nervous to speak since they would have to breathe in order to do so. Once again, I just laughed (I’ve been exposed to all manner of terrible gases due to my time in the Marine Corps).
Eventually, the air cleared and games resumed (it took about 10 minutes because the ceiling fan kept mixing the nasty air with the fresh, cold, outdoor air—once the fan was turned off air quality improved tremendously). However, it was getting late, and I still had not played my best prank. I had other tricks that I could have played (like itching powder), but I didn’t want to be a jerk. All evening I had been waiting. Waiting for my chance. Waiting for someone to leave their drink unattended. Finally, it happened.
I didn’t know who had set it down, and I didn’t care. I needed a full glass of liquid to be left unattended for just a couple seconds. You see, if the glass was full, that meant that the owner wasn’t done with it and would return for it.
We interrupt our regularly scheduled story for a brief public service announcement: I feel it is important to note that my friends and I don’t consume alcohol. The only drinks that were available that night were sodas and punch. And now back to our regularly scheduled story.
The glass of reddish-pink, bubbly liquid was setting out in the open, atop a counter. Taunting me. “Just you try it, buddy. I’m right here and my owner is coming back for me.” I stood. Walked over. And with a prepared vial of powder, passed by the glass of Rachel’s favorite drink. Poured it in. Walked away. And seconds later that liquid had become a solid. At the time I didn’t know it was some of the last of that particular beverage. Maybe, more importantly, I didn’t know it was Rachel’s favorite.
“What the…?! What is this? Who did this?! William!” came the angry and confused questions and accusation. She wasn’t wrong, but still… To be fair you need evidence first before you just blame somebody, and there was no evidence. I had transferred the quick-gel powder from its original container into another container—one I could quickly open, pour, then close, maintain on my person and not have it seem suspicious. I’m no fool (well, wait, I was the Joker that night so technically…).
Oh, Rachel was upset. Other people laughed, she did not. She did try to keep her calm but it was evident that she was not happy about the hundreds of tiny bubbles of carbonation captured in what had been her favorite beverage, but what was now essentially flavored gelatin. This, however, was not the edible kind of gelatin. This was joke gelatin. And the joke was on Rachel. The Joker strikes again.
Like I said, other people were laughing, just not Rachel. I’d like to say I remember exactly how that night’s festivities ended, but I don’t. I do recall that the gelatin drink was near the end because I didn’t have to deal with an angry Rachel for long.
Erich and I recently spoke about this particular event. He still thinks it was funny. And so do I.