The Cast: Dia (blameless), Erich (suspicious), Myself (calculating), Terry (unbalanced).
For me, Halloween keeps going for about a week after the actual event. Kind of like how Christmas goes through New Year’s. So, when I add another stirring story of Halloween horror, you’ll just have to indulge me.
Back in high school, our group of friends would have a regular gathering at Mona’s. Mona mother let all us rowdy teenagers hang out at her house on Friday nights into the early mornings of Saturday. Her logic was that if her daughter was home she knew what Mona was up to. We were fine with that, they had the space for us.
There was a large basement where movies would play. The front room for napping or just talking. An above-garage loft where we’d play music (on cassettes for you younger people, that was our playlist—put cassette in boom box, press play) and chill or dance. In the backyard, they had a metal, two-story, spiral slide. It looked completely unsafe and ready to fall apart at any second, but it was fun.
The rules were simple: If asked to keep it down, we did. Be respectful of the neighbors. No drugs or alcohol. If you broke the rules you didn’t come back. Also, if you made unwanted advances on a girl, you were dead (that was more an unofficial rule that a few of us guys wrote ourselves).
In the wee hours of the night, you can get a little peckish. And, since it was not the house’s role to feed us, we had to figure this out on our own. While waiting for pizza or whatever was coming that night Erich and I asked if we could make pancakes. It’s cheap, easy and can feed a lot of people if done right. Mona’s mother was agreeable to giving us her pancake mix. So we set to grilling up some flapjacks.
All we did was cook the pancakes and put them on a plate. As people would pass by the kitchen, if they were hungry, they could grab a griddle-cake or two and keep walking on by. No plates were needed. No utensils required. Just grab and go. Perfect.
Erich and I were having a good time. Mixing, cooking, flipping, feeding. But there comes a point where my mind wanders and becomes… mischievous.
As the two of us cooked, we talked. “No one can see what we’re doing. Our backs are towards everybody.” “Yeah.” “We could do anything to these pancakes and nobody could stop us.” “Like put stuff in the mix?” “No, just the individual pancakes.” “When they get flipped, anything we put inside them gets covered up.” “Ri-ight.”
And so the joking began. Erich and I would run about Mona’s house making a show of ourselves ‘collecting dead bugs’ from window sills. Making claims about looking for things that we really weren’t, in an attempt to get the group to pseudo-believe that we were ‘ruining’ the food.
It worked on some, not on others, because they thought we wouldn’t ever do anything like that. Fine, game on.
“Do you think we could fit a slice of cheese in one of these?” American cheese is awesome and melts easily. We were counting on that. It’s also about the same size of a pancake. We counted on that also.
Pour the mix. Unwrap the cheese and drop on top.
The batter was already too cooked. It didn’t sink into the batter. It just sat on top. When flipped, it made a mess, didn’t cook well, was noticeable, and tasted very bad (a willing volunteer tested it and regretted it immediately).
Unwrap first! Then pour and drop immediately! Two-man job. It sank. Cooked fine. Still noticeable (and our taste-tester wasn’t willing to go another round). Grr.
“We need something like the cheese size and shape, but white like the batter.” “Like a square of toilet paper?” “What?! Wait… Yeah, like toilet paper.”
It took a couple test runs but we quickly figured out the method to make it work. This was going to be fun.
During all this, we had still been cooking regular pancakes. We’d fill one plate and trade it for an empty. And when that one became full, we’d trade it out for the once full—now empty—plate. We could work the prank pancake into a stack easy-breezy.
Suddenly Erich was being asked to go with, on a run to the store. Not now, we’re about to prank! But if a pretty girl asked Erich for something, ‘No’ fell out of his vocabulary. And this was a group of girls. He was gone.
Lucky for me, Terry (a girl that had a crush on me all throughout high school) was willing to assist me. Oh goodie! (add heaps of sarcasm here) Fine. Terry helped prepare the toilet paper pancake. But who to give it to? Erich! Because he left! However, in order to get him to eat it, the circumstances had to be perfect. I’ve played enough jokes on him, he knew to be suspicious of me.
Terry had tired of waiting and left me to man the stove alone. During this time Erich returned and approached the stove. When I heard the car pull up I put the toilet paper pancake back on the pan to warm it. Erich stood beside me. Without looking up from my cooking (so that I would appear busy and indifferent) I handed him the toilet paper pancake, “Here.” “Thanks!”
He took it. He took it! He opened his mouth. He’s opening his mouth! The toilet paper pancake was entering his mouth. It’s entering his mouth! I could see Erich’s teeth as his lips pulled back and the toilet paper pancake was about to touch his tongue. He’s going to eat it! Then a loud, shrill and eerie sound made Erich freeze.
“Erich! We have something for you!”
From another room, the voice had started and then the owner of that voice finished the statement directly in front of Erich, with way too much energy. Terry had heard of Erich’s return and wanted to see the joke’s end result. The pancake didn’t move. Erich didn’t move he just stood there, frozen, pancake in hand—in mouth but but not bitten or chewed. Then, his eyeballs moved toward me and witnessed my death-glare at the overly-exuberant energy emanating from Terry as she jumped up and down, clapping her hands, waiting for Erich to eat the toilet paper pancake.
It didn’t happen. Erich put it down. And clarified that the pancake was indeed the toilet paper pancake. Joke over. So, we put it on the empty plate thinking that someone would want the ‘fresh’ pancake. Nope. Everyone kept taking from the large pile, even though nobody knew that the lone pancake was an toilet paper pancake.
Eventually, the toilet paper pancake was buried underneath a mound of regular, delicious pancakes and forgotten. Also, eventually, Erich and I left, never to know the result of all work put into that toilet paper pancake prank.
About a week later we encountered Dia, a good friend who had also attended the party that night. She filled us in on the particulars that occurred after Erich and I had left.
Apparently, there were several friends that stayed behind and up late. As morning approached the group had congregated up in the loft, got a little hungry and remembered that there was a plate of pancakes in the kitchen. As the group ate, one person bit into a pancake, and as they pulled their mouth away a square of toilet paper came with. Apparently, the square stayed intact and just slide right out of the middle of the pancake.
Dia—who was sitting directly across from this person—was immediately blamed for the toilet paper pancake. Dia was blamed because on that particular Friday night, we were having a Halloween themed party. However, not everyone came in costume, it wasn’t necessary. When Dia had arrived at the party, she was costumed as a mummy, and for her wrapping she had used rolls of toilet paper.
Two pranks for the price of one!
Years later, at a little family/friend barbeque, Erich, Richard and I were grilling up some hot dogs and hamburgers for our families while we waited for Dia and her hubby Andy (they were late to the gathering). The three of us decided to ‘punish’ Andy for his tardiness when they finally arrived. Toilet paper cheeseburger.
We had kindly built a cheeseburger just as Andy liked them, but we had added a square of toilet paper under the cheese. When he finally joined us out on the porch, we gave him his burger and watched as he bit into it. “What is this?” “Toilet paper.” “Used?” “No!” “O.K. fine. I deserved that for being late.”
As an apology/’good-sport’ consolation, we gave Andy a non-toilet paper cheeseburger (better than the first) and a can of Mountain Dew (his favorite). “Nope. I was late. This is mine.” And he ate the toilet paper burger, like a man. But he did take the Mt Dew.
This led the conversation into, “Back in high school, our group of friends would have a regular gathering at Mona’s. Mona mother let all us rowdy teenagers hang out at her house on Friday nights into the early mornings of Saturday. Her logic was that if her daughter was home she knew what Mona was up to. We were fine with that, they had the space for us…”