April Fool

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We've all been here. Sitting silently and alone in our rooms dwelling on what we've done wrong. Awaiting mum's latest punishment regime. Reliving that ultimate moment when we were caught, or when the consequences of our actions caught up with us.

This time it was different. I hadn't taken one biscuit too many or broken dads favourite garden gnome. Things had gone wrong, Samuel had a broken arm, and it was all my fault.

It was a joke, a prank. It was supposed to be safe. No-one should have gotten hurt. It's all very well saying so now, but now is too late. I guess I should explain:

Samuel, my 11 year old brother, and I had decided that April Fools Day this year was going to be a riot. Dad always got us, every year was the same - Dad nailed us time and time again, often six or seven times in the same morning. This time was going to be different.

We decided to push the boat out and get Mum at the same time, in fact, our stunt would probably hit her harder than Dad because of the whole motherly instinct thing. Deciding how exactly to pull it off was the hardest thing.

I have a balcony attached to my bedroom which is above the kitchen, within which our parents would sit eating breakfast, contemplating the pranks Dad had in store for us, and conversing lamely about scandals in the newspaper. Dad is great, everything in the paper is funny to him, so no doubt Mum would be looking out of the window and shaking her head at his latest tasteless comment about people suffering.

The idea hit me quickly. That morning I would sneak out over the balcony with Sam's help. Then he could throw a 'replica' over the balcony, whilst I scream. I have a great scream, the pitchiness of a younger girl with the loudness of the fourteen year old I am. Mum would surely see the dummy fall past the window.

By the time she gets out of the back door, which would certainly be locked, I could have the dummy covered over or moved, and be rolling around on the floor screaming in fake pain. Surely the greatest prank ever?

The night before we prepared everything, there was no time for a test. The dummy me was made of my clothes stuffed with newspaper and soft toys for weight. We stitched them together badly using my old cross stitch kit - something I never bothered with. I don't come across as a girly girl do I?

The biggest problem we had was hiding the dummy before they got outside, we could either have it dragged back up and out of the way or I could throw it as far away from the scene as possible, behind the dog kennel being the most suitable place. It was however quite a distance from the house, and I barely trusted my ability to do so in time.

Samuel was the genius here, he arranged to play camp in the garden, which meant the quick setup of his Action Man tent right beside the back door. A convenient place the throw an inconvenient dummy. For his cleverness I even let him borrow my 2006 Hits CD for the night.

So it was all in place. All we needed was a way for me to get from the balcony to the ground without being seen by mum or dad. I decided that the best way would be for Sam to help me over the balcony rail, and to hold me while I lower myself to swing off backwards. The landing would be heavy but not too bad. As long as I stayed near the wall I could avoid being seen from the kitchen.

We were excited when we went to bed. The dummy was hidden under my bed, and I lay all night thinking about the morning ahead.

Morning broke gloriously, to all but me. I'd slept so little that my eyes hurt. Sam was in my bedroom before I'd even crawled out of bed, "You ready Corianne?"
"Ugh. Yeah..." The oncoming moment excited my mind, my body just didn't want to have to get out of bed just yet. I persisted and it gave up its fight eventually.

Barefooted we sneaked around the bedroom, setting everything up. It was decided to pretend we were arguing, a common complaint from our parents. We pulled the dummy from under the bed, quietly unlocking the balcony doors and resting the dummy against the railing, this was going to be so cool.

Things were about to go wrong though. I straddled the railing, sitting side-saddle and grinning at Sam, "Ready?"
"I don't know what to shout."
"What if i jump down, i'm better at it than you, I climb trees and stuff all the time!" He started climbing up on to the railing too, "You can throw the dummy"
"No... What if you hurt yourself, that would be stupid and ruin the prank." I frowned, he had that look. That 'I've decided to be awkward and you won't change my mind' look that struck fear into the hearts of all who knew him.
"Sam, all you have to do is shout a couple of things, like NO! and GET OFF and stomp around a little, then when I wave, throw the dummy" I implored, moving into position, Sam however was shuffling along beside me,
"I'll jump, you throw the dummy." He looked into my eyes
"No Sam!" I pushed him backwards, back onto the balcony, he wavered for a moment, leaning back towards me.

My legs slipped, I was teetering, my feet barely gripping the one inch of concrete slap that reached past the railings. Sam's eyes widened, he grabbed at me, trying to stop my impending fall, but there was little he could do from his position. The dummy seemed to grin, I turned and grabbed at the railing, banging my knee hard as I span, that flinch was literally my downfall.

Sam still gripped my arm as the railing slipped away from me, he leaned out, momentarily managing to hold me still. My stomach churned, I could feel the balance shifting, he'd come with me if he leaned further. Shaking my arm free of his I resigned to the drop, he didn't give up as easily though, grabbing at my top, pausing me again in an almost upside down freeze frame.

Then I was here. Sam in my doorway, dressed and wearing a cast on his arm. The day seemed to have progressed much further, the sun much lower in the sky. I must have been out cold.

I slipped from my bed, smiling at Sam, "You okay?" but he simply looked away, angry with me I suppose. Out on the landing Dad stood behind him, his eyes cast to the floor as if trying harder than ever not see me. Dad never ignored me, even when he was really angry. Mum would blank me and avoid all conversation, but not Dad.

Of course I'd never broken my brother's arm before, so there was little precedent for that. A single tear dropped from his downturned face, I saw the sparkle as it plummeted, much like we had, into the carpet. Without a word he moved Sam on, ushering him into his own room. I suppose the disappointment was too much for him?

Without a word I walked back into my room, laying on the bed, grateful for the lack of any pain. Sam must have taken the worst of it. I was sure I was going to land on my head. Sure that something was going to break. Evidently something had broken my fall. The tent maybe? Or maybe Sam himself.

Mum has just been to my room. She wouldn't look at me either, walked right past me and looked over the balcony. I asked her what happened. Asked what time it was. I asked her not to be mad. Her silence says it all.

April Fool. I guess we were the fools today. No punishments have been set yet. I'm just waiting. Sitting on my bed and waiting. Eventually they have to forgive me.