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It’s that time of year again.  The one day when you can’t take anything in the newspapers, Facebook, Tumblr or even word of mouth at face value.  The 1st of April, aka April Fools, where people are expected to pull practical jokes and tell all manner of tall tales and get away with it.  Some gags are harmless, and I don’t mind a little tall tale fun, but sometimes things go a little too far.  I have some issues with today – not least of all to do with my relatively new Tumblr account and some disturbing behaviour coming from tags I track, but rather than going into a rant about that, especially on the off chance that what’s being listed is actually true, I can’t help but think back to the one day my family actually participated in this little yearly embarrassment.

Every year my Nana would organise a trip around Easter for us, plus another cousin’s family.  My other set of cousins never came, for reasons I don’t know, so it was Nana, me, my brother, my male cousin who was my brother’s age, my female cousin who was 5 years my junior), my Dad, Stepmother, Aunt and Uncle.  Normally we’d go to a caravan park of some kind, but one year we ended up in the highlands at some quite hoity toity bungalow resort joint.  Compared to our other trips it was a very dull time – there were very few other children and almost no activities for us until about half way through the trip.  Made worse for me on the grounds that I’m the oldest of all my cousins, and was also considered to be the unpaid babysitter for FC on these trips – she loved tagging along with me.  Which, I hated because I she was so young – my brother and MC at least had someone of a similar age to keep them entertained.  In order to keep us from climbing the walls, our parents would take us in to the local village to give us a change of scenery.  It was mostly standard souvenir fair, but there was a joke shop in town too.  Sadly, the parents were a little too smart to let four very bored under-10’s anywhere near it.

However, at the start of April, our Nana was the one taking us into town, and all four of us darling innocent children convinced her to let us spend some money in the joke shop.  They had all variety of things from foul tasting sweets to fake flies to prop dog poo, the works.  I ended up getting a packet of chewing gum that had a mousetrap-like snapper if you took the piece out, MC got some of the foul sweets, and my brother bought some glow-in-the-dark maggots.  My FC decided not to buy anything as she didn’t have the money.

When we got back, MC tried to trick Nana into eating the sweets (no takers), and I showed off my chewing gum, but nobody was falling for it.  That night, we’d pretty much forgotten about the trip, and put the jokes at the back of our minds…or so we thought.

Bungalows were fairly overcrowded so we could afford them.  This meant a lot of group sharing.  The couch in the living room folded out into a double bed that I shared with Nana and FC, while the boys shared a double bed in another room.  That night, we all settled down, little FC grabbed her teddy bear and snuggled in between the two of us while we tried to get to sleep.

Seconds after the light went off?

“AHHHH!”

Both my nana and I jerk up and the light gets snapped on.  FC is bolt upright and shaking furiously.

“There’s something in the bed!”

We look under the covers, and sure enough, there’s little white things lying all over the bed sheets.

“BOYS!”

My brother and MC waltz in laughing furiously.  Little brother, angel that he was, decided to put his maggots to good use.  They shone green in the dark which is how FC had spotted them.  We manage to gather them up, scold the terrible duo, and go back to bed.  Thirty seconds later?

“AHHHH!  They’re still there!”

FC was bawling her eyes out, and so we turn on the lights and look again.  It takes us 2 repeats of this before we realise we need to turn off the lights to find the last few stragglers.  We enlist the help of the boys to pick up the last few, and thankfully by this point they were starting to realise that this might not have been the smartest idea they ever had.

Bed is finally maggot clean, and we got back to bed again.  Guess what happens no more than a minute later.

“I can still see them!”

Drag the boys back through, show FC that there clearly are no more maggots in the bed, and go back.  Another minute, and another wail.  By this point I’m ready to hurt my little brother for bringing us this hell, when I hear what she’s actually saying.

“It’s on my teddy!”

Yes, one of those damnable little maggots had somehow gotten stuck onto the bear’s fur and that’s what had been freaking her out for the past hour.  We picked it clean, and finally, thankfully got to sleep.  But both my brother and cousin were essentially ‘grounded’ for putting little FC through all that.

You’d think my brother would have learned his lesson after that, but no.  The maggots ended up getting an encore performance a few months later, when he spread them on his own bed sheets before my mother changed them.  His reward for scaring the living daylights out of her?  A ten minute screaming fit and two weeks solid grounding.  The maggots ended up in the bin, and can’t say it was anything less than good riddance.  Some jokes are funny, but some are just plain stupid.

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