the following is a true story. i have changed no names as nobody is innocent. this form is actually an essay i wrote for one of my classes this semester. it was fun to write and remember, and i got a really good grade on it. so, for your reading enjoyment, may i present to you the Judd Tale Theater story of The Cheese Incident.
Standing at 5’6, Aaron was not yet an intimidating figure. So, not only his stature but also his tender age of twelve made him an unlikely prankster in the family. That didn’t stop him. His prey was our older brother, Nathan. Nineteen years old and 6 feet tall, he was slightly more imposing. Aaron has always been fearless. I was sitting upstairs, reading a magazine when he walked past me and into the kitchen. The refrigerator door opened and shut. Aaron emerged from the kitchen carrying one individually wrapped Kraft single. As he headed for the stairs, I knew something interesting was about to happen. Aaron always made interesting things happen. I wanted in, so I inquired about the cheese and he motioned for me to follow him.
The downstairs bathroom was positioned just beyond the laundry room. This is where we set the trap. Nathan was getting ready for a date and Aaron couldn’t pass up the opportunity. The shower was still running and we knew Nathan was a fan of throwing his clothes into the dryer to work out any wrinkles. It’s the lazy man’s way to iron. So, we gauged the length of his stride from the bathroom door to the dryer. When we felt like we had found the right space, we un-wrapped the cheese. A slight argument ensued over whether or not to leave the slice lying on top of the plastic wrap, but logic overcame and while we wanted to tick off our brother, we knew better than to tick off our mom with cheese smashed into the carpet. Our devil-may-care attitudes extended only so far. So, with the cheese face up in front of the dryer exactly where we thought Nathan’s foot would land, we ran up the first half of the stairs to where they wrapped up to the second flight. Positioned safely ducking under the banister, we waited.
The shower stopped. We stifled an anticipatory giggle. The door opened. Our hearts began racing. The dryer door opened and shut. The bathroom door closed. No reaction. We looked at each other, puzzled, then clambered over one another as we raced toward the cheese. What went wrong? How could this have missed? It was fool-proof! Knowing that Nathan had only retrieved his boxers from the dryer and would still need his pants, we rethought our stride, stepping from the closed bathroom door to the dryer. We once again placed the cheese. We once again bounded up the steps and once again took our huddled places just beyond the curve of the stairs. Suddenly, Aaron had an epiphany. “The cheese is too far,” he whispered, barely audibly, “I’m going in!” We knew the timing was dangerous, but the cheese had to be moved. “God speed!” I whispered loudly, peering over the banister as Aaron stepped hurriedly, intent on correcting our error.
He barely made it back to our eagle’s nest when the door opened. We huddled closer, waiting. Nathan’s voice boomed through both levels of our home, “What? Ch...cheese? How…wha… I stepped in cheese? I stepped in a damn piece of cheese!” We looked at each other instantly and I imagine my face was much like my brother’s; wide, smiling eyes, mouth tightly closed, a laugh threatening to burst out at any second. The bathroom door closed again and we raced up the rest of the stairs and took unassuming positions on the couch, Aaron with the newspaper and me with a magazine. Our bodies trembled in silent laughter behind our disguises. Only Dad was witness to our mischief.
“What did you guys do?” he asked, in an exacerbated tone. We described to him, in hushed voices, our perfect crime. Between bouts of laughter, we barely got it out. “Geez, guys!” he said, chuckling and shaking his head. It’s no small feat to make dad laugh.
We heard heavy steps scaling the stairs.
Our faces straightened as best they could under the circumstances, and we pretended to be engrossed in our reading material. We were not suspicious looking at all.
“Dad,” Nathan began, “I got out of the shower and I stepped in a piece of cheese right there in the laundry room. A damn piece of cheese!” His intonation told that he was totally disgusted at the state of our home; a place so filthy that an innocent shower-taker could step in a stray cheese slice.
“What?” Aaron said with a poker face. “You stepped in cheese?” “Weird!” I added, drawing on my theater training. Nate grew suspicious immediately before dad ratted us out. “Nate, your brother and sister did that to you.”
The look on his face almost made me feel remorseful. He was betrayed and totally speechless. Aaron and I, of course, burst into maniacal laughter at the best prank ever played and Nathan just looked at us in disbelief.
“You guys did that?” His tone was both hurt and impressed. Aaron always has a ready answer and said, “What did you think, Nathan; that there was just some piece of cheese hanging out in the laundry room?” Nathan admitted that it seemed strange, but why would he suspect that someone had set a trap for him? It was a reasonable question. He walked to the brass coat hanger and slipped on his jacket. He noticed that there was something in the pocket. Unbeknownst to me, Aaron’s prank was not yet over.
The horrified look on Nathan’s face as he pulled from his jacket pocket the matchbox car with the note attached was all Aaron needed. My baby brother erupted in his trademark belly laugh and without even knowing the punch-line, Dad and I started laughing, too. We knew it had to be pretty terrible. I don’t reveal family secrets, so I won’t tell you what was written on that note. Suffice it to say that Nathan spent the next several minutes furiously washing his hands.
what is something funny that has happened in your family?