Pranking the Prankster

“I’m going to kill him!”

I can’t tell you the number of times Howie has stormed into a room shouting that phrase. Most people think he’s the peacemaker of the group, and usually they’d be right. Unless of course, Nick had, yet again, done something stupid to make him contemplate murder.

“What happened this time?” I asked, not even looking up from my plate of food. Catering was good this tour! That’s what happens when we have a budget!

“What do you think happened?” He asked angrily, not even bothering to get something to eat and pulling up a seat beside me. “He pulled another stupid prank. You’d think since there are five other guys in the group now, he’d pick on someone else for a change! You’d think since he’s in his thirties now, he would grow up…”

I looked up at him for a second, only to raise my eyebrow. Nick, grow up? Especially grow up from pulling practical jokes on Howie? It would be a cold day in Hell!

“Yeah, I know,” Howie said bitterly, knowing exactly what I was thinking. He was already beginning to calm down.

“So what’d he do?” I asked again.

Howie sighed. Over the years, Nick had done many things to poor Howard. He’d pulled all the classics; drawing on his face while he was sleeping (and trying to get him to go on TV without him noticing), changing all the speed dial numbers in his phone, slipping unpaid merchandise into his shopping bags so the alarm goes off.

You name it, Nick has done it to Howie. I’m pretty sure Howie’s his main target because he calms down quicker than the rest of us.

“He put a fly in my sandwich,” he finally said.

I snorted. Poor Howie, so that was why he wasn’t eating. “How’d he manage that?”

“We were in an interview, he was going over to catering, I asked him to make me a sandwich-”

“Dude,” I cut him off. “That was your first problem.”

Howie rolled his eyes. He’s always so trusting. That’s probably another reason Nick’s always able to get him. “Yeah, I know,” he sighed. “One of these days I swear…”

I finished up the last of what was on my plate and looked at him. “You could always try to get him back,” I suggested.

Howie quickly shook his head. “No, I don’t think that’s a good idea. He’d just retaliate.”

“Be realistic man,” I continued, trying my best to convince him. I’m nowhere near the prankster Nick is (not many people are) but I always enjoy being the co-conspirator. “He’s going to prank you again anyway, he always will. You might as well try to pull one on him. He’d never see it coming.”

Howie looked like he considered it for a second. “And what could I do to him?”

I shrugged. “I dunno, it’s your prank.”

“I could put cellophane over the toilet seat on his bus,” he tried.

I gave him a look. “I think he’d figure that out. Try to be a little more creative and a little less junior high.”

“I could get one of those beeping things and put it on his bus!”

“Nick’s practically deaf. He wouldn’t even notice that.”

Howie rolled his eyes, unamused. “He’s not deaf, AJ. He just has selective hearing.”

Okay, he had a point. “Still, that’s a lame idea for a prank.” I thought for a minute. What would really stick it to Nick? What was his weak spot? “You could put bleach in his shampoo,” I suggested offhandedly.

Howie still looked unamused. “If he doesn’t go blind, it’ll just turn his hair blonder and the joke will be on us because he’ll get even more ass.”

I shrugged. Howie wasn’t wrong about that. “You could put another colour in his shampoo. He uses that weird organic shit. He probably wouldn’t even notice if you put like… green in it or something.”

“Hey, that ‘weird organic shit’ works wonders!” Howie countered. He and Nick are so weird about their hair. “But you’re right… if we put green dye in his hair that would be pretty funny.”

“You could get some at the convenience store down the street,” I suggested. “They’d probably have some.”

Howie laughed. “Hey, isn’t that convenient!”

I rolled my eyes. Howie was not the funny guy in the group.

“Okay,” he continued, not fazed by the fact that I didn’t find his joke funny. “I’ll buy that stuff, sneak onto his bus and put it in his shampoo when he comes down he for food and… oh no…”

“What?”

“For this to work we’ll have to make sure Nick actually takes a shower at some point,” he said wrinkling his nose.

Normally, yeah, that would have been an issue. Luckily, I guess, I had insider information. “Nah, don’t worry about it. He always takes a shower right after the show now.”

Howie gave me a weird look. “How could you possibly know that?”

I sighed. “When your fiancée and Nick’s girlfriend are best friends, you learn things. Things you never wanted to learn and can’t ever unlearn.”

I’m pretty sure his face looked the same as mine did during that lunch I had with Ro and Lauren. Never happening again! “Okay… well, either way, shower. Unless… if Lauren uses Nick’s shampoo, and we destroyed her hair, Nick would kill us.”

I raised my eyebrow. “Let’s be realistic Howie. It’s not Nick who would kill us.” Lauren would fuck us up if we fucked with her hair.

Howie thought for a minute. “Okay look, we’ll just have to get him dirty so he has to take a shower before the show. He takes a shower, and then comes out on stage and you and I laugh because he has green hair!” I think he really thought his plan was brilliant.

I looked over my shoulder as I heard Nick and Lauren enter the catering area. “There’s your chance to mess with his shampoo,” I whispered, motioning towards Nick.

“Okay,” Howie said, standing up and pushing his chair in. “Give me ten minutes, and then you dump some food on him or something,” his eyes were really wide. It was really creeping me out.

“Sure thing, D, see you later,” I called out to him.

***

All the way through the show Howie was shooting me little looks as to why Nick’s hair was still blonde and not the awful dark green he’d texted me about.

“What happened?” he asked once we were back at the hotel and not within earshot of anyone. “Why isn’t his hair ruined?”

I shrugged. “I dunno what to tell you D, he probably just rinsed it.”

Howie just sighed. “Oh well, he has to wash his hair eventually. At least we know Lauren won’t be using it, she has her own girly shampoo. I saw it on the bus.”

I nodded. “Hey, Nick and I are going to go for something to eat in the restaurant downstairs. Want to come join us? You’ll be able to witness his reaction firsthand.”

“Yeah sure, I’ll meet you guys down there in half an hour,” he said before walking off.

Exactly half an hour later Howie came storming into the restaurant. “You little shit!” he swore, walking angrily towards Nick.

Nick started cracking up, pointing at Howie. “I told you! I told you I could get him to prank himself!”

The tinge of green shone in his hair. I had to hand it to Nick, I didn’t think that any colour would show up in Howie’s dark hair, but when you looked at it in just the right light, you could see it plain as day. He had come up with this idea as soon as he’d found out that the two of them used the same shampoo and had switched the bottles right after the show – while I distracted Howie in the hotel.

I grinned to myself. Like I said before, it’s good to be co-conspirator. Howie looked at me for a second before looking angrily back at Nick.

“I’m going to kill you!”

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