An Excerpt From A Book By the J-Man

Funny story written by Jalapenoman

Saturday, 28 November 2009

I have been writing a book for a few years and it is almost finished. The title is "Called to What?" A few of the writers have asked to see a piece of it, so here is the second chapter. Since it is humorous, and the chapter is about practical jokes, I think it fits here on this site.

Many of the references in my book are to my church. If you have questions or need claification, please send me a message and I'll answer.

Chapter Two
My Stern Warnings

The Stake President was not done with me yet. While sitting with him in the Ward Clerk's office, he decided to get a little personal.

"Now Brother King," he said, "I know that you have had some problems with callings in the past. Some of them were total screw-ups, some were mistakes, some were intentional, and some were just accidents. The things I have the most concern with, however, were the practical jokes."

"The scriptures tell us "be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.""

"You have cleaned up your act with the callings. You have done a good service in your work with the Sunday School and stayed low key for a number of years. You support your wife with her calling and provide an invaluable service to the Stake Primary. You've given some very spiritual and heart felt talks in this ward. I'm proud of the man that you are becoming."

"I have to ask one question, though. Have you given up the practical jokes?"

Practical jokes! Was this another part of my history that would follow me around my entire life? Would the people who had forgiven me for messing up grandma's dentures in the party game never forgive me for turning out the lights on them in the bathroom? Would my wild childhood always be how people remembered me?

I guess it all started when I was Primary age. I can honestly say that I got this genetically as my Dad passed out cigars at his baptism when I was four.

The first real one I remember pulling myself happened when I was about seven. Our Primary class met in the scout room. One day, I got in there before the teacher and hid under a desk that she always sat on. I made funny sounds and squeaks all through the class whenever she would sit on or lean against the desk. The other boys in the class could see me underneath and knew I was there. They laughed at the teacher's obvious misfortune. I got caught, however, when this new girl in the ward ratted me out.

She was skinny with this big mop of curly hair and coke bottle bottom glasses. You know, the teacher's pet type: the one that reminds them that they forgot to give out the homework assignment, the one that always wins the spelling bees, the one that all the other kids detest and your parents always say "Why can't you be more like her?" She would become my nemesis and arch enemy for the next twenty years of my life. Little did I know her father would be my Bishop when I got home from my mission.

This tattletale incident was the first salvo, however, in a life long war.

Whenever we got a new teacher in any of my classes who had who had just moved in to the ward, I organized a name switch for all of the guys. The first week she was there, I would switch names with Rodney Long and he'd switch with someone else. The next week, we'd switch again. I'd go from being Rodney to being David to being Ray to being Russell to being someone else just as long as I could before she'd finally find us out. Our record was seven weeks. We'd have probably gone on longer, but the Sunday School President (this was before the consolidated meeting schedule) had assigned our class the two and a half minute talks. We messed it up all by ourselves.

It was time for the talks to be given. The previous week, the teacher had assigned them to me (thinking I was Danny Higgins) and to Norman (thinking he was Tim Saunders). When the Sunday School President called on Danny to come up and give his talk, he said "I don't have one, she assigned them to Eric and Norman."


"No," said Sister Humphries, looking at her notes. "I assigned them to Danny and Tim. Go up there Danny" (she said that last part while looking right at me).

In front of the congregation, I said, "I'm not Danny, I'm Gary" (the name I was using that day).

My mother, in her parental wisdom, knew I was up to something. "Eric Sextus King," she said loud enough for the congregation to hear. "Why are you telling this sister that your name is Gary and why does she think you're Danny? Are you doing that stupid name switching again?"
Busted. She even used my middle name, so I knew I was really in trouble.

The Sunday School President told me that I had to come up to the microphone and give a two and a half minute apology to our new teacher. I got punished worse when I got home. The thrill of the prank, however, had already set in.

In retrospect, this next one was pretty cruel. To a twelve year old boy, however, it seemed pretty cool. I'm learning from seeing other kids that the sense of humor is pretty vicious and self centered at that age.

The pranks continued when I became a deacon. We used to have to pass the sacrament in Junior Sunday School to the kids ages three thru seven. When you turned eight and got baptized, you graduated to the regular Sunday School. I used to fight, kick, and scratch to be able to pass to the kids each week. Besides the pranks I could pull on these innocent, unsuspecting little victims, I also missed out on this stupid singing practice they called "Worship Through Music." I also didn't have to listen to the two and a half minute talks, as I still carried bad memories of those.

In the room they used for the Junior Sunday School opening exercises, the deacons sat on the front row, to the right side of the 3 year old class. This youngest class was made up of kids that were obviously terrified to be there. Mommy and Daddy were not with them and they had to sit reverently and couldn't play with toys or each other.

Their teacher sat at one end of the row and seemed to always alternate between which crying child was on her lap. We were expected to help her out from the other end and calm the little ones down. I had other ideas.

I knew which kids I could make cry easier than others. There was this one little boy named Mickey that was always good for two or three Kleenex and a loud scream.

When he was sitting at the end of the row, I'd lean over to him and whisper in a singsong voice "Mickey's mommy." He'd turn and look at me.

"Mickey's mommy." He'd look again

"Mickey's mommy is never coming back." His eyes would open wide.

"Mickey's mommy doesn't love him any more." His lip would start to quiver.

"Mickey is going to stay in Junior Sunday School forever. He'll never see his mommy again." About this time a scream would come from his mouth and he'd start bawling for his mother. The teacher would set down the child she was holding, walk down the row, pick him up, and set him in her lap. I'd give her an "I don't know" kind of shrug and she'd nod her head in understanding. All of the other kids in the row would shift down one seat and a different child would be setting next to us.

I'd wait a few minutes and smile at the new kid.

"Sarah's mommy."

The worst part about turning fourteen was that I never got to pass in Junior Sunday School again. A few years later, we went to the consolidated meeting schedule, Primary was moved from Wednesday to Sunday, and that meeting became a thing of the past. That was bad for me too, because I had a lot of plans for those kids when I became a Priest and got to bless the sacrament.

I never got caught, but I'll bet I gave some of those kids scars for life. It's nothing to brag about, but come on! I was twelve!

When I was around thirteen, this sleazebag guy dumped my older sister really hard, and really bad. She had waited for two years for him while he was on his mission and he ruined it for her by coming home and marrying her best friend; they had been secretly writing to each other the entire mission and never told anyone. She said nothing to my sister when she helped her go shopping for wedding gowns or pick out wedding and shower announcements or pick out baby names or any of those other things that nineteen year olds in love liked to do.

No one messed with my family!

Every week while he was on his mission, he had asked my sister to go to his house and wash his car. She washed it faithfully every Saturday morning, even in the winter time, at her own expense and at the cost of a social life and missing several school, church, work, or family functions.
She was out there on holidays, and even when she was sick, washing and waxing that stupid sports car. That car was target number one.

The idiot had been stupid enough to stay in our ward and within easily bicycle distance of my house.

I snuck over to his apartment early one morning; real early. I knew the guy worked late and did not get up or go out until after noon. I opened up the sack of birdseed I carried and spread a layer all over the roof and hood of his car. In situations like this, three things happen: birds land on the car and walk around and scratch the paint, birds pick at the seeds and put little peck marks and more beak scratches in the paint and body, and birds complete a biological function after eating (especially when you are dumb enough to leave your car parked under a tree). Scratches, pecks, and poop….the trifecta in practical jokes.

My pranks were generally the types that never cost anyone any major money or did any real damage. They had always been designed in the past for laughs, frustration, or embarrassment. This, however, was strictly revenge.

Most of the time, when you write on a car with shoe polish (like drawing on cute little hearts and a "just married" sign), it washes off easily with a little soap and water. Did you know if you put that white shoe polish on within 24 hours of a car being painted, before the paint has had time to fully settle in, the polish would leave images shaded into the new paint? The day he brought his car home from getting painted after the "bird" incident, I hit him with the shoe polish. I put negative comments about the police, his mother, him, his wife, his dog, and everything else I could think of. The cops stopped him every time he even approached the speed limit because the images stayed until he could afford to paint the car again.

I did all of the other standard stuff to him too: lighting bags of dog poop on his front porch, putting diapers with Hershey's syrup or Grey Poupon mustard on his windshield (fools 'em every time), putting a thin line of shortening on the edge of his windshield wipers (when you turn on the windshield wipers, it smears the grease all over the window, the blades then ride on the grease and won't wipe it off), prank phone calls, and fake pizza orders.

One day, before a long holiday weekend, I called and arranged to have his phone, electricity, water, gas, and newspaper shut off on Friday afternoon at 5:00. Nothing could be turned on again until Tuesday.

I didn't forget about his bride either. She was the Beehive teacher and the chaperone on one of our baptismal excursions to the temple. When she fell asleep on the bus, I snuck her bag to the restroom in the back, dumped out half of her shampoo, and replaced it with Nair. She was wearing a wig to church for a few months.

Another time, I got down beneath the pews in the chapel, scooted forward on the tile, and tied her shoelaces together during MIA opening exercises.

One week, the young women were having an exercise/get in shape kind of thing in the cultural hall. I snuck out her water bottle and filled it with vinegar.

When they were preparing to go to girls' camp, I was there to help drop off my sister. I snuck into her backpack (while they were all inside the building praying) and filled her sleeping bag with earthworms. Gives new meaning to the term "night crawlers," don't you think?

After about six months, he and his new wife moved from the area. They said that they did not feel welcome or appreciated. No kidding! My sister was happy to see them go, but I was upset as I still had a long list of things planned.

I eventually used many of them, though, on others.

In the youth program, I started out having two main targets that eventually evolved into three: whoever my early morning Seminary teacher was at the time, my arch enemy, and later her best friend (I've mentioned her a couple of times already, but more on "the beach ball" later on).

The Seminary teachers were always easy. When Mom dropped us off for Seminary, I'd walk toward the doors until her car left the parking lot. Then I'd quickly sneak to the back of the teacher's car, pop off a hubcap, and put three or four small rocks inside. Some days, I'd just pull out the rocks I'd put there the day before. I always picked a different tire. When you put rocks in hubcaps, the first sounds you get are small clangs. The sounds change as you speed up or slow down. When you take the car to the mechanic, it doesn't ever make a sound just sitting there in his parking lot. I had one teacher who complained every day about her car: sometimes it made weird noises and sometimes it didn't and the noises always came from different places. I learned that trick, and all my other car tricks, of course, from the experience of pulling them on my sister's ex missionary.

If it was September or May, I was likely to pop her hood and put something like anchovies or sardines on her block. No problem in the cool of the morning, but as the day wore on or the motor got really hot, the car really started stinking.

One day, as I was shutting the hood, I looked up and saw someone standing in the doorway of the building with a smile on her face. Before I could make it inside to wash the fishy smell from my hands, the beanpole was ratting me out. I ended up spending some of my hard earned burger flippin' money steam cleaning the engine.

I also learned how to make the phone ring by itself. This no longer works, but if you dialed 868, paused, and then dialed another 6 and hung up the phone, it would start to ring normally. Pick it up and there is no one at the other end.

Whenever I entered the building or went to the bathroom during class, I'd do my phone trick. I taught a few of the guys how to do it also; sometimes we'd pull it on the teacher five or six times during one class.

My freshman year teacher was one of those sweet disposition types that never had any problems with there being no one there. By March, however, her personality started to change and she actually showed a spark of life. She actually begin screaming into the phone that they needed to say something or stop calling her.

I also did a lot of the simple, standard tricks: whoopee cushions on her seat, greased doorknobs, gluing the eraser or chalk to the chalkboard tray, rewinding all of the seminary filmstrips backwards, substituting AC/DC cassettes for the filmstrip cassettes, sneaking something off her desk when she turned around, hiding tape recorders in the room, …you know, the usual stuff.

For some strange reason, our ward never kept a seminary teacher for longer than a year the entire time I was in high school.

Cecilia Smug (yep, I later was in a ward run by a Bishop Smug) was just as ugly as her name. You've seen the pictures of the starving African children or the Jews from the World War Two concentration camps? One look at her and you'd scream that those people needed to lose weight. She was always getting sent to doctors who thought she was anorexic. This girl also had the kind of hair that looks like she brushed it out by standing in the bathtub and putting her finger in a light socket. With the giant bush of hair on top of the skinny body, we called her a beach umbrella; it didn't help her cause that her best friend was called the beach ball (also for obvious reasons). She had buckteeth, a whiney voice, coke bottle bottom glasses, and thought that she was receiving inspiration to run the lives of everyone in all of her church classes. I guess that I was the one who caused her to receive the most revelation, because she was always telling me what I was doing wrong and how I should change.

I hit her with both barrels every chance I had. Usually, it was simple with some form of name-calling or nasty insult. Some pranks were good, some were misfires, but a few were bull's eyes. Sometimes, I got real elaborate. I'll just tell about one of those.

Cecilia believed in UFOs and aliens. I shouldn't really say that she believed, I should say that she fantasized, dreamed, droned on, and sometimes talked about nothing but UFOs. She wasn't one of those annoying Star Trek geeks; she was a full fledged, card carrying, flying saucer lunatic. Whenever the Roswell, New Mexico Stake came in for a multi-region activity or Youth Conference, their youth learned quickly to avoid Cecilia and her questions (or lie about their real hometowns). We thought it was funny that none of the youth from the Roswell Stake ever actually admitted to living in Roswell.

After Early Morning Seminary, we would all ride together to the high school (it was either that or go home and watch Captain Kangaroo on TV). Since we were still about 45 minutes early, we would generally all go and hang out in the cafeteria. We'd eat donuts or cinnamon rolls, drink hot chocolate, and shoot the breeze until they unlocked the buildings and we could go to our classes.

At the beginning of our sophomore year, I cooked up an elaborate plan and called in some reinforcements.
One morning, between bites of a chocolate frosted donut, I turned to my best friend Josh and asked him if he had seen the weird story in the paper that morning. I told him that they had found some strange crop circles burned into several farms outside of Abilene, Texas. Cecilia immediately forced herself into the conversation, telling us that crop circles were signs of alien intelligence and proof of life on other planets. Cecilia vowed to check the next day's newspapers and tell us what she learned and teach us how that affected our lives and our very existence.

The next day, Josh told me that he had heard something on the radio about the crop circles. He said that they had found eight of them and that they were all in an octagon evenly spaced seventeen miles from the geographic center of the city of Abilene.

Cecilia was upset that the story had been on the radio, because she had looked for it in the evening and morning papers and found nothing. I told her that I had seen it in my Dad's USA Today or Wall Street Journal or something, and she was satisfied.

A few days later, we added on to the story. This time, it was something that I had seen on television. It seems that this plant that looked something like asparagus was growing in the burnt out circles in the middle of the all the fields, regardless of what the original crop was (corn, wheat, watermelons, or alfalfa). Cecilia, who had spent all weekend covering every newspaper she could get and constantly skipping through all of the radio stations (even the Spanish language ones), was upset that she hadn't caught the TV news.

After this, we really started to play her. When she was watching TV, the Abilene story was on the radio. When she was reading newspapers, we saw something in a magazine. Josh was on the school newspaper staff, so he typed up a fake story and xeroxed it on to a scrap of newsprint. We got some of the other guys to help us so that we were not the only source of the rumor.

After a few weeks, the now giant asparagus was starting to spread outward towards the other crop circles and inward towards the center of town. It grew on houses, roads, and in water. If they cut it down or burned it, it started growing back the next morning. Small animals were starting to disappear into the amazing growth. A few days later, we told her that small children and larger animals were disappearing.

She fell for it all. Worm. Hook. Line. Sinker.

Cecilia begin writing reports for her English class on the "Abilene Asparagus Invasion." She and her psycho UFO buddies poured over everything to try to get confirmation or new information. She refused to eat asparagus in the cafeteria, at home, or at ward dinners because it might be contaminated by "space germs." Naturally, we all insisted that our Moms take asparagus to all of the ward dinners.

It started getting weird when we told her that it had entered the city and people were evacuating. Soon, we told her that they were closing off I-20 through town. The military was being called in and there was going to be an information blackout. We did not discuss anything for a week to let her stew in her juices. Then, Thanksgiving break rolled around.

We found out the following Monday morning that Cecilia and her friends had gone and done something really stupid. On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, four girls left town in a beat up Chevy Vega and headed east. They told their parents that they were going to Carlsbad Caverns and had permission to spend the night in a motel as one of the girls was eighteen and supposed to be responsible and mature. They just kept going and never stopped to see the cave system.

Twenty miles outside of their intended destination, they heard one trucker tell another on his CB radio that everything was "green through Abilene." Four dorky high school girls got real excited by that comment; they were going to get to see real Space Invaders! Then, nothing happened.

They drove towards town and saw normal farms, buildings, and businesses on their way in. There was no military cordoning off the area. There was no crop of giant asparagus plants. People were walking small dogs like normal. Children were playing touch football or climbing the monkey bars in the parks.

They stopped at a local hamburger place to find out about the "invasion." They had their "newspaper clippings" and other notes from our conversations and their own private "investigations." People in the restaurant thought they were strange. A policeman eating there on his break was called over. The girls started getting hysterical about the situation, begging to know where the asparagus was and where the original crop circles were. He told them that he didn't have a clue what they were talking about and wanted to know what they were smoking or drinking.

Then, they started yelling at the officer that this was all a set up and that he either wasn't really human or that this was another government cover up. One of the girls grabbed a plastic knife and tried to cut the officer to check the color of his blood.

It was red.

He called for back up.

They arrested four girls.

Four sets of parents ruined their Thanksgiving holidays (and missed some really good football on television) by having to drive about 500 miles to get their daughters out of a psychiatric hospital.

Josh and I found out Monday morning when the Bishop "felt impressed by events" to attend seminary class and have a private conversation with a few of his Teachers. He had gotten a phone call from Cecilia's parents at ten o'clock the previous evening telling him about our involvement in this "weekend getaway." He decided to give two soon to be dying young men a "last sleep" before busting us.

I left Cecilia alone for several months. She also didn't speak to me. I thought this was the only good part of the whole deal. The bad part was being grounded from just after Thanksgiving through the end of February and not getting to take driver's ed until the summer. I couldn't take my girlfriend to the Stake Christmas Dance or New Year's Dance without being driven by my parents, so she dumped me. I lost the next girlfriend because I couldn't take her out for Valentine's Day.

About spring break, Cecilia broke down and begin coming back to the cafeteria in the mornings. That's when we first told her about the Blue Death in Seattle, Washington.

That summer, a new family moved into the ward. Brother and Sister Beechum had four daughters and one was my age. Actually, Shelby was big enough to be three of my age! Naturally, we immediately started calling her the beach ball.

I guess opposites attract, because she immediately became the best friend for life of skinny Cecilia Smug and the two spent the rest of the youth program and the next several years plotting my demise.

I think that I should add a quick note here. No, this is not one of those stories where I eventually fall madly in love with my nemesis and we marry, have a dozen kids, and live happily ever after. I never dated Cecilia or Shelby. Not once. Not on a dare and not on a bet. No desires. No devilish inclination or madness. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. No way, Jose. Never.

Shelby had a problem saying the word "Patriarchal," as in Patriarchal Blessing. She would pronounce it "patriotical" or "patriarticle." She could not get it right. In fact, she had not said it right once during the entire seminary year and we were now in the month of April. This year was Old Testament and we had talked about a lot of different kinds of blessings.

Our teacher asked her some question about some type of blessing, and she pronounced the word wrong again. The frustrated teacher (we had "called" her on the phone at least half a dozen times that morning) looked her straight in the face and said something like "Shelby, what have I told you? What have I been telling you all year? Haven't we discussed this before? Haven't we talked about this before? What have I been saying since August?"

From the back of the room, I could not resist. I could not hold it in. Discretion did not become the better part of valor. As the teacher said her last "What have I been saying since August?", I yelled out "Lose weight."


I guess when that I said my little joke, I forgot that the seminary teacher also broke bathroom scales with great frequency and loud squishy noises.

I did learn a lesson. When they say that an elephant never forgets, they are right.

Shelby and Cecilia could not let that deed go unpunished. They decided to make fun of my name. Now that was something original. Not!

My parents had a cruel sense of something (definitely not humor) in naming their children. We all had interesting middle names so that everyone who ever saw our full name would know exactly where we came in the birth order. Our middle names were not actually numbers, but they sounded like them. My oldest sister was Eunice (a middle name she actually had legally changed after her marriage to lose the embarrassment). Sister number two was Duet. My oldest brother, and child number three, was Trinidad. The next brother, child four, was Forrest. Daughter and child number five was, of course, Quinn (I always called her "Queenie"). I was number six and got stuck with Sextus. My younger brothers, numbers seven and eight, were stuck with Sven and Octavian. My baby sister, number nine, was…wait for it….you guessed it! Nina. Nice parents, right?

I've always thought that this was just as bad as those parents who give their kids names that rhyme or names that all start with the same letter or do the junior, III, the fourth, or that kind of stuff.

Anyway, my full name is Eric Sextus King. Write the middle name as a Roman numeral and it is a VI. Suddenly, to these two girls and soon to everyone in the school and at church, I became "Eric the VI King" (Eric the Viking). It didn't help matters much that we had studied Eric the Red and all of the other Vikings that year in history class, and that everyone knew that the Vikings were dirty, smelly, ale drinking, lecherous men with little intelligence and also the losers of several Super Bowls. It also didn't help much when Hollywood released a movie called "Eric the Viking."

They took a picture of me to a photographer friend of theirs on the yearbook staff (she had also been in the car on the Abilene trip). She did some magic and came up with a picture of my face superimposed over a Viking (this was before photo shopping and back in the days when photographers had to do that stuff in a darkroom). He was dragging a semi-clad woman by the hair towards a Viking ship. Unfortunately, the girl's face superimposed in the picture was the homecoming queen, and her boyfriend, an all state defensive lineman on the football team, hated me (something about putting Ben Gay in his jock strap).

Another bad thing was that they pasted this picture, with a caption that said, "The only way Eric the Viking gets his dream girl" all over the school. The third bad thing was my getting the tar beat out of me behind the field house after school for three straight days. I guess David's hands got tired or bruised from hitting my face, because it was only three days!

They thought they had me. They didn't. I would win. I was smarter. I was more experienced at this. I was devious. I'd been in trouble before and didn't mind going there again.

The first week of May, Shelby entered her math class and found a red rose taped to the top of her desk. She couldn't have thought it was hers, so she left it there for the obviously better looking girl who had that seat in second period (face it, 99.9% of the other girls in the school were better looking, and I don't need to name the one exception, do I?).

The next day, there was another rose. This one had a ribbon on it with the word "Shelby" spelled out in glitter. She kept this one, but only after making sure that no one else named Shelby used the same seat, or any other seat, in that classroom during any other period.

On Wednesday, another rose was on the desk. This time, the ribbon was a little longer and another word and a few dots had been added. This one said "Shelby, would…."

It was obvious now to Shelby and her equally happy friend Cecilia that someone had a crush on the beach ball and was going to probably ask her to the end of the year dance.

They told this to everyone that night at MIA. I bribed the Deacons with free big gulps to run around all night chanting, "Shelby's got a boyfriend." For the first time in her obese existence, she was excited to hear those words. She was blushing and happy and in heaven.

(Note: Deacons are always cheap bribes and make great assistants on practical jokes.)

A new word was added on Thursday: "you."

On Friday, the latest addition was "please." After a week of added words, her message now said "Shelby, would you please…"

I timed this one perfectly, letting the girl sweat it out over the weekend to find out the identity of the secret admirer and how he would finish his sentence.

I knew on Monday that Shelby would rush straight to the classroom after Seminary to see if she could catch the guy leaving the flowers. That's why Josh and I went and put it in the classroom on our way to Seminary (we ended up being five minutes late). Did I say yet that my best buddy's dad was head custodian at the high school? Did you know that he had secretly copied his father's grand master key the first week of our freshman year and that we had used this key for multiple reasons for four straight years? This was one of our better ones (remember, I said better and not nicer).

When we got to the campus after Seminary, the beach ball and the umbrella headed for the math wing. Instead of going to the cafeteria, Josh and I went to the guy's locker room to hang out and hide out.

The next word on the ribbon in glitter, the one that Shelby waited for all weekend, the one that completed the phrase "Shelby, would you please…", ….was "diet."

Game. Set. Match. Crushing victory to Eric the Viking. Revenge was sweet.

How would I answer the Stake President? My golden age of pranks had actually been in high school. I had become a true master on my mission, but my early reputation had followed me in the ward for over twenty years.

Now days, I was content with a little teasing or ribbing of others and just joking around.

"No, President, I've given up the practical jokes. I've learned that they take too much time and effort and can sometimes really hurt people. I've hurt them emotionally and financially and don't want to do that any more."

I drove a mini-van, for crying out loud. What kind of a wild and crazy guy did he think I was?

Then I remembered. President Richardson had been another of the parents on that trip to Texas many years ago to pick up a daughter. He wasn't a church member then, and it kind of surprised me when he joined soon after. I thought that my bad example should probably have chased him away from the church for life.

President Richards, however, had spent a trip down to Abilene in a car talking with "later to be Bishop" Smug. Driving all day long, especially when you are worried about your kids, gives you a lot of time to discuss life and other important things. Should I remind the Stake President that I, in one very significant way, had influenced his joining the church with one of my practical jokes?

Nope, better not.

The funny story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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