Megan and Henry had a bad tendency to escalate things. It was probably due in large part to their competitive natures, developed from childhoods heavy in sports for him, dance for her. On one hand they were a perfect match for each other, each understanding that nature first hand, rather than being confused and upset by it.
At this point it was impossible to remember who had started with the first prank. It was probably so minor as to hardly be considered a prank at all, and even may have been unintentional. But once that train began rolling, there was no stopping it for the two of them.
Certain key moments stood out of course, times when the war had been clearly escalated. It would be too bold to say that there was a specific thought process behind these moments, but if there were it would probably go something like this:
“This has gone too far. I’ll show her I mean business and this will be the end of it.”
“Oh, he thinks he can scare me off with that? Wait ’till he sees what I have coming his way.”
Rinse and repeat.
Henry had escalated the conflict with tiny fake spiders, sprinkled inside Megan’s hairdryer. The real attack came slightly after her screams though, when he told her, “Maybe next time I’ll put real ones in there.” She wouldn’t let him see the success of that psychological attack, but was it ever effective. Verifying the safety of the dryer was now a daily task for her.
A few days later a winter driveway, hosed down thoroughly the night before, had sent Henry spinning uncontrollably into the street. And on and on the escalations went.
It was impossible to keep score, and it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. This was their life now, and the only prank that mattered was the last one. Though he swore innocence, Megan was sure that Henry had found a way to wake her every night around 2AM. Maybe some kind of caffeine inhalant that he was able to give to her or something.
A week of half sleep was making her a little loopy, a little giddy even. Later she would convince herself that she wasn’t right in the head, but it certainly felt right. She was standing around a corner, waiting for Henry to walk past. She held a hose in her hands, which of course is the making of a classic prank that everyone loves, right?
Except the hose wasn’t on. She didn’t forget to turn it on, it just never crossed her mind that traditionally this prank involved getting someone wet who didn’t want to be. Nope, that was not on the docket for the day. No, when Henry rounded the corner, she was going to beat him senseless with it. What a hilarious joke! Surely he’d see that and they’d be laughing and calling it quits after this one.
As the footsteps got louder Megan was almost unable to contain her giggling. In a brief moment of lucidity she nearly stopped to reconsider what the definition of “prank” was, but it was too late. With a crouch she prepared to spring out, hose firmly in a baseball grip between her hands.
“Surprise!” she yelled, jumping out with the hose above her head, and bringing it crashing down in a hilarious prank-smash.