Scaring someone, even children, can often be one of life’s greatest pleasures. The horrified screeches, large men releasing girly screams and the pure terror in their eyes while you prank them can provide a visual that will make you laugh when recollected for a lifetime.
Honestly, if I could hide under a restaurant table and grab the legs of an unsuspecting server while they bring our food to our table without causing a lawsuit, I’d probably do it. Daily.
But the truth is, scaring people doesn’t come without risk. Like getting punched in the face. I learned this the hard way.
When my husband and I lived in California, we lived in an apartment where we preferred coming through the sliding glass door on the side of the building.
Almost daily, I was a victim of his scare tactics and a practically mute sliding glass door. And let me tell you something. No one likes to be scared or startled when they think they’re alone in the bathroom. We all know that when we’re alone, pretty much anything goes, including, but not limited to, inspecting our boobs. I don’t like to be scared while privately inspecting my boobs and there’s nothing you can say to change my mind.
I know what you’re thinking, “Why is Anna inspecting her boobs?” I don’t ask what you do in private and I'll thank you for the same courtesy.
Rob used to work the evening shift at the hospital, often getting him home at exactly 11:10 pm every night. I was busy working on something when I caught the time - 11:08. Rob would be home any minute. This was my chance.
There was a closet in the same hallway that had to be passed when someone came through the sliding glass door. My brilliant plan was to hide in the closet, keep it cracked, watch him come home through the crack, then jump out and scare him when he walked past.
Oh, I was gonna get him real good. I immediately jumped into the closet, giddy from the anticipation of scaring the crap out of my husband.
“I hope he screams like a little girl,” I said softly to myself. I was about to make an incredible memory both he and I would treasure for a lifetime. It’s possible only I would treasure it, but whatever, it doesn’t matter.
After about 10 minutes of sitting in a dark closet by myself, I started to question my resolve. Scaring people takes dedication. Patience. Confidence. Did I have what it takes? As that thought crossed my mind, that’s when it happened. I heard a thump from our gate. I shoved my eye to the crack in the door and held my breath. Holding your breath that giddy and nervous causes almost immediate fainting, so I changed up my strategy to slow and meticulous mouth breathing.
I could see Rob in the moonlight and he was walking really slow. Oddly slow. What is he doing? I could tell he was looking around, through the glass, looking for me. Oh my god. Is he doing what I think he’s doing?
Then, ever so slowly he grabbed the door handle to the sliding glass door and began, ever so slightly, gliding it open.
My heart jumped in my throat from so much glee I almost threw up glee. My husband is trying to enter our apartment quietly so that he can scare ME. And I’m in the closet about to scare HIM.
THANK YOU, SWEET SWEET JESUS!
After about 5 minutes of slowly and quietly opening the sliding glass door to not make a noise (I actually admire his dedication to scaring people) he stepped in with his tippy toes. His eyes shifted around and I could tell he was stretching to try and hear something to determine my location. A feeling of total charismatic badassness took over me like I was Denzel Washington in an action movie. I slowly mouthed I’m in the closet, sucka, and waited for my moment of revenge. He walked a few steps towards the closet and I quickly moved away from the crack. While seeing my eyeball staring at him through the closet would probably be a hilarious visual we both could enjoy later, I needed this moment to go flawlessly, so hard.
He began looking around again, I could tell he was listening for me to make a noise. He wasn’t close enough for me to jump out yet, but almost. The stress was making me weak in the knees. Then, he began to move forward again.
"Don’t eff this up, Anna," I said to myself, shoved in-between gigantic winter coats you only need for a couple weeks in northern California, a vacuum, 10 shoe boxes filled with crap and presents I planned on re-gifting. This was my chance. Slowly I whispered, "Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment. Would you capture it or just let it slip? Yo," then shook my head. Now was not the time for Eminem. I needed to focus.
Rob, took two steps and my eyes quickly shifted to the opening of the door. The minute I saw a body part, I was jumping. Then I saw it - his hand as he was about to walk past. I kicked the door open! “BOOOOOO SUCKA!!!!!!!!”
Rob’s eyes shot open like saucers, his scream was blood curdling and high pitched like me when I see spiders on my person. He swung his arm back and swung right for my face. Like Muhammad Ali, I swung my head around just in time to miss his punch where Rob made contact with the closet door. He almost punched through it, drew his hand back and started screaming.
“HAHAHAHAHA! I scared you!!” I shrieked.
“WHY DID YOU DO THAAAAAAT?!” Rob continued to scream, holding his hand up.
“Oh my god, are you bleeding?”
“WHYYYYYYY DID YOU DO THAAAAAAT?!”
“I was just trying to scare you! I’m sorry! Whoa, are you crying?”
“No!” His faced was grimaced and clearly horrified.
“It kind of looks like you’re crying.”
“I’m not crying! I punched through the door!” He grabbed his hand and cradled it.
I was filled with a lot of emotions, but the one overriding the others was that his wailing (that looked a lot like crying, by the way) was totally ruining the hilarity you’re supposed to enjoy when you successfully scare someone.
“Oh, you’re fine. It’s just a little cut. But that was so funny, right? I scared you while you were scaring me? I mean, when we get your hand cleaned up we’re gonna laugh about this for hours, right?”
"This freaking hurts and I could have hurt you too, by the way.”
“Oh please. I’m fine. But this is hilarious right? I mean, you were creeping in to scare me and then I jump out and I’m all like, 'Boo sucka!' And you screamed like a girl? I mean, you gotta admit that’s hilarious, right?” I had a desperate smile on my face that looked a lot like crazy. I felt my hilarious moment slipping through my fingers and I was trying to thwart off devastation.
“You have to be careful, Anna. Someone could have really gotten hurt,” he lectured while washing his cut under the sink.
“Oh, like when you come home when I’m in the shower and you rip the curtain open to scare me while I’m in the middle of trimming the hedges? I have a blade in my hand, near something more valuable than jewels. Spare me the lecture.”
Then, Rob had the audacity to chuckle to himself at HIS OWN SCARE. “That was awesome. You should have seen your face. Like a deer in headlights, but embarrassed and angry. Classic.”
“Oh, HELL NAH! You’re not going to start reminiscing about scaring me and laugh about it while not letting me laugh about what just happened. This was pure gold. My god man, you were trying to scare me when I scared you! It was the best thing to ever happen to us!”
Rob glanced up seriously at me. I could tell it would be a long time before he would give me the satisfaction of enjoying this moment.
I walked away, defeated and turned on the TV. Rob finally felt bad for me. My incredible scare was ruined, but he wasn’t a monster. He came over and put his arm around me.
“I want to laugh, but I’m not sure what hurts worse - my hand or my pride.”
The look of terror and his girly scream flashed across my mind's eye yet again and I slipped into hysterical laughter that lasted until Rob got up bored and went to bed.
I had successfully created a moment that was worth the price of a new closet door, easily. Worth every damn penny.