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Seeing the Funny Side: a story

This is my entry for this week’s session at the writing group I belong to. The theme is “A Practical Joke”.

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Schoolfriends Jason and Marcus were deep in conversation.

“Are you sure about this?” Marcus asked.

“Course I am”, said Jason. “It’ll be a huge laugh.”

“But will he really see the funny side?” Marcus insisted. “This is your Dad we’re talking about. I’ve never been impressed by his sense of humour. I remember the time I was round your place when the TV was showing ‘The Greatest Comedy Moments in TV History’ and he stayed stony-faced through every single one of them.”

“But he was laughing to himself inside”, said Jason.

“Really? So why, when Del Boy fell through the bar, was your Dad’s only comment that the Trotters should have sued the pub for breaching Health and Safety? And why did he insist that playing the notes in the wrong order was just the same as playing all the wrong notes?”

“I’m telling you”, said Jason, “Dad loves a joke as much as anyone, and practical jokes are right up his street. He’ll definitely see the funny side of this one.”

“OK”, said Marcus, “so what’s so funny about being robbed of your cash at the ATM outside Sainsbury’s – which is what you appear to have in mind?”

“Simple”, said Jason, “Dad’s being going on for months about how careful you need to be at cashpoints, and how he would never be caught out by a sneak thief who tried any sort of trick on him. Well – I reckon we could prove him wrong. It’s all right – we won’t keep the cash, obviously, but we’ll show him that he can be caught out as easily as anyone.”

“And he’ll take that as a joke?”

“Believe me”, said Jason. “I know my Dad. He’ll be the first to start laughing”.

So, the next day being Saturday, the two boys followed Jason’s Dad down into town on the latter’s regular morning walk to do a little shopping. Dad was one of those people who much prefer to use cash than plastic when buying things over the counter, so his first stop was the Sainsbury’s hole-in-the-wall cashpoint.

The boys had rehearsed their tactics very throroughly, so when the notes emerged from the dispenser, Jason shouted loudly “Oh my God, look at that!” which made his Dad spin round, leaving Marcus free to grab the money and run off round the corner.

“You seem to be going somewhere in a hurry, young man”, said a deep voice.

The voice belonged to a police officer, into whom Marcus had cannoned just round the corner. Marcus had not reckoned on an outcome like this, and he could feel his legs going extremely wobbly as the policeman grabbed him by his shirt collar.

“And what’s that in your hand? Nice crisp ten-pound notes if I’m not mistaken. They wouldn’t by any chance have been stolen from some innocent old person using the cashpoint, would they? Let’s just see if we can find their real owner, shall we?”

So saying, the policeman dragged Marcus back round the corner, where Jason’s Dad was standing next to the cashpoint.

Two things now surprised Marcus to a considerable extent. The first was that Jason was also standing there. Why had he not scarpered as soon as he himself had run off? The second was that both Jason and his Dad were laughing their heads off.

“I told you Dad would see the funny side”, said Jason. “The point is – do you?”

Marcus didn’t know what to say, so said nothing.

Jason’s Dad turned to the “policeman”. “Thanks for playing your part so well, Brian”, he said. “It sounds as though you made an excellent officer of the law for our little prank. Now I suppose you’d better clear off before a real policeman turns up”.

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