by Steven Anderson

I’ve never much liked my friends from school, with all their bickering, conniving, and envy. Melissa was jealous of Johnny’s car, Johnny was plotting to steal Alec’s girlfriend, and Alec just wanted to be alone and tie off. When April first finally, finally, came around, I knew it was time- in one fell swoop, I could show them all just how petty they were being. Should I have chosen the simple thumb tack on a chair prank? Maybe. Or even egged a few houses? Perhaps so. But the particular means I had chosen fit just so perfectly, so neatly- it was the simple duty of a caring friend, such as myself, to pull one over on my pretentious peers.
So with careful dissimulation and a conductor’s orchestration, I put my plan in motion. I set fire to Johnny’s car- there, nothing left to envy!- I battered around Alec’s girlfriend- yes, no beauty left to long for!- dripped sodium into Alec’s needles- and finally, no reason to leave me once more!
But my friends, in yet another fit of petulant rage, bore me no love for the love I displayed. They struck me with tools and shattered my bones; they drowned me in water and filled up my lungs; slapped me with hands I only ever wanted to hold.
So the next year, this year, I decided April first would best be spent in reparation, rather than demarcation. And in my head hatched a new plan that would finally bring us together. I took a hostage of Johnny’s new girlfriend, made away with Melissa’s new car, and stole Alec’s sobriety with heroin of cultivated black tar.
First to my house came Melissa, demanding back her car, so I led her to my basement, where I swore I kept her keys.
Next to my house came Johnny, who only wanted his lover, so I showed him down to her new room, where that fated lover now sleeps.
Finally to my house came Alec, in shivering pale desperation, so I guided him down with the rest, where I promised I stored salvation.
I later descended once more to meet my friends and explain the convoluted prank, but when I reached the bottom of the wooden stairs, they attacked. They assaulted me in my own home, jumped me from every corner! I had shown them kindness; I was the orchestrator of this romantic reunion, yet they beat me like an animal!
But it was fine. They were still blind. Hands are meant for holding, not for fighting.
Making my escape, I decided to give them a week or so to help them calm down. When I returned, their stomachs were barely visible, and their muscles too weak to struggle; so, bearing a needle and a large spool of thread, I began my work. This would surely be the prank to finally bring them together. They would never fight again; we would hold hands forever.