222/366 – The Practical Joker

Day 80 of 100 Word Prompts: Joke

Davin snuck through the bushes around the house. Crossing paths after checking that they were clear. Ed, the gardener, was busily trimming a rose bush as he snuck past him. Evelyn was prepping a baked good for dinner as he silently passed by the doorway up the hall. He went up the back stairs, carefully skipping the fourteenth step that creaked as though a personal alarm for the staff.

Checking each corner, he made his way to his room, stripping his boots and jacket as he did. He would hide them in the bottom of the trunk at the back of his closet. He was overly confident that no one would catch him as he opened his bedroom door and stepped inside, shutting the door quickly behind him.

Davin, however, did not see Vivian, the governess of the house, sitting on the bench at the foot of his bed with a disapproving look. He didn’t notice her watching him as he smugly walked to his closet, pushing through the hanging clothes to the back where he struggled to open the trunk and deposit the evidence. In his oblivious state, he certainly didn’t notice the woman slowly walking up next to the door, waiting for him to emerge.

A moment later, his head poked out through the hanging clothes, and Vivian’s hand swiftly came down on the top of it. The crack of the slap echoed through the room as he instinctually covered his head and rolled from the trapped space, landing on his back on the floor of the room. Seeing her standing above him, he sprang to his feet and backed away quickly.

“What was that for?” Davin asked, rubbing the top of his head.

“You know what you did,” Vivian replied, hitting him again, this time in the shoulder. “That was a rotten, no good, downright nasty trick you pulled! Mr. Davis called me from the fair. Apparently, you’ve been busy this evening.”

“It was a joke,” Davin said, skirting away from the pummeling. “I didn’t mean anything by it, honest!”

“You expect me to believe that you didn’t mean anything by what you did? You put a bucket of pig slop in the tunnel of love at the fair for when Eloise and Kellan went through. Specifically, you waited for them to come through, and you dumped the bucket on them,” Vivian said, pursuing the boy in his retreat. “You should feel lucky that all you’re getting is a beating from me. I have half a mind to let Kellan come here and teach you a lesson all his own.”

“No!” Davin replied, putting his hands up. “Kellan is mean and bullies me constantly. Why wouldn’t I try to even the score a little? It has been near torturous this year to be in school with him. Last week he pantsed me in front of the girls.”

Vivian stopped her hand halfway down. “He did what?”

“He pulled my trousers down in front of the girls at school last week. Every girl in our grade saw my underwear,” Davin replied with more confidence now that she was listening.

“You swear it?” Vivian asked.

“I swear it on my life,” Davin said, crossing his heart. “I play lighthearted tricks usually. You know that. I would never do something like that to someone that didn’t deserve it.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about this?” Vivian asked.

“For starters, you were busy lecturing me for coming home late from school. You gave me twice the chores then sent me to bed without dinner,” Davin replied defiantly.

“You mean the day that you came in as the sun was setting? The day that I specifically told you in the morning that it was important for you to be home on time because your parents would be returning?” Vivian said, shaking her head. “I know you are a strong-willed boy, but sometimes I don’t know what to do with you.”

“Don’t do anything with me,” Davin muttered under his breath.

“What was that?” Vivian asked.

“I said, don’t do anything with me,” Davin replied, a little louder. “My parents should-”

“Your parents have been away for nearly two years and hired me to look after you. What should I tell them? That their boy, under my watchful eye, has become a blight on the town who constantly plays tricks on everyone else?” Vivian said, dropping into a chair with a humph. “I just don’t know what to do anymore.”

“What are you saying?” Davin asked, taking a hesitant step forward.

“I’m saying that if you care even a little for me the way I care for you, you’ll straighten out,” Vivian replied. “Otherwise, I’ll be forced to tell your parents to find another governess to look after you.”

“No!” Davin said, covering his mouth.

“I will,” Vivian replied. “I take pride in what I do, but I also know that if I can’t help you learn and keep your head on straight, that someone else will. I may not be the right fit for you any longer.”

“It was just one prank-” Davin began, falling to silence at Vivian’s disbelieving stare.

“You and I both know that a single prank wouldn’t be a big problem, Davin,” Vivian said. “You’re keeping secrets from me, and then lying to me when I ask about things.”

“I didn’t lie,” Davin protested.

“The prank at the fair? That wasn’t a lie when you said it was just a joke?” Vivian asked.

“Oh, yeah,” Davin replied, lowering his head.

“And that’s just the one that I caught you in,” Vivian said. “What other things have you lied to me about? What other things have you been doing that you weren’t caught doing? I thought we were in a good place just a few short months ago, yet here you sit in front of me, and I’m not sure who you even are anymore.”

“I’m me,” Davin said. “I won’t lie to you, I swear it. I’m sorry about the fair. I’ll never do it again, and I swear to never lie about it again. You can’t leave!”

“You swear it?” Vivian asked.

“I swear it!” Davin said.

“I suppose I can file my letter of resignation in my desk for later,” she replied, opening her arms to the boy. “Now, come here and give me a hug.”



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