Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Party Like It's 1999: A Tale from the Franch

The year was 1999. The end of the world was nigh. All the computers in the world were going to crash and we were surely going to starve to death, unless we stocked up on generators and mass quantities of Spam. There was a great debate raging as to whether or not anything was going to happen when the clocks rolled over into the year 2000. Jeff and I were on the ‘nothing’s going to happen’ side of the fence. We weren’t worried at all, yet many people we knew feared the worst. Being the fine upstanding young people that we were, we saw a great opportunity for a prank! We decided to make the most of the situation and planned to prank both Linda (the owner of the farm), and Jeff’s Aunt and Uncle. If you recall, one theory in the whole Y2K scare was that the entire US would blackout when the clocks struck midnight on the East coast. The idea was that all the power plants would shut down and mass chaos would ensue across the country. This was the theory that Linda was concerned with. At about 9:55 pm Colorado time, we were good-naturedly teasing her and she told us we’d be feeling pretty silly when it actually happened. She went off to the bathroom to use it before the power went out. While she was there, we drew the blinds on the east side of the house. (This was the only side where neighboring lights could be seen) Then, Richard slipped out into the garage and flipped the breaker. We all screamed in mock alarm. We heard Linda yelling from down the hall, “I told you so! I told you! Now someone come bring me a flashlight.” We were cracking up. Our first prank went fabulously! For the next prank, we got Linda involved. We recruited her to drive the get-away car. We all piled in and off we went. Now Jeff’s Uncle lived pretty much as far outside of town as you could get. There wasn’t exactly any traffic going by, especially at midnight. To avoid detection, we turned our headlights off about a mile before his road. When we got about a quarter mile from the house, we pulled off the side of the road. Jeff and Richard stealthily ran up the ditch toward the house. It might be helpful to interject here that Jeff’s Uncle’s house is well-stocked with guns. In fact, they kept at least one in each room. There was some concern that Jeff and Richard might be taken for intruders or varmints, but Jeff assured me that they’d be careful. As we waited in the car, we could hear the screaming cheers of people who had had a few too many drinks. This made me even more nervous: Jeff’s Aunt and Uncle, a little tipsy with a houseful of guns and my boyfriend is sneaking around outside their house. About the time that we anticipated the lights to go out, the door burst open and a bunch of cheering partiers came out the door. I cringed. Their cover was blown. Fortunately there were no gunshots. The people quickly went back inside and we realized that they must not have caught Jeff and Richard. After a few short minutes, the lights went off. The cheering stopped. A minute later we heard Jeff and Richard, huffing and puffing as they ran up the dirt road. They hopped in the car and off we went. We asked them what happened. They explained that just as they were opening the panel to flip the breaker, Richard saw the doorknob turning out of the corner of his eye. They quickly jumped over the fence and laid down in the ditch. As soon as everyone went back inside, they went back and flipped the breaker. The next week, Jeff’s Aunt told me that some punk kid had flipped their circuit breaker. They thought it was just some high school kid. I don’t remember whether or not we ever told them what really happened.

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