2010.03.08 - Just Another Day With Greg, or, The Best Prank Ever Pulled On Me

You'll get yours Greg, don't worry...

So I went up to Boston to see my buddy Greg and to attend a last minute interview with a law firm up there. We went out the first night in Boston and had a great time, coming back to the hotel around 2:30 AM or so. On our way to the door, a particularly flamboyantly gay dude in a fur-lined coat (Dale) and his friend try to strike up a conversation with us. Greg’s wife, Marci, and I ignore them and head back up to the hotel room we were all sharing, but Greg stays downstairs to smoke a cigarette outside and consequently keeps talking to them. After ten minutes or so, we realize that the hotel locks its doors at night and Greg may not be able to get back in, so I head back down to let him in. When I get downstairs, Greg is walking in with the two guys we had met outside, and one of them—Dale—is hitting on Greg like crazy. They follow us into the elevator, and without pressing a button for their own floor, they head up to our floor…talking to Greg the whole time. I try to drag drunk Greg away from these guys (Greg liked the attention, so that wasn’t happening), so I attempt to get involved in the conversation and get him back to the room that way…only to be promptly shut down by Dale. Having failed on all fronts, I go back to the room to report to Marci that her hubby is a few minutes away from being propositioned in the hallway. Greg returns shortly thereafter, while I was in the restroom, and I start talking to him through the door. Joking with me, Greg tells me to call him so he can hear me better and then answers the phone in a gay voice, pretending to be one of the guys. That could be where this story ends, with me laughing at it, hanging up, and then us all going to sleep. But of course those of you who know Greg know better, and I wouldn’t be writing this if that was the end of the story. A bit of background to what’s about to unfold: Greg has a horrible track record with phones. I mean truly horrible. I have, at any one point in time, six or seven numbers in my phone for him because he’s practically impossible to reach. Either he’s lost his phone, broken his phone, hasn’t charged his phone, forgot his phone, or a combination of those things…and I always end up accidentally calling his mom because that’s the only number that anyone picks up. In fact, just before this trip Greg had lost his cell phone and was using Marci’s phone to make calls. Now back to the story…when we made it back to the room, I had already had a few drinks, and the last thing that I expected to hear on the other end of the phone was one of the gay guys Greg had just been talking to. At first I figure I must have dialed the wrong number, so I quickly hang up. I look down at the phone…nope, I had called Greg’s phone like I meant to. Did Greg invite the guys into the room? Cue conversation: (through the bathroom door) Me: “Greg, did you bring those guys to our room?!?” Greg: (Incoherent laughing) Me: “Greg, a gay guy just picked up your phone!” Greg: (More laughing; Greg is now staring wide-eyed at Marci, realizing that he has me duped) (Austin walks out of the bathroom, sees no one but Greg and Marci in the room) Me: “Greg, some gay guy just picked up your phone, do you know where your phone is?” Greg: “Yeah man, I have it in my pocket.” Me: “Dude, I don’t think so, I think one of the guys that was hitting on you has it!” I start calling Greg’s phone, and to keep me thinking that one of the guys has his phone, he starts singing, rustling around, and generally making noise so I don’t hear his phone vibrating in his pocket. After multiple calls, I am pretty sure that his phone has been jacked, and I start laying into him for it: Me: “Dude, you idiot! Those guys were paying you attention so they could jack your stuff! I knew they looked shady! Crap dude!” Greg: (playing the part) “Oh God man you’re right, shit shit shit.” Marci: (who knows what’s going on) “Greg, you’re such a moron! Geez, you should’ve known better! That wasn’t even your phone! You lost MY phone!!” Greg points down to a newspaper laying on the desk with a number scrawled on it, saying that the guys gave him their number and he had given them his on a piece of newspaper ripped off the same page. Now while it was true that Greg had taken down their number and given them his, what I didn’t know is that Greg had made sure to change one digit for the number he wrote down before he showed it to me. I call it, and just by coincidence it happens to be a disconnected number. Now I am completely convinced that these guys have scammed Greg. I tell Greg that he needs to call T-Mobile to cancel his phone, so Greg calls the T-Mobile number from my phone, quickly hangs up without me noticing, and then fakes an entire conversation to them, complete with giving his name, number, and SSN. After a couple of minutes on the phone, he puts on his drunken belligerent face and starts a fake argument with the non-existent T-Mobile employee because the employee has accused him of lying about losing his phone and trying to score a new phone on the insurance plan. The conversation ends with Greg cussing out the non-existent employee and then hanging up. I give Greg a bunch of grief for cussing out the employee, but figure we can just call them tomorrow. Most people would probably end the prank here, tell me the next day, and let that be it. But again, this is Greg. After a discussion with Marci about the best way to break the prank to me, Greg decides that he’s going to imitate the guy’s voice on his voicemail, have me call it and freak out, then tell me. But before that happens, we go downstairs and have a few drinks at the bar in the hotel. I’ve made friends with the woman at the front desk, and proceed to tell her about the two guys and what I think has happened to Greg’s phone. After hearing all this, she tells me “Oh yeah, those guys weren’t staying at the hotel. They looked really shady to me and I can totally see that happening.” Greg and Marci were somehow keeping straight faces while I talked to the desk clerk, and if I had any doubt about Greg’s phone being stolen, I didn’t after that. The next day, we drive up to New Hampshire to meet his Aunt Paula, whose house we’ll be staying in for the night, and meet at a restaurant up there called Irish Cottage. While I’m in the bathroom, Greg tells Paula about the ongoing prank, and then heads outside for a cigarette with Marci. While they’re outside smoking, Greg’s cousin Tony (who was meeting us for dinner) shows up, and before he walks into the restaurant, Greg tells him the prank and his voicemail plan. Tony has a better idea: he’s going to call me from Greg’s phone, pretend to be one of the guys (Dale) from that night, and mess with me. They walk back in, and Tony makes some comment about Greg’s phone. When Greg alludes to the fact that he doesn’t have his phone anymore but doesn’t tell the story, I tell Greg to tell Tony what happened. Greg declines, so I proceed to tell a very exaggerated and theatrical story of how Greg got duped by the two guys to a table full of people who already know I’m being pranked. It’s all Greg can do to not break down at the table hearing me tell it, and everyone else is laughing their asses off not at my story, but at the prank. At the end of the story: Me: “See Greg, that’s what you get for not telling the story yourself.” Greg: “Yep, you’re right Austin, you sure showed me.” Paula (again, knowing about the prank) and I then bounce ideas off each other regarding how this whole thing went down with Greg’s phone. My theory is that maybe they took the phone as a joke, and then either kept it or felt too guilty to fess up and return it. Paula’s theory is that Greg dropped his phone and one of them picked it up. We mused about this for the rest of dinner and then retired to Paula’s house. That night, clan Sheehan puts their plan into action. First, Greg needed to make sure that I had my phone on me. My phone had died and I had my phone plugged in and charging in another room, so Greg convinced me to get it and bring it downstairs so he could play on the internet because his phone was “stolen.” No matter that there were 2 laptops sitting less than ten feet away. I don’t even pay attention as I give Greg my phone. After making sure that I have it in front of me, Tony walks into the bathroom, shuts the door, and calls my number. I look down at my ringing phone, and: Me: “Greg, oh my god dude, I’m getting a call from your phone!” Greg: “Pick it up dude! Pick it up!!” Me: “Hello?” Tony: (in a gay voice from here on) “Hello, who’s this?” Me: “Austin?” Tony: “Austin, yeah, I met you last night in front of the hotel. This is Dale.” Me: “Oh great! Hey Dale! You have Greg’s phone?” Tony: “I sure do. I found it in the elevator in the hotel, so I picked it up and took it with me. I remembered your name and saw it in this phone, so I dialed it.” Me: (looks down at Paula, mouthing that he found it in the elevator, confirming her story. Paula nods approvingly, pretending to feel vindicated in her idea) “Fantastic Dale!” Tony: “So how do I get this phone to you? Are you still at the hotel?” Me: “Crap, no Dale, we’re not. We’re up at Greg’s Aunt Paula’s tonight and won’t be back to Boston till tomorrow night. Can you wait till then?” Tony: “No, I’m not going to be around then Austin. How far out from Boston are you?” Me: “We’re about 40 minutes north, in (motioning I need the city name) Pelham, New Hampshire.” Tony: “Oh, that’s not that far. Ok, I can drive up there and bring it to you. What’s your address?” Me: (mouthing that I need the address) “We’re at _______.” Now at this point everyone at the table is trying to act like everything is cool, but Greg puts on his belligerent drunk face again (he’s good at this, believe me, lots of practice), and starts yelling: Greg: “Don’t tell that guy where we are dude! What the hell? We don’t want some stranger up here late at night!” (the rest of the people at the table either take up the same stance or the opposite, that the guy should come over and bring the phone) Me: “Guys! Shut up! This guy wants to bring Greg his phone!” Tony: (he can hear everything from the bathroom, pretends to be pissed/offended) “What’s going on over there? Should I not come over? It sounds like they don’t want me to come over.” Me: “No, no it’s cool, we want you to drop by and bring Greg’s phone. Don’t worry about them, they’re just drunk.” This goes on for a few minutes, where I am trying to convince Tony, acting as Dale, that we want him to come by, and that the people yelling are just drunk and annoying. Tony starts acting pissed off and offended and goes back-and-forth about whether to drive up there or not. Tony’s girlfriend realizes that she can just barely hear Tony in the bathroom talking to me, so she excuses herself and walks into the bedroom to turn on the radio and block Tony’s voice. At that point, the belligerent yelling has turned to laughter for obvious reasons, and Tony picks up on it: Tony: (even more pissed) “What’s that? Are they laughing at me?” Me: “No, no Dale, they’re just drunk and playing a game. They don’t mean anything by it.” Tony: “Well it sure as hell sounds like they’re laughing at me right now.” Me: “No, I’m sorry Dale, they’re just being belligerent. Hold on just a sec.” I put my hand over the phone’s microphone, mouth SHUT UP GUYS, HE’S PISSED to everyone in the room, and then walk out on the back porch, because I don’t want to piss off Dale anymore for fear he’ll just say forget it, hang up, and throw the phone away and I know everyone is too drunk to realize that they’re wrecking the chance to get Greg’s phone back. I confirm a few more times that Dale’s bringing the phone, and then Tony abruptly shifts the tone of the conversation: Tony: “Ok, I’ll come up there and bring the phone.” Me: “Ok, great, thanks Dale!” Tony: “Besides, it would be good to see you anyway. You looked cute last night…I liked your butt in your jeans.” (I am toning this down for my own sake, but needless to say, it was pretty explicit) Me: (nervous laugh) “Uh, ha ha, thanks Dale. So you’re going to bring the phone up here then?” Tony: “Yeah, sure. You just, you looked really good last night.” Me: (feeling pretty uncomfortable) “Thanks Dale. Ok, so we’ll see you up here shortly.” Tony: “Do you think I’m cute?” Me: (not wanting to lose the chance to get Greg’s phone back by pissing Dale off, but facing a heterosexual dilemma) “Sure Dale, I guess you’re a decent-looking guy.” Tony: “Wait a minute…are you gay?” Me: (knowing now that I’m doomed, but there’s no way around it) “Uhhhm…No, I’m not.” Tony: (in an angry tone) “What? You’re not gay?” Me: (imagining Dale walking to a trash can to toss the phone as I speak) “No Dale, I’m not. Sorry.” And I spend the next minute apologizing profusely for not being gay. Tony at this point knows that even though I’m outside, everyone is at the door to the back porch listening and knows exactly what he’s asking me. But Tony wants me to say the words: Tony: “So you’re not gay?” Me: “No, I’m not Dale.” Tony: “You’re not at all?” Me: “Nope, not at all.” Tony: (angry tone, goes for the gold) “Tell me you’re not gay.” Me: “I’m not, Dale.” Tony: (even angrier) “Just say it!” Me: (louder) “I said it Dale, I’m not!” Tony: (angry as hell) “Say the words, say I’m not gay!” Me: “I’m not gay Dale!” The house erupts at my performance. Everyone is laughing so hard at this point that they’re crying. I need to point out that even at this point, 30 minutes into this conversation, I am still completely fooled. Tony, as Dale, makes another comment about everyone laughing, and I just desperately keep apologizing over and over. Finally I notice something…I hear an echo of everyone laughing from the phone, and realize everything at once. Me: “Oh, and by the way, go to hell Tony!” I walk back in to my waiting audience going absolutely nuts. I got kudos for being such a good friend that I’d go through that to get Greg’s phone back and, between tears, Greg explained everything to me. How they realized I thought his phone was stolen when he answered it in a gay voice. How the number he wrote down just happened to be disconnected. How he made a real call to T-Mobile so it would show up on my phone but quickly hung up and faked the whole thing. How the desk clerk had no clue about the prank and just happened to also think the guys were shady. How they ran with it all the next day and turned it off so it would look like it really was stolen. How they clued everyone into the prank while I was in the bathroom. How Tony just happened to walk up to the restaurant while they were taking a cigarette break and they hatched this plan. I have to say, I’m impressed. And having thought for a whole day that the whole thing was true, it took me the rest of the night to work myself out of that mindset. All I can say now is, bravo Greg. I can guarantee that I may not be able to get you back right away; but believe me, when I do, it won’t be a 24 hour thing with your family…it’ll be on national news.