[SwankiVY's Shenanigans]

The Answering Machine Prank!

[answer phone]

Scott is a guy I met in my math methods course when I was in college. One of the first things I found out about Scott was that he had a sense of humor. The next semester we ended up in a class together again: Health Methods. We began hanging out a lot more and becoming friends outside of school, and began to pseudo-affectionately call each other "Bitch." The worse the insult, the funnier it was, but "Bitch" was always accepted as just another substitute for our names when we spoke to each other.

Anyway, one day I went to Health Methods just after finishing a day at my internship, at which I had to wear "sensible" shoes that hurt my feet. In Health Methods this particular day, I removed my shoes. Big mistake.

Somehow, when I got up to leave the class, one shoe was missing. I was thinking, How the hell do you lose a shoe in class? The classroom was set up sort of like a stadium, so if my shoe had fallen off of one of the "risers," it could have been kicked and lost anywhere in the room. I searched. Scott helped.

Finally, Scott located my shoe; its hiding place had seemingly been behind a trashcan. What in the world? I put it on and thanked him for his help, and he said, "Well, I figured it was only fair to help you look, since I was the one who took it." Ooh boy.

Scott had pranked The Prankster! I hadn't thought to ask him if he had the shoe, because I didn't think he would be enough of a bastard to take anything from me and pretend he didn't have it. Obviously, I found out he is that much of a bastard. Oh well. We decided between us that the prank would have been much funnier if he had played it up a little more. See, I always got a ride to class and didn't have my bike, so if I hadn't found my shoe I would have had to walk home in one stocking foot. It would have been funnier if he had offered to go ride his bike home, grab his car, and then come and pick me up and take me home, only to give me the shoe at the end of the car ride! Finally Scott decided it would have been funniest if he had gone home on his bike while I waited, acquired his car, driven to my house FIRST, dropped off my shoe IN MY ROOM with my roommate's help, and THEN come back to get me, only to have me come home and find my shoe in my damn bedroom. I told him that was funny, but I wasn't sure if I would have laughed or if I would have slugged him.

The contest was on. He wanted to "get" me, to make me annoyed or angry enough to retaliate. He attempted to steal my shoe again, and then stole my keys. When we got to my house, I was looking all through my bag and couldn't find my keys, and he unlocked the door and told me to keep looking. I did not fall for that like someone might in the cartoons, but he thought it was mighty funny. He stole my keys once again after that, and I decided (finally) that it was payback time.

I decided I would prank his answering machine. After consulting a friend, I found out that with some answering machines it is possible to find out the remote code and use it to remotely check messages . . . and do other things, like change the outgoing message. My friend said that most people never change their code from the one that's on a sticker on the stupid thing, so it's easy to steal. My other option, I figured, would be to record the insulting outgoing message on my own answering machine's tape, then switch tapes while he was in the bathroom.

I examined his answering machine next time I was over. Damn, the stupid thing was digital. Scratched BOTH plans. D'oh!

Since I had already begun planning to do my prank, I began to let on that "perhaps" I had already done it and he just didn't know. He didn't believe me--as well he shouldn't, at that point. One day at his place we were working on the health fair project, and I was having a bad day. I had woken up having slept through an exam (well, I thought; it turned out that the date was changed, but I didn't know it at the time), and I had water in my ear; when I jumped around trying to get it out I banged my foot on the drawer. THEN I lost a contact lens. DAMN. So Scott decided his mission that day was to cheer me up. Nice guy. Really.

We began working on the health fair project, part of which involved making little bicycles out of construction paper to be used as game pieces. I was painstakingly making the little bikes, using my wondrous artistic skill and talent, when Scott decided, "Hey, I want to watch Clerks." Fine and good, but he didn't have Clerks. We were both avid Kevin Smith fans, so I was up for this, but was still in a whiny, pissy mood because of my bad day. Scott looked on the Internet, trying to find how much it'd cost to get it on DVD from the 'Net and weighing the pros and cons of getting it now versus waiting and getting it later but slightly cheaper. He decided he'd just go get it, and asked if I wanted to go to Best Buy. My answer was no, I really wasn't in the mood and wanted to get the bikes done.

"Why not?" he asked. "I can't just leave you here alone."

Gleam. . . .

All of a sudden I *really* didn't want to go anywhere, and *really* just wanted to finish the stupid project. And I wanted ice cream, too. Since Scott had made it his mission to brighten my day, he finally gave in and went to Best Buy himself, leaving me alone in his room.

Heh. I win.


I recorded a new outgoing message on his answering machine: "You have reached Scott's answering machine. Scott can't come to the phone right now because, well, he's too busy being my bitch. If you leave your name and number, he will call you back when he gets in, if I decide to let him. Hey Scott, finish polishing my toenails now!"

Oh yes, I am the master. . . .

To cover my tracks, I attempted to put a silly prank program on his computer, but it didn't work because I couldn't figure out how to get his modem to dial out. (Okay, I'm a dork.) I admitted to him when he returned what I had attempted to do, so that I would remain consistent with my character of always being up to no good. He taught me how to get online on his computer, and I showed him the prank I would have downloaded (it was the slippery mouse prank, by the way).

I should point out, of course, that I took precautions: Scott was not expecting important calls; his roommates had their own line; and no one who called him would mind hearing the word "bitch." I supposed if they did mind, well, they were *bitches*!!

I continued to insist that I had pranked him and that it was just a matter of him finding out. By this time he probably still thought I was bullshitting, but I sure had been bullshitting for a while. . . . He thought I had taken something of his, but that was not the case.

That day, we ran around a lot doing errands to try to put our project together. Consequently, a couple people were playing phone tag with us and ended up being exposed immediately to Scott's new message. His parents, for one, and our partner Aisha, for another, were its first "victims." His mom said, "Nice message," at which he laughed. He thought she was being sarcastic, because the previous message was nonexistent . . . it had been just a beep. He'd thought she was referring to that. HA!! Aisha also heard it, and later I contacted her (we were still playing phone tag) while Scott was waiting for me downstairs, and asked her what she thought of the message . . . she thought it was hilarious, mostly because I told her he didn't know it was there. She promised not to tell. ;)

So it went on for a while. I periodically checked it when I knew he wasn't home (when I knew he had class, or when he was actually over my house) to make sure it was still there. It was. And all the while I maintained that I had laid a prank that he would eventually find out about. I think he really thought I was full of shit by then, and perhaps thought that the prank was pretending to have done a prank. How lame.

So I'm on the phone with my dad long distance one day when I get a call on the other line.

Me: Hey Dad? Hang on, gotta get the other line.
Dad: Okay.
Me: [click] hello?
Scott: You got me.

I came clean and told him everything I'd done and how funny and ironic it was that he thought people were commenting on his lack of message . . . he had found it because one of his roomies told him. I wonder what would have happened had he lived alone? Perhaps to this day, we could call him and hear, "You've reached Scott's answering machine. Scott cannot come to the phone right now because, well, he's too busy being my bitch. . . . "

Scott promised a retaliation that would "terrify me." I figured he really didn't know enough about me to know what would really freak me out except for the fact that I valued my computer. I suspected that he intended to do something to my computer, so I made up my mind never to leave him alone with the damn thing. Well, unfortunately he got his chance.

My roommate's bird unexpectedly got sick, and I managed to get Scott to take her to the vet. I had other plans so I could not accompany them. Well, when they returned, my roommate allowed him to go into my room while I wasn't home.

Apparently Scott thought it would be funny to mark all of the files listed in my C drive as hidden. This was supposed to frighten me. When I returned from my outing, I sat down at my computer and immediately noticed that someone had restarted it--the programs I'd left open were no longer open, and two programs that I usually close were open. Apparently Scott had had to restart it in order to get it off of the password-protected screen saver. That was my clue: I knew Scott had been messing with my computer and it was only a matter of finding out what he'd done.

So I used a search function to find what had been modified that day. NOTHING came up. I modified something on purpose, re-did the search, and still nothing came up. The find function was simply not recognizing that any files existed, so I looked at the properties of the C drive, noticed that the entire thing was marked "hidden" and "read-only," and changed it back. Brilliant, Scott. Took me a whole minute to undo. And throughout the rest of our college career, he didn't manage to get me again, so I guess I got to keep the crown. . . .