In an experiment to see if Dallas Knight did in fact have a sense of humor, this story emerged.
And long have I saved it for this particular date.
Alternatively titled “The Paper Chase” and using a prank I unashamedly stole from a favorite book. If you get the easter egg, I love you. (Not that I don’t love you anyway, but it’s a special kind of love.)
(Yes Dallas we know you can laugh it’s ok)
Kaity looked sideways at Dallas from behind her short curls as they both stood at the table in the break room. A smile parted her lips. “Hey.”
Dallas looked up from the carful placing of his teabag in a mug of hot water. His eyebrows rose in a question, like he thought he’d done something wrong. But he relaxed as he saw her smile and gave one of his own back.
Kaity swished her skirt back and forth, ducking her head and taking a sip of her iced coffee to hide her smile widening. Her heartbeat fluttered faster. She coughed slightly and tucked her hair behind one ear as she looked up again.
Dallas paused in his movements for a second as he processed, mentally checking if the information was correct. He gave a nod. “So it is. I forgot.” His words showed genuine surprise with himself. As he turned around holding his tea mug, his brow was furrowed with a mixture of mild confusion and shame. “I guess I’ve just been busy and forgot to keep track of the calendar.”
Kaity shrugged. “Everybody loses track sometimes.” Still, she couldn’t seem to stop her smile. “Officially spring now, hmm?”
“Technically the first day of spring was . . .” Dallas trailed off, his face reddening a little. “I mean . . . yes, it is.” He nodded and gave Kaity an awkward smile. “It always sounds more like spring when it’s April, anyways.”
The two of them stood there for a few more seconds, then Dallas cleared his throat, looking down into his mug. “Well, I should probably . . . get to my desk. Lots of things to organize and oversee now with the new job assignments.”
“Ah, yeah. Same.” Kaity twisted a piece of pale hair around one finger and rattled the ice in her cup a little. She looked back over to the table and bit her lip for a second.
Dallas started for the door and she stiffened. “Wait!”
Dallas froze in place, looking back at Kaity.
Kaity opened and closed her mouth a few times. “I just . . . it’s a . . . special occasion. Don’t you want any . . . sugar in your tea?” her voice squeaked slightly.
Dallas blinked. He looked down at his tea, running his fingers along the side of his neat, brown hair. “I don’t usually have sugar in my tea . . .”
“Yes, I know.” Kaity shook the ice cubes in her plastic cup more, the rattling, swishing sound beating out a nervous rhythm. “But that would . . . make today special? Sugar is really good in tea.”
Dallas looked more confused than ever, but after another look at Kaity’s hopeful, questioning face, he edged his way back to the table. He pulled the teabag out and spooned a little sugar into his tea, then took one of the stirrers to mix it in.
“I mean, it’s your birthday month, so it should be special, shouldn’t it?” Kaity’s gaze was fixed on the mug.
“I guess it’s an excuse to try sugar in my tea,” Dallas remarked back, dropping the stirrer into the garbage. He smiled back over at Kaity. “I’ll see you at lunch, alright? Happy April.”
Kaity nodded, a wide smile on her face. She kept distractedly looking at Dallas’s mug as he started for the door.
Dallas didn’t notice and tipped the mug to his lips as he stepped out.
He promptly choked, spewing tea much further than Kaity ever could have hoped. The mug nearly dropped as he doubled over to cough.
Kaity burst out laughing, dashing over to his side.
Dallas managed to get his windpipe clear enough to speak. He looked up, staring in betrayal at his mug. “What was . . . my tea was . . . salty!”
Kaity laughed again, taking his mug. “I’ll make you a new cup. Sorry, Dallas. I couldn’t resist.” She beamed at him over her shoulder as she skipped back to get more tea. “April Fools!”
Dallas’s expression still twisted from confusion and the taste of salt in his mouth. But now realization dawned across his face.
April fools. Pranking day.
Kaity still giggled to herself as she placed the teabag and got hot water. A smile slowly pulled Dallas’s mouth sideways.
“I’m sorry,” Kaity said again, between laughs. “It’s just, if anybody needed an April Fools prank . . .”
Dallas nodded, shifting his smile a little and even giving a small laugh. “It’s alright.”
Anyway, he had an idea now.
Kaity had a busy day ahead of her. She usually had paperwork to do, but the first of the month always meant extra.
In the morning, it was a lot of filing with the old papers. Some organizing. A lot of cleanup.
She went to have lunch with Dallas, who, to her delight, seemed still quite amused with the prank she’d pulled that morning. He kept smiling to himself and laughed when she brought up the topic of sugar in tea. They talked a only little before heading back to their own respective posts in the building.
And now, thought Kaity, comes the easy part.
She plopped down in a spinny chair right near the giant, fancy, SPI printer. Here would pretty much be the rest of her day.
All she had to do for the rest of her assignments was print up all the months new reports that she’d been assigned to print, then she’d be done.
Kaity pulled the little thumbdrive she’d been given out of her pocket and clicked it into the side of the printer. The screen lit up with all the hundreds of files and she hit the big green button.
A “bong” sounded and an error message popped up on the screen. She frowned, standing on her tiptoes to see it more clearly.
Error! Paper tray is empty! Please refill, then hit the “OK” button.
Empty? That was odd, she was in here just yesterday and it had plenty of paper . . .
Kaity dropped down to check the paper tray. And when she pulled it out, sure enough, it was empty.
She frowned at it for a second then straightened up, blew out her breath and picked up the little pager on the counter by the printer. Her fingers brushed over the other buttons, clicking down on the one that sent and “out of paper” message to the supply office.
They should be down in a few minutes.
Kaity sat back down in the chair and spun a couple of times. She kicked her feet quietly and watched the clock.
Two minutes later, there was a buzz of delivery cart wheels at the door and a shrill beep. The paper was here.
She hurried over and opened the door. Okay, a nice fresh ream of paper should get everything done just fi- . . .
Kaity blinked down at the package on the cart.
Toilet paper? She couldn’t print anything on toilet paper.
How did they send her that?
She just stared at it for a second before deciding they’d mixed up with a signal from the bathrooms or something. Okay, so it would be a few more minutes. She could call them back personally and say the mistake and they could send her actual paper . . .
Kaity turned, starting to go back in, but the cart beeped again insistently. The screen blinked red. She turned back to look.
Cannot return to port unless cargo is unloaded.
So . . . she’d have to take the toilet paper then.
Okay . . . so . . . they’d come and get it soon, once the mistake got sorted out.
Kaity sighed, walked back over and shoved the big toilet paper package off the cart before hauling it back out of the hall and into the printer office.
The cart gave a happy beep and rolled back away.
Kaity finished shoving the package away into a corner of the office, then walked back over to get the pager. She took a few seconds to catch her breath and hit the button to call the supplies department.
It buzzed for a second, then there was a click and a voice came over the line. “SPI supplies department.”
“Hey, I just . . . uh . . .” Kaity shifted her stance, tucking her hair behind one ear. “I’m down in the printing office and I’ve got a lot of stuff to print. I paged for more paper down here but I think you guys got mixed up? Because you sent me toilet paper instead.”
“Oh really?” said the voice. “Huh. Weird. We’ll send some paper down.”
“Thank you so much. Bye.” Kaity set the pager down and flopped back into the chair. Well, a weird setback. But now she could actually get some stuff done.
The other cart showed up just a little later and she went out to get her paper.
Only to discover yet another package of toilet paper.
Things only went downhill from there.
The cart wouldn’t take it back. It wouldn’t take the other package back either. She had to keep both of them in the office. And then her call wouldn’t go through to the supplies department through the pager now, so she just had to page for more paper.
By the time an hour was past, she’d gotten five packages of toilet paper, one of paper towels and one of napkins.
She even went to look for paper herself, back in her office.
Nothing. Even though she’d restocked her scratch paper supply the day before yesterday. Nothing.
Kaity was just about ready to tear her hair out with frustration.
This was the easy job! It was just printing out the silly old reports and making sure the printer didn’t jam, not hefting big toilet paper bales all over the place and going on a nonstop, futile quest for paper.
Finally, she got a call through to the supply department through her own office pager.
And then she found out that they were totally out of printer paper.
Totally out? How? How? The SPI kept closer tabs on important supplies like paper, right? This was ridiculous, she’d gotten plenty of paper yesterday!
Kaity was even starting to wonder if printing out reports on paper towels would be a possibility.
No, probably not.
She gave a shaky sigh and slowly started back down the hall. So that meant she’d just have to put in a notice that they needed more paper and wait for the shipment to come in and by then she’d be really behind in the reports.
Kaity dragged her feet on the carpet, biting her lip hard and feeling close to tears as she walked past all the office doors. She looked up a little at one.
She wasn’t sure how, but maybe Dallas could help. He was so good at helping with everything he probably knew some way to get paper quicker or still get the reports out . . .
Kaity stopped at the door and gave a hesitant knock.
A few noises inside. “Kaity, is that you?”
“Yeah, it’s me.” Her voice broke a little and she covered it with a cough.
“Come on in.” Dallas’s voice sounded oddly . . . cheerful.
What could he be doing? Kaity’s brow furrowed in a frown, but she turned the knob and pushed inside. The door didn’t open all the way, getting hung up on something on the other side. Giant, towering stacks were all around the room. It looked like a bunch of small skyscrapers, right inside Dallas’s office. White and packaged in clear plastic . . .
What on earth . . .?
Kaity slipped inside. She stared around Dallas’s office, not comprehending for a second.
Dallas sat behind his desk, looking all business except for an odd angle to his mouth as he watched Kaity.
“Dallas, what . . .?” Kaity turned around slowly, ogling at all the stacks. “What’s . . .” she trailed off, her eyes widening as the realization hit her. What all the stacks were made out of. What she’d been looking for all afternoon.
The SPI’s whole supply of printer paper.
“Don’t tell me,” Dallas said, looking thoughtful for a second like he was working out a puzzle. “Were you . . . by any chance looking for paper?”
Kaity clapped her hands over her mouth. “You didn’t.”
He just raised his eyebrows. “You know, having all the connections I do . . . it does work out quite well for pranking, actually.”
Kaity’s jaw dropped. “You were the one that sent me toilet paper! And napkins! And took all the regular paper!”
A mischievous grin stretched across Dallas’s face and he burst out laughing. He gestured to the stacks of paper around him. “I’m afraid I am guilty as charged. April fools, Kaity.”
Well, look at that, I’m not playing any big pranks on you guys today. Just a sweet little story centered around pranks.
Hope you enjoyed! And have a good April!