I love the fundraising days that our company runs. We all get dressed up and descend on some local school or nursing home with games, cake sales and always a celebrity appearance. Normally I get involved as much as possible with the plans, but this year I had to self-isolate for two weeks because I had a dry cough and a fever. After two weeks I took a second covid-test which was negative and so the NHS said I could go back to work.
On Thursday morning, I woke up to see a text message from Jim in Corporate Purchasing telling me that we would all be going down to the local Little Paws veterinary hospital. He said the theme for the fundraising was Animals and asking if I would wear an animal costume. I pulled out my rabbit costume from the boxes under my bed and got ready for work, excited than my first day back was going to be a fundraiser.
My phone began to ring. I answered the phone to hear my new boss Nigel making sure I was well enough to return to work and asking me to pick up his dry-cleaning on the way to work because he was going to have to drop off his daughter at school. Slightly hesitant, I asked if it would be alright for me to pick it up the following day as it would feel awkward going into the dry-cleaners dressed as a rabbit. I could hear the confusion in Nigel’s voice.
I explained the fundraising and how we were all getting dressed up as animals and we would be heading down to the Veterinary Hospital to raise money with games and cake sales etc. As Nigel is new to the company, I knew he had not yet seen the efforts we all go to getting involved with the community and raising money for worthy charities. I told him that as well as the local newspapers giving us great press coverage, it was also a great opportunity for team building. Nigel agreed that the dry-cleaning could wait for another day. He started muttering about what he could wear. He told me he was already running late, so he told me he would just go straight over to the vet’s.
So I drove into work singing along to Harry Styles’ new track on the radio. It was great to be back at work. Two weeks of total self-isolation was suffocating. It felt so good to be back with the team, and the fundraising was just ideal for my first day back. But as I walked into the offices, I realized something was wrong.
Nobody, absolutely nobody was wearing an animal costume. Everybody was just in normal workwear. As I walked through the open plan offices with banks of desks of our buying, design, merchandising and sourcing departments, I felt my face flush bright pink. I kept my head down as I shuffled along in the enormous rabbit feet of my costume.
I crossed the gallery corridor over the illustrious reception area below and entered the side of the building I worked on. But rather than turning left towards the Legal Department, I took a right and walked towards Finance and Corporate Purchasing.
Bounding up to the desk of Jim Reece, I whispered into his ear, “I hate you! I bloody hate you!”
Jim turned in his chair to look at me and his face crumpled up into laughter. He bent forwards in his chair and gripped his stomach as he heaved laughter. “Oh God! Oh God! You are brilliant! D’you know how brilliant you are?”
I stood there with my arms folded tightly, “What the hell are you laughing about? This is not funny at all! Jim you are so dead!”
Jim could not stop laughing to himself. Karen Marsh smiled over to me and called out, “I almost fell for it too Jenna. I would have got all dressed up but my husband pointed out to me that it’s 1st April today.”
The penny finally dawned on me. I turned back towards Jim, who was panting in between his hearty laughs. He beamed up at me, “April Fools!”
Jim’s boss, Drake Finnigan, came over and gave me a sympathetic expression as he tried to suppress his urge to laugh. He told me, “Jim sent that text to most of the office Jenna. You seem to be the only one who fell for it.”
I shook my head, “I can’t believe I just walked through the entire buying office dressed like this. How am I supposed to work in this bunny costume?”
Drake turned to Jim, “Go with Jenna and explain that you are responsible for poor Jenna turning up at work like this.”
As Jim accompanied me up to the Legal Department, I whispered a string of insulting profanity at him. He just kept chuckling away. But his annoying giggles gave way to a gasp as we turned the corner and walked into the offices that made up the Legal Department.
Nigel Cooke stood there looking thoroughly pissed off. He slightly raised his eyebrow when he saw me in my rabbit costume, but I could tell he wanted an explanation. Jim was deeply apologetic. He was obviously bricking it. His little April Fools prank was not supposed to get back to any of the directors, and now he stood in front of the Head of Legal who had been embarrassed in front of the whole company.
After listening to Jim’s ass-kissing, as he tried to dig himself out of the grave shaped pit he had created for himself, Nigel spoke in a deadly stern tone, “So I just dropped off my daughter at school – dressed as a giant white rabbit. Then I drove over to the Little Paws Hospital. I parked the car, and walked into reception where the waiting area was packed with pet owners and all kinds of dogs, cats, hamsters, and a python. The receptionist asked how she could help me. Do you know what I said to her Jim? Do you know what I said?”
Jim contorted his face. It was obvious he was dying to laugh, but if he did, he would be even deeper trouble than he already was. He mumbled, “I am so sorry Sir.”
“I told the receptionist I was there for the cake sale and games. She told me they didn’t sell cakes, but that there is pet store next door that sells eight types of vitamin fortified dried rabbit food. She said it I mentioned Little Paws Hospital had recommended them I would get a 10% discount.”
That was how Jim and I ended up in Nigel’s office at 5pm that evening for a disciplinary – yes a “disciplinary” – but that is a whole different type of story I will save for a kinkier prompt! 😉