You've had a long day at work today, you think as you step out of your car. You take a moment to stretch yourself, taking care not to dislodge your hat and pipe. You take a puff out of it as you enjoy the cool night air. You then open the backseat of your car and carry the parcel your office mates gave you for the occasion. How thoughtful. Your thoughts turn from your office to your home, and your lovely son waiting for your arrival.

As soon as you open the door you realize something is wrong. The lights are off, despite the late hour. Your fatherly instincts steers you towards the kitchen, where you can see splotches on the kitchen tile illuminated by the moonlight. But first, you grab a flashlight you keep stored in the living room.

You open the kitchen doors and turn on the flashlight, and you feel as if your heart stopped. Your son is kneeling on the ground, shaking a girl who is lying prone. Red splotches are everywhere in the kitchen and all over the kids. Your best set of knives are everywhere, the red things are all over them too. Scraps of what you think were once boxes and… is that a saw? You don't even own a saw. Noticing your intrusion, your son turn towards you, tears and snot streaming down his face.

"Dad… I'm so sorry!"


"Alright Rose, have we got everything ready?" You ask, as you deposit your box on the kitchen table.

"Let's see…" Rose said, as she consults her notes… "that should be the last of them, but we should double check and make sure. Boxes?"

"Two of them, check."

"Blood pellets?"

"A box full, Check."

"Fake Saw?"

You give the saw's edges a poke. Not sharp at all. "Check."

"Magicians gear?"

"Hat, cape, and magic wand. That should be all of it."

"John." She said, in that tone of hers that demanded absolute attention, so you give it to her. "Are you absolutely sure that you want to do this? Don't you think that pranking your dad to think you accidentally saw your friend in half is too mean spirited for a birthday gag?"

"Really Rose? This coming from you when you gave your mom non-alcoholic beer for her birthday?"

"At least my present could be considered a sign to change her lifestyle into something healthy." She says indignantly.

"It'll be fine, trust me." You wave her off.

She sighed. "I'm starting to regret asking my Mom to sleepover here while she's busy for a few days at work."

You reassure her. "It'll be fine Rose! He'll panic, then laugh, then we'll all have a good time after. Now, Dad's coming home soon, so we should practice one last time. Are you ready?"

"As ready as I'll ever be" she says as she grabs a couple of pellets and move the boxes so their true shape can be seen. It's two standard magician boxes for use for the famous saw in half trick. She combined them together before opening them and climbing into place.

You help close the box, and lock it. You place the key on the table. "Comfortable?"

"It's a bit tight, but otherwise I'm ready to be the beautiful and charming assistant to the amateur magician."

You ignore that comment. "Alright, now let me just get the saw- oops."

"John? Are you alright? What's wrong?"

"Well, uh, I accidentally spilled over the blood pellets and now they're all over the place, but that's okay. We can take care of it later." You say, before taking what you hope is a cool pose. "Now, watch and be amazed as the amazing Johndini saws a girl in half before your very eyes!"

You place the saw in the gap between the boxes. "So, when do I crush the pellets?" You hear her say.

"I'd say as soon as you feel the saw. Helps it seem more real. Oh, and can you scream?"

She glared at you. "I'm not a screamer John, but I can fake it easily."

"Alright sheesh just asking. Okay, now say the magic words ladies and gentlemen! Biophosphoradelecrystalluminescence!"

Everything turned black. "Wow John, I have to admit, that is a wonderful example of prestidigitation. You should save it for the actual moment of celebration though."

"Thanks, but uh, I'm not doing it."

"Really? Then I suppose the power must be out then."

"Drat. Alright, I'll go get the flashlight and-" the sound of a car pulling in.

"Oh crap, he's home already! He's gonna kill me if he sees the mess I made." You tromp around, squashing blood pellets everywhere.

"John, stay calm, first, get me out of this thing."

"Oh, right, sorry." You grope around on top of the table. "Crap, I think I must have dropped it on the floor with all the blood pellets."

"What." She said.

"It's ok, there's a flashlight on top of the closet. Let me just climb up and get it."

"John, it is inadvisable at best to climb on top of furniture in adequate lighting, let alone a tall closet in pitch black darkness."

"It's fine Rose, just let me- oops." A loud crash and the sound of metal crashing can be heard. "Rose are you okay?"

"I'm not hurt by whatever fell, but what was that? Are you okay?"

"I'm okay, i just accidentally stepped too hard on a drawer and now it fell and spilled out the knives Dad kept."

"Clearly a sign that everything is going well with this endeavor." She muttered.

"I'm already halfway there Rose, I'll get it quick and we can start cleaning up-" whatever you wanted to say is lost forever as you lost your grip and footing and fell backwards. A loud bang and smash later, you lay there groaning on the ground. It's softer than you think it would be though.

"ROSE!" You yell, getting to a crouching stance, and feeling your way in the dark. There, you can feel Rose's hand. You gingerly feel your way to Rose's shoulders, shaking her desperately. You start crying, what if she's hurt because of you? You were so fraught with worry that at first you didn't notice the light from your father's flashlight. You turn to him, tears and other fluids running down your face.

"Dad… I'm so sorry!"


"John, when you were persuading me to help you to plan your father's birthday party, I must have dozed off and missed the part where we will be stuck cleaning up the mess we've made." Rose said as she mopped the floor with more force than necessary. Her left hand something coming up to rub her forehead, making you wince.

"Well I had no idea that it's going to end up like this Rose!" You say, and immediately regret it, as you wash the cutlery in the sink.

"Evidently not." She said with equal irritation in her voice.

You have to be the bigger man here. Besides, it was stupid idea in the first place. "Look, I'm sorry for getting you roped into this Rose. I'm know getting a lecture from Dad wasn't what I wanted to happen."

"Oh I don't know, I thought learning the value of cleaning up after one's mistake would serve me well into my adulthood."

"Wait really?"

"Note the sarcastic intonation and voice John." She said, rolling her eyes at you. "But apology accepted. Note the lack of sarcasm there."

"Yeah. Next time, I think for Dad's next birthday, I'm just gonna do it outside during the day."

"Wait, you're still going to do a magic trick?"

"Yeah! He's going to be so amazed!"

"You know John, is this penchant of yours to plan the best birthday magic/prank ever an indication of your need to be in the spotlight?" She said, leaning on her mop.

You roll your eyes, and instead, just flick dirty soap water at her. Which she responds in kind by twirling her mop so you get showered by dirty mop water. Soon enough you two are flinging cleaning stuff at each other. At first because you're mad, but now because it's fun.

Of course, you two got another stern talking to, this time about not wasting cleaning supplies. But this time, you two secretly pass glances and smiled at each other.