This took place about 16 years ago. At the time, we lived in Omaha Nebraska. My three preteen male children, Jayson, Jerrid and Nicholas lived there with me. Nicholas was the oldest child and Jayson and Jerrid were my youngest and are twins. I had divorced a few years earlier, so we moved to Nebraska thinking I could raise my children on better wages instead of minimum wage. At the time, minimum wage was about $5.15 per hour. In order to attempt to provide a life for us, I soon found myself working two jobs. I worked all the time it seemed, often coming home for a few hours then leaving again to go back to work. As memory serves, at that time, I worked full time for a medical company assisting the care of elderly people as well as a clerk for a reputable furniture store for another 30 hours a week. On the weekends, I somehow managed to make arrangements at both of my jobs to have the weekends off to spend time at home. As you can imagine, by the time the weekends came around, I was exhausted. Nicholas, was twelve at the time, and the twins, Jayson and Jerrid were eleven. They often made me laugh with their silliness. No matter what was happening their smiles and giggles kept me going. Please keep this in mind as I tell this story…
One of the boys’ favorite movies was anything with Ace Ventura, and any movie that contained silliness or outrageous antics. Jim Carey was the person they wanted to be most like as I regrettably recall. He was their idol. I often scolded the boys for trying some of the tricks he would do in his movies as they were often ill advised and outright dangerous. For example, igniting a flame to a fart coming out of your butt, was definitely a trick that was painfully tried and failed by the oldest. I won’t elaborate on that one. They all agreed that trick was by far one of the funniest things they had ever done, until I broke up their little party. After all, that is my job as a parent…to spoil all the fun.
Next there was the butane in the hand thing tried by all the boys. Nicholas mastered this prank, unfortunately; Jerrid had lacked the skill but got the overall concept. As a matter of fact, i remember that he burned his entire hand, then hid it from me while he ran back and forth putting his hand in water all day. It wasn’t until he went to bed that I cornered him and he confessed what he had done. But, boys will be boys and my children were certainly not immune to trying new things. The more ridiculous it was…the more likely they would be of doing it. Perhaps their curiosity could be blamed entirely on heredity although I continued to hold out hope that none of the boys would end up brain dead, or that I would be placed in a mental institution by the time the three had reached adulthood. In any case, they made my life interesting to say the least.
You have to understand that at my house I forbid such things as talk about boogers, digging in your butt, cussing, to include any mucus or fluids that could be excreted from the body…especially at the dinner table. So, my boys constantly walked this fine line between silliness and death. Anyone who has had children knows what I am talking about. And, when you are a single parent family, things such as this are very often multiplied times twenty…when there are children involved…especially my children.
I believe it was sometime in January or February when I heard hysterical laughing coming from my children’s bedroom. My mom radar instantly began to flash of the charts. I yelled, “What are you boys doing in there?” “Nothing mommy.” A little voice stated bravely. Then a couple seconds of silence followed by hysterical laughter from the three. Suddenly, it became quiet again, (how I did enjoy my peace and quiet), when the laughing began again. This time it was even more hysterical than the time before it. So, instead of yelling, I began to sneak through the house to their room. Very slowly, and quietly watching my footsteps so as not to step on certain cracks in the floor that squeak and would alert the boys to my presence. “Creak!”
Darn, I was spotted by the lookout! I hear whispers, then a lid being slammed on what sounded like an old mayonnaise jar and screwed on quickly. The stool pigeon was my youngest child Jerrid. He rat-finked on me, so by the time I had found myself standing in the doorway to their room, whatever was going on in there was over, and they all continued to laugh. I stood there staring in disgust, looking all around the room for clues. Oh, believe me, it was time for the interrogation. I was determined to get to the bottom of this. The Why? What? Where? When? And Who? But, my investigation, and subsequent interrogation yielded nothing in the form of any discernible results. So after several minutes, I turned and walked away dismissing the incident and chalking it up as the boys and their silliness.
Often I would hear the boys laughing hysterically, but could never find out what they were doing and any attempts to find out were squashed by the lookout. I figured that sooner or later, I would find out and the truth would come to light. Never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate that it would be one of the most inventive pranks they could have thought of.
It was nearly three weeks later, and I had just awakened on Saturday morning. Working a double shift the day prior, I was so tired I just didn’t want to get out of bed. So, I lay there, remote control in my hand, finding something on television to watch drifting in and out of consciousness. The boys were in their room, I thought playing quietly. My cat was laying next to me all comfy cozy and this, …this god awful horrendous smell wafts across my nose. I raised my weary head slightly and I took a big whiff of the air, but whatever it was had dissipated quickly. So, I laid my head down once more and began to drift off to sleep. Once again, I smelled something not quite normal wafting through the house, and when I lifted my head to see what was in the air, all I can say is that it was downright one of the most putrid, offensive and obnoxious smells I had ever smelled in my life. It smelled as if someone defecated on my head and mixed it with some of the foulest things you could ever imagine. This time it was making my eyes water. Oh my god, it reeked! What was it, and where is it coming from? I sat straight up, and not finding an answer for the horrible smell, literally jumped out of bed. It was getting stronger and stronger making me squint to attempt to identify the offensive odor.
So quickly, I ran into the bathroom like a chicken with my head cut off and lifted the lid to the toilet, hurriedly looking inside. There was nothing there. I checked all of the plumbing connections. Still nothing. I yanked open the shower curtain and examined the drain. Nothing was there. I ran through the living room. Now mind you, at this point the boys are laughing so hard they have tears in their eyes. I stopped briefly to ask what they were laughing at when the putrid smell once again hit me like a ton of bricks. My attentions were quickly drawn to finding that nasty, reeking smell. I ran into the kitchen yanking the cupboard doors open under the sink to examine the pipes. Nothing was there. We lived close to a sewer plant, so I ran outside in the middle of the yard taking a whiff of air. Nothing was there.
Quickly I ran back into the house, running out of options and now yelling, “What the hell is that smell?” “What is it?” “Where is it coming from?” At that point, I looked down and saw the litter box thinking I had neglected to change it, but nothing was there. Our 4 month old puppy ran passed me, so instinctively and without thinking, I grabbed it by the tail lifted him straight up and inspected his rear. By this time, the three boys are laughing hysterically. Finally, I came to a screeching halt in the middle of the living room. I found myself standing in front of the three, hands on my hip, looking at them angrily. “What the hell is that smell…and you had better speak the hell up!!!” I glared at Nicholas making him really nervous. “Well Mom, I….I…I…..it was….” He said gasping for air in between syllables and laughing. “Speak up boy…I haven’t got all day dammit!” I said with a growl. It took about 5 minutes of waiting for him to stop stuttering, he just pointed at a spot to the right of where I was standing with his finger shaking. I just happened to glance down at the same time…and there was a lid that looked as if it had rolled off and landed. So, I began looking around the room, and to my upper left, there was an old mason jar. Oh, not just any jar. This jar had some liquid in it, the color of it I cannot adequately describe. I can only say that I have never seen that color before in my life. There was condensed liquid in that jar, and it had on it’s own fermented. Apparently, the boys had accidentally dropped it, when they got a whiff of the extremely offensive, condensed, and fermented liquid inside of it. Probably due to the rancid smell…which by this point was making my eyes water, and my house smell as if the sewer had backed up in it. I began to interrogate the three again as if I were a drill sergeant, but this time was unmoving until I got answers. The following was the explanation I received.
“Well, you know mom, we wanted to try some Jim Carey stuff, you know like on the movies, Mom.” Nicholas said hesitantly. You see it was Jerrid’s idea, he said as all fingers pointed to his brother. “So we decided that we would let Jayson eat everything that would make him fart…onions, beans, and cabbage. You know how he loves to fart Mom,” Nicholas said anticipating my reaction. “He would tell us when he needed to fart, and we would quick go get the jar, put it on his butt, then he would fart in it, and I would quickly screw on the lid before we all had to smell it!” “Today, it just smelled so awful I dropped the jar before I could screw the lid on tight.” “That is what you smelled.”
Now, some 16 years later, that is one of the boy’s favorite stories to tell, and it makes them laugh hysterically each time they hear it. This by far was the prank of pranks and they are proud to this day knowing that they had definitely outdone themselves. It came to my attention recently that it was not only Jayson who made a regular contribution to the stench in that jar, but all three.