Years ago, I worked in the file room at a large law firm in Pittsburgh. We were a huge firm and had thousands of files on-site that we stored in huge, movable shelves that opened and closed like an accordion. Those shelves were packed floor to ceiling with files. When you pushed the shelves to one side, you could go all the way through to another office in the back of the room. I worked in the front with my friend Chris. My friend Bob worked in the back. We also had off-site storage at a warehouse facility, from which we retrieved files daily. That was Bob’s job – shipping and receiving boxes of files.
One day, we heard a cricket chirping in the back of the file room. Being on the 41st Floor of a skyscraper, it was highly unlikely that the little critter came in on his own. Naturally, we assumed that he hitched a ride with one of the file boxes. Warehouses were dirty and had no shortage of rodents and pests. It made sense.
Weeks went on and the little cricket kept chirping. Sometimes he’d be in the ceiling. Other times the sound came from near the floor. A couple of times, he was right over my head.
Months went by. Still, we’d hear him intermittently chirping.
Fall came. Still… the little cricket kept going and going and going. The Energizer Bunny of crickets.
Surely, this was a “super-cricket”. Either that or it was cricket junior…a second or third generation of the cricket family. That meant that there had to be more than one! Or did it?
We looked up “mating habits of the North American cricket” and “Are crickets asexual?” (They are not.)
Come winter, we had a firm-wide contest to “Name that Cricket”. Everyone got in on the act, attorneys, administrators and support staff. Finally, he was dubbed Jiminy because he was “one magical cricket”.
Then, the chirping stopped. 😦 Did Jiminy finally reach Cricket Heaven?
Months went by again. We forgot all about poor Jiminy.
One day…after God only knows how long… from the back of the file room, it came…”chirp chirp…chirp chirp”
OMG! Could it be??? Hallelujah! He was alive! We were so excited and yet, completely befuddled at how this could be! Again, much skepticism and research followed (hey…it was a file room…we were geeks!)
Years went by…four to be exact…with the cricket occasionally making an appearance. And every time, it was a big deal. How did a cricket survive on the 41st floor of a skyscraper?? For FOUR YEARS?
In the meantime, I met the Hubster and planned our move to VA. I put in my notice at the firm and on my last day was saying my good-byes.
On that day, Bob (the guy in the back) walked into my office and put a black box on my desk. I looked at him and said, “what’s this?” With a grin he pushed a button.
“chirp chirp…chirp chirp”
Wait, what?? I sat and stared at him utterly confused.
Then light dawned – BOB WAS JIMINY!!
For four years, he had this box in a file jacket that he’d occasionally move around and then push the button and watch us make complete asses of ourselves. I can only imagine his delight as we stood in the file room, debating the mating habits of crickets, staring up at the ceiling. He’d mess with us and put it up high and then down low on the shelves. Occasionally, he’d forget about it for a while and then run across it while working and start all over again. I was the last one of our group to go and he felt he just had to tell me the truth before I left. I stared at him, mouth gaping for the longest time.
And then I rolled on the floor laughing.
That, my friends, is the story of the Immortal Cricket and one of the best pranks ever played.
I’ll never forget it… or Bob. 🙂