Since magic wasn't going to work I could turn to pranks. At that age pranks were mostly harmless and played on people too weak or too smart to fight back. The social impact of playing a prank on someone was to establish a type of twisted mental dominance on the prankee. This makes perfect sense when you're still in grade school.
I had plenty of practical experience with pranks at home. In a family where adulthood is reached four to five years after your first child is born teasing, bullying and pranks are a huge part of home life. My mother would leave the individually wrapped cheese slices individually wrapped on my stepdad's sandwiches. My Stepfather would retaliate by tying knots in my mothers panty hose. It would escalate then to cookies made with salt instead of sugar, hidden car keys and holes cut into underpants with pinking shears.
My brother Bubba and I tended to stick to basic scare tactics. My brother, Bubba, or I would hide behind our sister, Becky's, rather large stuffed animal collection. It wasn't a large amount but the animals themselves were large enough to conceal a twelve year old boy. We would alternate jumping from behind them or making them fly at her the minute she turned on her bedroom light.
If we were brave enough to face total darkness one of us would wait under the steps leading to the basement. When an unsuspecting sibling would come down the stairs, to do laundry usually, we would grab their ankles through the steps. The screaming dance that results is hysterical as long as you put aside the possibility of someone plummeting to the smooth concrete floor below.
Parents weren’t immune from being pranked by us either. My first opportunity to get my mother came one evening at a grocery store. I don’t remember how old I was but I was young enough to run around the filthy grocery store floor barefoot. If you get enough wax and dried fruit on the bottom of your feet you can ice skate down the aisles.
During one really long Olympic quality slide I noticed a toy mouse on the floor made from real fur. It must have fallen out of the pet toy display. Except for a snake there was nothing better for scaring moms than a mouse. I grabbed it up and skated down the aisles until I could come up behind mom while she was pondering a can of pork and beans.
I tip toed up to her, the only noise I made was the light tapping of grocery dirt encrusted feet on tile floor. In my right hand was my mouse. At two feet away I had already discarded the idea of a mouse toss and decided on a simple placement. I would put it in the cart where she would see it. This was going to be great.
Then it moved. The mouse was alive. I would like to say I stay composed but the truth is I screamed as loud as I could and threw it down. My mother, still contemplating beans and thinking she was alone in the grocery except for her dirty kid jumped and did some of her own screaming.
“What the hell is wrong with you!” she yelled at me. Too scared to worry about embarrassing herself.
“I... I... I saw a mouse and I thought it was a toy and and and I was going to scare you then it moved in my hand!” I was starting to sob now. Scared and embarrassed.
In a rush of motherly affection my mother started laughing so hard she doubled over in the aisle barely able to stand.
This is the vivid memory of my first prank. My mother and I both debilitated by tears, her from laughing and me from shame, in the canned bean aisle of a dirty grocery store. Somewhere in the shadows a mouse died.