As the result of a seemingly harmless joke, Julia was left with two sprained wrists. It happened because her son had decided to give her a good scare in the house they lived in.
He popped out into the hallway with a scary mask, she freaked out, fell back and landed on her hands, causing the sprains. Nothing serious, but enough to require her hands to be wrapped for a few days. Sure, she could move her fingers, but she couldn’t do anything strenuous with her hands.
To be fair, Julia was the one who had started the short-lived prank wars.
It was Sam’s 23rd birthday, and he wanted to be a marine biologist and underwater explorer, just like his mother. His mother decided to scare him by putting a fake lizard on his shoulder the first time they went diving together. For a second, Sam was freaked out until he realized it was a joke. That was the moment their mini prank war started.
It was all fun and games, until now, when they drove home from the hospital and Julia had wraps around each wrist and a stern expression on her face. Sam had been apologizing profusely since the incident happened a few hours earlier.
“No, no, it was my fault,” she insisted, trying her best to remain cordial about the accident. “I was the one who started this whole thing. Besides, I’m way too old to be pulling pranks. I shouldn’t have started this.”
“Well, you’re not old at all,” Sam replied as he drove, trying to make his mother feel better in any way possible. “It was my fault for making things too scary, you know, jumping in the hall like that.”
She thought for a moment and joked, “Maybe you’re right. You do bear some responsibility for how far you took things.”
As they spoke in the car, Julia did her best to maintain a proper composure. Most of all, she needed to set an example by being a proper parent, and not freak out about the whole thing. So she did her best to keep calm.
“I’m so sorry. I’ll make it up to you. I promise, I’ll do your laundry for the rest of the month, the dishes, and all the house cleaning.”
“What about the diving expedition this weekend?” Julia asked, knowing that her son wouldn’t be able to answer.
Of course, Julia had referred to a diving expedition in which she and her colleagues were going to take a small boat out into the ocean for scuba diving. They had been working on new sonar equipment in the lab, and this was their chance to finally test it in the ocean.
The team was going to scuba dive and observe the effects of the new sonar on a school of dolphins. Particularly towards their mating habits. Sam would be coming along too as an assistant.
The car stopped at a red light and Sam looked deflated.
“God, I feel horrible.”
“I shouldn’t have said that,” Julia stated, regretting her comment. “I don’t want you to feel bad. It was an accident.”
“What are you going to tell the others?”
“I’ll just tell them that I fell and that I won’t be able to dive with them.”
The light turned green and Sam drove. “I feel terrible about this. You’ve worked years on that thing. Is there any way to delay the trip?”
“No. The dolphins won’t be around these parts for much longer, but it’s not a total loss. I can always stay in the boat and operate the equipment. That’s a very important job. The divers will be depending on me.”
“Bummer. You’re the one who should be in the water. Not manning the boat equipment.”
Julia held up her wrapped wrists. “Maybe if I could use my hands, I’d be able to dive too.”
“Another guilt trip? Thanks.”
“I couldn’t resist,” she shrugged with a smile. “But seriously, I’ll let the others know that I’d like to switch positions and I’ll remain in the boat by myself. You and the others go diving.”