The Fruit Loops piled in the white ceramic bowl. Father poured the milk over the mountain of sugary cereal as he reprimanded Tabias, “no April Fool’s today, buddy. I know it’s a fun day, but teachers complained last year. The number of neighbors I had to replace mailboxes and lawn gnomes I had to replace was ridiculous.”
Father ranted so much that he had stopped paying attention to the milk, and it spilled outside the bowl.
“Yes, Dad.” Tabias retorted to make him stop. The Fruit Loops had snuck out of his bowl too from the waterfall of milk. They were colorful and swam like a fish. Jumping the edge of the table and falling to the floor. Father threw a cloth on top of the mess, swiped it up then kissed Tabias goodbye for work.
“Remember,” he turned back to reiterate.
“Yeah, yeah. No April Fools tricks.”
The door closed. Tabias finished his breakfast, then went to the bathroom before the school bus arrived. He rolled his eyes at the new wallpaper, the colorful cupboard handles, and the scented seashell soap piled in the soap dish.
The wallpaper drew his attention back again. Large colorful fish seemed to swim around the small bathroom just as the Fruit Loops had in his cereal bowl. He recalled stories from Step-Mother about fish being the first trick of April Fools. Newspapers would hide a fish in the ‘prank column’ to let readers know it was bogus.
Tabias ripped the thin strip of border paper off the still damp wall and ran to the school bus.
“Good morning, Tabias!” Mr. Jenkins, the grumpy neighbor that hadn’t enjoyed his April Fool’s prior year, called. He waved and didn’t notice Tabias as he smacked a damp fish onto his white picket fence. The glue would dry nicely, Tabias thought to himself.
The school bus was pulling up to the bus hut. With the snow trying to melt, the shelter barely visible under the layers of frozen, not frozen snow.
He slapped a yellow fish on a wooden bench. He then followed out of towners onto the bus.
A green fish sat on the seat beside Tabias, a purple one ended up the folding bus doors before he got off at school, and a perfect smiling blackfish has found a new home on the green garbage can in front of the school. The girl with blonde hair in Math class got a pink fish. The janitor got a brown fish. The girl’s washroom stick girl got covered with a white fish, and the stick boy washroom got a mandarin fish.
Teacher Bal opened the classroom door as Tabias walked down the hallway.
“Tabias,” she called to him, “you’re not doing any April Fool’s tricks, are you?”
“Temerarious!” Tabias replied with a fancy bow, “never rests.” Taking his seat, the teacher closed the door with the bluefish hanging on her back.