Today is the 11th anniversary of the most successful April Fools’ prank I ever pulled. Thought I’d document it here for posterity.
I was (really) visiting friends in Cambridge, MA, and my flight landed in Boston on the evening of March 31st, 2004. The next morning, early on April 1, I sent the following email to all my friends back in Austin:
Landed in Boston alright – it is miserable crappy weather here, which will make me oh-so-happy to return to Austin in a few days. Otherwise we’re having fun making crepes at the moment, headed to the aquarium later today.
But first! Got to tell you about my celebrity encounter.
So I get on the subway at the airport yesterday afternoon, headed into downtown Boston, and this cutie sits down next to me. I’m nose-deep in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (thanks Sonali) so I don’t pay too much attention til she looks over and tells me she likes the book. I start flirt–uh, “chatting” with her about the book, and suddenly I realize I’m talking to
Being the smooth operator that I am, I immediately began sweating and jumbling my words. Didn’t want to shift the conversation straight from love-and-philosophy to wow-you-were-in-Star-Wars, but I managed to acquit myself quite well. We continued yakking all the way from the blue line to the green line to the red line (these are subways, people) Finally I got off at the MIT stop, and in the most bad-ass moment of my life, asked if she wanted to get a beer later. “Gimme a call, I think tomorrow might be better,” she said. And Natalie Portman gave me Natalie Portman’s Phone Number!! JEEEEEEEEESUS!
So later today I’ll be placing a call to what I HOPE is Natalie Portman’s phone, and we will see if this all comes down. Whether it does or not it was quite an encounter. I’ll let you all know if I get the hookup with Queen Amidala. More later–
Absolutely EVERYBODY fell for it. (To put it in context, Natalie Portman actually was a student at Harvard at the time.) I got back responses like, “Good luck man, I’ve got my whole office rooting for you.” Over the course of the day, a few people sent follow-up messages after suspecting a rat, but many others were waiting with bated breath to hear how it went.
On the morning of April 2nd, I sent the follow-up:
So I finally plucked up the courage and gave old Natalie a call, and I met her at this Au Bon Pair café near Harvard Square. We still got along just fine; she got the roast beef, I got the chicken. Turns out she does improv, how wacky is that? Not too impressed by my Lego habit, though. Oh well.
Then Miss Natalie asks if I’ve ever seen the whales in Boston Harbor. I’m like “uhh, no, and I’m not likely to in this weather.” She smiled at me. “You scared of a little rain, Texas boy?” “Depends on the company, I suppose,” I fired back. And suddenly she had flagged down a cab and ordered it to the pier.
Bear in mind, it’s like 8:00 at night by this point.
The cab arrives on the shoreline, and this young tart leads me through a couple of gates, past a security guard, and out to her family’s yacht! The thing is like a 40-footer, called the Queen Amidala. I guess it pays to have a movie star in the family. She’s got me untying lines around the ship while she fires up the motor, and before I know it we’re piloting out of the harbor in the 40-degree, rainy darkness. I couldn’t figure out if it was really romantic or really weird. Maybe both.
We get to the point that we have a full view of the Boston skyline, which is really pretty through all the haze. Like I said, it’s utterly frigid, so Natalie wraps my arms around her. It was real nice; I had gotten over the whole my-God-you’re-a-movie-star thing, and we were just two kids having some fun. I’m just thinking about kissing her when she says “I’m real glad you could make it out here, Kevin.”
“Well, you sort of dragged me out here,” I remind her.
“That’s not what I mean,” she said, and turned to me. “I’ve been waiting for you for a long time.”
Is this about to get a little too romantic? Am I going to have to tell NATALIE PORTMAN that “she’s a real sweet girl but”? I try to keep it playful. “Oh have you?”
“Yes,” she answers, and takes a step back. “We all have.”
It’s then that I realize the sky has cleared overhead. Stars are peeking down at us. It looks like they’re spinning; then suddenly I realize that the BOAT is spinning!
Natalie looks at me, and fire leaps up in her eyes. “You thought you could escape, Agent Ploo, but we found you. Now you are going to pay for all the Flimopps you killed on the moons of Tauridius III.”
I look around, panicked. Another Natalie Portman climbs over the side of the boat. Then another. Then another. I’m surrounded by Queen Amidalas. It’s a little disconcerting.
“Time to die, Agent Ploo,” says the original Natalie, and she raises her hand; before my eyes it changes to a Flauvian Phase-Matter Generator.
That’s when my survival instincts kicked in.
With a single kung-fu move, I spun one of the Natalies in front of me and she caught most of the Phase-Matter. With my other hand I reached for my Hyper-Pulse Rifle and levelled two others. Three more Natalies tackled me from behind, but I was ready for that; I dispatched two by knocking their heads togather, and threw the third overboard.
That left me with the main Natalie, the one who ordered the roast beef. She was growing tentacles as I watched, and her voice suddenly dropped several octaves.
“Most impressive, Agent Ploo,” she said, rearing high above me. “I suppose you think a mere blast from a Hyper-Pulse Rifle is enough to kill me? Ha! I eat Hyper-Pulses for breakfast!”
She reached for me with one of her tentacles. I pulled out a lighter and a can of hair spray.
“Eat this, bitch.”
FOOOOOOOM! The Natalie queen lit up like a Malatov cocktail. She flailed around the deck of the ship, and with an expert kick I sent her off the bow. She got sucked under, and the propellers spewed out nothing but red seawater.
So I was kind of stuck at that point, cause hell if I know how to drive a damn yacht. Fortunately a Coast Guard ship was just scooting by to see what all the fuss was about, and they gave me a lift back to the shoreline. I shared the whole story with Wilbur, a bright young Coast Guard coxswain.
“I guess going out with a movie star ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, huh, Ploo?”
I laughed good-naturedly. “Call me Kevin. And it’s not so bad, Wilbur; Natalie was a good kid. She was just born on the wrong side of the asteroid belt.”
The ship cruised back to the safety of Boston Harbor.
My second-favorite response came from Ryan, who said:
You had me up to “yacht,” at which point I said “fuck you” about ten times.
My first-favorite response came from Sonali:
Hahaha, you really got me. Can’t wait to hear how it really turned out!!