I have a partner who I will call Ziggy. Ziggy is a super nice guy, quiet and gentle-spoken, and one of the absolute favorite docs among the nursing staff. For some reason, the way many of the nurses have chosen to express their love for him is to hassle him endlessly, using any pretext they can to try to get a rise out of him. He is so placid, though, that it pretty much never works, but he enjoys the give-and-take.
The other day he came into his afternoon shift several hours early. He had a meeting to attend and some administrative work to do, and having finished that he announced that he was going to take a nap in the doctor's sleep room and could someone be sure to wake him at two (when he was scheduled to start working).
Predictably, the nurses decided this was a perfect opportunity for a prank. The sleep room is in an out-of-the way place, where nobody but the docs or housekeeping ever go. So a few of the nurses took it upon themselves to booby-trap the door. They carefully balanced mayo stands leaning up against the door with open containers full of hundreds of tongue depressor blades on top, open pails of water on the lintel, mops and brooms and all sorts of detritus and obstacles behind that. For a solid hour they went back and forth, laughing and giggling and whispering about what a great trick it was going to be.
So it was with a crestfallen look that they saw Ziggy walk in the front door at five minutes to two, clean and dry and carrying a fresh cup of coffee. The ringleader casually asked, "Hey there, Zig, what's going on? How was your nap?"
Ziggy said, "Oh, I didn't get one. Someone else was using the sleep room so I went to the cafe instead."
The conspirators exchanged nervous glances. "Who was using the sleep room?"
"Dr Carlos." Carlos is the medical director of the entire ED. "He said he had a big meeting with the CEO and wanted to rest up before it."
Several faces went pale. A couple of the conspirators dashed off to disarm the trap but returned to report that it was too late. The guilty parties decided to play dumb and everybody went back to their routines, a bit anxiously. As Ziggy settled in at his station by me, I gave him an inquiring look. "They got me pretty good," he said in a whisper, "but I wasn't going to give them the satisfaction."
Shortly afterward, I was wandering over to the Cafe myself and musing on a couple of business items I had to deal with. I was running down my mental checklist and one to-do item was to call Carlos. That gave me the glimmer of an idea, and suddenly it hit me. I called Carlos (who was in fact at home that day) and filled him in on the situation. A former firefighter, he loves a prank as much as anybody and quickly signed on to the counter-conspiracy.
Shortly afterwards, the ED phone rang. It was Dr Carlos. He spoke with the charge nurse, very calmly, and explained that he had been the victim of a practical joke and as a result had to meet with the CEO while he was dripping wet. (The charge nurse knew nothing of the pranking.) He explained that he was not very happy and would like her to identify the guilty parties and ask them to meet with him in his office after their shifts were over.
The charge nurse was horrified and apologized profusely. There were a large number of very serious hushed conversations over the next couple of hours as the guilty parties slowly ratted one another out. Eventually it culminated in them all calling Dr Carlos personally and apologizing, and Dr Carlos was gracious enough to accept their apologies and that closed the matter as far as he was concerned.
I'm not sure at what point the nurses figured out they had been had. Ziggy and I had been trying our best to keep our shit together while this all played out, but it was really hard. Eventually I left and I think they all ganged up on poor Ziggy and beat the truth out of him. They were not very happy about their super prank backfiring on them.
When I showed up for my next shift I was surprised to be the subject of baleful glares from nearly the entire nursing corps. Lisa (the ringleader) approached me and jabbed me in the chest. "You've been a bad monkey. We know what you did."
I was actually surprised (having forgotten about the whole thing) and protested ignorance. She wasn't having any of it. "You know what you did. Don't play stupid. I'm just giving you notice now. You'd better be watching your back, and your front, too, for that matter." I brought in a big bag of candy for my next shift, but they said it wasn't good enough and that they are still going to "get me."
So I guess I've got to start taking some defensive measures -- park in unusual places and be sure to keep extra clothes in the trunk, just in case. We spent some time chewing it over during the night shift, though, and it was generally agreed it was the best prank we've seen since PB left us.
But now I have to live in fear.