Just as always, Gramps Blaze's eyes popped open at six in the morning, and then they popped right back closed again as the sun shone into them. "Ugh!" he said.
And then he sat up, frowning, puzzled. Wait, he thought, something's wrong.
The sun never shone in his window in the morning. He looked over at Nana Terri, who was already up with jeans, a tee shirt, and her shoes on. "Good morning, slacker," she said, chuckling at his oversleep. She stooped in front of him and gave him a good morning kiss, then hurried into the hallway.
"Uh oh," Gramps Blaze muttered, dragging himself out of bed and rushing out the door to the bathroom. He had a bad feeling when he glanced down the hallway and saw bright sunlight coming from the living room. He darted into the bathroom, shaking his head. What was going on?
Once he'd finished up his morning routine in the bathroom, he came out pretty sure he had things figured out.
He headed for the front door next. Ro and Jo were due any minute, in fact, he heard them chattering, on their way up the path already, and opened the door, surprising them.
"Good evening," he said, getting funny looks from his grandchildren, considering the hour.
"Gramps Blaze, it's morning, remember? We are here for breakfast!"
"You might be here for breakfast," Gramps Blaze said, looking out the door. "I'll be having dinner."
"Huh?" Ro said, her nose squinched up, trying to figure out what Gramps Blaze was talking about.
"Long story. Quick, you have to help me take all the food in the fridge and put it in the oven. Hurry, hurry!"
Ro and Jo looked at one another, wondering if Gramps Blaze had gone crazy overnight or what, but they followed him into the kitchen anyway, their curiosity peaked.
Gramps Blaze crossed the large room, stepping around the table that Nana Terri had already set with three places. She would be spending time with Ro and Jo later. Morning was her story-writing time.
Besides, Gramps Blaze fed everybody in the mornings – squirrels, birds, (especially ravens, his favorite), dogs, kitties, and this morning, grandchildren.
At the moment, however, he frantically grabbed stuff out of the fridge and quickly placed it on the oven shelves. Every last thing from milk and eggs to ice cream out of the freezer. The kids handed him things to help him finish the chore faster.
"Gramps! What's going on?" Jo asked, giggling.
"Did you notice where the sun is in the sky?"
Ro looked out the kitchen window, and then went to the back door. Something was weird, but she couldn't figure out what.
"Sweetie, the sun should be in your eyes, because it comes up on this side of the house, right back there," Gramps Blaze pointed to the back fence, where he'd planted tomatoes for Nana Terri.
Ro and Jo's mouths dropped open. The sun was on the wrong side of the sky! They looked at Gramps Blaze for an answer. "Gramps Blaze, what's going on? Why is the sun in the wrong place, and why is the stove cold and the fridge warm?"
"What day is this?" Gramps Blaze asked.
"Friday," Jo said, smiling. And we're running late. We have to eat in a hurry and then Dad's taking us to school."
"What's the date?" Gramps Blaze said, getting eggs out of the oven, cracking them into a bowl. "French toast okay?" he asked, and the kids nodded happily.
"April first," Ro answered, and then suddenly things made sense. "April Fools' Day."
"Precisely!" Gramps Blaze said, whisking the eggs together until they were sunny yellow.
He sat the bowl on the floor as if it were perfectly normal, and led the children to the front door. "Look! The sun is setting, isn't it beautiful?"
"No, Gramps Blaze," Jo corrected. "The sun is rising!"
"Not over here, it's not. This door faces west. And you'll notice it's getting darker instead of lighter, right?" Gramps Blaze said, and the children nodded.
"Okay, Gramps Blaze, what's going on?" Ro said, in her most grown-up, no-nonsense tone of voice.
Gramps Blaze laughed then, amused as he hurried back to the kitchen and grabbed the bowl up off the floor, sat it on the counter and dipped bread into it. He let it soak for a second while he snatched a frying pan out of the cabinet and placed it on a refrigerator shelf. He put a little butter in the pan, and to the kids' surprise it melted!
"You guys have to be very careful this morning before you leave, because things are going to be weird around here today, thanks to FOX."
"FOX? Is that a person?" Jo asked, watching the egg-soggy bread turn into French toast, in the pan on the refrigerator shelf, the smell making his mouth water, the weirdness making his eyes pop.
"FOX – Frubahn Owekey Xirtagi – Thank goodness his initials spell FOX. (Gramps Blaze blew out a little sigh of relief between his lips, chuckling.) He's a wizard, like me. In fact, we went to wizard school together," Gramps Blaze explained. And then rolled his eyes. "His favorite day of the year is April First, even more than Christmas or Halloween put together. He spends the whole year thinking up jokes to play all day, especially on me."
"Why you, especially?" Ro asked, sprinkling powdered sugar on the French toast that Gramps Blaze had just flipped onto her plate, and then Jo's plate, so she sprinkled his too.
"Because in wizard school, we spent two years pranking each other every time we learned a new skill," Gramps Blaze said, chuckling, shaking his head. "When he learned how to control electricity, he made it so every time I turned on a light it would blink, and it would zap me like a hand-buzzer. And when I learned how to levitate objects – that means make them float in the air all by themselves – I had him floating around inside a bubble all afternoon."
Ro and Jo almost snarfed their milk, laughing at Gramps Blaze's stories.
"I think he's getting me back for that one, for I seem to be having a backwards day," he said, sitting down with his own piece of French toast on an upside-down plate that had flipped over all on its own when Gramps Blaze put the food on it.
With the handle of his fork (the utensil flipped around in his hand every time Gramps Blaze tried to use it the right way, so he just gave up and stabbed the food with the handle), he tucked a piece in his mouth. "Yep, just as I thought, mine's cold already."
"But ours are hot," Ro said, gently blowing on the little chunk of heaven, steaming on her fork.
Gramps Blaze just laughed. "Well, never let it be said that Gramps Blaze can't take a joke, he said, and then raised his face to the ceiling and shouted, "You hear that, FOX? You got me! It's funny now, but I will be getting even!"
And then there was laughter all around Gramps Blaze and Ro and Jo. "In your dreams, McRob!" the laughing voice boomed. "In your dreams!"
And then the voice disappeared as the sun began to shine in the kitchen window.
TD – 3/31/2016