Sparkling Confessions — I hear they're good for the soul.

I hear confession is good for the soul.

And because it’s my birthday, I figure I’m untouchable — at least for a day. So I can get away with publicly confessing something that I have never, ever discussed with my best friend, my sister, upon whom I perpetrated this hilarious stunt.

Seriously, this has got to be one of my best practical jokes EVER! And it wasn’t anything that I planned. It fell into my lap!

Go back to mid-2000. David and I lived down on the Gold Coast with our two dogs, and were pretty busy with our jobs. Our lives revolved around our careers, and we didn’t have much to do with our extended families.

One evening, around dinner-time, the phone rang.

I answered the phone with the usual, “Hello?” and didn’t hear a reply. So I figured it was a prank call and thought, Two can play at this game!

So I held the phone to my ear and said nothing more. I just listened — waiting for the heavy breathing or something.

Through the crackly phoneline, I heard footsteps.

Crunch, crunch, crunch. It sounded like someone was walking on gravel.

There were pauses, and some traffic noise. A car went by. Bizarre, I thought.

Then two men started talking. This is when it got interesting.

“I think he’s dead,” said one man. ……………………………..

“Yeah,” another agreed. ……………………………..

Now I was freaking out! ……………………………..

Was it some mafia henchman that had inadvertently rung my number? What would they do if when they found out I knew about their murder?

I put my hand over the mouthpiece and gesticulated wildly for David to come and listen to the phone. He came, and we hugged our ears to the receiver, straining to catch the words.

Mumble, mumble, mumble. ……………………………..

A lot of it was unclear.……………………………..

“We’d better pull him off the road.” ……………………………..

Mumble, mumble, mumble. ……………………………..

What was going on?……………………………..

Some snatches of conversation gave more clues: Highway. Southern Highlands. Dog. Dead.

Aha! Someone hit a dog and pulled it off the road.

But who could it be, and why was their phone ringing us?

Still hanging onto the phone, David and I whispered about the possibilities. (It was in the good, ol’ days before caller ID became standard.)

We concluded that it must have been Craig, my sister’s husband because at that time they lived in the part of New South Wales called the Southern Highlands.

To confirm our suspicions, we used David’s mobile to ring Craig’s phone. It was engaged. Yep — he was inadvertently on the phone — to us!

We had been given a choice situation and decided to see how far we could run with it. Really, what would you do?

Nothing much was happening on the phone now. It sounded like Craig was back in the car, driving.

So I hung up the receiver and then proceeded to call Renée’s number. At home.

Ring, ring.

When Renée answered, I was a bit giddy from the situation, and it probably translated over the phoneline as sincerity.

“Uh — is Craig alright?” I asked.

“We had this feeling that he might have been in a car accident.”

To give myself holy credit, I don’t think I used the words “vision” or “God”, but I may have actually let her believe that God had given David a vision in which Craig was in a car accident and someone had died.

Renée hung up the phone and quickly called Craig.

Then she phoned me back to let me know what had happened. Which I already knew. And David and I were wetting our pants, trying to hold our giggles in, as I acted all pious and righteous on the phone.

“I’m just glad Craig is safe.”

So. There it is. My first sparkling confession. I’ve never spoken about it with her, so now is also the time to ask for forgiveness:

Sorry, Renée and Craig. It was very funny. It is still funny. But I deceived you. And I’m sorry that I did. I guess we were the only ones who were laughing.