Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Jello Heart

In 1999 I started my VFX career working the graveyard shift at Centropolis FX.  I was one of three overnighters, but the daytime people hung around into the evening.   They were busy, but found time to play around.  A football-sized wad of Silly Putty could be bouncing nearby.  Someone in a Boba Fett mask might be tugging at it and yelling that it was "stuck."   Furbys babbled over the intercom.  An alarm clock that made chicken noises squawked loudly at 3:30 am from a locked room.
Then there was the pop-up prank.
Someone would remotely log into your machine and  run a command that caused an image to pop up, repeatedly, on your screen.   Usually it was something gruesome- as in is That's not marinara sauce and ravioli!  It's blood and-  -HOLY MOTHER OF GAWD!!!
One weekend I had a little fun.  Some revenge.
 I'd found a Jello mold shaped like an anatomical heart.  It came with instructions on how to make a remarkably realistic desert.  You prepared peach gelatin with condensed milk, let it set, hollowed out the "aorta" and painted the "veins" with food dye.  The result smelled fruity but looked liked it'd been snatched from the coroner.   Small patches of unmixed milk clung to the surface like fat globs.  I put it on a tray and dumped strawberry syrup "blood" around it.
That Sunday, I snuck  into work and put it in the fridge.  I figured people would think a Jello heart was funny.  Then they'd eat it.  Right?
I reported to work Monday night.
Not long after, my boss stuck his head into the office.  "That thing you guys left in the fridge..." he laughed.  "You guys are sick f_cks!"
I came forward as the sick f_ck behind the prank.  "Did you like it?" I asked.  "Did you have any?"
He looked at me funny.
Later that night I learned they thought it was real- that I'd gone to a butcher and stuck a bloody beef heart into the fridge, next to the leftover bagels and black bananas.   It was immediately thrown out (they made the new guy do it.)  Nobody seemed to believe it was "only" Jello.  Didn't they notice it smelled like peaches?  Or were they so horrified that they didn't get close enough to inspect it?
 I'm not sure what's more disturbing- their lack of faith in my artistic ability (I did make fake stuff look real for a living, right?), or their assumption that I'd bring a actual heart to work and stick it in the fridge...
Sure, I'm weird, but not that weird.

No comments: