April Fools’ prank a lasting tradition

Richard Crookston creates a fortress made of recycled Dell computer boxes as a prank on Lori Soza. Crookston even printed a name plaque with Soza’s name and room number and stuck a tac in the fake cork for added effect. (Rachel Keeler)

Lori Soza came to work thinking she would have a normal Monday — she was wrong.

Religious Education Deans’ Office secretary Soza entered the office this morning to find that her quaint cubicle was transformed into a fortress made from leftover Dell computer boxes.

Early Saturday morning co-worker Richard Crookston came into the office with his daughter and student employee Caleb Smith to set up the prank before he went out of town for his children’s spring break.

Crookston and Smith spent hours building walls, a door and a window that had “please knock” written on it. They even set up motion-sensor cameras to record Soza’s reaction to her newfound office space.

Crookston went to his student employees in the religion lab to ask for ideas and help with this year’s April Fools’ prank on Soza, according to Zachary Shorts, a student employee.

Shorts said the religion lab had been filled with Dell computer boxes from floor to ceiling. He and his co-workers moved the boxes to the basement the previous week to store them until April Fools.

Soza said she kind of figured they were planning something.

“Last week I was walking down the hall and passed by the lab and Richard was talking to the students in there,” Soza said. “The moment I walked by the door, they stopped talking, but then laughed when I passed — I knew something was up.”

Soza admitted she forgot today was April Fools until she entered the office to a giant black wall instead of her normal office space. She said she knew instantly it was Crookston’s handy work.

“My first thought was, “Richard, what have you done?” Soza said.

This isn’t the first time Crookston has pulled a prank. According to Soza, she and Crookston have a prank war that has been going on for almost six years now.

“Richard started it,” Soza said. “We’re like siblings — that’s how we act. (Richard) is the prankster and he is the one that does these amazing things.”

A few years ago, the Dean’s office had a party on April Fools and ordered Brick Oven pizza. Crookston replaced the Brick Oven pizza with frozen Totino’s and took time the night before to cook alfredo pasta, freeze it and then replace the side entreé.

Soza said everyone thought Brick Oven served frozen meals, but soon discovered the real culprit.

According to student employee McKay Court, one time Soza had recruited the secretaries in the office to collect newspaper to fill Crookston’s office with it. Court said there was so much paper that they couldn’t open the doors to get into Crookston’s office.

Soza said they had been spending their free time filling garbage bags with newspapers in order to complete the prank.

“We even hung a creepy doll from the ceiling after we filled his office. Don’t ask me why we did that,” Soza said.

Soza stated that next year she is going to have to think of something bigger and better, saying, “it’s gotta be a doozy.”

All jokes aside, Soza said she is actually grateful for the prank Crookston pulled this year. She said some days it gets really busy and she wishes she had a door and place to herself.

“I’ve always wished that I had my own office. Where I had a door that I could shut on a busy day,” Soza said. “And now I have that! I am hoping they will let me keep it up for the whole week.”

A time lapse video below shows the creation process behind the prank.

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