April Fools’ Day comes just once a year -—and for people who look forward to pulling off a friendly prank, it’s worth the wait.
Orient Country Store owners Miriam Foster and Grayson Murphy certainly fall into that category.
On Tuesday, the merry pranksters set out to fool their small community by announcing plans for a tell-all book signing featuring none other than Linton Duell, the store’s former owner.
After tossing around some other April Fools’ Day tricks —like switching places with workers at neighboring businesses — the couple said they finally landed on the book signing joke last week.
Early on the morning of April 1, they posted fliers around town advertising an author talk and book signing to promote Mr. Duell’s “new book” called “Life in the Village: Everything I’ve Heard and You’ve Been Dying to Know.”
If you know how many people have stopped by the store over the years to share gossip and gripes with Mr. Duell, you know most of the community had a good laugh about it — though some were probably a little scared.
“We spent all year trying to think of something good,” Ms. Foster said. “We came up with it last week and got Linton on board. The best part was he really does have a lot of good stories, so it was believable.”
Mr. Duell even showed up at the Orient Country Store for an hour Tuesday afternoon.
“It was fun,” he said. “I got a number of phone calls about it.”
The prank was a hit among patrons, many of whom unknowingly shared the information via social media to spread the word about the “book.”
“It was a genius prank,” said customer Poppy Johnson. “I thought it was really clever and sweet.”
Despite the popularity of the fake novel, Mr. Duell said people shouldn’t expect him to pen something anytime soon.”
“I’m not a writer,” Mr. Duell said. “I thought the joke was a good idea.”
This isn’t the first time the Ms. Foster and Mr. Murphy have had some fun on April Fools’ Day: Last year, they posted a ‘For sale’ sign on their store’s front window less than a year after purchasing it from Mr. Duell.
“We got a great response,” Ms. Foster said. “The great part about April Fools’ Day is there aren’t a lot of people who are aware of the date. It really is just another day. We just try to lighten the mood.”
The people of Orient are already looking forward to the next April 1.