Let me explain. It began innocently enough, with a weekend trip to visit some friends in Richmond. We decided to hit Diversity Thrift, which is hands-down the best thrift store on the entire planet. (Side note: to this day, I regret not purchasing a) a vintage, Rosemary's Baby-esque pram and b) a 5-foot tall Greek-style scultpure of a woman, which was also a lamp.) Anyway, on this particular trip, my friends and I were fortunate enough to pick up a genuine Clueless hands-free phone for one U.S. dollar.
From katie.cake's Flickr stream. Thank you Katie. I don't know who you are, but you have good taste in phones.
If you are not familiar with the Clueless hands-free phone, it was a clever bit of marketing brilliance to accompany the equally-brilliant movie -- a pink, plastic telephone that was "hands-free" only in the sense that, once you connected it to your landline, you could operate the phone with an earpiece that was still attached to the phone. Kind of lame. It also featured buttons that would activate some of Cher's signature lines from the movie: "Whatever!" and "As if!" The real beauty of the phone, however, was a magical spinning wheel that could change the depth of your voice. If you wanted to sound like Alvin and/or a Chipmunk, just spin the wheel upwards. If you wanted to sound like a serial killer from Scream, spin the wheel down.
Needless to say, with a voice-changing device in our hot little hands, the prank calling opportunities were endless. The only problem was that we were limited to local calls because the landline in question did not have long distance service. Once we ran through all of the 804 numbers in our cell phones, we had no choice but to bust out the phone book. (I should interupt myself here to mention that we were in our early twenties when this story took place. This might sound like the work of middle schoolers, but we were definitely adults.)
So we called an adult bookstore, and a few restaurants before we got bored and started dialing random numbers. Later, some other friends/residents of the house we were at joined in the prank-calling fun. It's at about this point that my memory of the evening starts to get a bit hazy. Obviously, there was copius drinking going on. Because what else are you going to do while making prank phone calls? The following morning we woke up and carried about our business as usual.
I had all but forgotten about our Clueless phone adventures, until I learned that a couple of days later, a pair of FBI agents had visited the house in question. Since I wasn't there (curses!) for the most exciting part of the story, this part will be pieced together through half-memories and details recounted later by other participants. At some point in the evening -- and by evening, I mean more like 2 a.m. -- one of the guys who lived at the house in Richmond took a turn making a call. From what I understand, he set the phone to the deep, serial killer voice, dialed a random number, and told the poor bastard that answered something along the lines of "we have your daughter"... etc. etc., whatever else you might say when you're drunk making a prank phone call regarding a kidnapping.
Well, according to the FBI agents, the family was so frightened, that they alerted police, and then holed up in a hotel room for a couple of days. (Which, in my opinion, is ridiculous because if they even had a daughter, they could have figured out whether or not she had actually been kidnapped, by, oh I don't know, checking her bedroom. I'm sure it was scary for them, and I'm sure that when I have kids of my own I'll change my tune, but come on.) No one in the house ended up getting in trouble, primarily because no one could remember anything that was actually said. It was a clear case of Accidental Drunken Threats, which is probably even an official FBI code. "Looks like we've got another ADT on our hands, Agent Starling."
A few days later, I received a phone call from a man claiming to be FBI Special Agent Stevens. He told me he was calling in regards to the prank calling incident, and that I could be in big trouble. I explained that I wasn't even in the room when the call was made, and that I totally did not do it, but the man on the phone kept at it. He told me not to leave the state "for the next fiscal quarter" (?) and peppered his entire conversation with swears. Agent Stevens was a total dick.
I thought the whole thing seemed awfully fishy, so I did the only logical thing: I looked up the FBI headquarters in the phone book and I called their asses. The receptionist patched me through to a very nice female agent (not Clarice Starling), who assured me that there was no Special Agent Stevens, and no one from their organization would be so crass as to swear on a phone call of official business. She cautioned me not to open the door if anyone came to my house claiming to be an agent, and to remember that agents normally travel in pairs and to request ID if anyone did come to my door. I thanked her for her time and hung up, feeling only mildly stupid. (It took several years before I could fully appreciate how stupid I must have sounded.) I later discoverd that "Agent Stevens" was actually a friend of a friend who decided to mess with me. Yes, I got prank called over a prank call. And I ran straight to the authorities. Kind of like that poor family that I just made fun of.
I'd like to tell you that after this event took place I stopped making drunken prank calls, and that I've grown less gullible with age, but neither of those statements would be true. I can say, however, that I have not called the FBI since that incident, so at least I have that going for me. Yay!