Just Tricking
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Just Tricking!

Short story collection, 1997 (The Just! series)

Just Tricking! is the first book in the Just! series. The book contains 10 short stories on the theme of practical jokes and tricks told by Andy, who thinks he is the world's greatest practical joker but, who, in reality, is a complete idiot who almost always ends up with the joke backfiring on him. 


Is this the right book for you?

Take the TRICKING TEST and find out.

  1. Do you ever pretend that you are dead to get out of going to school?
  2. Do you like to ring up people you know and pretend to be someone else?
  3. Do you leave banana skins in the middle of busy footpaths?
  4. Do you own any of the following items: fake dog poo, rubber vomit, gorilla suit?
  5. Do you wish that every day could be April Fools' Day?

SCORE: One point for each 'yes' answer.

3-5 You are a practical joking genius. You will love this book.
1-2 You are a good practical joker. You will love this book.
0 You are not a practical joker. You are what practical jokers call a 'victim'. You will love this book.


1. Playing dead
Andy pretends to be dead to get out of going to school but his plans backfire when his dad digs a grave and buries him in the backyard.

2. Cockroach
Andy and his parents are having dinner at the home of Mr and Mrs Bainbridge. Mr Bainbridge is Andy's dad's boss and Andy is under strict instructions from his dad to behave sensibly or he'll receive no pocket money for a month. This shouldn't be a problem, except Andy spots a dead cockroach in the salad and tries to remove it discreetly, to save anyone being embarrassed (and him being blamed). But when it turns out that the cockroach is, in fact, not dead, but very much alive, behaving sensibly becomes more and more difficult. 

3. Gorillagram
Andy dresses up in a gorilla suit to present his sister with a 'singing telegram' birthday greeting at a restaurant, but runs into trouble when the police notify the zoo of an escaped gorilla and a van full of zookeepers turn up, armed with tranquilliser guns and a large net.

4. Nick-knockers Anonymous
Andy prepares a disgusting concoction to throw at whoever it is who keeps knocking on his door and running away. Unfortunately, his plans backfire when the next knock on the door is not the annoying knick-knocker but his parents.

5. Tell ya mum I saved ya
Andy is at a school camp with Roseanne O'Reilly, the most annoying girl he has ever met. She plays the dumbest practical jokes. After falling for one of her pranks, Andy decides to get her back. He gets Danny to fill her pack with rocks before they set off hiking. Not only does the joke backfire when Danny puts the rocks in the wrong pack (Andy's), but Andy ends up with a sprained ankle and has to rely on Roseanne's help to finish the hike.

6. Emergency Spew Relish
Andy is on a plane on the way to visit his grandparents. He wants the seats in his row all to himself so when an old lady sits down next to him he attempts to get her to move away by pretending to be sick and then pretending to eat his own vomit.

7. Beat the Bomb
Posing as a radio DJ, Andy attempts to convince a classmate that he has won $500 in an on-air competition. The plank backfires, however, when Andy discovers just how badly the boy's family needs the money.

8. Born to Die
Andy uses a fake tattoo to convince a couple of local bullies that he is much tougher than he really is.

9. 'Invisipills'
Andy convinces his best friend, Danny, that some lollies he has are actually special pills that can make you invisible.

10. A Terrible Christmas and a Crappy New Year
Andy graffitis the Christmas cards Jen is sending out to her friends and then has a nightmare in which Santa is very displeased with him.

Note: Originally published as Just Joking! in the US, Just Kidding! in the UK and then retitled and republished in 2010 in the UK as Help! There's A Cockroach In My Underpants And 9 Other Just Kidding Stories.