Had you going there, didn't I?

There are practical jokes, and then there's the stunt that an apprentice chef pulled a couple of weeks ago in Austria. Now, to be truly effective, a practical joke must have an element of plausibility, right? Yes, and therein was the genius of our guy's stunt. It seems he works in the kitchen of a hotel in Upper Austria Province and had been assigned to help prepare some frozen seafood for a buffet. But the fish hadn't been refrigerated soon enough, and as it thawed it gave off an odor of spoil. Reasoning that no one would want to eat it, the jokester came up with the idea of sneaking the fish into the nearby Voeckla River – no easy task considering that it was three feet long and slippery. Ultimately, it washed up on a bank, where its discovery caused both excitement and alarm. Why? First, because fish of that size don't often turn up in the Voeckla, especially in the middle of winter. And second, because it was a shark, which shouldn't have been there ... since landlocked Austria is far from saltwater, where sharks live. After experts admitted to being stumped, our guy, whose identity isn't being divulged, came forward and confessed. He had, he told the Vienna daily newspaper Oester-reich, let some of the hotel regulars in on the prank, and they'd been placing wagers on how long he could keep it going.

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