Most of the time, I’m a pretty good sport when it comes to being pranked.

OK, that’s a total lie. I hate being the victim of practical jokes, but I love playing the part of the jokester — although, to be honest, most of my pranks fail due to my inability to keep a straight face.

But, I would never pull a prank that could cause any real damage — to a person or to their property. Filling someone’s coat pockets with chicken wing bones is one thing; placing a sharp metal object behind someone’s car tires is another.

As I backed out of my driveway Wednesday morning, my heart skipped a beat when I heard a loud thud. I had no idea what I could have possibly hit — there was nothing behind me, and I had plenty of clearance between my passenger side and the car parked next to me.

I immediately jumped out of my vehicle to investigate, praying that there wouldn’t be any damage — to my car or anything else.

Just behind the spot that had been occupied by my left front tire, I found an old, partially flattened metal coffee can. A broken piece of the rim was sticking straight up into the air. I touched the end of it — it wasn’t razor-sharp, but it definitely wasn’t dull. Fearing the worst, I circled my car a couple of times, looking for evidence of a punctured tire. Luckily, I didn’t find anything concerning.

I’m sure this little prank was dreamt up by a group of bored neighborhood kids who had nothing better to do. Really, the whole joke was a total loss, because they weren’t even there to laugh at me. (Which is probably a good thing, because I was mad. Really, really mad. Like, mad enough that I probably would have beat them up.)

So, what can we learn from this story, besides the fact that it’s obviously time for kids to go back to school? Well, I guess I realized that I need to be more aware of my surroundings. If I had been just a little more observant, maybe I would have seen the can before I felt it underneath my tires.

What I do know for sure is that those kids better watch their backs, because I know where to find chicken bones, and I’m not afraid to use them.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.