Little Ben: “We’ll make an example of them. I am tired of kids drinking in Nevermore. You go left. Ryan goes right. I’ll take the path. Keep your walkies on, Hank will radio when the police arrive.”
We hardly dared to breathe until the crunching of gravel faded off into the distance. Peeling ourselves off the back of the shed, I peered with one eye around the corner to make sure they were really gone. Convinced we were alone I sunk down into a crouch and closed my eyes – trying in vain to calm my breathing.
Wood (whispering): “Since when did he start doing night patrols?”
Laney (her great coat rustling next to me): “Probably sacked the security guards to save money.”
Beatrice (chuckling): “Maybe the aliens called him.”
Laney (a quiet tink of metal on metal came from next to me): “Ha-ha! What do we do now Phoebe?”
Still gathering my wits after an unanticipated sprint across farmland, woodland, and Nevermore I thanked whatever god was listening that Little Ben never got a good look at us. We owe a lot to the university’s theater department for creating the misconception he was currently laboring under.
Me (my eyes still closed, my nose detecting cloves and cinnamon): “Come on guys, enough with the spiced rum, it does not increase your stealth stats.”
Not bothering to open my eyes I decided to assume the Tricornies looked my way guiltily and put the flask away (rather than finishing it off then putting it away – which sounded more like them). Though I suppose at this point it couldn’t hurt, they were already two flasks in when we made our escape.
Laney (first to notice the bobbing spheres of lights swarming on the top of the hill): “Guy’s alien spaceships!”
Me (turning to look at her): “Did you finish an entire flask on your own?”
Laney (pointing): “No. Look, aliens! Heading this way!”
We all stopped for a moment and turned the direction indicated by her index finger – indeed about a half dozen orbs of light were rapidly approaching. Mesmerized by their undulating movement we stilled, my brain trying to process what my eyes told me, the baying is what finally broke the spell.
Me (dropping the post hole digger): “Run!”
Me (grabbing the digger out of her hand and tossing it down): “We’ve been seen, RUN!”
Finally catching up with my conclusion the other three followed me in flight (to this day Beatrice remains thrilled she got to test her Grade A Beef Diversion – turns out farm dogs are indeed distracted when prime cuts are tossed their way).
No, things didn’t go sideways when Wood decided this evening was the perfect opportunity for pirate shenanigans – it was forked up from inception. We’d counted on the late hour and darkness to cover our slightly criminal endeavor which. Turns out it didn’t cut the mustard – someone spotted us about forty-five minutes into the execution of The Brace Affair. I don’t think the MacGregor’s hold with Little Ben’s lax ideas of security.
Thru sheer luck – for the MacGregor’s, not us – they’d cut us off from Beatrice’s car, so I lead us to familiar ground. Which is why the Tricornies were currently sharing a quiet flask behind a utility shed in Nevermore while I tried to figure a way out.
Pulling out my phone I texted my cousin.
Me: “Ok guys, lets head to the Crossroads.”