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Outdoor Decorating

“Now, what could you possibly need all this toilet paper for?” the cashier at Dollar Tree asked, notably sarcastic.

“Well,” Kristi said, putting her arms on my and Jill’s shoulders, “You probably don’t really want to know. But, since you asked, I guess I could tell. You see, we have a friend who has a bad case of this flu thing.” She leaned closer to the cashier and cupped her hand around her mouth, as if telling a secret. “Basically diarrhea . . . we’re stocking up for the worst of it.”

“Alright if that’s the story you’re going to stick to just remember, don’t get caught in the act.” All five of us had to laugh at that.

My thirteenth birthday was a little over a month before. However, everyone was so busy that it got pushed back a month, right into early August. This was pretty convenient, considering it was our last get together before school started. I had a pretty awesome evening planned and next on the list was Cassano’s.

Like usual Friday nights, Cassano’s was crowded. We were told the wait would be about ten minutes, so we miraculously found an empty bench with enough room for everyone to sit. People swarmed around us with barely enough room to pass. Anyone with claustrophobia wouldn’t have had a chance in there, but that’s normal in the Sidney Cassano’s. Pizza fumes filled the air and my stomach growled in response. It was nearly seven o’clock and I hadn’t eaten anything since lunch.
Many people that came in quickly walked out again with their takeouts. One of those just happened to be my neighbor, Tina, who lives just a half a mile from me. She stopped and talked to my mom for a few minutes and then asked, “So, what do you girls have planned for tonight?”

Anyone could’ve asked us that question, but it had to be Tina; the Tina who had a son in our grade, the Tina who conveniently lived right down the road from me, the Tina who was “the friend with the flu thing”. Trying not to laugh I said, “Well, we got a movie from Family Video.”

“Yeah, I’ll believe that when pigs fly!”

A table opened and my friends and I politely excused ourselves so we could order our pizza, and so we wouldn’t have to answer any more questions.

Later that night, or rather very early the next morning, Meg, Jill, Allison, Kristi, and I loaded all the toilet paper and saran wrap, which was in black trash bags, into my mom’s vehicle. She drove us the whole half of a mile and dropped us off on the side of the road. During the dark and windless night, we trekked through the yard to the biggest tree. The barn light gave off enough glow for us to be seen from the front window that looked out to where we were standing. Lucky for us, no one was awake and waiting.

Rolls of toilet paper flew through the air, scattering the thick branches of the tree, and saran wrap was wound around the front porch pillars. The grape vines and cars were covered in the white décor and sidewalks were given rainbow colors of silly string. The front yard was absolutely beautiful, a true masterpiece in my opinion.
The golf-cart sitting near the house had just gotten done and we all decided to put some toilet paper on the bushes right up against the house. All of a sudden the door crashed open and Brandon, Tina’s son, ran out and got on his golf-cart. Of course, saran wrap and toilet paper stalled him a little and gave us time for our getaway. All the toilet paper we had in our hands was dropped and we took off. I sucked in some air and pointed behind a barn. Thank goodness it was in the shadow because I wouldn’t have been able to run all the way to my mom’s car, parked quite a ways down the road, without being seen and caught. My lips curved into a smile when the sound of the golf-cart roared right past us. I had to put my hand over my mouth to conceal the laughter that was about to burst out. Brandon had raced right past us and still didn’t find the hiding spot. A couple minutes later the sound of the golf-cart got louder again, and toilet paper blew in the wind when Brandon drove past. A voice to the right of me yelled, “Run!” and we took off.
My mom’s car was still parked on the side of the road, waiting for us. I was the last to jump into the car seconds before she took off. Everyone let out a held in breath and the car filled with the sound of hysterical laughter. Adrenaline was still pumping through me. The excitement and relief coming at the same time was a rush. I finally got control and asked, “So, did Brandon see you parked here?”
My mom answered, “Yeah. I was getting ready to pull away when he drove right up by my window. I told him that you guys weren’t in here, but he didn’t believe me. He even opened the back doors just to make sure I was telling the truth. I didn’t have a clue where you were, so he left. Did you get to finish?”
Allison replied, “No. We dropped all the toilet paper and ran at a dead sprint. We almost got done, though.”
Meg spoke up and said, “We didn’t drop all of the toilet paper. I picked up a bag before we ran off. There’re about fifteen rolls.”
At that moment a light bulb went off in my head. “Well, I know what we could do with the rest. Since we can’t go back there because Brandon’s awake, we could always toilet paper the Wes’s.”

My mom was totally against that idea. Wes is very picky about his landscaping. He mows his yard precisely once a week and has professionals come out to spray it with weed-killer. His lawn is the most attractive on the road, and after that much work, it should be. I thought that toilet papering his house would be really fun, even though we were limited on toilet papering supplies. My mom decided we could do what we wanted with the toilet paper, but she was going to go to bed.

Wes lives right across from my house so we got out of the car and walked the short distance. I knew we wouldn’t get caught here because they only had a puppy at the time and they weren’t expecting the intrusion. They had a descent amount of small trees and a basketball hoop for the saran wrap. The supplies ran out within minutes. I was making the final touches on the porch when a soft growl filled the darkness. It was eerie enough to give me goosebumps. I looked up at Jill, who had a surprised expression. Our eyes both said the same thing: Run.

It was four-thirty in the morning. I didn’t have trouble falling asleep once I found my way into the sleeping bag. In fact, I crashed within minutes. However, I woke up at about seven with all the others. We hadn’t finished the toilet papering the night before at Brandon’s. Kristi mentioned, “We should go back and get the toilet paper that we dropped. It’d be a shame to waste all of that because we almost got caught.”

The cool morning breeze had us shivering a little as we rode some bikes and scooters down the road. My smile gleamed in the sunrise as we got closer to our destination. The smile disappeared when we rode into the driveway, not seeing the toilet paper anywhere. More shock arose when Doug, Brandon’s dad walked out the door. This was a pretty embarrassing moment for me. Neighbors aren’t supposed to be on others’ front lawns looking for toilet paper at seven in the morning. However, Doug just grinned when he saw us and said, “Lookin’ for something? Toilet paper, maybe?”

I hesitated with an answer. I wasn’t sure if I should tell the truth or simply make up an excuse. It always pays to tell the truth. “Ummm, yeah, we might be missing a couple rolls.”

“Go inside. They’re sitting right by the door. Brandon didn’t put them away, so you girls can have them back.”

I looked at him, stunned and amazed. With a smile, I said thanks and we got our toilet paper back. I hadn’t realized we dropped so many rolls and like Kristi said, “it’d be a shame to waste all of it”.

In broad daylight, toilet papering was a whole new experience. The back of Brandon’s yard finally matched the front. Brandon came out and tried to clean, but ended up standing on the sidelines, letting us finish the outdoor decorating.
As it turned out, Brandon had been waiting for us to come the night before. Only, he fell asleep on the lookout job and was rewarded with a cleanup job. He passed a cleanup job onto me only a month later, when my yard was filled with white decorations.



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