The Great Expedition

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I felt as if I were a ninja. Silent, invisible and stealthy, I had the advantage of surprise. I wasn’t alone either. There were six of us in all, closing in on our target. I had memorized our plan and knew exactly where to go. We were low and the rigid meadow grass and thorns scraped our legs. The fulgent lights on the house blinded us and the thunderous music hammered through our bodies. In range now, we dove for cover and readied ourselves for the attack.

Relaxing around the outdoor fire pit after a long day at the beach, Hilary, Barrett, Molly, Ben, my sister and I had roasted marshmallows. The sweet smell of campfire and s’mores wafted in the air. Hillary and Barrett live in Pennsylvania but spend a week or two every summer staying next door to us. Ben and Molly, who are our long time friends, live just down the street. It was towards the end of Hilary and Barrett’s stay, so we tried to think of a crazy adventure to top off the week. And then… Barrett dreamed up the craziest, most exhilarating idea we could ever imagine. So big, in fact, that we could barely wrap our brains around it. But there was no time to lollygag. If this plan was going to work we had to move fast.


The group huddled around the faucet, meticulously readying our arsenal. We were clad in dark shorts and t-shirts, and sporting our old running shoes. Although it may have been a little overkill, we rummaged through our old Halloween costumes in search of some black face paint. This would be the highlight of the vacation, and nothing could distract us from the task ahead. Finally, we had everything ready for battle, and we took off, disappearing into the shadowy night.



The full plastic bags were awkward and cumbersome, but that didn’t matter to us. We were on a mission, and nothing could avert our concentration. Our feet glided through the rough meadow as though we were walking on air, the bags getting heavier with each step. Finally we were there, ducking behind the low bushes and manning our positions. College kids were everywhere, entering and exiting to the outdoor fire through two large sliding glass doors off the front porch. The first balloon was thrown, ending in a smooth “SPLOOSH” on the front porch. The war had just begun.



We turned, expecting to have to take off at full speed to escape the angry entourage we thought would give chase. After the first few steps, we realized no one was after us. What a relief because none of us wanted to leave this college party we had invited ourselves to. After all, we had two whole bags of water balloons and throwing just one would have been a disappointment at the very least. But why had no one chased us? Surely someone must have heard or seen the balloon. The six of us continued hurling balloon after balloon, yet the partiers seemed not to notice. With only a few balloons left in the last bag, our hearts began to sink. What was the fun in bombarding a house with water balloons if no when noticed? With only a handful of balloons left, our best shooters took aim. I led off with towering toss. It seemed to hang in the air forever, going over the trees, the house and the fire in the back yard until it finally landed. Seconds later, there was a scream.



That was my cue. I knew it was time to get out of there. Barrett and Ben had other plans, however.

“Come on Ben we gotta get closer!”whispered Barrett

With one water balloon each, they let them go simultaneously, resulting in two direct hits to the house. The party had gone dead silent. And then… they were after us. Four of them to be exact. At the time I would have guessed it were a hundred. They were all men in very good shape and extremely fast. When I say fast, I mean FAST. Our one advantage was knowing the lay of the land. We all headed in separate directions, too scared to look back and just hoping to confuse them. Separating hadn’t been enough, so we wove around trees and dove between low bushes. Finally, dizzy and gasping for breath, we stopped to rest. I turned around, fearing I would be staring straight into the face of one of the livid pursuers. Knowing we couldn’t outrun them, we took cover under a low growing shrub. As our hearts pounded with the fear of being captured and pummeled by athletic twenty-somethings, we heard the angry search party storm past, muttering swears as they went.


After we felt it safe to leave our brushy cover, we triumphantly staggered back to our camp, our adventure becoming more heroic with every step. It wasn’t until we reached the safety of our back yard that we realized we had been playing with fire and could easily have been badly burned. What we thought was a funny plot, we realized later, had been quite a dangerous decision. Although, in the end, no one was captured by the angry mob, the next day we all woke up with the worst case of poison ivy we had ever had!





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