Fiction

The Campaign

“Water Guns” by Jason Eppink is licensed under CC BY 2.0

By Otis Moore

August. 25th 2004, 11:02

Was the mission a success? Absolutely. Did we get what we wanted out of it? I think so, and then some.

The assault went marvellously. To be honest, I was a little scared at the accuracy and ferocity with which my men carried out my plan. I credit it to my master planning and practice, as well as to all the team sports my men play. I curse that my mother will still not let me play, because she thinks it will make me a “fascist.” What does that even mean? I digress.

We stormed the park like in Saving Private Ryan with equally admirable and similar results. Abhali scraped his knee and drew blood. The tough bugger didn’t even cry. I’ll tell you, boy, they grow them differently over there in Somalia.

Taking lessons from the Nazis, I sent in the boys with the heavier armour on bikes after to “mop up.” We chased the females onto the jungle gym in the middle of the Sahara-like sandpit. The enemies at this point were howling for us to relent, but I prohibited my men from any such action.

This is when it got really ugly. Caroline’s mom came out of the shade provided by the big tree. She leapt off the park bench like a Silver Back gorilla and shouted at us. I, being the leader, stood up and argued with her. My argument was it’s our “God-given right” and “It is the natural order of summer at the park for girls to be sprayed by us.” I also brought up evidence of them spraying back. This was to no avail.

I looked around and saw mothers and babysitters staring. Quickly I gave the order for a “tactical withdrawal” from the battlefield. We regrouped back at base at Cameron’s.

Back at Cameron’s we decided to write an “anonymous” letter and leave it in Caroline’s mom’s mailbox. The letter reiterated our points and said “it would be best for everyone if things went back to how they should be” and things to that effect. Because of my weakness in penmanship and spelling, Nick and Cameron shared duties as scribe. But after a quick edit, I noticed that the yellow-bellied rats had signed their own damned names! I quickly chastised my men and told them that anonymity was critical for our plan’s success. We did our best at erasing the names and then did our collective best to spell anonymous.

Wanting to test Abhali’s steel, I suggested that he deliver the letter to the mailbox. At first he was reluctant, but he later agreed once I sent Chen-Chi with him and assured him I would be just around the corner. Once we devised a secret knock in case Chen-Chi and Abhali were discovered and led the wolves back to the lion’s den, the two messengers departed and the rest of us watched some TV.

August 26th 2004, 08:15

I just had a rude awakening. Apparently Caroline’s mother found our message to be a bit too threatening. Mom woke me up by drawing the curtains and recounting the story – in a rather nasty tone- to this effect:

Mom: Caroline’s mother Molly was just over here.

Me: Oh really? It’s a lovely morning for a chat.

Mom: She found a note in her mailbox and called the police.

Me: Really?

Mom: Yes, Otis. Apparently someone threatened to “soak the snot” out of her daughter. Is any of this ringing a bell, Otis?

Me: I haven’t the foggiest, Mother.

Mom: What about how intending to “get her as wet as is physically possible because it is your God-given right as a male to do such things to girls in a public park?”

I didn’t know what to say. Mom always knows when I am lying, but I couldn’t tell if she knew I was lying now. Her face was all twisted up like a Matisse. I quickly thought about what I had to lose. Getting a good job when I am older has always been of the utmost importance and I new a police record would spoil that. Also I knew that Nick would snitch. He was in cahoots with his older sister. He had even momentarily switched sides last summer and had attempted to assassinate me with a water balloon. I knew I had to fess up.

“How did she know it was us?” I asked. Mom gave me an all-knowing, yet dumbfounded look with just the slightest hint of surprise. Had I just given up my comrades? Had I overestimated myself? Alas.

“Cameron and Nick signed their bloody names in pen, Otis. You’re lucky the police have better eyes and aren’t as fanatical as Caroline’s mom, or you would be in a lot of trouble, Mr.,” said Mom.

“So I’m not in trouble!” I said with glee. Mom’s expression was more than enough for an answer.

August 26th 2004,10:00

Dad just walked me over to Caroline’s house to apologize. He didn’t seem angry, but I didn’t push it. The only time he raised his tone was when I asked why the others weren’t coming with me. He said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. Today, you’re about growing yourself.” I don’t know exactly what he meant, but I knew then that I had been the man in charge so I had to face the music.

I handed the letter that I wrote to Caroline and her mother. Dad had scribed for me. It was hard to say sorry because until Dad talked to me I still thought I was right. I made a damned good show of the apology, though. I dare say I shocked her a bit. Dad tried not to giggle.

August 26th 2004, 10:13

I must spend the next seven days in my room with three hours of out-side-time both in the morning and afternoon, but I may not contact my friends in the morning, because that’s going to be spent with Mom helping out around the house. I got off on this one like Juice (I don’t know that the means, but cousin Joey says it, and it sounds cool). I chalk it up to my negotiating skills. The only visitor I’m allowed is Johnny when he gets back from his cottage for what Mom and Dad are calling “conjugal visits,” whatever that means.

It looks like the next week is going to be filled with Shackleton-esque diary entries and books.

I have said that the next water gun fight will not be a fight, but a peacekeeping mission. At least it gives me a chance to wear my fetching blue beret.

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