Hoo-Rah for Joe

Contributor: John Laneri

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The summer after my tenth birthday was a turning point in my life. It happened on one of those warm summer nights when I realized that GI Joe represented the ultimate military man.

For two nights, Billy and I had been trying to glimpse the new girls in the house next to his. Finally, after spending the entire day studying GI Joe comics, we were ready. The girls would not escape our mission.

“Can you hear what they’re saying?” Billy asked, as he glanced over the bushes.

“I’m not sure... hand me the binoculars.”

I took them then crept to another bush, just as I had seen GI Joe do in, “Search for the Missing Platoon”.

“What do you see?” Billy asked, as he edged beside me.

“I don’t know. Everything looks black. I can't see squat.”

In the distance, I could hear voices coming from their house. Through the foliage, I could make out two silhouettes on the back porch in the adjacent yard. I was certain the girls were unaware of our presence.

I nudged Billy. “We need to approach them through the woods then sweep along the side of the fence and strike from the flank.”

“What happens if we get caught?” Billy asked.

“We won’t get caught,” I said confidently.

“But, my parents…”

“Follow me private,” I said, as I darted into the shadows and began making my way toward their house, crawling silently from tree to tree.

I stopped behind an oak to survey the area.

“See anything?” Billy asked, moving beside me.

I pointed ahead. “I think their room’s at the end of the house in front of us.”

Suddenly, I saw a shadow move past a window.

“What was that?” Billy asked, his voice on edge.

“They’re headed to the bedroom. Let's get closer.”

I crept to the next tree. Billy followed. And soon, we were outside their window hidden in the shadows, our nerves on end.

“Lets go back,” Billy whispered. “We might get caught.”

Ignoring him, I eased closer to the window and chanced a look. At first, the room appeared dark. Then suddenly the bedroom door opened, and I saw two girls come skipping into the room.

Quickly, I dropped out of sight and hurried back to Billy.

“What did you see?” he asked.

“I’m not sure,” I replied. “They looked different.

“Different?” he asked.

“They didn’t look like the girls at school.”

“Were they monsters?”

“No, they’re full grown women. I think they’re fifteen or sixteen years old.”

“I want to see,” Billy said, coming to his feet.

“They might spot you.” I reached to draw him to cover. “You need to whisper. We’re on an important mission. We don't want to be discovered.” My attention returned to the darkened window. “We know they’re in the room, so we’ll wait. That’s what Joe would do.”

I remained crouched in the darkness, daring to breathe, my ears straining to hear the girls. In the distance, I heard an owl calling in the night – it’s sound sending a chill snaking along my spine.

Soon, I began to grow uneasy. The girls were too quiet.

“Lets move closer,” I whispered. “Something is wrong.”

We edged toward the window, moving carefully along the side of the house. Then together, we looked over the windowsill.

At first, I only saw darkness. But as the minutes passed, I began to sense an eerie, creepy presence almost as if something was watching, waiting.

Then suddenly – like monsters in a nightmare – two hideous faces with sharp teeth popped up on the other side of the window and began screaming.

Springing away from the window, Billy and I hit the ground together, jumped to our feet and sprinted away, fleeing for our lives. Once safely in his yard, we ducked behind a bush to make sense of what had just happened.

“Were those things girls?” Billy asked, his voice trembling.

“I think so,” I replied, chancing a glance over the bushes.

“They were the ugliest girls I’ve ever seen.”

“No stupid, the girls were wearing monster faces.”

Deep inside, I knew they had fooled us. In the background, I could hear them giggling, celebrating their victory.

By then though, I was already planning another strike. I was GI Joe, and I intended to accomplish my mission even if it took all summer.

Truth be told, I got my eyes full the next week when the girls were showering. And, the best part of all – they knew I was watching.

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John is a native born Texan living near Houston. His writing focuses on short stories and flash. Publications to his credit can be found on the internet and in several print edition periodicals.
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