Bicycle and Science Project
“Shhh. Now. Go now,” Chloe said. They were squatting behind a bush in Truman’s front yard.
“This is insane.”
“You have to do it. It won’t work if I do it.”
“He’ll kill me.”
“Sam, go now! I can see them watching TV in the kitchen. It’s the news. I can hear Brian Williams. Just do it.”
Sqeeeaaak. Sam opened the screen door leading to Truman’s front porch. And there it was. The science project that was due tomorrow. Sam couldn’t believe it. He didn’t know what it was, but there were jars, and it looked like Truman had been growing things inisde the jars. It was just too tempting. Suddenly Sam’s fear gave way to, well, something. Bravery? Idiocy? Complete stupidity? All of Sam’s pent-up anger at Truman erupted, and Sam went a little crazy.
Chloe stood up from her post behind a bush. What was she hearing? What was he doing? OMG! Sam was laughing hysterically and ripping Truman’s science project to shreds. He was throwing parts of it through the open door into the living room. Glass jars were shattering.
“SAAAAAAAAAAM,” Chloe yelled. “Get out of there.”
Truman tore through the living room, took a leap, knocked Sam flat on his belly. Truman was tall for his age; Sam short for his. Chloe figured Sam didn’t stand a chance without her help. She sprang onto the porch and used her foot that still wore a shoe to kick Truman on the leg, causing him to flop over, just long enough for a panting Sam to scoot out of his clutches. Sam and Chloe took a running jump off the porch, missing the steps entirely. As they scrambled off through the yard, Truman was on their heels. Sam’s face, for the second time that day, was nearly as red as his hair.
Just as they started to make a little headway, Chloe remembered.
“Stop. We have to stop,” Chloe managed.
“Don’t be crazy. Ruuuunnnn.”
“The pup. We forgot the pup.”
Sam came to such an immediate stop that Chloe crashed into his back.
“Ouch. Get off of me.”
“Back at ya.”
And here came Truman around a curve. They could hear him.
Sam pulled Chloe down to the ground, wrapped his arms around her, and rolled both of them to rest under an SUV parked on the street.
They were breathing so hard they were sure Truman would hear them, but apparently he was breathing pretty hard himself. The tall, lanky, dark-haired Truman stood on the sidewalk next to them, bent over with his hands on his knees, catching his breath, saying swear words. He had lost them.
Sam and Chloe tried not to breathe for what seemed like half an hour.
Finally, Truman straightened up, looked around, shrugged his broad shoulders, then turned and headed for home.
Now, they had to get the pup. And also let the air of of Truman’s bike tires.
“But the puppy. We can’t let Truman see the pup. He’ll torture it just to watch it suffer.”
“There’s no other way,” Chloe declared. “Come on.”
They walked around the far side of the McVey’s house, which was next door to Truman’s. Then they slowly crawled into Truman’s yard and settled in behind the shed out back. And they waited.