(With due credit for the original idea given to Mort Walker, of the Beetle Bailey cartoon fame.”
As his trained eyes swept the terrain in front of him, a soft voice from behind asked, “You sure you know what you’re doing?”
“Relax. What could go wrong?”
“We could get caught.”
He glanced back at his companion on this mission. “This isn’t the first time I’ve done this, you know.”
“So you’ve said.”
“Chill! We’ll be in and out before anyone knows we were anywhere in the vicinity.”
“I’ve heard that one before,” was muttered back.
“You coming, or are you just going to sit there whining while I do all the work?”
“I’m coming, I’m coming.” But it was said with a definite grumble.
His companion finally grinned. “This next stretch is a little tricky as its open ground from here to the lilac bush at the corner of the house. Everyone should be busy elsewhere, but keep your eyes peeled.”
“Yeah, yeah,” the other man muttered, but dutifully scanned the yard between where they were, alongside the barn, to the house fifty feet in front of them.
Deciding that the coast was indeed clear, the pair hurried across and slipped into the small space between the bush and the house, once more fairly well hidden from view. But they both remained quiet and still for several minutes just to be sure that they hadn’t been spotted. Finally, the first young man touched his reluctant companion’s shoulder. “Great,” he whispered. “The window is open. That will save some time.”
The other young man took a peek. “I still don’t think this is a good idea.”
“Will you relax? Eesh. I can’t believe you’re being such a wimp.”
“I’m not a wimp,” his companion snapped back, before lowering his eyes slightly. “Just don’t want to think about what will happen if we get caught,” he admitted.
His friend gave him a quick grin. “But that just adds to the excitement of the whole thing,” he said brightly. It only caused his companion’s frown to deepen. “Tell you what. You only have to go as far as the next bush by the window. I’ll slip in, grab the objective, and be back out in a flash.” His friend still wasn’t looking too confident. But he nodded and the pair once more scanned the surrounding terrain. Finding everything still clear they scooted to the next bush, which was just outside the open window into the house.
There they again waited, listening for any movement from inside. Hearing nothing, the first young man took a quick peek inside and then ducked back. “The coast is clear. This should only take a minute.”
His friend still looked skeptical. “Heard that one before, too.”
“Piece of cake,” was whispered back, followed by an almost giggle.
“Eesh,” it was the second man’s turn to mutter.
At first it seemed that everything was going to be just fine. The mission leader took another peek before a quick hop had him on the windowsill, and he slipped out of sight inside the room. His cautious friend waited a couple of seconds before sidling over to the edge of the window and peeking in himself.
This was the kitchen of the house. Appliances, sinks, and countertops were arranged around the walls of the spacious room, with a fairly good-sized worktable with solid sides running down the middle of the area. The first man was flattened against the window side of the table, keeping low as he worked his way toward the far end. His objective was lying on a tray at that end.
There hadn’t been a bit of sound from anywhere in the house so the first young man was feeling even more confident than he had been already. He sent a wink back toward where the second man kept a cautious watch outside the window, and reached up to grab his intended target.
Both nearly jumped out of their skin when a sudden movement on the other side of the table resulted in the first man’s hand getting a resounding slap from a fly swatter. “Charles Philip Morton,” his mother scolded firmly, “just what do you think you’re doing, young man?”
Chip stood up, rubbing his stinging hand. “Just after some cookies,” he admitted sheepishly. Lee Crane stood and showed himself more openly from outside the window. “We could smell them coming out of the oven from clear down by the creek.”
“And I could see you sneaking around almost the entire way,” Claire Morton told him, still brandishing the fly swatter. But she finally grinned at both young men and waved a hand at the tray. Grabbing up three of the still cooling peanut butter cookies, she walked over and handed them to a shyly smiling Lee. “And you couldn’t just ask?” she turned and challenged her son.
Chip grinned at Lee. “We’re military now. We don’t ask, we infiltrate.”