by Daniel Thompson

I bet if I threw this rock at Scott's head he'd stop believing he's MacGyver. Like right now, he's using that gutter pipe all wrong. The rope's supposed go through the pipe, not around it, but whenever I say something, he says he's right- he's MacGyver. He even calls himself, MacGyver. And now, The Face believes his stupid head. It is a stupid head. It's real wide like it got squeezed on the top and the bottom. Like if I push down on a balloon, that's what Scott's head looks like. His ears stick out too. This boy on the bus, Demetrius, he told Scott his head's so big he can't get it through the bus door without getting his mom to grease it up. I almost messed my pants laughing so hard. But the worst is that brown leather jacket. It's way too big for him. He has to roll the sleeves up and it hangs down to his knees. I offered to wear it for him since I'm taller. I said I'd give it right back when he was tall enough but he told me no. He told me to stop being jealous. That was the first time I thought about throwing a rock at his stupid head.

I've decided not to help Scott and The Face build the RET. That's Russian Enemy Trap. It's not that I don't want to get the Russians. It's a pride thing. Before The Face got here, I had the greatest idea ever to cut a path through the bushes next to the dirt road and set the RET at the end of that path. All our intelligence says the Russians will march down the dirt road at exactly 3pm. Now, everyone knows the Russians investigate all undocumented paths so when they march through, protocol will require them to walk down ours and right into the RET. If you ask me, it was the perfect plan, but Scott shook his head and turned his thumbs down. Said it wasn't spontaneous enough. That was the second time I thought about throwing a rock. 

His idea, the idea he and The Face are working on right now, is to build the trap in such a way that when the Russians walk past, the RET will come down on the Russians from our tree house. I told him he was out of his mind. I told him the Russians were sure to suspect it. He said that was the point. Something about the more they expect something, the easier it'll be to surprise them. 

The Face keeps looking back at me. I'm like fifty yards away, sitting on an old stump while they're up there in the tree house my father built last year. The Face's hair looks like its glowing, kinda like white smoke, and she keeps pushing it back because it's getting windy. I told Scott his plan wouldn't work if it got windy. There's no way the RET will stay up there in the tree house. It has to hang just below the floor and if the wind picks up, it'll move the RET all over. They won't be able to drop it down on them in the right place. That's when he said if it works, we won't get caught and if doesn't, we won't grow old. I said are you kidding me? Stop talking like you're MacGyver I told him, and that's when I came over here to this stump. Lots of good rocks over here by this stump.           

Scott slept over at my house last night and while we were upstairs he asked me to lock him in the bedroom closet. Can you believe that? He wanted me to lock him in the stupid closet. He brought his sister's hair pin and said he needed to practice escaping. I told him he was nuts and he said just do it- just lock him in. I said I would if he took the stinking jacket off, and he said it was a gift from his father before he died and that he promised to always wear it. Well, that was the dumbest thing I ever heard, and I pushed him in the closet and locked it. But I didn't just lock it, I grabbed a chair and propped it against the door knob and went downstairs. Oh, man it was the greatest. Scott unlocked the door but couldn't get pass the chair. He started crying. He cried so loud my mom heard him and had to come get him out. She made me apologize, but I didn't care. 

Look at them over there. They think it's going to work, but I know it's not. The Face just pointed to her book bag. She's got sandwiches or something in there, but I'm not hungry. I'm staying right here on this stump. If anything, I ought to kick them out of the tree house since my dad was the one that built it. It's a perfect tree house. Has two access points where you can climb the rope or the ladder. The rope hangs from the backside of the platform, kind of like a secret entry point.

The Face's hair isn't lit up anymore. Too shady now.  I'd never tell her, but I like her face. I like the way it scrunches up when she--hold on. Why is she so close to Scott? Did he just kiss her? I can't see. They moved to the other side of the tree. 

That's it. I'm done thinking about throwing a rock. I'll grab one big enough to hurt but not so big they'll think I'm crazy. With their heads close together and around the tree, they won't see me leaving the stump. I'll sneak up to the rope side, and by the time they stop being dummies with each other, I'll be in the tree house. The rock will be upside Scott's stupid head.

I'm like a commando in the jungle. I can't believe how quiet and fast I am. That's it. Keep moving.  I can see their heads still turned, facing the road. I check my watch. One minute to three. The Russians are on the way. While Scott's crying about my rock, I'll release their pitiful RET and show them how it doesn't work. 

There they are. Jamie, Ace, and Drew. We declared my older brother and his friends Russians after they threw me and Scott in the green pond a couple weeks ago. It's why we were supposed to be ambushing them- to get them back. But then Scott had to get all stupid. 

I've reached the base of the tree. Now, all I need to do is climb up the rope. It's easy since I'm so fast. Just give the rope a good tug.

When I open my eyes, I see the Russians standing over top of me, pointing. Their big mouths are all open. I'm trapped in a net that's tied to the gutter pipe which is tied to the tree rope. From above, I can hear Scott bragging. He said his plan worked perfectly. Said he knew I'd try to attack him and that I'd go for the rope. When I grabbed the rope, the RET came crashing down on me. He said something about how a good magician always uses a little misdirection. That it was totally MacGyver. I spot The Face looking over the edge of the tree house. Her nose is scrunched up in that way I like. She's laughing. So are the Russians.

BIO: Daniel Thompson works as an urban planner in Richmond, Virginia where he lives with his wife and daughter. This is his first published story.