All was set. Papaw's shed had been fully ransacked- old radio? Check. Wheelbarrow? Check. Things smashed with the rusty smashy thing? Check. Toy pistols? Check.
We were off. The Babies were hiding somewhere, we were certain. Wherever they were, we were bound to attack them unawares. We crept with inconceivable stealth around the house. With our backs against the wall, Danny peeked around the corner, toy pistol at his chest, ready to shoot, if necessary. They were not in the garage; we noiselessly dashed across the lawn to the shelter of the enourmous rose bush. There we paused for a quick breath.
Danny was the ringleader; that day he was calling all the shots. Nathan was in charge of telecommunications; he held the radio to his ear in anticipation of any new intelligence that might aid us in our attack. I pushed the wheelbarrow, which contained rocks, bolts, washers, plastic darts, leaves and wild onions. One could never be too prepared in these situations.
Danny furtively spied through a hole in the rose bush - the Babies were in sight! He signaled to us his decision to go with Plan A. Nathan and I nodded in agreement. Within seconds we all shot out around the rose bush in different directions, all armed with pistols. The Babies were caught by surprise. They were forced to relinquish their digging for worms to fight. They were unarmed, but their weapons of manipulation were too great for us. They screamed. Matt and Josh took turns kicking and hitting while the other screamed for back-up. We fired aimlessly - they refused to be hit. Danny, unwilling to lose to the defenseless Babies, held the gun to Matt's chest and shot point-blank. Matthew screamed but appeared to be unhurt. Angry, we began shouting.
"You've been hit! You can't say you weren't!" I shouted.
"He shot you! You're dead!" shouted Nathan in agreement.
"I just shot you in the chest!" protested Danny.
The shouting did no good. The Babies ran away in the direction of their back-up. Undaunted, we chased them, shooting and shouting. We were certain to win this battle. Nothing could stop us.
Danny was the first to go down.
As we were chasing the Babies, Danny turned to us to encourage us to run faster - and ran straight into the Babies' Commander.
"Daniel, are you harrassing the boys?" asked Matt's terrifying and powerful mother. Danny tried to deny that he had attacked, but the evidence was in our hands and in the Babies' screams.
"Lori. Nathan. Leave these boys alone," demanded the dreaded Aunt Donna.
The Babies hid behind their mothers and stuck out their tongues. They had won yet again: not by might nor strategy nor firepower, but by their evil alliance with the grown-ups.
We were forced to retreat. We gathered our equipment - radio, wheelbarrow, pistols - and made way to our fort, the small apple tree. We climbed to the lowest limbs in defeat. However, we did not lick our wounds for long; we immediately began planning our next attack.
We may have lost the battle, but we would win the war.
Happy birthday, Matt. I can't believe you are twenty. You're still a Baby to me. I hope no matter how old you get, you never forget who's boss.