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Volume 9, Issue 4: Pictura

The Great Escape

Nathan Wilson

A six-year-old boy in camouflage pajamas sat in the corner, dart gun in hand. His name was Ted and he hated sitting in the corner.

"Can I come out now?" he asked.
"Nope." His babysitter crushed all his hopes. Here he was, sitting in the corner of the living-room while she watched TV. Why had his parents gone to that party?
"How much more?" he asked.
"Nine minutes."
"How long I been sittin'?"
"One minute." He decided to try another method
"How come I hafta sit in the corner?"
"Because, you were rowdy."
"Nuh uh."As soon as he'd said it he knew it was the wrong approach. He hated this babysitter.
"I'm sorry fer bein' rowdy," he murmured. He wasn't sorry, but even the degradation of apology would be worth the exodus.
"I'm sure you are, but it's too late for that." He didn't understand that one, but it didn't sound promising.
So Ted sat on and his babysitter watched on. He sat and he thought, and they were not ordinary thoughts. They were the thoughts of an oppressed six-year-old male. When a babysitter makes a six-year-old boy sit in the corner, great things happen. Transformations are made. Stonewall Jackson's babysitter had made him sit in the corner. Hannibal's babysitter had been a great one for corner sitting. But William Wallace's had surpassed them all. Military minds are formed sitting in the corner. So it was with Ted. His six-year-old mind raced, for he was plotting great plots. Ted began to sing, and it was a battle song.
"Stop singing, Ted." He did not. What could she do? He was already in the corner.
"Ten more minutes in the corner, Ted." He hadn't thought of that.
Where she was sitting, she would notice any sudden movements he might make. He decided to attempt the bold approach. Yes, that's all there was for it. He would attack the enemy with full force and then retreat in the ensuing chaos. After all, he still had one dart. She thought she had taken all of them when he shot the pizza guy, but he'd had one down his pajama pants and she hadn't thought to look there.
He slowly hunched over on his stool, humming now, and began to explore the inner depths of his pajama pants. Where was that dart? Ah! It had slid all the way down to his ankle. He was grateful that he was wearing his cammo PJ's and not the Tweety Bird ones. Camouflage seemed so much more appropriate in such situations.
He now had his small arm all the way down the leg of his pajamas. His hand clasped around the contraband, and he sat up, slowly withdrawing his arm from his pants. It was his best dart. He knew this because it had black scribbles all over it, a result of a movie he had watched yesterday called The Black Arrow. This dart had never failed him. He felt confident as he licked the payload. His babysitter was gonna get it. The dart slid nicely into the gun's barrel. He had only to cock it without being noticed, and he would once more be his own sovereign nation. He slowly armed his weapon . . . oh no, it clicked! Did she hear? He sat motionless, his pulse racing. His life swung in the balance, and then all was well. She hadn't heard. She was too enthralled with the dandruff commercial.
He had reached the point of no return. If he proceeded and failed, the result would be certain death. He could still turn back. He could return the dart to his pants and finish up his time in the corner. He could be a man, or he could be a wimp. His mind analyzed the options. If he was a man, then he might pay for it big. If he was a wimp . . . then he'd be a wimp.
"Mission Great Escape is a go, sir," he muttered, glancing at the front door. It was unlocked. Rotating on his stool, he brought the gun up.
"Ted?" He wasn't listening. He liked to look his victims in the eyes. She must look at him. "Ted? You can come. . . ." She had turned towards him.
Ted loosed his battle cry and his dart simultaneously. He was off the stool and flying for the front door even before his moist missile had struck the babysitter in the eye.
"TED!" The front door swung open and the small camouflaged figure disappeared into the night.
Ted's bare feet tore their way across the lawn toward the hedge. He knew where he was going. This was his yard. He hit the gap in the hedge at top speed, and only then did he draw rein. He was safe. He was his own man.
"TED, YOUR PARENTS ARE NOT GONNA LIKE THIS!"
"Ha!" Ted whispered to himself "They won't mind! Will they? No they won't, cause she made me sit in the corner!" The babysitter walked out into the yard.
"Ted, if you come in right now you can have some ice cream!" This was tempting. What kind of ice cream? Vanilla. That's all they had in the freezer. No, he wouldn't come in just for Vanilla. What did she take him for? Chocolate . . . yes. Vanilla . . . no. He wasn't gonna give up.
He pointed his unloaded gun at the babysitter shape in the yard. He needed his darts. What would he do if she found him now? Where had she put his darts? Probably on the fridge. Adults always did that. No problem, he could get onto the fridge.
Ted slowly squeezed out the other side of the hedge and into the neighbors' yard. And there, at his feet, was an apple core, left there, no doubt, by Billy, his friend and ally whose yard he currently occupied. Ted had been developing as a military mind, but he was not yet developed. He was still a boy. Picking the apple core up, he turned to find his target. She was on the other side of the yard stealthily examining the woodpile. A perfect target.
What Ted failed to take into account was that he wasn't strong enough to throw an apple core all the way across his front yard, let alone over the hedge and then across the yard. But Ted believed in himself and the apple core launched into the hedge about two feet above his head. The babysitter shape spun around.
"Ted!" But Ted was gone. After standing frozen for a split second, realizing that he'd violated every law in guerilla warfare, he was gone. Ted was now an inhabitant of Billy's backyard.
Why had he thrown that apple core? What a dumb thing to do. Too bad he missed. His hand musta slipped er somethin'. He poked his head out from behind the tree he was now using for cover. His babysitter was in Billy's yard now on her knees looking in the hedge.
"Ted," he heard. "You need to come out now. You're in big enough trouble already." This was his opportunity. The enemy had left her base. He could get in the back door now. He'd get the darts and some cookies, then he'd go hide.
He made a dash for the back corner of the hedge. Ha! This was one dumb babysitter! Dropping onto his stomach he inched his way through the hedge. He was the victor! He couldn't lose now!
Emerging from the hedge he bolted for the back door like a very small horse heading for the barn. His bare feet blazed their way to the back porch and he was inside. He neither slowed nor checked his pace but proceeded with the same wild abandon into the kitchen. After a split second pause, he grabbed a stool and dragged it to the counter. Placing the dart gun in his fatigues, he proceeded to scale the stool with an adroitness similar to that of a drunk beetle. He heaved his small frame onto the formica and scampered to the cookie jar. Oreos! Placing two in his teeth and toting four in each hand, he moved to the fridge. His darts were only a quick jaunt onto the microwave away. But how to carry them? Eight Oreos went down the pants, and settled around his ankles. He then scrambled up the microwave and onto the fridge. There lay five darts. The angels were singing in Ted's little world as he scooped them up. He immediately retrieved his gun and loaded it. It was time to go into hiding. Having pants full of Oreos, a gun in one hand, ammo in the other and two more Oreos in his mouth, he would have been perfectly happy except for hearing the back door open.
"Ted? Where are you?"
Even if he would've told her, he couldn't with the Oreos in his mouth. Thinking as fast as his mind would allow, he determined to bypass the stool and proceed directly to the floor. The slap of bare feet on linoleum echoed throughout the kitchen.
"TED!" He heard the thunderous steps of the babysitter approaching. When she arrived, she saw only two soggy Oreos on the floor, where Ted had impacted. Ted himself, however, had vanished into the laundry room, where no one cared about your past. The fugitive stood listening to the sounds of a cupboard-to-cupboard search, panting like the hunted fox. He must hide. He was trapped. The only exit to the room was guarded by the evil one, and the laundry room was far from abounding in hiding places. His babysitter would give up on the kitchen soon; he must hide now!
Then as has happened to numerous generals throughout history, an inspiration came upon Ted. He would hide behind the water-heater. There it was in the corner of the room. If he got on top of it, he could slide down into the corner where he could stay until his parents got home. The climb up the clothes hamper across the washer and dryer and on top of the water heater was, for Ted, the work of a moment. As he looked down the gap between the water-heater and the corner, he did not see an uncomfortable spot, he saw freedom. He turned around and slid into the gap backwards. He hung for a second, and then smiling, he dropped into the hole. No one could make him sit in the corner now! He could do whatever he wanted!
Ted reached into his pants for an Oreo.

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