From the author: Sometimes lateral thinking can get you into trouble.
Incident with paint
“Three, two one. Fire!”
Geraldine pulled the trigger. There was a swoosh and a stream of red paint shot out and landed on Mrs McGillicuddy’s car. As I watched it dribbled, forming a strange flowery pattern.
“Shit. Why did you aim there?”
“I didn’t aim there. That’s just where it landed.”
“What’ll we do?”
Mrs McGillicuddy didn’t have a sense of humour. I looked around the playground. No one seemed to have noticed us - yet.
“She’s bound to ask who did it. And keep the whole class in if no one owns up.” Geraldine was always the practical one.
“It’ll wash off, won’t it? Is there a hose around?”
We both looked. No hose.
“Fuck it,” she said.
“Don’t be uncouth, Ruth,” I giggled.
“Tell you what. Let’s turn this to our advantage.”
“I don’t know. Let’s think of something. She’ll know it’s us, anyway.”
“Could we say we were testing the earth’s magnetic field with metallic paint, and her car attracted it?”
Geraldine just looked at me, didn’t say a thing.
“Okay. Okay. You think we should just fess up, make a flowery speech, and hope for the best?”
Again, she just stared at me.
“How about, we were aiming at a flasher, a perv, who took off? And it hit the car?”
“We’ve got to think of something so bad that getting paint on her car seems the better option.”
She nodded. “See that old guy looking at the playground?”
“The guy watching his granddaughter?”
“Who’s to know that? We saw him and tried to tag him, so he’d be caught.” Before I could reply she got out her phone and rang 000.
“There’s a creep watching us kids, acting suspicious. Here at school. Yes. Taking photos.” She gave the details.
“Jesus, Geraldine. What about the poor guy?”
“What about him?”
“He could be arrested.”
“Nah, he’ll explain why he’s there. And Mrs McGillicuddy is worried about strangers, isn’t she? She won’t care about the paint.
It was surprising how quickly the police arrived. Two officers jumped out of their car and approached the old man. He gestured at them.
Mrs McGillicuddy appeared, walked across the yard over to the police and the man. Then she glanced around, saw us – then saw her car. Her jaw dropped. She looked back at us, said something to the police. The she strode towards us.
“Let’s make ourselves scarce,” Geraldine said.
“Too late,” I said.