By Jasmine Temple
We had a mission, we knew what we had to do, and we knew the consequences.
It was a warm night. We were at Agent Flamboyant Cuttlefish’s abode for expressly this reason. We dressed in black, both wearing dark pants and boots, ready to take on the night. We had painted our nails black, as well as putting on some swanky black eyeliner for the occasion. We packed a travel sack: a few cameras, a note we had prepared earlier, three pineapple cutouts, flashlights, cell phones, pens, tape, weapons just in case we were attacked on the road, snacks (mostly on the “beaten trail dried tuna”), and of course layouts of the house we would soon be approaching, perhaps entering, drawn in blue ink. We weren’t only ninjas, ready to break and enter, ready to kidnap our dearest friend if the situation called for it – we were also travelers, natives of the land, packing for a trip across a dangerous country that may claim our lives.
We had spent the evening mentally preparing, eating various Girl Scout cookies and dried tuna. The tuna was our staple, our one thing that would never leave us, our companion on this perilous mission. We had created the pineapples, the most feared of the tropical fruits. We had made our sign, full of love and friendship, warning him of our presence in the night. It was just us two. We worried that with more we would give ourselves away. We were already giggling at the prospect of the task ahead. We did not know what we were setting out to do. We knew there were gates to sneak past, dogs to outrun, but we did not know if he would be there, if he would see us, or if we would have to take him home with us. This was the first step; we did not know if there would be a second.
We set out at nightfall. Our steps were muffled in the summer dust and there were hardly any cars on the road to potentially kill us. The air smelled overwhelmingly of flowers, an empowering scent that drove us mad with self-confidence and faith in our abilities. This was the Squire we’re talking about. The Original Squire, I might add. The one boy who inspired all the rest. All the peacock catching, the wooing, the plumage, and of course, eventually our own private yacht with David Attenborough’s voice singing out to esteemed gentlemen about the wide variety of squires on board.
We approached his street and suddenly became very serious. We snuck down his drive way, already worried that we would be caught by the creaking gate. As soon as we slipped inside the yard we would be attacked by ferocious dogs, corgi and chihuahua among them. But as we emerged on the other side of the gate, no sounds stirred from the lit house. We swelled with confidence. We made it! We had entered the sanctum, we were inside the walls, we were halfway there.
We snuck around the side of the house, ducking to make sure our heads were not seen through the family room windows. It was surprisingly easy. Where was the tension? Where was the well-known fear that the masked intruders will get caught and brutally tortured until they reveal their deepest secrets? Perhaps it was because we were not wearing masks.
The most difficult part of our mission was when we encountered the feline. This feline was named Jack. Captain Jack. And he liked fish. We had fish. Jack wanted the fish. We had to climb a tree and put the fish in the tree before we could actually continue with the job we had set out to do and still Jack would not let us be. He knew we had fish connections and he would not give us any peace until we let him in on our trade secrets. We set up camp on a bench that happened to have a perfect view of the unsuspecting family inside, going about innocently as we took out our supplies. Jack mewed and pawed at us. We took out the tape and pineapples, the small plastic bag full of Girl Scout cookies and our loving sign. And then we waited for them to move. Jack made as much noise as was physically possible for a cat. We waited. We needed them to move because we could not get to the Squire’s window without passing a highly revealing sliding glass door. If we got into this door’s view, we would be seen. Even crawling could not fix the problem. So we waited. And waited. And took some pictures of Jack. And took some pictures of the house. And waited. And waited.
We finally realized that waiting really wasn’t going to work out. The cat was getting annoying. Plus, ninjas do not wait for hours outside their target’s home. No, they take action. Also, Agent Flamboyant Cuttlefish’s parents would be none too happy if we didn’t come home in a timely fashion. Also, we had the long trek back to base to take into account. So we taped the pineapples to our fingers, held the sign between our teeth, put the cookies in our pockets, shooed Jack away for one last time, and set out slinking across the deck in the dark. It was slow. We were like chameleons. They could not see us. We were part of the deck. We were invisible in our black clothing. One with the night. The Squire unknowingly serenaded us with sweet ukulele music that emanated from his window. The window that was our target.
After a slow slink that seemed to take hours, after passing by the door and their apparently blind eyes, we reached the window. They had not seen us. Why had they not seen us? We crawled past their door, right in front of them, with pineapple cutouts on our fingers and signs between our teeth. But they had not seen us. We were masters. We taped it all to the window, with hopes that the glorious Squire would open the curtains before the cookies went bad, and we crawled back to safety and the prospect of dried tuna in a tree to deal with, already preparing for Part Two. The real mission awaited us.