“Think. He’ll be back any minute!”
“I am thinking, what does it look like?” Jess scowled, green eyes locked on the scarlet kite. It was twenty feet off the ground, its colorful tail wrapped around a telephone pole.
“I told you we shouldn’t take it. But you didn’t listen. It’s your fault.” Rob was pacing, staring up at it.
“You were flying it, Bobert.”
“Yeah, I was, till you grabbed it and flew it into the wire. It’s Jim’s war-kite. He’ll be mad.”
“We should’ve tried to attack something with it, you know? If it’s a real war-kite. What’s it good for, anyway?”
“How’re you going to get it down?”
“Me? Whadya mean, how am I going to get it down?”
“Come on. Think.”
Jess planted her hands on her hips, turned around. The barn loomed behind them, old farm equipment scattered nearby. “What’s that?” she asked. Beside the wall, covered in moss and clinging grass, was a wooden ladder. “Think this’ll reach it?”
“Nobody’s used that forever,” Rob said.
“Well, looks fine to me. Unless you have a better idea.”
Rob shifted from foot to foot.
“Well?” Jess said, wrapping her stubby fingers around one end. “Pull!”
The grass held on. Rob wedged his feet against the ground and strained. Jess put one foot on the red wall and jerked. The ladder shifted. All of a sudden—SNAP! Jess was on the ground. Rob’s end didn’t budge.
“Ow,” Rob said, examining his finger. “I think I got a splinter.”
Jess pulled herself up and brushed off. “Well, that won’t work.” She kicked the wood.
“You broke our ladder.”
“Yeah? I’ll break it again.” She grabbed the stick from the ground and hurled it over her shoulder. A resounding smack echoed from behind them.
Rob turned around. Jim was standing with the piece of wood in hand, inches away from his nose. Slowly, he lowered it.
“I’m sure that was an accident,” Jim said.
Rob pointed at Jess. “Her fault.”
Jim stared at Rob, fidgeting under his gaze. He looked at the ladder, now in two pieces. Then he squinted up into the sun. “Is that my kite?” he asked. “Is that my war-kite?”