Chapter 23Mature

“How could this happen?”

Danny lowered the high powered night vision optics from the window of the nondescript grey van. He turned to his accomplice, who was calmly watching the array of video monitors behind him.

“I don’t know why you even bother with the scopes like that. The cameras have higher resolution.” Jim mocked.

Danny gave his brother a half-cocked, sideways glance. “Because I like looking right at the target. Then if something goes down, I can just hit the safety and shoot…”

“Except that we aren’t allowed to shoot anyone, soo… that kinda renders your whole argument moot.”

“Where’s Peter?” He asked, ignoring the quip.

“He never shows up on the imaging. I swear that guy could blend in anywhere… He’s like some goddamned ninja…” He plopped himself down. “I’d have thought he’d at least thrown a rock or something --to break things up.”

“Probably too obvious… Mike would know something was up with something like that. They snuck that one by us, but it was just a peck –nothing to worry about…”

“You two really are stupid, you know…”

Danny and Jim turned to see Marcus sitting calmly in the passenger seat. Neither of them heard him enter the vehicle.

“Jeezus, man!” Jim snapped. “I forgot you’re just as bad as Peter. We should put a fuckin bell around your neck or something so you won’t scare the shit of us.”

“I’ll remember to knock next time. And you can forget about it just being a friendly peck. Did you actually watch what was going on?”

The two brothers stared blankly back at Marcus. “I forgot how emotionally stunted you two idiots are… What we just witnessed was the buddings of real-life, honest-to-goodness, love…”

Danny and Jim turned to each other in disbelief. “That fast?” They said in unison.

“What do you mean that fast? Those two spend every waking moment together. You’d have needed a crowbar to pry them both apart. They know everything about each other and they’re best friends. Now that Mike’s a girl, it was pretty much a slam dunk that something like this was gonna happen.” Marcus replied.

“Yeah, but they’re not gay… Right?”

Both Jim and Marcus looked at Danny in disbelief. “You’ve got to be kidding? Were you paying attention at all to what Dr. Rigby said? H-E-L-L-O…. Mike is a girl. The boobs should be a dead giveaway —or maybe I should diagram it for you… Hormones, mood swings, tears and all the things that make girls girls… And Mike is in puberty on top of it.”

“I’m just sayin…” Danny defended. “I’d have thought it a little gay if I knew. It’s not like no one’s thinking it. I just said it out loud first…”

Marcus rolled his eyes at his oldest brother, shaking his head. “All right –that’s it! Call everybody in right now! We scrub for tonight.”

“But she’s still not home yet…”

“We live two blocks away. I think she’ll be all right. I’m changing the mission parameters…”

“I don’t get it.”

“I know. Mike is almost ten years younger than you. She’s just a child, but none of us really know what this is like for her. …So we are all going to take turns getting to know her. Plus, I’m tired of spending my evenings sheepherding you two idiots in this fucking cramped Van!”

Jim looked hurt as he meekly replied. “I like hanging out in the van….”

The End

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