Team

paintball“You said you were on my team!”

Nine-year-old Dana stood in the middle of the field, a large green splatter of paint across her chest. Her sixteen-year-old brother, Walter, peeked over the edge of a stack of hay bales. To his right, several of his buddies howled with laughter behind a small shed.

Dana dropped her arms to her side and stomped her foot. “I’m telling Mom!” A chorus of high-pitched echoes float out from behind the shed.

Walter stood. “Geez, Dana. It’s just a game. Quit being such a baby.”

Dana threw her paintball gun on the ground and kicked at a pile of dirt and manure.

“You lied to me. Mom said you should be nice to me. I’m telling.”

Walter stepped out from behind his hay bale, the game forgotten in his urgency to pacify his sister before she reminded their mother that his friends should have gone home an hour ago.

“Stop, Dana! Fine. I’ll be on your team next time. I promise!”

“That’s what you said last time.”

“For real, this time!”

Dana crossed her arms. “I don’t believe you. You have to swear.”

With a huff and an eyeroll, Walter sighed. “Fine. I swear.” He gestured across his chest with one finger.

“No. In front of your friends. It doesn’t count if they don’t hear it.” Dana stood, arms crossed, tapping one foot until Walter threw his hands up in the air.

“Guys! Come on out.”

Another chorus came from behind the shed, this time incredulous. “What? No way!”

“Seriously, guys. If she tattles, my mom will just make you all go home.”

After a brief consultation, three boys sauntered out from behind the shed. They stood in a cluster around Walter.

“I’m waiting,” Dana said.

Walter sighed again. “Fine. I swear that I will be on–”

A splotch of orange paint appeared on his chest. Matching splatters bloomed across the torsos of his friends. All four boys stared at Dana, mouths agape.

She gave them the smug look only a little sister can truly master as three girls, armed and grinning, appeared from behind the tractor.

“You should have been on my team.”

*7/1/17 RRWG Speed Writing prompt – “age, alliance, infidelity”

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