It was now a little after 9 o’clock. The boys were getting bored. Lucas figured they still had at least an hour at the earliest before anyone would be heading back to the barracks. They talked about all kinds of things in their low voices, catching themselves when they would get a little loud. Guy, as usual, was the most impatient.
“Maybe one of us should go on the other side of the fence and keep an eye out for them?” he suggested.
“I don’t think so,” Jason answered. “They might see you trying to get back to us.”
“Jason’s right,” Luke chimed in. “It would be a pisser if after all of this waiting and preparing they spotted us.”
“Even if they did,” argued Guy, “they still wouldn’t know about the holes.”
“But they would be on alert that something was up,” added Mickey, “and be looking for something.”
Guy finally gave up on the idea. The conversation died down after awhile as they all were deep into their own thoughts. Lucas could hear Bobby snoring slightly. He smiled to himself as he fought off the urge to drift off to sleep as well. He could feel his head nodding as time drifted on, then suddenly he perked up. He could hear voices and laughter and quickly became alert. Lucas tapped Bobby next to him. The rest of the boys were alert, too.
“Shit!” exclaimed Guy in a low voice. “We didn’t split up.”
“Too late now. Doesn’t matter anyhow, they are coming to this hole in front of us,” Lucas stated. “Let’s spread out a little.” As he finished his sentence he began to crawl several yards to his right. Lucas would be the closest to where they should pass if they were heading from the hole straight to their barracks. Bobby, who was next to him, followed him, stopping a couple of yards short of Luke.
“58 bottles of beer on the wall … 58 bottles of beer … take one down, pass it around … 57 bottles of beer on the wall.” The boys could hear the two drunken GIs singing as they stumbled towards the hole in the fence. Lucas’ heart was racing, his head pounding as they neared the fence.
“Hey Shithead! Here’s the fence,” one of the GIs shouted at the other. “And would you look at that … we found the fuckin’ hole right off.”
“No shit you dumb fuck. The path goes right to it,” said the second soldier as he slipped a little just before the fence. They both laughed hysterically. The boys couldn’t see too much. The lights from the village were not very bright and trees between the fence and the village blocked out most of it. Still, they had been laying there long enough that their eyes had adjusted to the darkness as much as possible. They could make out the silhouettes of the two GIs as they reached the fence.
“After you, my dear,” the first GI said jokingly to the second. Then the boys could see the silhouette of a man going through the hole. As he stepped through to the other side he quickly disappeared from their view with the sound of a thud instantly following. The next sounds were hard for the boys to decipher. It was mixed with curse words, accusations, moaning and laughter.
“You shit, Jackson!” the fallen GI could be heard saying. “You set me up!”
“No, honestly, Billy, I had nothin’ to do with this. What the hell is goin’ on anyhow? Someone had to dig this hole after we went into town.”
“Had to be those fucking Army brats,” Billy replied. “Who else would do something like this?”
“YOU LITTLE SHITS! WE’RE GONNA FIND YOU AND KICK YOUR SCRAWNIE LITTLE ASSES!” Jackson yelled into the air.
Lucas’ heart was racing. He knew his partners in crime were probably feeling the same. He was hoping they didn’t panic and start to run. The two GIs were up and moving toward the barracks. Luke had a good look at the silhouettes as they moved between him and the lights from the cul-de-sac to the apartments. Damn, one of them looked pretty big. He remembered a guy named Jackson with the 15th Evac. This must be him.
“Let’s stomp around here,” the one called Billy said, “I bet they’re somewhere close.”
As all of the boys prepared to jump up and run they could see someone with a flashlight near the playground by the apartments shining it towards them. It was too dim to light anything up by the time the beam got out there, but it did dissuade the two GIs from looking for them. He could hear Jackson say to Billy that they needed to get out of there. Jackson thought it looked like Captain Harley, the dentist, walking his dog. The two soldiers almost stepped on Lucas as they headed toward the ball field instead of straight towards the barracks to steer clear of Captain Harley. In a few minutes they were gone.
Lucas stood up and said, “We have to fix the hole before anyone else comes.” The rest of the brats all jumped up at once and headed to the hole. Guy got out his flashlight, and keeping it low to the ground, aimed it at the hole. He then lifted it to the faces of his comrades. They were all grinning from ear to ear. Mickey was almost it tears trying to hold back his laughter as they continued trying to be quiet. Finally, he couldn’t contain himself as they straightened out the cardboard and dug out some of the dirt from the hole to begin setting up the trap again.
“Damn that was fun and scary!” he blurted through his laughter. The other boys all started laughing too, except for Luke who was focused on repairing their trap. He was grinning, but knew they had to hurry. The other soldiers would all start to drift back over the next hour or two.