The boys pushed into Baldy’s garage. Excited—filled with beans, hormones, and Halloween. From backpacks they pulled soap, shaving cream, stink bombs, bottle rockets, toilet paper, eggs: the tools of the trade, if your trade is being thirteen and spending one last great Halloween terrorizing the neighborhood before you’re too old and too cool.
Frankie asked, “What about candy? Ain’t we gonna get some loot?”
The others laughed. “We swipe it from the little kids. We’re pirates; ain’t we?” Sandy answered.
They had agreed: This year no superheroes, ghosts, or movie characters. They’d be as scurvy a pirate crew as ever sailed the main. After all, they were the gang.
They swooshed and banged wooden swords, yelling, “shiver me timbers,” “pieces of eight,” and “walk the plank.”
Brig’s dad caught the first scent. “We can have fun with them,” he’d suggested to the other fathers.
The dads hired Scat Halloway’s fishing boat and students from the college drama club. “Shanghai ‘em and cruise ‘em around the harbor for an hour or two,” Jax’s father had told Scat, his mate Drudge, and the college kids.
The boys shivered in terror as they were marched, wrists bound, down the street. Baldy’s dad being a cop, the police had agreed to look the other way.
“Hey, mister, we’re only kids,” Jax tried.
“Y’er the right age to learn,” Drudge replied and whacked the boy’s head.
“March lively or we’ll keelhaul ya,” one student exclaimed.
It was surely one of the great tricks of Halloween history. The fathers high-fived as the Merry Dodger pulled from dock.
Too bad nobody had told the Coast Guard. Seeing a Jolly Roger in his harbor, Lieutenant Rick Hughes ordered his crew, “Prepare to attack.”