The War of the Leaves [based on true events] _S**


I.The Three Rake-A-Teers
II. The Good Business Idea
III. The Stick-Up
IV. The Catapult
V. The Battering Ram
VI. The Pit

I.The Three Rake-A-Teers

Me, Nick and Jason, [Nick, Jason and I] were pretty close friends growing
up. We knew each other since the age of five-when I moved to Modesto- and around the time this story takes place we were eight
and nine years old. That is, Nick and I were both nine and Nick’s brother Jason
was eight.
One summer we decided we wanted to make some money; for no other reason than to buy more candy at the corner store; so we went down to a grocery
store whose name need not be mentioned for legal reasons, and ‘borrowed’ a shopping cart.
Our parents were outraged; but as we had already took the cart, they let up on us.
Nick and Jason’s folks asked as to why we had stolen the cart.
So we told them:
“So we can be the Three Rake-A-Teers!”

II. The Good Business Idea

“So you can be the WHAT!?” Michael, Nick and Jason’s dad, asked with amusement.
“The Three Rake-A-Teers”, I said proudly. “You know, like the
Three Musketeers candy bar, only-”
“Okay, okay, I get it.” he interrupted, laughing.
“So”, Jason continued, “were’re gonna put rakes in the shopping cart
and go around to all the neighbors’ houses and rake their yards for a dollar

My own parents were just thankful that we hadn’t been caught and arrested, but Nick and Jason’s folks really got on board with the project.
Michael, being a carpenter, had all the necessary gadgets and gizmos
to take the ownership parts off the cart so that we could’nt get into trouble
and then gave us a piece of sheet wood to paint our logo on and put
on the front of the cart.

Before too long, most of the people on Madera Avenue where we lived were our customers, and would sometimes call us back the very next day even though only a few leaves had fallen on their yards since yesterday. Not only that, but hardly anyone paid us our suggested fee of one dollar; instead, they were giving us $10’s and $20’s-which was a lot of money in 1992.

III. The Stick-Up

There was a problem, however. One day Antonio, an older boy from the block behind ours, rode up to us on his bicycle while we were leaving a clients finished yard.
He was a full two years older than me and Nick; and when you’re that age,
it makes a world of difference. We tried to fight him, but he was too big and Nick
ended up with a black eye and I with a busted lip. Antonio also made
off with almost forty dollars from our yard raking endeavors.
This meant war.

IV. The Catapult

“We’ve gotta get even with that jerk, Antonio!” I yelled.
“No way, Douglas,” said Jason, “Violence never solved a problem.”
“It sure solved Antonio’s problem of not having our money!” Nick said.
It was quiet as we silently agreed.
We needed to get even, even if we didn’t get our money back; but how?

We explained our situation to Nick and Jason’s dad, who replied:
“That’s easy boys, what you need is a catapult!”
“What’s a catapult?” Nick inquired.
“I think it’s a big stick to hit him with.” I said.
Both Jason and Michael laughed.
“Don’t worry, kids,” Michael said, “you’ll see soon enough.
It took Michael a week to build it, as he was busy being a carpenter and all; but the finished
product was quite a beauty.
It had three settings to it. The first would fire a object about fifty feet
straight forward.
The second would fire fire higher, but only about thirty feet distance.
The third setting shot very high and only went about ten feet..

We practiced with rocks and water balloons in Nick and Jason’s back yard
for a couple of days until we had mastered the object of war.

When we were finally confident in our catapulting skills, we hauled the heavy thing
into our Rake-A-Teers shopping cart and went to my house. You see, my back yard
was parralell to Antonio’s back yard. The only thing the separated them
was an alley way where we put our trash cans.

We loaded the catapult full of dog poop from my backyard and then went into the ally
“One, two, three…FIRE!”
We the
The dog poo flew gloriously over Antonio’s fence, across his yard and splattered
onto the kitchen window.
“Oh shit!” Jason yelled; he was looking through a peephole in the fence board.
“It hit the window!” he yelled.
We scrambled the catapult back into the cart, went through my back yard and through the
side gate and hauled booty to Nick and Jason’s back yard where we started a basketball game.

We had gotten even with that jerk Antonio; but it was only the beginning.

V. The Battering Ram

I was feeling pretty good about the victory. That jerk Antonio
had stolen our hard earned money, beaten us up…and dog crap
on his kitchen windows. I still thought that he had more coming,
but was willing to let it go.
Apparently he was not.
I was taking out the rubbish from my house to the ally trash
can one day, but when I opened the gate I got splashed with
warm urine. I’d been booby trapped!
Now I was pissed, no pun intended. I was furious beyond words.
So after a long cold shower, I thought of a plan to get
back at that no good jerk Antonio.
Recently my father had been trimming a big tree in our back yard
and there were plenty of large branches laying around.
I went over to Nick and Jason’s house and told
them what had happened.
They knew that before too long Antonio would be after
them as well.
So the plan was to take the largest branch and tie ropes around
the front, middle and center, yes, a battering ram.
Nick was stationed in the front, I was in the middle, and Jason
had the end.
We took it out to the ally which was fairly wide because a garbage truck
had to be able to drive through to pick up trash cans.
Next, we sounded our battle cry, which consisted of the last two digits of
our separate address’s and then the fiercest animal we could think of.
“Twenty eight!” Nick Shouted.
“Twenty one!. cried I.
“Tiger!” Jason roared and we charged towards Antonio’s fence.
The plan was to break one of the fence boards.
I have since learned that things rarely go as planned.
We ended up hitting a base board and knocked the whole fence down!
We got scared, dropped the battering ram, went through the back gate of my house
and through the side gate across the street to Nick and Jason’s house.
“Hey wait,” Lori said, I just made lunch.
Jason, panting and out of breath, said
“Mom, if anyone asks, we’ve been playing basketball in the back yard all day, okay?”
Lori looked worried, “tell me about it later boys.” she said with a wink.
When Antonio’s mother came over to ask if we knew anything about their
fence, we just shrugged and said no.
“It’s a really gusty day Mrs. Rodriguez, perhaps it was the wind.”
Lori suggested.
“Perhaps” she agreed.
We were clean off the hook. The battle was over, but the war had just begun.

VI. The Pit

The next day I went to ask Jason if he wanted to walk to the
store with me.
Lori told me he was sick.
When I went back the next day to see if Nick and Jason
wanted to play baseball, they were both sick.
Finally, when they were sick on the third day, I would not take
no for an answer and Lori let me in.
I couldn’t believe it.
Antonio had gotten to them.
Nick had a black eye and Jason’s busted lip was almost healed.
That was it. This needed to stop before someone got seriously
That day I went up to my tree house and fell asleep trying
to think of a way to get back at Antonio so that
he would finally leave us alone.
When I woke up, I had a plan.
This is what I did.
I dug a hole near the back gate in my back yard.
The hole was about waist deep.
Next, I put some thin sticks across it and
then covered it with leaves.
Now all I needed was to lure the jerk.
So I took a comic book and paced the ally for what seemed like
days. Finally Antonio showed up.
“Hey Dougy!” he shouted. “Wanna play baseball?”
Here he picked up a large stick from the ground.
“No, I have to go home.” I said.
“Oh come on, I’ll use your fat head for the ball.”

Here he began chasing me.
I ran straight for my back yard and through the
gate, which I had conviently left open and then waited.
“Ahhhhh!” he shouted as he stepped into the hole
and then landing face first in the ground.
“What’s the matter tough guy?” I mocked.
“Shut up,” he said through tears “I’ll kill you!”
I walked over to where he was laying and kicked him in the ribs.
Antonio cried out in pain.
“That was for Nick!” I said.
“Who?” he said, confused. The Jerk didn’t even know
my friend’s name.
Next I kick him in the stomach.
“That was for Jason, you piece of crap!”

I knelt down and grabbed him by the hair and
said into his ear.
“If you ever come near me or my friends again,
I’ll do this to your sister.”
He was quiet.
I stood up and kicked dirt into his face and walked away.

I never heard from Antonio again.
Sure, I’d see him on the playground at school,
but he never said a word to me.
That was how I knew we’d won the war of the leaves.
That was the first war.



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