Knock and...he's down!
Crouched down low and peering over the bush, we soundlessly mouthed the countdown. "3...2...1....Go!". He ran as best he could in an awkward looking crouch towards the front door, glancing around to the side and behind once again. As his hand reached up towards the doorbell, my heart rate was at fever pitch. I silently urged him forward and begged him to retreat in the same moment, the adrenaline pulsing from my galloping heart to my panicked brain.
He paused a second in front of the door as I tracked his finger towards the bell, moving in silent slow motion...
"DING-DONG!" The sound pierced the early-evening quiet and in an instant, he was off! I pulled myself into the smallest ball I could, arms wrapped around my legs and head inclined only just enough to peer through the tiny hole in the leaves, not daring to breathe or blink. Doug, on the other hand, was across the lawn like a flash, leaping over the flowerbed and turning to look back just as he reached the edge of the garden. Sensing imminent escape, glorious success, and being ever the entertainer that he was, he turned his head to glance in my direction and flash a cheeky smile. Oh, what a fatal mistake that was. In that moment, my attention was drawn back to the now opening front door, where the craning head and straining eyes of the home-owner answered the door for the THIRD time. What were we thinking? By now this guy would be fuming, the humour of the whole prank gone as the confused reaction of finding nobody there (that we found so funny) would certainly have turned to anger. We knew we wouldn't have any hope of talking our way out of it if caught. No, the thrill that comes with danger was now the driving force, and I wished in that instant we were anywhere else but here and doing this. Simultaneously, I heard a loud CRACK! then a THUD! and finally, after some seconds, gasping and gulping coming from the garden's edge. My eyes flicked back to Doug and where he was last leaping with a goofy grin, to find him laid out flat on his back, obviously winded and struggling to catch a breath. Just one breath. Any breath.
My mind raced - what was happening? What is he doing? Is he OK? My attention flicked once again back to the wide-open front door, out of which our guy was now striding at pace towards Doug, scowling...or was that smirking? Flick back to Doug - still no movement. Just a cough and splutter, but at least some kind of breathing happening again. I willed myself from way down deep inside, against all my instincts. Backing out of the bush and jumping to my feet I screamed, "Hey! Run! Get up and run!" All eyes now turned to me, and as the adrenilin once again surged, Doug clambered to his feet again, this time ducking under the low-hanging branch that caught his last attempt to exit, and we were off. We didn't stop running for blocks, stifling still-terrified laughs as the calls from the guy faded and we collapsed into a heap in my backyard. We swore right then we were NEVER going to do that again.
Well...not near that house, anyways.