T-R-O-U-B-L-E by

“Ready?” He asked.

“We’ll be in so much trouble if we get caught,” she said.

“We won’t.”

“Get caught or get in trouble?”

“Neither.” Youthful arrogance. Bearded and tattooed.

She scanned the dark street from just above the hedge. Left, then right, then left again. Reassuringly quiet.

“We can’t make any noise.”

“I’ll tape your mouth shut.”

“That’s not funny.”

“Yes, it is.”

“I’m not kidding – a lot of trouble.”

“But – we – won’t.” Done with discussion, he invited her close with outstretched arms, understanding the worry. Conservative parents clearly in her head. He ran his hands over the curve of her ears, bumping over rows of piercings, then down both sides of her neck. A futile attempt at controlling doubt and escaped blueish hairs of a messy bun. “I promise.”

“You can’t promise that.” Always the skeptic. Littered past of misplaced trust.

“I just did.” He said.

She nodded, agreeing only to doing the deed, not the guarantee of a good outcome.

She leaned over and grabbed two buckets – red paint. He snatched up two more. They emerged from the bushes, awkwardly jogging across a neatly groomed lawn, dodging a stone planter box, en route to the entrance of a single-story brick building. He broke left toward a hand carved wooden sign. She went straight toward the front door. Just as he taught her, she popped the lid off the first bucket, brought it to waist level, swung it downward like an inverted trebuchet and launched the first half of the contents against the front door. One spectacular splash landed just below the words Reproductive Health Clinic and Family Planning. She quickly reloaded, sending the second salvo much higher. Sudden strength fueled by reprisal. “Plan this you bastards.”




Rob Schnepp is a retired Fire Chief from the San Francisco bay area. He has written many articles in peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of American Nursing, Fire Engineering Magazine, Domestic Preparedness e-journal, and The White House Newsletter. He is an emerging fiction writer, thrilled to be published!


Image design credit goes to Rebecca Graham of Impact Writing and Design –



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