Spring break is finally here!” Randy hollered in the hallway as he and his brother headed out the door.
“I can’t believe school’s finally out,” his brother, Bradley, remarked.
“For a week anyway. It’s back to the books after that!”
“I don’t want to think about books now!” Bradley said. “I just want to think about surf and sand!”
“I heard that!” agreed Randy. “Just give me some rays for a few days, and I’ll be golden!”
The brothers hopped on the bus and headed home, eagerly awaiting their trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Their mom had promised them months before that she would take them to the beach for spring break if their grades were good enough. They had had a couple of close calls, but the two boys had been determined to let nothing get in the way of their beach trip.
“Load ’em up, kids!” Mom called out when the boys entered the house. She emerged from her room with a bag on each shoulder. “Get the beach chairs. Everything else is in the car already. Let’s do this!”
“All right!” Randy called out as he grabbed two beach chairs.
Bradley grabbed the third. Then he took the keys off the hook near the refrigerator and locked up.
Mom fished around in her pockets, a confused expression on her face.
“Looking for these, Mom?” Bradley asked, tossing his mom the keys.
“Thanks. I always knew you were good for something,” she teased.
The trio headed out, winding through the curves, down and out of the mountains.
“Can we go to the beach again this summer, Mom?” asked Randy. “It sure would be great if we could go with Dad. Why did he have to go on that stupid business trip, anyway?”
“Randy!” his mother intoned. “You know that your father works hard for all of us. There are certain things he has to do, especially with the way the job market is right now. It’s not as though it’d be easy to find a job as good as the one he has now if they fired him for refusing to go on business trips!”
“You’re right, Mom. I’m sorry,” Randy apologized, genuinely regretting his comment.
Perhaps it was Dad’s absence that caused Randy and Bradley to stray a bit during the trip, or perhaps it was just the mood they were in that particular week.
“Get her!” shouted Bradley. The brothers sprayed their mom with a couple of squirt guns as she tried to relax in her beach chair.
“Boys!” she called out, eyes still closed, as her sons ran up to the beach house to get a drink.
Bradley started emptying his water gun into the sink while Randy guzzled down his soft drink.
“What are you doing, Brad?”
“I dunno,” Bradley shrugged. “I feel like putting something a little more interesting in my squirt gun.”
“Like what?” Randy asked as he followed suit.
Bradley opened the fridge and looked for a water substitute.
“How about milk?” Randy called out.
Bradley laughed, and proceeded to get the jug of milk out of the refrigerator.
The two brothers loaded their water guns with milk and set out in search of a target.
“Let’s not shoot each other,” Randy said. “I’d hate to get milk all over me!”
“Yeah, OK,” said Bradley.
The boys wandered a little way down the street just off the beach. They noticed a pool hall, outside of which were a half dozen motorcycles’all Harley Davidsons.
“You know what’s the best way to ride a motorcycle?” Randy asked.
“The milky way!” he laughed, grinning mischievously.
The brothers sneaked their way toward the motorcycles with all the prowess of a pair of Green Berets. As soon as they were within range, they began to shoot at the bikes, each and every one of them, until all six motorcycles had milk dripping from at least some part.
“Let’s go!” Randy whispered. The two started running back to the beach house. When they were almost there, they were stopped dead in their tracks by Mom’s tone of voice.
“Boys! Just what are you up to?” Mom looked at the direction from which they had come. “Oh, no. Boys, tell me you didn’t.”
The boys said nothing. They couldn’t lie and deny what they had done. Mom thought she could see that the motorcycles were wet. She started walking over toward the pool hall. When she was close enough to see what her two sons had done, she had but one thing to say. “Boys, I love you. I do this for your own good.”
Randy and Bradley couldn’t believe that their mom was actually dragging them toward the entrance of the pool hall. The boys began to panic as they drew closer to the door. Mom swung open the door and nudged the two inside.
“Excuse me. Could I have your attention for a minute?” she called out.
Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked up.
“Something we can help you with?” asked the owner of the building.
“I’m looking for the owners of the motorcycles outside.”
“That would be us,” said the largest of six very large men, dressed all in leather and denim’save for the cloth bandannas on their heads.
“Excuse me, sir,” Mom said, “but it appears as though my boys have sprayed milk on your motorcycles, and they would like to apologize before they clean them off.”
Randy was sure he heard a growl from at least one of the bikers. Bradley whimpered.
The leader of the group put his hands out to either side to hold back his companions. “Now, aren’t you aware, boys,” he said, speaking to Randy and Bradley, “that vandalism and other forms of destruction of personal property are in direct violation of South Carolina law?”
The boys nodded, speechless, praying that the man wouldn’t squish them.
“Well, I’ll take that as a yes’and we accept your apology. I believe you’ll find some water and some paper towels in the bathroom. Let us know when you’re finished cleaning up.”
As Randy and Bradley collected towels from the bathroom, Randy commented, “You know, Brad, I don’t think I would have guessed there was a worse group of guys to offend. But as it turns out, I don’t think there could have been a better group.”
Randy and Bradley gained a new appreciation for the word “mercy” that day. And they were pleased to find out that assumptions we make based on the way someone looks are not always true!
Illustrated by Stephen Foster