Except that the invite is really a setup, and Max, plus the four other misfits who received similar invitations, are apprehended by school security for defacing the water tower. Max has finally had enough. It’s time for payback. Time to unmask Chaos. Let the prank war begin.
Kurt Dinan is a high school English teacher. He’s had several short stories published, including one in 2010’s The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife, three young sons, and baby girl. Don’t Get Caught is his first novel.
"All opinions are 100% honest and my own."
I may not be a fan of heights, but I especially hate ladders. I always think the rung I’m on is going to break away and send me plummeting. So climbing the water tower ladder in the dark, the rungs sticky for some reason, only worries me more. But despite that, I’d be lying if I didn’t say how awesome this was. The higher I climb, the harder my heart pounds from the adrenaline. I feel like a jewel thief scaling a skyscraper at midnight on his way to stealing the Hope Diamond.
Up ahead in the darkness, Wheeler goes into a mock newscaster’s voice announcing, “Five Asheville High School students fell to their deaths last evening when—”
“Shut up,” Malone says.
The climb takes only two minutes but feels like an hour when the ladder ends at the base of a metal grating no more than four feet wide. If a strong wind blows, a waist-high railing is all that’s there to keep me from hurtling to my death.
“Wow, this is higher than I thought,” Ellie says, looking out over the lights of the town.
Malone, recording everything with her phone, says, “I wish I had my climbing gear. I’d love to repel off this.”
“What was it Jesus said, Ellie?” Wheeler says. “‘I think I can see my house from up here’?”
And me, I want down. And not just down, but to roll in the grass and kiss the earth. Then, as I’m about to wuss out, Ellie’s hand is in mine and she’s leading me along the platform.
“Come on,” she says. “Let’s look for the next clue.”
Her hand is soft and warm, and if the platform gives away right now, I can die a happy man.
“You get to open the next envelope if there is one,” Ellie says. “Or maybe it’ll be like in the movies, and there’ll be a cell phone that rings and—”
My foot kicks something metal sending it clanking and skittering across the platform before dropping into the night.
From the other side of the tower Malone says, “What was that?”
I look down at my feet and see four more of what I’ve just booted—spray paint cans.
And in one horrifying moment, I realize why the rungs were sticky when we climbed.
Red paint covers my hands.
I lean back for a better view of the water tower to see what’s been spray-painted there. The wet paint trails down from certain letters like red teardrops.
Heist Rule #5:
But we don’t get that chance.
Suddenly, the water tower lights blaze to life illuminating the newly painted message for the entire town to see.
Assville High School, Home of the Golden Showers.
Both Malone and Wheeler say, “Shit.”
Ellie says, “Wow.”
Adleta says nothing.
And then a voice booms from a bullhorn below where red-and-blue lights flash in the parking lot.
“This is the police. Come down immediately.”
So much for
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