SPINNING THROUGH PERIL
Frank and Joe looked at each other in shock.
“Do you smell smoke?” Frank asked, hurriedly getting to his feet.
“No,” Joe answered, a confused look on his face. He followed his brother into the hallway. Frank couldn’t figure out what could be making the alarm go off. Nothing smelled like it was overheating and there certainly wasn’t any smoke. The stove wasn’t on, either. Joe put his hands over his ears to try to block the shrill noise.
Frank grabbed a hold of his little brother’s arm to pull him outside, but was brought to a sudden stop when Joe didn’t follow. Looking back at Joe in exasperation, Frank saw him eyeing the alarm. He frowned at Joe, tugging harder on his arm.
“Frank, that sounds different.” Joe remembered when it had gone off simply from his mom frying potatoes and the heat from it had caused the device to give a false alarm. Frank looked up at it, noting his brother was correct. This was a different sound, but one they hadn’t heard before.
Then just as suddenly it stopped. Frank and Joe looked at one another in surprise.
“We better tell Mom and Dad when they get home,” Frank noted, as he continued to speculate why the alarm had gone off. “Batteries, I bet it’s the batteries!”
“Yeah!” Joe’s eyes shone in admiration at his big brother’s deduction. Frank could figure anything out, that he was sure of.
Frank saw his brother’s expression and felt good, but shortly thereafter realized again what a tall order it was to always impress his little brother. That was quite a goal, and one he planned never to give up on.
Going over to the drawer that held all of the various manuals for the numerous household items, Frank opened it and searched through them. Finding the right one, he read about the sound the alarm made when it was low battery. Yep, the description fit. So, combining the information they had, since it sounded different, and it had stopped, it was probably the batteries. Still, the brothers hadn’t been taught to put their trust in devices or rely on them, but rather their own brains.
“Let’s check around to make sure everything is okay and then go finish our game,” Frank suggested. The two brothers then investigated the entire house, making sure everything was fine. They made a game of it and from the top of the house to the bottom they conducted a very thorough search. They imagined themselves covert agents on the hunt for the enemy, which would be any smoke or fire they came across.
“I’m really glad Melody didn’t stay!” Joe exclaimed. Frank smiled at his younger brother’s enthusiasm. Joe never felt halfway about anything.
“Yeah, me, too.”
“Think Mom is gonna be mad at her?”
“What do you think?” Frank arched a brow.
“Oh yeah!” Joe smiled in anticipation of that conversation. He hoped he got to witness it. “Betcha she won’t be over here again!”
“Yeah, that’s fine with me.” Frank made a face.
Joe laughed, delighted that his big brother was in agreement with him and he always loved it when Frank would make faces or cross his eyes. This was a rare thing, because Joe was more prone to that form of expressing oneself. Frank would do it to cheer Joe up or totally surprise him, sometimes both.
Stealthily they went from one room to the next. Frank would take point and other times Joe would. They used all their senses in their search, quietly taking the job very seriously. At least for awhile and then a certain blond haired boy decided to really get into it.
With his brother walking behind him, Joe burst headfirst through the doorway of a guestroom where their Aunt Gertrude would stay when she came to visit. He went into a quick tuck and roll, before springing back up to his feet to survey for the enemy smoke or fire. None spotted, he turned to find his brother watching him, a brow raised.
“Is the room secure, G.I. Joe?” Frank asked.
“Yep, all clear,” Joe grinned. “You check the next one like that, okay?”
Frank agreed with a smile. He’d also seen action scenes like that on shows and it did look cool and fun, which it was. He found that, like Joe, he was pretty good at it.
They headed downstairs and checked out the first floor. Little boys’ shouts of “Clear!” could be heard every few minutes as they went from room to room.
“Suspicious activity spotted!” shouted Joe as they entered the kitchen. Frank looked around, focusing primarily on the stove, but couldn’t find what Joe was referring to. His eyes moved to where it appeared Joe was then indicating. The refrigerator? Maybe it was overheating?
Frank came over to where his brother was standing in front of the fridge but still did not smell any smoke. He then grinned and looked at Joe.
“Funny, Joe, but I think it’s okay,” Frank said, looking at the picture of lit candles Joe had drawn the other day and was displayed on the front of the refrigerator.
“You can never be too careful!” Joe grinned.
The two continued their investigation, finishing the ground floor and then heading downstairs, where they checked for anything overheating.
“Hey,” Frank said, stopping on the stairs on their way up from the basement after completing their successful mission. Joe had been moving along quickly behind him and ran into his big brother.
“Hey!” Joe said, wondering why the heck Frank had stopped, so he asked, “Why the heck did you stop?”
“We should change into our clothes out of these pajamas,” he explained as he turned and looked at his brother.
Joe shrugged, “Yeah, I guess so.” He wasn’t that convinced, but he’d already noticed that Frank’s ideas were often correct. The two brothers quickly went upstairs and changed into some warm sweaters and jeans. Then they headed back to the living room to finish their game.
Frank noticed it was getting a little difficult to see in the gathering lack of light, so he went over to the huge bay window to open the curtains. His dark eyes widened in surprise at the scene revealed by the curtains being moved aside.
Joe looked over from where he had started to pick up the remote for the TV, wondering at the sound of excitement in Frank’s voice. He had his answer as soon as his blue eyes saw the big, fluffy, white flakes of snow floating lazily down to the ground. He was next to Frank in seconds as they both watched the snow come down from the sky.
“This is super!” Joe shouted. The two little boys were overjoyed at the sight. Joe turned to his big brother with one question on his mind, “Can we go out and play in it now?”
Frank didn’t answer at first, as he carefully thought it over. His eyes continued to take in the sight of all the unexpected snowflakes that were swirling around in front of him just on the other side of the glass.
Joe moved anxiously, wondering if his brother had heard him or not. He started to open his mouth to ask him again, when Frank finally spoke.
“I guess it would be okay. If we aren’t out too long and stay in the yard.” Frank turned to look at his brother, whose eyes were shining at the prospect of playing in the snow.
“Let’s go!” Joe moved quickly to go get his jacket and snow boots. Frank followed Joe to the hall closet that held their winter stuff. Quicker than would be thought possible, Joe had the door open and was rapidly sorting through the contents of the closet.
“Wait! Hold on, Joe!” Frank reached to grab a box Joe had just taken out and was about to get more. “We’re going to have to put anything we take out back before we go outside.”
“Well, for one thing, if you take everything out of there, like it seems you’re trying to, it’s going to block the door!” Frank pointed out.
Joe had an answer to his brother’s observation, “We’ll just shove it out of the way!”
“No, we won’t,” Frank said firmly as he began to sort through the stuff in a slower, more organized manner. He was soon handing boots to his anxious little brother. While Joe put those on, Frank searched for his own boots. Finding them, he set them aside and put the items that Joe had already taken out of the closet back into it.
Once he was done that, he climbed a little and got their coats down. Setting those by his boots, he moved to leave for a minute to go upstairs for their hats, scarves, and gloves. Frank didn’t tell Joe what he was doing, because he was already anticipating that his brother would protest the items and he would deal with that only when he had to.
“I’ll be right back. Wait for me,” Frank called over his shoulder, as he hurried up the stairs. Joe looked up from where he was still working on his boots to see his brother disappear. Of course I’ll wait for him! We’ll go out in the snow together! Joe thought to himself. Frank probably just felt the need to say that, Joe decided. If he could just have these boots on by the time his brother got back…..
Frank returned and as expected, Joe’s face told the story when his eyes lit on the items his older brother was carrying.
“Awww, Frank,” Joe eyed the knit caps disdainfully. He had thought they wouldn’t have to be bothered with them this time. “It’s not that cold out there!”
Frank raised an eyebrow at his brother, “You’re not going to make this difficult, are you?”
Joe bit back a sigh and gave Frank a look. His brother didn’t change expression, so Joe resignedly accepted the hat and put it on. Then came his winter coat followed by his gloves. Frank wrapped the scarf around him and nodded, determining that he had sufficiently protected Joe from the elements.
“If you help me off with all this stuff, I can help you with yours.” Joe snickered when his brother stopped for a second, considering whether to even say anything to the smart mouth offer, then continued without responding. Frank just quietly began putting on his boots and coat.
Anxious to be outside, Joe danced around a little. It was getting warm with all of this stuff on, plus he was worrying it would stop snowing and maybe even disappear before they got a chance to get out there.
Joe watched as Frank put his knit cap and gloves on. Holding Frank’s scarf, Joe wiggled his gloved fingers, indicating he wanted his big brother to bend his head down some. Frank complied and Joe reached up to put his scarf on him.
“Ready?” Frank grinned.
“Ready!” Joe shouted, reaching to unlock the door. Pulling it open the two boys were treated to the sight of a picturesque winter wonderland. It was magnificent. There was no need to worry about it disappearing any time soon, as the big snowflakes floated down with no sign of letting up.
“Wow!” Joe exclaimed before opening his mouth to catch the snowflakes on his tongue. Frank smiled at his little brother and then looked around their big front yard. The whole area was now covered and he wondered how much they would get altogether. Looking up into the swirling white flakes, he conjectured that it would be a lot.
The brothers laughed with delight and ran around the yard. The whole street and surrounding yards were covered with white beauty. No cars had been by in awhile.
Facing their house, several feet apart, Frank and Joe were talking about making a snow fort and considering where they should construct it, when all of a sudden something flew through the air, and Joe fell to the ground.