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The Setup

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How many kids and parents love water guns and water balloons? My wife is an expert when it comes to them. She’s also an instigator. She’s highly tactful, well armed, sneaky, and very persuasive. All the kids (and most adults) want to be on her team. She taught other people’s kids (and in many cases their parents) very well over the years.

What I’m about to tell you is something so devious it can’t be taught at an early age; it has to be inherited. It’s bred in. It’s instinct. It’s profound.

My neighbor, my eldest son, and myself were on the back deck enjoying the day, playing with water guns and drinking from our sippy cups. I had gone in the house briefly for something, and when I returned, Cz was standing by the table with his water gun in hand and another one on the edge of table next to him where I was about to sit down.

As I approached the table, he looked me square in the eye and said very calmly and matter-of-factly, “I’m going to shoot you, Daddy.”

The way he said it was creepy and gave me a chill, but I couldn’t quite figure out why. If I had really needed to defend myself, there was another gun on the table within easy reach, but he wouldn’t dare shoot me. He knows what will happen if he does, and I know he knew that other gun was on the table. He saw me looking at it and I saw him looking at it.

I slowly picked up the gun, put it to my side, and asked “Are you sure you want to shoot me?”

“Yes, Daddy. I’m going to shoot you.”

“Are you positive?” I asked, now waving the gun in front of him and glaring hard at him with one eyebrow raised. At this time I realized my gun was empty, but figured I could bluff my way out of it. He couldn’t have known it was empty. He was probably shaking in his boots by then.

“Yep.” he said with an evil, yet familiar grin.

As you can imagine I started to get nervous. “He shouldn’t be so calm,“ I thought. “He knows I’d soak him from head to tow if he shot me, and he still doesn’t know my gun’s empty, so why is he smiling at me like that?” I started shaking the gun slightly in the hopes of getting just a small splash or two into the tube so I could try to discourage him from shooting me.

“Are you ready, Daddy?”

“Bring it on!” I said flatly as I pointed the gun right at his face. He hates being squirted in the face, so I figured this would turn him back and convince him that shooting me was a big mistake.


He moved his face about three inches closer to the gun as if to challenge me to shoot him. After a moment of silence he raised his gun slowly and without another word he started shooting me in the stomach and the groin.

In a frenzy I tried to shoot back with my empty gun, shaking it violently, hoping to get something to come out. I have no idea why, but I’m still under the impression that I can scare him off, so I wasn’t backing down. It wasn’t working, and I started feeling the water thru my clothes. I finally gave up and tossed the gun back on the table and sat down in the chair.

Wet. Confused. Defeated.

I didn’t realize at first what had just happened, but my neighbor did. He was laughing uncontrollably at my demise. Then it dawned on me: Cz set me up! He put that empty gun on the table knowing full well I’d try to use it against him but couldn’t. He made sure his gun was full and mine was empty – then he called me out and I foolishly took the bait: hook, line, and sinker. He planned this thing from the start knowing exactly how I’d react and that there’d be nothing I could do.

He pulled it off brilliantly from start to finish. I would have never thought a three-year-old would be able to plan something so devious, so completely, and actually have everything go according to plan. I won’t underestimate him again.

I put the blame squarely on my wife.

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