The backyard on the other side of the wall was like something off the Home and Garden Channel, and I don’t mean one of those shows where they’re fixing up a place. It was unbelievably plush, with perfectly trimmed green grass, a swimming pool with a little rock waterfall, trees, flowers, and an expensive-looking dog sleeping in the shade.
“Come on, focus, you have to hold it level!” Curtis said.
I hiked myself a little higher on the tree branch and tried to figure out how I was going to hold his quad copter level while I was trying not to break my neck. “What’s level?” the closest level surface was the top of the high stone wall that surrounded Anjeli’s snooty gated community, and that was four feet away and down.
“Guys?” Marianne called up to us from the ground, “I really think we should be working on our own project instead of wasting our time spying on the other team.”
“But we want to know how hard we have to work to beat them,” I told her.
Marianne threw her hands up in the air, then turned her back to us. “I can’t believe you’re actually doing this.”
“Just do your best,” Curtis said, ignoring Marianne.
I held my breath, hugged the tree hard with one arm, and held the blinking copter as steady as I could with my other. Curtis fiddled with his controls, the copter beeped, then the propellers engaged.
“Drop it,” Curtis said.
The copter swooped down out of the tree, then rose up and cleared the wall.
I watched the grin on Curtis’ face as he maneuvered his copter around the swimming pool and right up to the giant sliding glass back doors. Inside, we could just hear Anjeli and her team talking, just barely.
“Camera engaged,” Curtis said with satisfaction.
“Can I fly it?” I asked.
“Not now!” Curtis said. “This isn’t as easy as it looks.”
A small, confused yip let me know the dog had woken up. He was staring at the copter, as if trying to decide what he should do about it.
“Dog! Dog!” I said.
“I know,” Curtis said. “Just hang on. We need more footage.”
All of a sudden, the dog decided. He came bounding toward the copter, barking at the top of his lungs.
“Get it out of there! Someone’s going to see!” I squeaked.
Curtis had already pulled the copter higher into the air and was trying to maneuver it off the back porch. It banged the porch roof, bounced off a glass table-top, and went whizzing smack into one of the trees. There it hung, blinking red and green, like a weird alien Christmas ornament.
“Go get it!” Curtis told me.
I looked at the wall, four feet away and down. I looked at the dog, who was still barking and jumping like he wanted to rip that copter into little plastic shreds. “No way,” I said.
“We can’t let them find it!” Curtis said.
Too late. Anjeli had opened the back glass door. Curtis and I froze. I couldn’t tell if she could see us, but she could certainly see the copter. She walked over to it and stared at it for a while, then went to get a long pole with a net on the end that was hanging up by the pool.
Curtis and I didn’t move as we watched her knock it out of the tree, then take it back into the house.
Curtis gasped, “Oh no!” then started to shimmy down the tree branch. “Come on, we’ve got to get around to the front and get it back!”
“What’s the hurry,” I said. “We’re already busted.”
“No, you don’t understand,” Curtis said, his face going from white to red so fast it reminded me of the blinking copter. “That video I just took isn’t the only one on there.”