The sailing team captain felt the sweat trickling down his forehead. At least that’s how he explained it to Suzette the next day.

“We needed twenty cans across the bottom to form the base.”

They carried a bag of empty beer cans from its hiding place in the boat house. One boy even raided a Boy Scout recycling bin for extra cans. They’d hidden some in their rooms, of course, but didn’t want to risk lifelong detention by stashing upstairs the quantity they needed.

“Such a sweet project.”

After practicing in the boat house, the boys devised an efficient plan: two knelt on the floor to stack while two quietly passed cans from the bags. Silence was imperative since any loud crashes would surely wake the Captain’s daughter.

“Her bedroom is just inside the front door,” one cautioned, as they crept down the corridor. “Absolutely no talking, or we’ll get killed.”

The group worked quickly and methodically until a pyramid of beer cans rose more than five feet from the floor and completely blocked the doorway. As a final touch, one midshipman grabbed the camera that hung from a leather strap around his neck and snapped a few pictures for posterity, maybe even the school yearbook.

It looked amazing, an aluminum tower glinting in the corridor security lights. The group headed up the nearest stairwell, careful to avoid the rent-a-cop on his rounds.

Miraculously, Suzette never heard a thing…that is, until her father pulled open the front door on his way to watch the battalion’s morning formation.

“Good luck at school today.”

His head was turned toward his daughter’s bedroom, and he wasn’t looking in front of him as he walked. Suzette started to say thanks, but her mouth simply hung open as she watched a shower of red, white, and blue beer cans spill inside the apartment, burying her father’s feet.

The Captain’s hand still gripped the door knob.


~ Excerpt from “The Anchor Clankers,” available for Pre-sale at Please visit the website and use Coupon Code “ANCHOR” for a $3 discount!