“Imagine Ethan, right there: the Alamo!” Jack said, throwing out his arms at the blank patch of snow.
“The Alamo?” said Ethan.
“Sure! All you need to do is build a big, weird-shaped wall and put a bunch of windows on it.”
Ethan and Jack had been arguing about what would be a cooler snow fort for about two hours. Seriously. Originally, they had decided to make their “Super Fort,” where they took a huge pile of snow and chipped out a gigantic structure, but there was obviously no huge pile of snow in Jack’s front yard.
“How about something medieval?” said Ethan.
“The Alamo would look way cooler though! Here, I’ll show you.” Jack began to construct a wall, packing up bricks of snow with a shovel. “Come on, give me a hand here!”
But Ethan didn’t help. Instead, he stomped over to the other end of the yard and began to make a medieval castle fort. Jack just grumbled and continued making his Alamo fort. He’d show that stuck-up Ethan how cool his fort would be. He could just imagine his jaw dropping out of his face as he saw the true beauty of the Alamo.
But twenty minutes later when Jack peered over his wall, it was his jaw that dropped. Ethan had built a ten-foot-long wall that went well above his head, complete with turrets and drawbridge, pieced together with a sled and a large rope. And he had just started. He was about to scream when Ethan walked over to his miniscule fort and made a long, low whistle.
“Oh, what is it?” said Jack, punching the ground with his glove.
“Your fort is pretty good.”
“Really?” Jack jumped up.
“Sure! I mean, come over and I’ll show you how horrible mine is!” He dashed away behind his fort. Confused, Jack trotted after him. All he had built was a three-foot wall. Maybe Ethan’s fort wasn’t so cool after all! At that thought, he quickened his pace.
But when Jack came around the corner to the other side of Ethan’s fort, he was nowhere to be seen. He checked the fort for tunnels and found none. It looked identical to the opposite side. “Ethan!” he said. No answer. “Ethan?”
Thunk! Jack looked over the wall, wide-eyed. His fort no longer existed. In its place stood a triumphant-looking Ethan. “Is this the grand Alamo?” he said.
“Why, you…” Jack’s face burned red with anger. He picked up a snowball and chucked it clean across the yard, right into Ethan’s face. Ethan screamed and fell over in surprise. Jack ran to the front of the yard, parallel to the street, and began to work on another fort, hurriedly packing chunks of snow on top of each other like clay to form a thin barrier. This meant war!
Meanwhile, Ethan stomped back once again to his little haven, wiping bits of the cold, melted snow off his face. Hidden from view, he began to make a large pile of snowballs. It wasn’t Jack’s nature to stop at this point. Once he had a good-sized pile of what he knew would be his friend’s chilling defeat, he picked one up, stepped out from behind the wall, got ready to throw, and shouted, “Hey, Jack!”
But Jack had been quicker to act. A second snowball hit Ethan smack dab in the middle of the face, knocking him to the ground with a thud. Ethan looked up to see Jack standing in front of a new three-foot wall, preparing for another throw. He was completely unaware of the snowplow looming ominously behind him, being driven by a man who seemed to think more about the color of the sprinkles on the doughnut he was eating than the safety of the local children. The snowplow made a loud groaning noise as it lifted its plow in order to dump a large snowbank over Jack and his fort.
The driver, still oblivious to his surroundings, backed up and continued down the street. Ethan turned to the pile of snow that now hid Jack’s sneering figure. He could suffocate in there! He sprinted over as fast as his boots would allow and tore away at the bank with remarkable speed. But no sign of Jack. The snowbank had a very wide perimeter. In what area of it had he been buried? Ethan couldn’t remember. Frantically he dug to the left, then to the right. How long could someone last under something as cold as this? A day? An hour? A minute? Finally he felt a solid object under the snow, and grabbed it and heaved it with all his might. Out popped Jack, shivering from the cold, but very much alive. “Are you OK?” said Ethan.
“Huh? Oh yeah, I guess… What just happened?”
“A snowplow came. You were buried alive!”
Jack’s teeth chattered. “Would you mind going inside for a little? I’m freezing!”
* * *
Half an hour later, they both sat inside, sipping hot cocoa and looking out at the hill of snow that the plow had dumped on the yard. “You know, Ethan, I’m feeling pretty warm again, and there is that new snowbank out front now…” he smiled and looked at Ethan. “Do you think we can build the Super Fort now?” Ethan smiled too.
“Let’s get to work.”