The painted cedar shingle hung precariously above the door. An old wooden ladder had been haphazardly tied at the top rung to the branch of the tree but the placement of its feet were firm enough in the ground to be safe for access to the tree house. The boys had vacated its four walls a few hours earlier and the fortress that they called their club sat empty.
After nimbly climbing the rungs of the ladder she surveyed the forbidden clubhouse. Comic books were stacked in the corners of the room, posters of super heroes adorned the walls and the wooden structure was permeated with the smell of dirt. Sun shone through the cracks in the one-by-six construction boards and reflected off the jar in the corner half-filled with coins.
Although it was only a quarter, she felt the weight of the coin in her pocket. Too many times she had heard the laughter and camaraderie escaping from those walls and she longed to be part of it. She slowly retraced her steps down the ladder and headed for the garage.
Bracing the air rifle and taking the proper stance, she aimed at the sign that hung over the entrance to the club. Lining up target in her sight, she squeezed the trigger and the pellet tore through the shingle, splintering off the top piece of the wood. The sign now read “Girls allowed”.
(image credit: bestofcalvinadhobbes.com)
Waiting patiently for what seemed like hours, she finally heard the boys return. She marched across the lawn and climbed the ladder, rung by rung, until she reached the threshold of the one place she truly wanted to be. Knowing she would be met with the many arguments that no girls were allowed she entered clubhouse, the threw her quarter into the jar and defiantly sat cross-legged on the wooden floor.
With a slight smirk she remarked, “That’s not what the sign says.”