Jinpei had done a lot of stupid things on a dare, but this one took the cake. His only solace was that if this went well, it would be the prank of the century, and the others would laugh themselves sick.
The first phase was already complete. Last night, Joe had been in a major mood. Jinpei had "helped" by plying him with booze. He'd gotten so drunk that Jun had driven him home in Jinpei's buggy. It was morning, now. Jinpei was confident that Joe was not only still out cold, he was probably still drunk.
Now came the dare's phase two: sneak in after eight in the morning, while Joe was still sleeping, set the surveillance, and plant the evidence. Saying a brief prayer to his own ninja ancestors, Jinpei summoned every ninja skill he owned to creep unnoticed into the trailer.
Joe's drunken snoring covered the least avoidable sounds. It could all be an act, though, so Jinpei stayed on his guard. He started by installing the mini cameras. As each one went up and its wireless signal was received, his wristband gave a tiny flash to let him know it was working.
Once he had all angles around the bed covered, Jinpei grinned toward one of the cameras and gave a thumbs' up. Another bracelet flash told him Jun and Ryu were pleased with the coverage. That meant it was time to plant the evidence.
Jinpei was pleased to find that the rose wasn't damaged. Otherwise, he'd have to sneak back out for one of the back-up flowers, which would increase his chances of getting caught. He set the flower aside for a moment and then plucked the pristine card free. Jun had chosen well. Its front displayed a mushy "Happy Anniversary" with hearts and roses, and inside she'd written in a perfect forgery she'd written:
Of the first day we met.
He positioned the card on the headboard, and got ready. When Joe was drunk he predictably slept on his back. The next step for the dare meant he had to stay that way, at least long enough for the trap to be sprung.
Which meant not waking him up. Jinpei realized his hand was shaking. After a few calming breaths, he neatly enacted phase four, settling the rose across Joe's open mouth. He got a minor heart attack when Joe snorted, shifting in his bed. Then Joe settled, and he let out a relieved sigh.
Time to beat his retreat. Jinpei signaled the cameras that it was showtime, then crept from the trailer. As he tore toward home, Jun and Ryu let him listen as Jun contacted Ken, her voice perfectly frantic.
"Ken, oh god, you have to hurry!"
"What? Are we under attack?"
He sounded groggy as hell. Perfect.
"Jinpei's played some horrible prank. It's going to get ugly. You have to get to Joe's!"
Jinpei snickered as Ken groaned. Aniki was predictably pissed they woke him up over a prank.
"How is that my problem?"
"Because it involves you!" Jinpei was impressed. Jun sounded breathless with horror. Joe's going to think …"
"Joe's going to think what?"
Oh, now Aniki sounded awake. Jinpei checked the time. He'd definitely make it back before Ken reached the trailer.
"You'd just better hurry before he wakes up!"
Jinpei heard some muttered curses and threats against his own person, then Ken disconnected. After a moment's silence, Jun and Ryu started laughing, and Jinpei joined them. "So far so good!"
Just one more phase left.
Jinpei, Jun, and Ryu settled in front of the monitors. They each had their own tub of popcorn, snickering as they waited.
"Joe-Aniki really doesn't move much when he sleeps," said Jinpei. The guy was in the same position on his back as before.
"Not when he's drunk," said Ryu. "And he claims I snore."
"You do!" Jinpei and Jun said in unison.
Ryu snorted. Popcorn was flung.
"The picture shook! Ken's there!" Jun hushed them.
Jinpei stuffed a handful of popcorn into his mouth, then cranked the audio. They watched in complete silence as Ken crept into the trailer. His wide eyes at the sight of the card and the rose caused them all to snicker, but it was the horrified look on his face at the card's contents that caused them to dissolve into fits of laughter.
"Uh oh," Jun suddenly said, pointing. "He's found the cameras."
She hadn't stopped laughing. Neither did they. Jinpei watched as Ken's gaze swept the trailer, pausing at the sight of each camera.
"Damn, he found them all," sighed Jun. "But …"
Ken narrowed his eyes at the closest camera. He flipped them the bird, and then got the most devilish expression Jinpei had ever seen. Popcorn fell from Jinpei's hand as Ken stripped off his shirt. As Ken went for his pants, Jun slapped her hands over Jinpei's eyes, and he struggled to get free.
"Like I haven't seen him strip for a disguise!"
By the time he got free, Ken was down to his underwear. For a moment, he looked like he might toss them off too, and Jun was bouncing. "Yes! Take them off!"
"Jun!" Ryu laughed in shock.
Ken shot another look at the camera, flipped them off again, and then very carefully climbed over Joe without waking him. He slipped under the covers then, as they all leaned in closer to see what was going on, he pulled out a pair of underwear. Hooking his fingers fingers in the waistband, he shot the briefs across the room.
"Bastard. Deprived," huffed Jun, throwing popcorn at the screen.
"What does he think he's doing, anyway?" Ryu scratched his head.
Ken slid an arm over Joe, resting his cheek on Joe's chest. He closed his eyes and the covers shifted.
Jun gaped. "Did he just drape his leg over Joe?"
They all leaned in closer. It was hard to tell.
"Something's going on under there." Ryu pointed to restless movements under the blanket.
"He wouldn't … they wouldn't …" Jun stammered, eating her popcorn so fast Jinpei wondered if she was swallowing it whole.
Joe's eyes snapped open. Lightning quick, he had a gun in his hand, muzzle right in Ken's face. The rose remained in his mouth, between his teeth, and the blanket stayed draped over his shoulders.
"He looks like a demented matador," said Ryu.
"Ssssssh!" hissed Jun and Jinpei.
Ken stretched, looking for all intents and purposes like he'd been there all night. He opened his eyes wide, grinning in a heated way that had Jun and Ryu dropping popcorn everywhere. "Morning."
"What the fuck!?" Joe still hadn't put down the gun.
The doe-eyed blink Ken flashed at him made Jinpei's respect for his Aniki's acting abilities skyrocket.
"Don't you remember?" He pointed at the card, and picked up the single red rose that had fallen from Joe's mouth.
Joe stared for a long moment, then picked up the card, reading it. Chortling, Jinpei waited for the chaos to erupt.
"Hey, Ken's saying something," said Ryu, pointing. "That's cheating!"
They all leaned closer, trying to read Ken's lips, but he'd tilted his head so they could only see his jaw moving. Joe set the gun down, his expression thoughtful. "I see."
Joe got out of bed. Jun booed, tossing popcorn at the screen. "Sweats? Really?"
"Uh oh." Jinpei watched as Joe grabbed each of the cameras. One by one, they snapped out of existence, the monitors going blank and bursts of static coming from the speakers.
"He missed one," said Jun, brows going up.
Jinpei looked. Sure enough, the camera with the worst angle was still there. It couldn't really see the bed. He'd placed it to capture the chaos if it moved to the front of the trailer.
A pair of sweats went flying past that last camera. Boxer briefs followed.
"They wouldn't …" Ryu laughed.
Jun shushed him. They heard murmured voices, then the creak of a bed.
"Bastards!" Jun shot off of the couch and toward the door.
"Wait for us!" Ryu jumped up to follow, and Jinpei wasn't about to be left behind.
They all piled into his buggy. As they tore off toward the trailer, Ryu said, "Uh, Jinpei, let us peek in first before you look."
"Uh …" Ryu and Jun looked at each other.
Jinpei cackled. No way were they holding him back. Now he'd make sure he saw first!