It was back in ’75 or ’76. The whole neighbourhood seemed like one of those ghost towns from the western films on TV and our normally creative minds had run as dry as the air around us. Breathing that day was exhausting business to anyone. Only the birds were lucky enough to breathe air that didn’t feel like sawdust on fire. The four of us wandered around in the void, aimlessly kicking stones and empty soda cans in front of us until we came to the road by the school. We sat down in the ditch and spied on the few cars that passed by. One of us, I forget who, started rolling marbles in front of the approaching cars, when suddenly one marble bounced up and crashed into the window shield of one of the cars. The air filled with cracking glass, screeching terror, and four deer-like children vanishing through the bushes.
Before I was out of the bushes, the twins and Toby were gone. Heart pounding. Adrenalin, but no air and no legs. A growling ogre in the bushes behind me. I stopped dead in my tracks in front of a small house with a garden by the road. No longer a deer, but a fox, I shed my T-shirt behind the low stone wall, sat down pretending to be as bored as before. Out of the bushes, the ogre charged towards me, stopped and asked if I had seen some boys running this way. I looked him straight in the eyes and told him that I hadn’t. He continued his hunt. Life and all the air returned like the first day of spring. I collected my T-shirt, rolled it up like a ball, put it in my pocket, and slowly walked towards home. I felt like a Sherlock Holmes version of quick-drawing Kid Curry from Alias Smith & Jones.