On a hot, humid day in August, all of the children in a generic Levittown neighborhood ran up and down the street playing kickball. The ball escaped the macadam playing field and rolled into the yard of the angry old man in the brown house.
A caucus ensued to determine if the ball should be retrieved in a hit and run maneuver, complete with distractions and decoys or if a sacrificial lamb should be chosen to ask for the return of the ball.
Before a plan could be agreed upon, grouchy faced grandpa tramped out his front door dressed in his yellowed boxers, black knee high socks and tennis shoes. His shirtless belly hung over the loose elastic waistband of his underpants. His combed over hair lay across his scalp in dark, greasy furrows. He scooped up the ball, yelled something obscene in a drunken slur and weaved back to his house, his butt crack waving good-bye.
The kids sat in a line on the round curb like birds resting on a phone wire. Indignity, outrage and plans for revenge increased the ambient temperature. No one went home. Outside meant freedom from prying parental eyes and tedious chores. They decided to play hide and seek until the nice lady came home and returned their ball.
The hiders hid and the counter counted. Right around fifty-nine, the truck rounded the corner. Squeals and laughter, excited calls and feet pounded pavement energized the air. The diesel pickup shot clouds of thick mosquito killing spray from the tank mounted in its bed. The children ran down the street enveloped in the enchanted brume: fumes breathed deep into lungs, eyes burned, nose hairs singed and skin irritated. They frolicked in the foggy fairyland between Avalon and Glastonbury.