Thursday, May 11, 2006

Over The Fence Day!

Today you and your friends will be playing Wiffle Ball in your backyard and one of your friends will hit the ball over the fence. The house next door was sold a little while ago but you haven't met your new neighbors yet. Hop that fence and get your ball.

You'll hunt through the bushes lining the fence but the ball won't reveal itself. The grass will be thick with weeds from not having been tended to while the house was changing hands. Your hunt will be interrupted when you realize a little girl your age (eleven) is watching you. She'll be kneeling in the grass in the middle of her yard, whispering something to a cardboard crucifix sticking out of the ground. Go to her.

"I lost my ball," say.

The little girl will shush you by holding her finger to her lips. Then she'll continue to mutter things at the grave. Go and kneel beside her.

The front of the crucifix will have the words "Snowball � We Will Never Forget You" written on the cardboard in magic marker. There will be some glitter too. The little girl will be saying to the crucifix, "I liked sleeping with you and holding you and brushing your fur and I liked feeding you and petting you."

When she pauses, ask, "Is that your cat?"

She'll nod yes.

"Did it get hit by a car?" ask her.

The girl will shake her head no. "She got out our first night here. She ran through the bushes to the woods down the hill. She came home after two days, but she didn't eat anything. A day later we found her asleep in the basement and she wouldn't wake up."

Tell her your name and she'll tell you hers.

"We don't know why she died," she'll say. "She wasn't old."

Tell her that her cat probably got sick, then find your ball and go back to your game. Later tonight, the little girl will knock on your window and ask you if you'd like to come help her solve the mystery of what killed her cat. You'll say yes because you're at that age when you'll do anything a girl tells you to do as long as your friends aren't watching. The two of you will go into the woods and begin an adventure that will result in a local chemical plant being caught dumping hazardous chemicals into the area's creeks and rivers. While solving the mystery and nearly being killed several times over, everyone at school will accuse you of being the little girl's boyfriend. Tell them that's a lie. Fight them if you have to.

Happy Over The Fence Day!