(I am so tired that I haven’t even proofread this. My apologies.)
The kid across the street had been annoying me for a few days. He was out there from right after supper onward, kicking and punching at invisible bad guys on his front lawn. It wouldn’t have bothered me at all if he was out there just playing to himself, but he had to make so much damn noise while he does it.
He kept shouting “I’m going to get you. You can’t have our street, I’m going to kick and punch you until the sun goes down!” Then he would tumble and kick and jump and punch while prowling around the lawn looking fierce. It would have been adorable if it weren’t so loud.
After the first couple of evenings of this dubious entertainment, I had to stroll over and ask what he was doing. He just looked at me strangely and told me, in this voice that suggested that his goal should be obvious, that he was fighting the bad guys so they couldn’t take over the whole street. His eyes twitched the whole time he was talking to me, snapping from side to side behind me and darting to take in the edges of the lawn. Once I left, he resumed his shouting and punching.
I didn’t want to complain to his parents about him, he was just a kid being a kid, but I really hoped that he would tire of it quickly and move on to something else. I really wanted my quiet evenings back.
It didn’t seem promising though, it seemed like he was just getting worse and worse as time went on and one Tuesday night, I decided that after work the next day, I was going to talk to his parents.
Of course, as usually happens once you have made a plan like that, the world seemed to conspire against me carrying it out. I had a terrible day at work, lots of people yelling and getting frustrated. I knew that if I went to speak to his parents right away, I would just end up in a nasty fight, so I decided to have supper first and talk to them later.
That would have been an excellent plan, if I hadn’t also decided to lie down for a few minutes to ‘rest my eyes’ after I finished eating. I woke about an hour later to the sound of Ethan kicking up a storm across the street. I guess I must have slept heavier than usual because I couldn’t seem to get my eyes to focus at all. I stumbled into the kitchen, running my hand along the wall for balance, and got a glass of water. I tried to zero in on Ethan across the street but everything looked so very strange. It looked as if Ethan had an opponent, or, actually, several opponents.
I rubbed my eyes but it didn’t help much, I could still see the strange, dark shapes dashing and diving around the boy. I didn’t even put on my shoes before dashing across to help.
“Okay, I can see them now, Ethan, what do a I have to do?”
The kid smiled for the first time in ages and said ‘Just copy me!’
To this day I don’t know what the hell we were fighting out there and I am not sure why I could see them on that particular night, but I’m glad I could. After I prowled and rolled and punched along with Ethan for about 20 minutes – much to his mother’s amusement – suddenly Ethan turned to me and smiled again.
“They’re gone. They didn’t like you helping, not at all.” And he reached out his hand to shake mine. I shook his hand and did a little bow of sorts and headed back across the street. He just turned and walked into his house.
My evenings have been pretty quiet ever since.