Then you went to whoever’s house had the biggest yard, with one baseball and two wooden bats and three gloves (one of them a 40-year old first baseman’s mitt), and played some mutant type of 2-on-2 baseball game, with ghost runners and one of you as the all-time pitcher for both teams. One of you called the play-by-play.
Every single one of you belted a bunch of home runs, because you were all awesome. At some point, someone took a line drive to the noggin, and everyone pretended to not hear him cry, and someone said, “You’re OK, shake it off,” and it was forgotten.
Then you went into the house, because one of the bedrooms had a newly-installed window air conditioner, bought from a rich friend who had bought it last year at Sears, and you were hotter than hell from blasting all those dingers. After 25 minutes of zen-like coolness, every fuse in the house blew and you all had to help your buddy’s mom replace them, because as nine-year olds, you definitely should have been fiddling with electric wiring.
Then, once the lights were back on, you discovered that your buddy’s mom had a freezer full of those Freeze-Pops packaged popsicles, and each of you polished off three or four of them and showed each other your tongues, because those cold, refreshing bastards turned your mouths into different colors.
Then you all went outside and a bunch of other kids in the neighborhood suddenly showed up — girls and boys, young kids and old kids — and you all played your neighborhood’s modified version of “Ghost in the Graveyard” until the street light on the corner came on.
Then you all had to go home, take baths, watch “Charlie’s Angels” and go to bed — except some of the older kids, who hung around under the street light and talked and laughed and swatted gnats as the world got dark, until someone’s dad came out and chewed everyone’s butts, and the day was done.
No one told you then that this was as great as life was ever going to get, but somehow, you knew that deep inside.