This afternoon, having delivered a brief safety lecture about not pushing or using the jump rope as a noose, I went inside to check my e-mail. As I was sitting at the computer, I was sort of wistfully thinking to myself how nice it is that the boys are at an age when they can entertain each other in the yard, and I don’t have to watch them every single second. Then I heard this strange sound coming from Patrick. Kind of an egh egh egh egh sound. It wasn’t his usual little brother victim cry, but an odd noise that my brain could not make sense of. So I went to the back door and looked out. Patrick was sitting on the lawn several feet from the tree fort, whimpering. I scanned the yard for Gus and then, two feet to Patrick’s right, beside the tree fort, I saw Gus’s foot. And his leg. AND HIS BODY LYING ON THE GROUND TOTALLY STILL. I threw my can of soda down on the deck and ran across the lawn, screaming Gus's name like I was in a Lifetime movie. GUS! GUS! OH MY GOD! PATRICK, WHAT HAPPENED TO GUS? GUS GUS GUSSSS!
His little face was so still. I thought he had fallen off the platform and hit his head. Or fainted? He looked so peaceful and strange, I thought. Is he dead? In a coma? Should I move him? Did he break his neck? And all this time (two, three, ten seconds?) I'm saying his name and touching is face, and he’s lying there, unresponsive because HE THINKS I’M PLAYING ALONG WITH HIS GAME.
“Police Army Force.”
In which Patrick had just shot him!
Egh egh egh egh egh.
Cause Gus was the bad guy!