Three boys lay dead in the grass while the rocks block the drive and the cars park along the road. Their sprawling bodies reveal their sock stripes, neglected by limp fingers, waiting to be pulled up around their tightened calves. We look around them for anything of value, anything that that won't look like tampering with the scene. The old man appears from no where an stares. "It's too beautiful a day for crime. The sun is out, trees green, and the breeze pours thru there with ease and delight. Today is no rush." I look to you but you are looking up at him. Grey suit, short white whiskers hanging off his long chin. He peaks down at us without moving his head. "Of course, the night was long. Tricky as they may be." We turn back to the bodies. I've got my kite wrapped around my wrist, you sit on the back of you feet, grassing up your knees. I look back to the old man for answers. He is gone. "Maybe we can get their bill folds," I circle around them trying not to get too close, "and check that pocket for gum."
My hand turns red from waiting. Head rounds my shoulder each car that passes, back straight, hands down to the side. You re still sitting. Hands on knees, breathing like you are smelling - trying to catch the sent of the crime. I beg you to say something. "Coulda been wolves." Only your eyes turn. I look to the grass and circle around them, tough. "Ain't no wolves in this part of the neighborhood. Plus, no tracks on the lawn." I check the lawn silently, and the bushes nearby(only a pile of o bottles), then for marks along their necks. "No marks on them either. Nope not wolves. My best guess is they froze." You get to your knees, tears in your eyes. "Froze?" as you march up to me, "But it's not cold yet." I turn my back and poke the kite into the earth. "You heard the grandpa. 'Night gets long.'" But I'm still not sure.
We creep in close to the bodies and kneel beside them. I watch your open mouth as you lower your ear. Whispering, "This ones breathing." Now I can hear the rattle of breath, cold creeping out of the lungs. "No, no no, no no. The dead can't breathe, plus we called their names." Your sister said the blond one is Jamie and I know the fat one's called "Tuff". You lean over the bodies, "Yeah but we don't know the last ones name." The last one has mouth open, teeth we from dew, reflection from the sun. His cream color pants and crimson sweater look the most worn, torn in the elbow, white shirt with thin red stripes stick through. His eyebrow twitches in the wind. I stand and kick his boot, checking for ice. None fall off, I crane my neck to be sure. "What'd you do that for?" as you're standing. "It's is definitely wet down there, not sure about the ice though. I call this one 'Boots.'"
"Hey Boots! ...Hey! ...Are you all dead?"
I told you that I knew they wouldn't answer and circle 'round to my kite, still stuck down in the yawn. My backside hits the ground beside it. I start to untangle my string. You rustle, or the wind rustle behind me. "Shut up with all that racket!" You get quiet, walk towards the gutter. I call after. "Wait, where you going?" Grass in your hand, you turn your head, standing in your boots. "Looking for tadpoles," and turning, start walking. "But, wait. I -- don't you want to wait for them to -- see if they are dead or not." Still walking, shrugging your shoulders. "Wait. What are you going to put them in?" You turn around and run back to me.
"I got just the thing." I get up off the ground and run out to the bushes, you follow. Back down to my knees, sticking my head in, handing out bottles.
"What are you doing there!" I throw out the last bottle and you drop it, turn to the fat policeman. "Where did you get those?" I look at your tears. All but one bottle has slipped to the grass - the last one folded up in your arms. You breathe mostly in. "We are using them to get tadpoles. There's nothing against it." Then you catch your breath to speak, "We didn't kill them. The wolves did. One of them still breathing." The cop slides the bottle out from your arms and guides over to the three bodies.
"What are their names?" His hand on your shoulder. I pointed. "The blond one is Jamie, and he's Tuff and that one's Boots." We watch the hem in his slacks stretch as he kneels beside them."Boy's! Wake up!" They jump, tripping on shoes, choking on breath, and ran as he shook the bottle behind them."You boys sure you don't remember their names?"I try to repeat myself, your stare shining up at me, a tear still in your eye."I'll have to take this with me. You'll have to find something else to catch your tadpoles in."