By David Hulet
No sooner has the latch clicked on the back door than Jaymz is expressing his dismay to me. “Man, Ritchie! What are we gonna do now? I wanted to play your Nintendo Wii. That’s the only cool thing you have to do at your house since you don’t have a laptop or a PSP.” He surveys my backyard grimly. “Now we’re stuck out here cuz your mom isn’t feeling well. What is there to do out here besides absolutely nothing?” Jaymz sits down dejectedly on the steps.
I put a smile on my face and walk to the middle of the yard where I pick up two sturdy sticks, then take one over to Jaymz. “Richie, what am I supposed to do with this?” He asks me, taking it in his left hand.
“En garde!” I say enthusiastically, going into a fighting stance.
“En garde.” I repeat. “Fight me.”
“But it’s just a stick,” he replies.
I sigh in frustration. “Jaymz, you gotta use your imagination and pretend. C’mon, just try it.” I beg. “Pretend it’s a sword.”
He pushes himself up off the steps and takes a pace forward, hesitantly. I can tell he’s still not sure about this. Then suddenly he lunges, and I barely have time to parry. We begin to circle, sticks locked, and my smile grows. “Just imagine we’re two high seas adventurers locked in the heat of battle. I’ll be the pirate captain whose attacking your vessel and trying to steal all your loot.”
“Loot?” Jaymz asks dismayed.
“Yeah, you know, like money and treasure.”
Jaymz frowns and attacks me again. “Nay!” He declares, finally smiling. “You’ll not be getting your paws on me loot!” I laugh at his silly accent and we sword-fight some more.
When that gets boring, we move to other adventures, and soon Jaymz finds my backyard is full of possibility and adventure. With my jump rope we lasso wild animals and put them in our circus show. With my bandana and a bag I become a robber and he chases me as policeman. With an empty bottle we mix up magic potions and try to poison one another. In the sandbox we build an ancient civilization. On the swings we’re fighter pilots saving the world from alien invasion. Then we go out front and ride Big Wheels as race car drivers zooming to the finish line.
We’ve just finished the Indy 500 when Jaymz’s mom arrives to pick him up. My mom comes out and sees our huge smiles. Putting her hands on her hips, she asks, “What have you two been up to? It sounded like you were having a lot of fun.”
Jamyz nods, grinning crazily. He looks at me and says, “Yeah! I didn’t know using your imagination could be so fun.” As he climbs into his mom’s van, Jaymz looks back at me and says, “Tomorrow, I get to be the pirate.”
Copyright 2009. David Hulet. All rights reserved.