During our first summer in the Catskills, I was
hiking up a hill towards a spooky house
owned by a mean old man with a rifle
just waiting with his sight set
on kids inching up past

Or so said my new-found friend Nathan
in a campfire whisper.

We had loaded up on Bazooka gum,
jawbreakers and Nik L-Nips wax bottles
to fortify us for our stake-out.

We rested on our stomachs
like Green Berets
and snaked up the hill
closer to the man Nathan had painted
with brown pointy teeth
and a mythological white beard

until a snapped twig
became a shotgun blast
and we scurried down the hill,

our chests bursting with imagination.